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Violent clashes keeping Venezuelan children away from school

Saturday, May 27, 2017 - 02:11

The dangerous protests in Caracas are keeping children from going to school and are also concerning school staff who are afraid they won't be able to get home in the evenings. Colette Luke reports.

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Meet Jose Morales... He loves to practice taekwondo. And lately he's had plenty of time, because he can't get to school. In Caracas these days, it's just too dangerous. It's a problem that's affecting children and families across the city...the violent Venezuelan protests disrupting all aspects of normal, every day life... Jose Morales' mother , Diva Rodriguez, says her son's schedule has been completely changed… (SOUNDBITE) MOTHER OF JOSE MORALES, DIVA RODRIGUEZ, SAYING: "He had a routine which included his classes, complementary classes, sports classes and this has all been disrupted, even the sports activities have been suspended for one reason or another and we have changed the timings so that they can continue their planning, because life goes on." But at many city schools, desks are empty....and children like Jose are learning their lessons at home. (SOUNDBITE) (Spanish) PRIMARY SCHOOL STUDENT, JOSE MORALES, SAYING: "As there are people protesting, the teacher doesn't come, so it takes us a long time to learn our subjects and that makes it all very difficult, almost everything." Two months of political unrest have paralyzed much of Caracas. More than 50 people have been killed. Parents like Mayerlin Parra have been faced with stark choices... (SOUNDBITE) (Spanish) MOTHER OF SCHOOL CHILDREN, MAYERLIN PARRA, SAYING: "I went five weeks without bringing (my daughters) to school because of all the protests that have been happening/ I wouldn't have a problem bringing them in the morning but I wouldn't be able to pick them up so I did not bring them for five weeks but now I said, 'My daughters cannot fall behind in their studies because of all of this'." Head teacher Marbella Saturno agrees. She's appealling to parents to somehow, get their children to school... (SOUNDBITE) HEAD TEACHER, MARBELLA SATURNO, SAYING: "The best thing is for the children to come to their classes and to be able to socialize with their peers, and not to be following what is going on, but the children know what is going on and they are also scared for their parents' safety…." Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro accuses private schools that cancel classes of supporting the opposition…. But Jose Morales doesn't care about the politics. He just wants his old life back.

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Violent clashes keeping Venezuelan children away from school

Saturday, May 27, 2017 - 02:11