Venezuelans in San Diego packed Waterfront Park Wednesday to show solidarity with protesters who took to the streets of Venezuela to call for an end to President Nicolas Maduro's regime.
They also celebrated that opposition leader Juan Guaido has declared himself interim president.
“It means hope. It means the sun is finally coming out and my family might be able to be safe," said Venezuela native and San Diego transplant Criseida Werdenberg.
Once a thriving economy, under current president Maduro, Venezuela’s currency is collapsing and the country is facing critical food and medicine shortages.
Werdenberg knows that pain all too well. She says her cousin Francys recently died of pneumonia.
“I have lost some family members due to lack of medication. That’s something that is ridiculous in this time of life,” she said.
Lack of necessities are part the reason why people swarmed the streets of Venezuela.
They were pushed back with rubber bullets and tear gas while calling for Maduro's ouster after the United States and most of Latin America called his recent, second-term election illegitimate. Opposition leader Guaido has instead been recognized as the interim president.
Turmoil over the years has caused millions of people to leave Venezuela, including Andrea Gomez's grandparents.
Like so many people at the Waterfront Park rally, the San Diego State University graduate calls Guaido the change Venezuela needs.
“He believes in democracy and wants to apply democracy and he wants to help Venezuelan people," said Gomez.