BIRMINGHAM, Ala (WIAT) — In Alabama, an organization is educating the public on the crisis in Venezuela and how this could affect the United States.
The Birmingham Committee on Foreign Relations is a nonprofit, bipartisan group, that has discussions constantly on timely current events.
The chairperson for BCFR, Kali McNutt, said Venezuela and Latin America has been a big topic for months for them.
Carlos Izcaray lives and works in Birmingham but is from Venezuela. He said he feels lucky to not be stuck in Venezuela but he still thinks about his home country.
“Its an undeniable fact that Venezuela is a repressive dictatorship and has complete disregard for human rights,” said Izcaray.
Izcaray is a conductor for the Alabama Symphony Orchestra, but for 14 years, he grew up in Venezuela before his family moved.
He went back to study music and that’s when he first-hand ran into the law in Venezuela.
“I was detained, kidnapped really, by national guard in Venezuela” said Izcaray. “I was beaten, tortured, threatened all that stuff. That’s documented. That was for a whole day.”
The Birmingham Committee on Foreign Relations, a non-partisan organization, is aware of the crisis in Venezuela, and said that’s why they’ve been holding events to bring awareness on what’s happening.
“I think it’s important that people in Birmingham more than anything and I believe this for every topic has a place to go where we can civil conversations and become educated on an issue without fighting. Whether or not you believe its an international security interest or how much U.S. should get engaged- everything affects us. This is a neighbor close to our southern border,” said Kali McNutt, chiar of BCFR.
Izcaray said his father and many people he loves are still in Venezuela and struggling to survive.
“We know this is not going away and will only get worse if we don’t all form a real coalition which we think is already happening,” said Izcaray.
For more information on the BCRF, click here.