Tag Archives: SOS

Has anything changed for best yet?


For over a month now, tens of thousands of Venezuelans have taken to the streets in protest.

These students were standing for basic human freedoms and engaging in the right to protest, which is a sacred right whether in Boston, Belarus, or Venezuela. The government of Venezuela responded with heavy-handed repression. Within two weeks Leopoldo Lopez, the leader of the opposition party, Voluntad Popular, called for nationwide peaceful demonstrations to address the problems facing the country. These problems include chronic food shortages, the highest inflation in the world and ongoing censorship of the media. Even the Oscars were not allowed to be broadcast – for the first time in Venezuelan history.

More than 1,400 students were arrested, there are more than 40 confirmed cases of torture and Leopoldo Lopez still sits in a Venezuelan military prison. He has urged the students to exercise their legal rights to peaceful protest and free speech and he repeatedly emphasized they must do so without violence. President Maduro has blamed Lopez for the violence that has beset the country and ordered his arrest on charges of murder, arson and terrorism. To date, the government has presented no evidence of the charges against him and their legal case is falling apart.

Amnesty International said the charges against Lopez recall “politically motivated attempts to silence dissent.” Human Rights Watch says “the Venezuelan government has openly embraced the classic tactics of an authoritarian regime: jailing its opponents, muzzling the media and intimidating civil society.”

Is Venezuela finally waking up? Here is a review


One goes to Caracas and picks up so many stories, that when you return you don’t know where to start. But I thought I would lead up with the story of the students in front of the United Nations office in Caracas. In some sense it encompasses a number of stories of what is going on in Caracas in the protest movement an its relationship with the Maduro Government.

Essentially, a bunch of students (or not) have set up camp in front of the United Nations office which is in Avenida Francisco de Miranda in Los Palos Grandes. I may not like the #SOSVenezuela hashtag, but, as you can see in the picture above, they have focused on what the hell is the UN doing, or not, in Venezuela. But their reality, their plan is a bit more complicated than that.

The first day, the students set up maybe a couple of rows of tents. But, as you can see in the picture above, by now they are up to four rows and growing.

It is very colorful as the picture below shows, but this is more than just a spur of the moment plan.

When you first talk to them,there are a number of surprises. First, they are not all from Caracas. Second, they are not middle class. Finally, they are not all students, as many of them are part of radical, left wing groups 8yes!, real left wing not imitation Chavistas!) which oppose the Government. So, for fools that claim that these protests are somehow motivated by the US, driven my middle class students, please come down and talk to them. You will be surprised, really surprised.

The second interesting aspect, is that the UN is just a way of focusing on something. They know that the UN will do not much more than make a statement or two. But they also know, that where they are, they should be safe, they are close to Altamira where they can go protest every night and in a location where the protests can grow, as they have grown in the last week.

But more importantly, they think that Maduro is playing a game of patience. They believe Maduro wants the students to get tired, wear out the opposition with repression and nightly fights, which, much like in 2002 in Plaza Altamira, will lead to the students or the opposition getting tired and giving up.

But they have no plans of giving up.

Their plan is to grow the camp, as long as it is livable. To make their presence a nuisance, but one that gets the approval of the neighbors. But it has to be livable and sustainable. They have received donations, they have a couple of Porta Toilets, they cook for everyone, they organize protests. But more importantly, they rotate. The tents may have someone’s name on it, or State, but the truth is that they alternate. Each person has someone to occupy their place. The idea is to outlast the Government, to out-tire the National Guard or the Bolivarian Police. After all, nobody can say they are violent (even if they go help in Altamira) but if the Government were to decide to move them out, repress them, it would be the Government that would look bad.
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When did the protests in Venezuela begin?


Nationwide student protests started last month. On February 12, the demonstrations attracted global attention when three people were killed.
Demonstrators are demanding better security, an end to goods shortages and protected freedom of speech.

Who is opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez?

Protest leader releases vid to supporters CNN cameras taken at gunpoint
Major social and economic problems have fueled the protests. But as the demonstrations gained steam, officials have pointed fingers at other factors and accused the United States of plotting to destabilize the government.
Some blame Venezuela’s government, led by President Nicolas Maduro, for those problems. Maduro and other officials blame the opposition for the security and economic problems.
The protests are the largest Maduro has faced in his 11 months in power. He has called opposition members fascists and compared them to an infection that needs to be cured.

Who’s protesting?

Many demonstrators across the country are students, but prominent opposition politicians have also joined marches.
Since February 13, more than 2,000 stories from Venezuela have been uploaded to iReport, CNN’s user-generated platform. Many of the videos and photos are gruesome, and depict violent scenes between demonstrators and police.

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As another day in Venezuela goes by


THICK clouds of teargas hung in the air over the north gate of the Central University (UCV) in Caracas on March 12th. A police helicopter clattered overhead; on campus, plain-clothes gunmen on motorcycles, some bearing the initials of the national guard, harassed student demonstrators.

A month after the government crack-down on protesters began, Venezuela’s crisis is deepening. This was the bloodiest single day since three people were killed in Caracas on March 12th. Eighteen injuries were reported at the UCV, after a previously peaceful student march to demand the resignation of the Venezuelan government ombudsman was halted on the orders of President Nicolás Maduro.
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List of fatalities as protests go in Venezuela


This list has been compiled using reports from Venezuelan authorities and media. It includes all deaths which have been reportedly connected with the protests, riots, and street barricades. However it does not include several cases which have been included on other lists, due to the possibility that these deaths were not related to the political violence but were in fact the result of other criminal violence. It also differs slightly from the count held by Venezuelan authorities, which does not appear to include the two cases mentioned below of deaths caused by barricades delaying patients in a critical condition from reaching hospital.

It is important to highlight that both this and all other counts are made using the available information and the judgment of the authors. New information produced as investigations proceed may change which cases count as being connected to the political violence, and who the perpetrator of each murder is considered to be. Observers are welcome to send in information to VA.com on cases that may have been missed, or information that suggests that cases which have been excluded from the current list should be included.

The list is as follows:

1,2 & 3: On 12 February, an opposition activist, José Roberto Redman (21), a pro-opposition carpenter, Bassil DaCosta (23), and a Chavista social activist, Juan Montoya (40) were killed during clashes in Caracas.
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About political situation in Venezuela today


A lot of people argue that these protests are too early. That the barrios are not participating. That the people still support the Government widely and many other such arguments. While there is evidence to counteract each of these claims, I think they try to oversimplify the problem. In the end, the “barrios” are not where the opposition is weak, it is in the very rural states, where the people have a very high dependence on the Government. These are the true Chavista strongholds, where the media is fully dominated by the Government and the opposition gets less than 40% of the vote in any given election. In the barrios of the big cities, the 2013 Presidential elections tended to be closer, with the opposition scoring wins in many.
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