SALT LAKE CITY -- Five years ago, Antonio Ortega left his home in Venezuela and moved to Utah. It was not by choice.
“We never intended to move," Ortega said. "I never imagined in my head that I was ever going to be living in Utah."
Ortega says he was a founding member of Voluntad Popular, the political party leading a revolution in Venezuela. Juan Guiado, a member of the party, is recognized by the United States as the legitimate president of Venezuela. Tuesday, Guaido took to the streets of Venezuela calling on the military to join him to oust President Nicolas Maduro.
“They showed up at my house at midnight on July 3rd and they set it on fire,” Ortega said of his escape from Venezuela in 2014.
Tuesday night, he joined about a hundred other Venezuelans and others at the Vincit Event Center in Salt Lake City for a rally to support their home country.
“I am not scared about the future, we feel the hope that millions of Venezuelans will come back,” Ortega said.
It’s a hope shared by millions.
“We feel happy because this is happening, moving on to freedom for Venezuela,” said Asdrubal Garcia a Venezuelan-American.
“There have been other attempts they have failed but it looks the military is finally on our side,” said Carlos Trujillo a Venezuelan-American.
But some losses can never be repaired.
“March 11th, during the blackouts, one of my brothers died because hospitals don’t have power,” Ortega said. “They have taken so much from us.”