A French questionnaire: Venezuela today
αναδημοσίευση από periodico el libertario
As the Venezuelan situation changes every day, I should clarify that I wrote this on 03/01/14 at 06:00 pm.
– Who are the people who took to the streets? They are only upper middle class people of some housing developments, militants of far-right parties and Colombian paramilitary activists, (“Aguilas Negras”)?
– This question can only be answered correctly, referring to the beginning of this cycle of protests in Venezuela. On February 4 students at the Universidad Nacional Experimental del Tachira (UNET), in San Cristobal, staged a peaceful protest against insecurity, caused by the sexual abuse against a student. The protest was brutally suppressed by the Bolivarian National Guard (GNB), the agency of the Venezuelan Armed Forces in charge of “maintaining public order”, and 6 students were arrested. On this episode we should clarify two things: 1) Historically the student movement in Latin America and Venezuela, has always rejected detained students in protests and 2) San Cristobal, capital of Tachira state, is a city located in a border area with Colombia that has been particularly hard hit for several years by interruptions of utilities (water and electricity mainly), price inflation as well as shortages of various consumer products. The arrest of these students led protests in other cities of the country, which in turn were suppressed by increasing the number of students arrested. This created an “snowball-effect”, from the inner cities of the country to Caracas. It is in this climate of protests and unrest, which two opposition politicians (Leopoldo Lopez and Maria Corina Machado), make a call to hold demonstrations to demand the resignation of President under the slogan “the exit”.
It is important to say that the rest of the opposition parties, including the coalition “Bureau of Democratic Unity” (MUD), and the governor of Miranda state, Henrique Capriles; rejected the first few days the protests, which have overwhelmed the political parties opponents. When I write these answers (03/01/14) the protest against the government was decentralized, with some violent foci but largely, peacefully. It also has two different dynamics : One in Caracas , starring with middle class students from public and private universities territorially in the east of the city, and basically with political demands (release of the students, the resignation of President and rejection of repression); and in the rest of the country, qualitatively more important than that one in Caracas because it incorporates popular sectors; and in some cities, (such as San Cristobal), rural areas (thus this city was militarized), and including social demands and lack of products, the high cost of living and lack of basic services.