RailRiders manager Al Pedrique opened up to Sports Director Jim Coles about the difficult times currently in Pedrique's home country of Venezuela. This is a portion of their conversation.
"We had everything that we needed in order to be happy for the wife and the family," Pedrique began. "You know, people felt safe on the street. I remember going to the games, coming out of the games late I wasn't really concerned that we were going to get robbed or killed because somebody wanted to steal your car or ask for money. And that is the Venezuela that I know, that I remember. You can see what is going out right now it is real, it's real. They say we want to make up the videos, the pictures, somebody is making that up. It's real. I saw it with my own eyes, last winter I was managing in the capital and I see families with kids, no older than 12-13 going through garbage to find food. Kids dying because they don't have medication to take care of a five, six, seven year old kid dying in the hospital because they don't have no medication."
"I''m assuming all your family is not out," Coles asked. "You still have family there and if so, are they in danger? Are they in poverty?"
"Yeah, they are," Pedrique admitted. "I wouldn't lie. A lot of my friends that we are here in the states that are working with baseball that there is a big concern about safety that cannot find food, medication. They only thing we got right now is to pray. Ask the international organizations to see the situation in Venezuela. How people are getting killed by the national guard. The national guards' supposed to defend, protect the country, the marines, air force, the national guard. They're not doing that. They're protecting their interests, the government. Again, my concern I'm doing this for the people of Venezuela. Yes, I have family."
"You said it's real, you can see it on your face, that's it's real," Coles said. "The poverty is real. What are the options I see flight or fight. Fight the government, or flight to get out of Venezuela. What are the options at this point. You said humanitarian aid, but I don't see any coming."
"Well, I don't see any coming," Pedrique said. "Right now, the only thing that we have right now is to fight and like I said ask people to keep praying for the country. It seems like these days, it's getting worse."