For seven years, the Plan País conference has gathered young Venezuelans, both students and young professionals residing all over the world, to discuss the array of problems that Venezuela faces. More than 200 young Venezuelans participated in this year’s Plan País, held at George Washington University in Washington, D.C., only a day after Venezuela’s highest court issued a controversial ruling that transferred parliamentary powers to itself.
“Thanks to Plan País for the opportunity to share my experience so that others know the reality of political prisoners in Venezuela,” said Francisco Márquez (translated from Spanish), who was imprisoned while working for a referendum to remove Venezuela’s president from office, and witnessed systematic torture and other brutal treatment during his time in captivity.
“As is the case every year, the conference held successful working groups where Venezuela’s most pressing issues were discussed,” said Juan Pio Hernández, director of Plan País. “This included short-term issues such as economic stabilization, security and armed forces, and the oil industry, to long-term issues such as entrepreneurship, support for free enterprise, corporate social responsibility, institution-building, and history.”
Funded in part by a grant from Atlas Network, the Plan País conference assigned each participant to a discussion group that allows for in-depth exploration of Venezuela’s crucial issues. One of the unique features of Plan País is its “Venechat” presentations, which allows participants to present dynamic TED-style talks with detailed information about specific problems facing Venezuela and projects designed to address them. Introduced during the 2015 conference, Venechats have provided an inspirational forum for the stories of young Venezuelans who are committed to making a difference for their home country.
“The organization has benefited over 900 people directly, those young Venezuelans who have attended the conference,” Hernández said. “In addition to that, we have a high number of indirect beneficiaries who have been supported by the organization’s activities. These include beneficiaries from organizations that have seen their fundraising and awareness increase through their presence in the Plan País conference.”