I’ve spent 36 years of my life in San Agustín, where I was born. My dad and my mom separated and that was for me like when a dry coconut breaks, that’s how my life got broken. From that moment on I had a hard, difficult life. When you don’t have your parents by your side, you pick up the wrong path and life gets harder for you. My uncles were criminals that led me to fall into that world. I started grabbing a gun at age 12. Stayed up all night till dawn, drinking. My life had been spoiled. Nothing mattered to me anymore. I had no dad, no mom; I was always on the streets. The feelings of hunger and cold were my companions, so I depended on myself to survive.
I fell into crime mainly because of the bullying I received as a child, the abuse my family gave me. My dad was on his own, my mom on hers. Then I saw things I shouldn’t have. And I started stealing.
I sold drugs. It was a buddy of mine who shot me. He owed me money, but he collected before I did. They’ve shot me so many times in my life to kill me and this time, I think they succeeded; they killed Miguelón, the thug. At the hospital, they told me I would not walk again; for me, that was deadly. I had so much hatred for the one who shot me that I thought only of revenge. However, I did not have time for revenge because I had to learn everything all over again, how to go to the bathroom, how to get around on my own. Then I started to fight for myself.
God put me on the road in a wheelchair. Maybe I wouldn’t have my body, I’d be dead or in prison. I feel it has been an opportunity that I’ve received from life. After that, I got up and started fighting. I realized that there’s nothing good you can get from crime. Many of my gang buddies were killed, others were arrested.
I’ve always liked basketball, so I asked myself: why not continue playing?
Today I teach basketball. Now, my struggle is to help those youngsters who are out there lost in crime and drugs, those ‘Miguelones’ disoriented by the absence of their parents or of someone to guide them. I try to rescue them through sport, so that they move away from the bad steps.
People didn’t believe in me. They said I was of no use because I was a delinquent and now I was confined on a wheelchair. Then, I worked harder, I worked harder and harder. Now I am reaping the fruits of all that I have worked.
Our first game was by the old La Guaira road, with that burning sun! I dream of playing with the Venezuelan National team.
I work for my heart, not for my pocket. I’ve seen many teachers who work… but not for their hearts, they work for their pockets.
Easy life can only take you to two places, to prison or to the grave. I always tell that to my students, and also my children. If I lied to them about what I was in the past, tomorrow, someone else will tell them. I have five children, four girls and a boy. That’s why I talk to them a lot, especially to my boy. I tell him that he has to play sports and study so that he can be someone in life. Let him see my example. I thank my current wife, I straightened up for her; she always told me that those guys I was with were not my friends. After my boy was born, I realized that my life had to change. Happiness came into my life along with my children and just when I decided to change.