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(en) Venezuela, El Libertario - Express summary of the situation for curious people and/or the, poorly informed by Rafael Uzcategui (ca)

Date Sat, 22 Feb 2014 18:20:38 +0200

On February 4th, 2014, students from the Universidad Nacional Experimental del Tachira (Experimental University of Táchira), located on an inland state of the country, protested due to the sexual assault of a fellow female classmate in lieu of the current insecurity situation of the city. ---- The protest was repressed, and several students were detained. ---- The next day, other universities around the country had their own protests requesting the release of these detainees, being at the same time repressed and some of them incarcerated. The wave of indignation had the context of the economic crisis, the shortage of first necessity items and the crisis of basics public services, as well as the beginning of the enforcement of an economic plan on behalf of the President Nicolas Maduro.

Two opposing politicians, Leopoldo Lopez, and Maria Corina Machado, tried
to capitalize on the wave of discontent rallying for new protests under
the slogan “The Way Out” and try to pressure for the resignation of
president Maduro. Their message also reflected the rupture and divisions
on the inside of opposing politicians and the desire to replace Henrique
Capriles’ leadership, who publicly rejected the protests. The Mesa de la
Unidad Democratica (Democratic Unity Table) coalition, didn’t support them

When the government suppressed the protests, it made them grow bigger and
wider all over the country. On February 12th, 2014, people from 18 cities
protested for the release of all of the detainees and in rejection of the
government. In some cities, inland, particularly punished by scarcity and
lack of proper public services, the protests were massive. In Caracas,
three people were murdered during the protests. The government blames the
protesters, but the biggest circulating newspaper in the country, Ultimas
Noticias (Latest News), who receives the biggest advertising budget from
the government, reveals through photographs, that the murderers were
police officers. As a response to this, Nicolas Maduro stated on National
television and radio broadcast that police enforcement had been
“infiltrated by the right wing”.

Repression against protesters not only uses police and military
enforcement agencies, it incorporates the participation of militia groups
to violently dissolve the protests. A member of PROVEA, a human rights
NGO, was kidnapped, beaten and threatened to death by one of then on the
west side of Caracas. President Maduro has publicly encouraged these
groups, which he calls “colectivos” (collectives).

The Venezuelan government actually controls all of the TV stations, and
has threatened with sanctions, radio stations and newspapers that transmit
information about protests. Because of this, the privileged space for the
distribution of information has been the social media networks, specially
twitter. The use of personal technological devices has allowed the record
keeping through videos and photographs of ample aggressions of the
repression forces.

Human rights organizations report detainees all over the country (many of
them already released), the number has surpassed 400, and they have
suffered tortures, including reports of sexual assault, cruel treatment,
inhumane and degrading. As this is being written 5 people have been
murdered in the context of the protests.

In his speeches, Nicolas Maduro, stimulates the protesters that are
against him to assume even more radical and violent positions. Without any
criminalistic investigation, he automatically stated that each deceased
person has been murdered by the same protesters, whom he disqualifies
permanently with all of the possible adjectives.

However, this belligerence seems not to be shared by all the chavista
movement, because a lot of it’s bases are waiting for what happens next,
without any expressions of support. Maduro has only managed to rally
public employees to the street protests he has done. In spite of the
situation and due to the grave economic situation he faces, Nicolas Maduro
continues to make economic adjustments, being the most recent, the
increase of the tax unit.

The state apparatus reiterates repeatedly that it is facing a “coup”, that
what happened in Venezuela on April 2002 will repeat itself. This version
has managed to neutralize the international left wing, which hasn’t even
expressed its concern about the abuses and deaths in the protests.

The protests are done in many parts around the country and are lacking in
center and direction, having being called through social media networks.
In the protesters themselves, there are many diverse opinions about
opposing political parties, by which it is possible to find so many
expressions of support and rejection at the same time.

In the case of Caracas they are starred specially by middle class sectors
and college students. On the other hand, in other states, other popular
sectors have joined the protests. In Caracas the majority of the petitions
are political, freedom for the detainees y the resignations of the
president, while in other cities social demands are incorporated, such as
inflation, scarcity and lack of proper public services. Even though some
protests have turned violent, and some protesters have used fire guns
against police and militia groups, the majority of the protests, specially
outside of Caracas, remain peaceful.

The Revolutionary Independent Venezuelan Left (anarchists, sectors that
follow Trotsky, Marx, Lenin and Guevara) don’t have any incidence in this
situation and we are simple spectators. Some of us are simply actively
denouncing state repression and helping the victims of human rights

Venezuela is a historically oil driven country, it possesses low levels of
political culture amongst its population, explaining why the opposing
protesters have the same “content” problem as the bases of support for the
government. But while the international left wing continues to give its
back, and support without any criticism the government’s version of “the
coup”, it leave thousands of protesters to the mercy of the most
conservative of opposition’s political parties, without any reference to
anti-capitalists, revolutionaries and true social change that could
influence them.

In this sense, the detention of Leopoldo Lopez, conservative opposition
leader, tries to make his own figure the center of a dynamic movement,
that up until this moment, that this is been written, had surpassed the
political parties of the opposition and the government of Nicolas Maduro.

What will happen in the short term? I think nobody knows exactly,
especially the protesters themselves. The events are developing minute
after minute.

For more alternative information about Venezuela, we recommend:
http://periodicoellibertario.blogspot.com (in Spanish)
http://www.derechos.org.ve (in Spanish)
http://laclase.info (in Spanish)
http://www.nodo50.org/ellibertario (in Spanish, English & other languages)
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