Proteste si violenta in Venezuela, “socialismul bolivarian” in actiune. Morti la Caracas. Ciocniri dure intre demonstranti si politie, sustinuta de detasamente paramilitare. Regimul Maduro se vede confruntat cu demonstratii masive. De citeva zile sint tulburari intense in San Cristobal (statul Trujillo) si Merida (acelasi stat). Ieri, in Merida, au fost cinci studenti raniti si multi arestati. S-au mobilizat toate marile orase. S-au confirmat trei morti, intre care un student din Caracas (Universitatea Humboldt). Sunt si raniti, datele nu sint clare. “Tabara” chavista a mobilizat asa numitele “colective” pe care le-a inarmat Chavez, cam 11.000 persoane in toata tara. Guvernarea autoritar-populista scartaie din toate incheieturile. Evident, Maduro ii numeste pe protestatari “extremisti” si “fascisti”. Parca am mai auzit acest refren…
Studentii convoaca la reluarea protestelor in zilele urmatoare. Nu e limpede pozitia politicienilor consacrati care au condus manifestatia: Leopoldo Lopez, Maria Corina Machado si Antonio Ledezma. Fostul candidat prezidential, adversarul lui Maduro, Henrique Capriles, a participat in manifestatie; nu a avut initiativa acestei actiuni dar s-a alaturat in ultimul moment. Lipsit de carisma predecesorului sau, impulsiv si virulent, Maduro pare decis sa recurga la orice mijloace pentru a-si pastra puterea. Protestatarii cer respectarea drepturilor omului, incetarea persecutarii celor care critica regimul, libertatea presei, a cuvantului.
Update: Pentru moment, opozitia a decis sa nu escaladeze lupta. Se fac apeluri la calm. Unii din liderii opozitiei sugereaza o pauza de trei zile. Multi protestatari nu inteleg cum se poate face o pauza in plina efervescenta a miscarii. Henrique Capriles a declarat ca opozitia nu doreste o explozie sociala ori o lovitura de stat, dar ca obiectivele miscarii de protest trebuie atinse: „Nosotros no queremos una explosión social, nosotros no queremos golpes de Estado” si, in acelasi timp „La lucha tiene que ir dirigida a alcanzar objetivos y sé que los estudiantes quieren alcanzar objetivos„.
Protesters with their mouths covered with tape protest the detention of four students in Caracas (8 February 2014)
(Reuters) – One person was killed during standoffs at the end of an anti-government rally in Caracas on Wednesday, witnesses said, escalating the worst bout of unrest in Venezuela since protests against President Nicolas Maduro’s April 2013 election.
A Reuters cameraman and a photographer heard shots and saw one protester had fallen to the ground. The man was then carried away dead, the witnesses said, apparently shot in the head.
With both pro- and anti-government demonstrations underway in the city, neither the identity of the man nor the gunman were immediately clear.
But National Assembly head Diosdado Cabello said he was a government supporter. “He’s a comrade assassinated by the right-wing fascist hordes,” he said in a speech.
The fatality came at the end of rival demonstrations to support and denounce Maduro’s government after several weeks of opposition street protests.
The raucous and colorful competing rallies in the Venezuelan capital had passed off largely peacefully, until some 100 young opposition supporters began burning tyres in the streets, witnesses said.
Opposition supporters demonstrate against Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro’s government in Caracas February 12, 2014. REUTERS-Jorge Silva
Police responded with teargas and rubber bullets.
Under the banner “The Exit,” meaning Maduro’s departure, hardline opposition groups have been holding mostly small protests around the country for the last two weeks, to complain about rampant crime, corruption, and economic hardships.
Some have degenerated into rock-throwing skirmishes with security forces in the first sustained unrest since last year’s post-election riots that killed half a dozen people.
Maduro, a 51-year-old former bus driver and union activist who has pinned his presidency on maintaining the legacy of late socialist leader Hugo Chavez, says right-wing “fascists” are seeking to destabilize his government and topple him.
“A Nazi-fascist current has emerged again in Venezuela, they want to lead our nation to violence and chaos,” Maduro told pro-government demonstrators clad in the red colors of the ruling Socialist Party at their rally.
“Do not fall for their provocations!” he said in a speech just minutes before the violence.
