His daughter was killed in a school massacre, now he’s leading the fight for gun control in the US.

Patricia Oliver’s blood ran cold when she looked at her cell phone and learned that 19 children and two teachers had been gunned down with an assault rifle at a Texas school. She brought back to her mind the memory of the loss of her own son, Joaquin, killed in the same way at her high school in the 2018 massacre in Parkland, Florida.

But what this mother felt most, after the May 23 mass shooting at an elementary school in Uvalde, near the border with Mexico, was “a lot of anger,” she says.

“Because how long do we have to continue losing lives at the expense of the irresponsibility of those who are in control in this country? Why are the Administration, the members of Congress, the members of the Senate so late in making decisions? It is convenient, simply and simply because it is not convenient for them, but by God, they are accomplices, “he complains, in dialogue with RFI.

Change of referee

Patricia and her husband, both Venezuelans, turned their pain into action and four years ago they created the organization “Change the Ref” or “Cambiemos al arbitrado”, seeking to modify the laws that regulate weapons.

Using art as a medium, they enter deep America where there are pockets of Republicans very attached to the second amendment of the Constitution, which proclaims the right to be armed.

With their message, they achieve positive results: “People who have spent their entire lives defending their freedom to obtain any type of weapons in their possession and they have returned them and have sent us photos and tell us look, we cannot continue allowing this; then notice that one has to have perseverance because perseverance is when one is going to succeed”, affirms Patricia.

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The massacres in the USA
1982 – 2022

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» The numbers indicate the number of fatalities


Infographic: Clarion

Request to Joe Biden

For her and all the families who lost loved ones in mass shootings, not much can be expected from Congress and it is President Joe Biden who must limit or outright ban military weapons in civilian hands.

“He is the president, he is the CEO of this country, as the first authority he can execute an executive order immediately. Why doesn’t he do it? His argument is that the next one who comes to power may have all the tools to reverse that law, but he could give an immediate signature and say look, today is today and tomorrow is tomorrow”, he denounces.

President Joe Biden and his wife Jill visited the site of the Texas massacre days later.  Photo: REUTERS

President Joe Biden and his wife Jill visited the site of the Texas massacre days later. Photo: REUTERS

Along with other activists, Patricia Oliver often travels to Washington DC and speaks with legislators, organizes and participates in demonstrations and marches and remains optimistic.

“Hopefully we can see a forceful change in life and that I can go to bed and say well, look My King, as I say to Joaquín, here we are, here we did it, feel happy, “he concludes.

Despite all the obstacles, this brave mother does not plan to give up.


In the midst of a growing debate, the Lower House of the United States, with a Democratic majority, approved this Wednesday an initiative to strengthen firearms controls after the chilling shootings in Uvalde (Texas) and Buffalo (New York), although it is very possible that it will not succeed in the Senate.

The bill contains the toughest gun control measures the House has passed in decades.

The project, baptized “Let’s protect our children”, proposes increase the age at which semi-automatic rifles can be purchased from 18 to 21 and bans high-capacity bullet cartridges used in Uvalde and Buffalo by 18-year-olds.

It also proposes measures to regulate home-made weapons, known as “ghost guns” because they lack serial numbers and are responsible for a growing number of shootings.

That first initiative was approved with 223 votes in favor and 204 against. Five Republicans broke with their party and endorsed the measure, and two Democrats voted “no.”

Source: RFI and EFE



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