Joaquin Oliver was a toddler when he left his native Venezuela. Hugo Chavez had just survived a failed coup d'etat and there was an oil strike. His parents wanted him to grow up in the safety of South Florida. They never imagined he would become the victim of school massacre in Parkland.
The Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School student, known as "Guac" among friends, died in the mass shooting Wednesday. A deranged former student, police identified as Nikolas Cruz, 19, killed him and 16 others.
"Venezuelan forever," the 17-year-old U.S. citizen wrote on an Instagram post last year.
Oliver dreamed with a prosperous and peaceful Venezuela. He was among the young students in South Florida who believed that a free and democratic election could end up with the removal of Chavez's successor, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro.
His parents made sure he became a U.S. citizen January 2017. He said he was proud and wore a black bow tie and, long pants and a black vest for the swearing ceremony he attended with his family. They later celebrated at home.
Oliver was an avid fan of the Venezuelan national soccer team, Florida State University, football, basketball, urban graffiti art and hip hop. His last social media post was a love dedication to his girlfriend, Victoria Gonzalez.
"Thank you lord for putting a greater blessing than I could ever imagine into my life this past year," he wrote. "I love you with all my heart."
This BBSNews article originally appeared on News | WPLG.