71-year old Luís Sanchez Guevara was formerly a tailor in Venezeula
Translated by Thomas Ansell
As reported by RTV Drenthe, a 71-year old Asylum Seeker living in Drenthe is voluntarily, and with self-bought products, working to keep gravestones at the Zuiderbegraafplaats in Assen. Sachez Guevara uses home-made or self-bought products to scrub decades of grime from gravestones every day.
Sanchez Guevara fled Venezuela a year and a half ago, having been severely ‘punished’ for attending a demonstration against President Nicolas Maduro’s widely disputed 2018 election ‘win’. Since then, Venezuela has been suffering from hyper-inflation and an increasing hunger crisis.
“They cut my hands three times, and burned me with a lit stick, they [government supporters] knew where I lived and came to lynch me”, he says. After fleeing, he ended up in an Asylum Seekers Center in Assen. Whilst waiting for his work permit, he decided that he’d rather contribute than wait around,and began working at the graveyard. “I’m used to working, and want to keep fit. I also realised that lots of graves weren’t well cared for, perhaps because there are no more living relatives. I felt that something needed to be done”, he said.
Whilst living in Venezuela, Sanchez Guevara was a tailor: “one of the best!”, he says. He’d rather pick-up his working life in the Netherlands, but whilst he’s still waiting he’s quite happy continuing at the Zuiderbegraafplaats: “I don’t just want to take, but also give and help. If I’m given the opportunity to, I’d like to work [again]”, he says.