Born in Madeira, Luís Andrade has lived in Caracas for 37 years, where he is a businessman and for more than 20 years he has been dedicated to politics, now alongside the opposition to Nicolás Maduro.
A decade ago, along with opposition politician Leopoldo López, he founded the Popular Will party, the same as the self-proclaimed interim president of Venezuela, Juan Guaidó, who considers “a young and professional person.”
“I have known Juan Guaidó since we founded the party, he has shown great security when he speaks, he has given back the hope and the motivation that the Venezuelans had lost a long time ago. Wherever we go, we come back to feel that there is a person who, help change the country, “he told.
However he insists that in the People’s Will “there is not only one leader, there are many, young people” and stresses that Juan Guaidó “instead of leaving the country, because there is no solution, there are people of the same age, who bet that we will get a better Venezuela for everyone. ”
As for Leopoldo López (currently under house arrest), he says that “he is a leader that, wherever he goes, provokes a lot of emotion“.
“He is convinced that, together with his team, he has to help build a first-world country, not dependent on an oil economy, on imports, because Venezuela has many things to produce, which companies can not continue to close, “he said.
On the other hand, he explained that since childhood, he has always felt “attracted by political activism“.
“In Venezuela, I started to make social policy, in the First Justice party, where I met Leopoldo López and I really liked the project he had for the country, and then I founded him and I am part of the People’s Will,” he explained.
Andrade, arrived in Caracas at the age of 11, in 1982, with his father, a sister and a brother. “Instead of going to school, like any little boy of that age, I went to do what all the Portuguese who came here to work do.”
“I did not know how to speak Spanish, and I was afraid of how I would be treated at school. I worked in small businesses, first with my father and my brother and at the age of 28 I decided to continue my studies, which started at the School of Arts and Crafts Madeira, the Salesians until I arrived at the Central University of Venezuela where I studied Political Science, “he explained.
He insists that more Portuguese and Portuguese Luso-descendants are needed in politics: “where we live, we become part of this population” and it is necessary that people do not leave the management of society only in the hands of politicians.
“There are a lot of things to change in the country, I started out in neighbourhood associations, merchants, and organizing people about local situations that need to be changed, but to do that, we need to participate, “he explains.
However, he is of the opinion that “it is not easy to do politics in Venezuela but if there are values and principles of struggle and courage democracy is the best system, where everyone can integrate and there is freedom to say what you think.”
“In the Popular Will we see Venezuela as a country that seeks a sustainable, modern development, many do not believe that it will happen, but we continue to struggle, we will see a country of progress in which many Portuguese and Venezuelans who emigrated will return,” he insists.
About Portugal, the memories are distant, even because they never returned to their land.
Portugal asks that it pay more attention to the emigrants, that it helps move the community, “it is very unfortunate to see so many old people who do not even have to buy the medicines that they need“.
“I was just inside a hospital and I saw an old Portuguese woman, accompanied by a niece, shouting for help and that can not happen,” he said.
As for the community, the political leader calls for “to maintain the hope that Venezuela will return to be the country they met when they arrived.“