Venezuela: Troubled Waters with Many Losers


HAVANA TIMES — As a kid, I would sometimes sit down to watch a movie that had already started and would ask my dad who the good and bad guys were.

As a child, and even as a teenager, one tends to divide the world into the good and the bad.

My dad would usually say that there weren’t good guys or bad guys, that the thieves were the main characters and the cops were after them, that that was all…or something like that.

I feel as though I’m a character in one of those movies in Venezuela these days.

Some areas of the capital and other states have been experiencing something resembling chaos since a protest (which started out peaceful) degenerated into shootings, the burning of government buildings and cars (leaving behind dozens of wounded and 3 dead) this past February 12.

The protesters, who initially called for the release of several students who had been imprisoned in Tachira, are now saying they will not leave the streets until the president resigns. According to a neighbor who has spent several nights next to them, the National Guard has used pepper spray and rubber bullets on the protesters.

The protesters, for their part, have started fires and destroyed State and private banks. They have also damaged subway stations and forced the metro to cancel its services in some areas.

The government’s inaction, or, better, the negligible effect government measures have had in terms of reducing violence in Venezuela, is one the reasons this group of young people have taken to the streets. Many fail to understand how one can protest violence while practicing it.

Those who unconditionally support the government choose to close their eyes and say the latter isn’t being violent in the least. Those at the other extreme deny that protesters are being violent or support their violent acts. Many publish all sorts of information on social networks without first verifying it, or put up photos that weren’t even taken in Venezuela. Some extremists are asking for support from and even a direct intervention by the US government.

In the politicized media, you see the division miles away. The opposition criticizes Leopold Lopez (the leader of Voluntad Popular, “People’s Will”), who headed the march of February 12 and had disappeared from the media until this past Sunday, when he appeared in a video saying: “As is only natural, I’ve taken a few days to think and spend time with my family.” He then proposed another “peaceful” protest for February 18.

At the other end of the spectrum, in what we could call the “Left”, there is much discontent with the government’s actions. President Maduro has availed himself of the opportunity to declare that “to hold a protest in this country, you need a permit, as per the law” – something entirely contrary to the Constitution and the practices of his predecessor, Hugo Chavez.

Three people were killed on the 12th. The first two were a young protester and a leader of the Tupamaro Movement, were said to have died as a result of injuries caused by the same types of weapons.

There is a very old but accurate saying to the effect that troubled waters mean good fishing. Those who stand to benefit the most from this whole affair aren’t the general population or students (politically conscious as they may or may not be), not the workers and much less the middle class. Freedom of expression doesn’t have much to gain from it either.

The peasants and indigenous communities will continue to be the most affected by this situation, and very few people care who is silently massacring them.

Power created politics to deceive the naive.
Only the naive believe there are actually two camps.
In fact, there is only one: power. The rest are those of us who feed it.


Caridad: If I had the chance to choose what my next life would be like, I’d like to be water. If I had the chance to eliminate a worst aspect of the world I would erase fear. Of all the human feelings I most like I prefer friendship. I was born in the year of the first Congress of the Cuban Communist Party, the day that Gay Pride is celebrated around the world. I no longer live on the east side of Havana; I’m trying to make a go of it in Caracas, and I continue to defend my right to do what I want and not what society expects of me.

15 thoughts on “Venezuela: Troubled Waters with Many Losers

  • February 21, 2014 at 1:02 pm

    You say it was “unconstitutional” to have an election after Chavez died. So what were they supposed to do? I guess the vice president could have taken over as would happen in the UK, but then you would be the first to complain. Secondly anyone can make allegations of irregularities. Just because the opposition complain doesn’t mean that their claims are valid. Jimmy Carter monitored the election and stated that it was scrupulously fair. “Venezuela probably has the most excellent voting system that I have ever known”. I’m happy to go with that.

  • February 21, 2014 at 9:47 am

    Yeah, and how many journalists were shot and killed or arrested, from Al Jazeera to Il Manifesto, in Iraq by the Americans ? “Everybody does it. We’re just better at it”.

  • February 21, 2014 at 9:35 am

    After the butchering of 1 million workers in Indonesia during the military coup in 1965 the NYT said that the “shining light of Democracy had been restored”. Like you say Moses, everybody cozys up with blood thirsty leaders… “we’re just better at it”.

  • February 21, 2014 at 9:09 am

    The election was unconstitutional to begin with, given that Chavez was never able to properly assume power from his hospital bed in Cuba.

    There were many reports of voting irregularities, including a shortage of ballots in opposition areas and multiple voting in pro-Maduro areas. The Venezuelan voting lists were processed by an institute in Havana!

    And with all that, still Maduro managed to “win” by a tiny margin.

    Maduro is a puppet. His Cuban handlers are running the LEftist coup now under way in Caracas. This is the death of democracy in Venezuela.

  • February 20, 2014 at 10:45 pm

    ….ops sorry! Don’t know how this ended up here

  • February 20, 2014 at 6:28 pm

    Considerable margin? You never were good with facts were you JG?

  • February 20, 2014 at 10:34 am

    Circles, The vote may very well have been on the level but there is no confidence in it. How can there when Maduro comes out and says he has identified 900,000 “compatriotas” (on supposedly secret ballot ?) that voted against him. And we know that “Chavistas” were manning many of the poling stations wearing their trade mark red shirts and intimidating the voters. How many more more shenanigans could have taken place? But I will watch on with sadness as Venezuela destroys itself from within….you get the government you deserve I suppose.

    ….By the way I’d like to take this opportunity to thank you for this fascinating and informative site. the articles are interesting and the debates lively. Although I sometimes cant help but tweak some noses, perhaps more often than I should.

    Thank you

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