Two weeks ago, Venezuelan student Rufo Chacon’s life permanently changed for the worse. For the offense of peaceful protest, cops fired 52 rubber bullets in his face, leaving him permanently blind. Now, the 16-year-old-boy faces a life of challenges as he tries to adapt to his new life as a blind man in Venezuela. The boy was part of a protest demanding basic goods and cooking gas, which are in shortages. The Venezuelan movement for better conditions soon turned into a bloodbath when police officers started firing rubber bullets. Several other people were also injured, including Chacon’s sister.
Dreams Destroyed By Police Brutality
“I finished high school this year, and I want to go to college and study software engineering. Whatever happens with me, I still want to go to university. I actually wanted to move to the United States, find a visa somehow and go to a country where technology is a bit more advanced.” – Rufo Chacon
Chacon dreamed of becoming a software engineer, but with his condition, he will now face immense difficulty. Fortunately, blindness wasn’t enough to remove the fire from the boy. He hasn’t given up on reaching his dreams of becoming a software developer someday.
#AHORA el @MinpublicoVE acaba de imputar por los delitos de HOMICIDIO CALIFICADO CON ALEVOSIA Y MOTIVOS FUTILES EN GRADO DE FRUSTRACIÓN, USO INDEBIDO DE ARMA ORGANICA Y TRATO CRUEL: a los funcionarios Javier Useche Blanco y Henry Hernández en perjuicio del joven RUFO CHACON
— Tarek William Saab (@TarekWiliamSaab) July 4, 2019
Unfortunately, his blindness is irreversible. But the policemen responsible for making Chacon blind will still face consequences for their actions. Tarek William Saab, the Venezuelan attorney general, said that officers who fired the shots during the protest will be charged for “attempted murder, improper use of a weapon and cruel treatment”.
Healing from the Wounds
The Doctors of San Cristobal Central Hospital tried their best to remove all the remaining pieces of rubber pellets from Chacon’s eyes. However, a few pieces of rubber pellets are too deeply embedded in his face for the surgeons to reach.
Venezuelan medical facilities are in poor shape, thanks to the economic collapse. As a result, the doctors made a call to send Rufo Chacon back home to avoid his risk of getting an infection there.
“All politicians are crooks, all of them… the law here attacks the people. It should be the opposite, the law should be to protect the people, but here they act against us.” – Rufo Chacon
Rufo Chacon is struggling to adapt to his new life as he tries to relearn how to do simple tasks, such as eating and walking. His mother wishes that she could help him out more. His family lives in a very simple deprecated house full of flies that are trying to “crowd around the open wounds where his eyes used to be”. They lack air conditioning and blackouts occur several times every day.
Rufo Chacon, a Rallying Cry for Venezuela?
“Here everything is chaos around us. But my mom taught me differently.” – Rufo Chacon
At the very least, Rufo Chacon’s injury was not for nothing. He has gained notoriety over the world for fighting for better days in his country. From North America to Europe, people across the world are offering to pay for his treatment. There is even a clinic in Colombia willing to perform an eyelid transplant on him free of charge.
His mother, Adriana Prado, has opened an Instagram account for the boy to ask for financial support. However, Venezuela’s economy is basically barred from the outside world, so Chacon and his family can only receive donations inside his third-world country. Chacon’s Instagram account has already gathered 56k followers.
Don Omar, a Puerto Rican musician, shared a picture of the boy on his Instagram account. Omar strongly condemns the Venezuelan soldiers for the attack.
“I want to have my sight back I have all sorts of feelings, I would like to cry but I can no more. I cried enough in the hospital,” – Rufo Chacon to CNN reporters
Chacon is currently trying his best to readapt to his life in rural Tariba, a small rural town close to San Cristobal, Venezuela. Right now, Chacon has to regularly place a healing cream in his face in order to recover from skin injuries.
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