A few blocks away, thousands of opposition supporters had gathered in a square and marched toward some government buildings, chanting and blowing horns and whistles.
“We don’t want a Cuban dictatorship,” some chanted, in a reference to accusations that Maduro is a stooge of Cuba’s President Raul Castro and his brother Fidel.
“You need therapy to live in Venezuela!” read one banner, held up by members of a university psychology department.
The marches were held as part of Wednesday’s “Youth Day” commemoration that celebrates the participation of students in a 19th century independence battle against colonial authorities.
“We are the young revolutionaries, hand-in-hand with the Venezuelan government,” shouted one Maduro supporter at the pro-government rally in Caracas.
About 20 demonstrators have been arrested since Popular Will and another hardline opposition group began calling for street protests to force Maduro’s exit from power two weeks ago.
Opposition activists said armed pro-government supporters belonging to militant community groups known as “colectivos” attacked and shot at people protesting in the western Andean city of Merida on Tuesday, injuring five.
“They were attacked by the colectivos while exercising their right to peaceful protest,” said Tamara Suju, who is tracking the violence for Popular Will.
Maduro blamed the Merida incident on opposition provocateurs posing as Socialist Party sympathizers.
“They cannot take us back to the scenes of 2002,” Maduro said in a reference to massive street protests that culminated in a brief, military-led coup against Chavez.
Some student protesters in the state of Merida have thrown rocks and blocked roads. Policemen have been injured during student-led protests in another western state, Tachira.
The current protests in Venezuela have been much smaller than the 2002 wave. Many in the opposition favor a more moderate approach.
“While there are plenty of reasons to protest, there does not seem to be an agenda for the current wave. “La Salida (The Exit) is not a strategy, it’s a hashtag!” complained the anti-government blog Caracas Chronicles.
“The street protests, along with the public bickering they are engendering, are creating a false sense that our actions can undo the regime, while at the same time casting doubt on the opposition’s unity.”
Update: Pentru Nicolas Maduro, administratorul auto-desemnat al „fericirii publice” in Venezuela, demonstratiile anti-guvernamentale nu pot fi decat rezultatul unor conspiratii malefice urzite de forte aflate in slujba, evident, „imperialismului american”. „Marele Satan” isi baga coada pretutindeni. Liderul partidului „Vointa Poporului”, Leopoldo Lopez, fost primar al unui district din Caracas, a studiat la Harvard. Ce rezulta de-aici? Nu ca este bine pregatit profesional, cum ar putea gandi un om normal, ci, in virtutea anti-logicii ideologice, ca este o fantosa aservita corporatiilor multinationale (despre companiile din Cuba, conduse de politia secreta a lui Raul Castro, se tace convenabil).
Maduro vrea arestarea lui Lopez, il acuza de incercare de lovitura de stat. Acesta raspunde ca obiectivul partidului sau este „sa creeze o forta populara care sa reprezinte milioanele de cetateni doritori de schimbare”. Pozitia lui Lopez este diferita de aceea a lui Henrique Capriles, mai rezervat in privinta sanselor de coagulare a unei miscari sociale de masa intr-un viitor imediat. Joi, Capriles a declarat ca in Venezuela se poarta o batalie a ideilor si ca strategia sa si a celor care il sustin, evolutionista, este cea care se va dovedi castigatoare. Imi amintesc de dezbaterile din randul opozitiei poloneze in anii 80. Unii credeau ca va urma un „lung mars prin institutii”. Chiar un observator perspicace precum Timothy Garton Ash scria despre scenariul „otomanizarii”. Prabusirea a venit mai repede decat se credea. Meteorologia revolutiilor nu este o stiinta prospectiva…
Zeci de studenti arestati, protestele continua si vineri, 14 februarie: „President Nicolas Maduro’s government kept dozens of student protesters behind bars on Friday as unrest still rumbled across Venezuela following this week’s violence at political rallies that killed three. Student demonstrators began gathering again in various cities after blocking roads and burning tires into the night to denounce repression of protests as well as a litany of complaints against Maduro from crime to shortages. Despite a presidential ban on protests, about 200 people converged on Friday morning in Caracas’ Plaza Altamira, a heartland of opposition protests in the past.”