Venezuela: “The Violence Will be Retweeted”

Marco Teruggi| Notas
Translated by venezuelanalysis

How many retweets are needed to construct truths? How much time in trending topics, minutes on periscope, in the repetition of videos, memes, and photos, is necessary for them to be accepted as truth? How much distance is there between reality and that truth? Is the reality, at the end of the day, that truth?

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Caracas, April 8th, 3pm. According to social media and news agencies, the streets of the city [Caracas] are a mix between the battle of Aleppo, and an insurrection of the masses, the police repress with dictatorial gusto, a red-colored gas just gave signs of a possible chemical attack by the regime. There are heroes: young people, adults, families, thousands who are saying “enough”, those who are resisting. They are convinced that they will do whatever it takes to achieve that long awaited and forbidden liberty. A libertarian epic being lived in the heart of Caracas.

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At that same hour, in the west and the majority of the city, there is total calm. Just that the Miraflores Presidential Palace is more heavily guarded than usual and the metro is closed. If you don’t look at social media, or at news agencies, nothing is happening. It is a Saturday like any other.

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The east of Caracas: the road is blocked by the police in Plaza Venezuela. The epicenter of the violence is the Libertador avenue: they throw stones, mount barricades, attack fire engines, they have the latest state of the art telephones. They hold their open hands up for the photos, they choreograph poses, they retweet, they make the epic and the truth. How many of them are there? In total, and at their strongest moment, around 6000. There are 200 in some focos, in others they are just small cells. It doesn’t matter: closed camera shots can make up for the lack of the masses – this is lesson number one when you look at the images – and a photo in a narrow or curved street can give the idea of a huge number [of protestors]. Who are they? The upper middle and upper classes, the bourgeoisie and their children. They hate Chavez and Maduro, they despise the poor and Chavistas. It is the rightwing’s social base. Escualidos, which is different to saying opposition supporters.

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By night the Libertador avenue and surroundings are littered with debris, poles, sewerage grids and sluiceways. The remains of a fire at the Supreme Court, lit by the rightwing. The same rightwing that says that it was the government that did it in order to blame them. The rest of Caracas – basically the whole city – is as normal.

The truth is made just as it is disputed. The rightwing says that it is repressed in the streets. The reality – seen from the ground and not from social media – is that to get to the point where their protest is blocked, organized groups aimed at clashing [with security forces], many of them paid, start the confrontation. Some were detained with explosives. Their march to the west of the city is blocked for two main reasons: to avoid them coming into contact with Chavista rallies, and to stop them setting fire to and destroying institutions, as they have done on several occasions. The rightwing looks for an incident for the media, it sets it up and it circulates it through its accounts, and the network of media alliances that it has on a national and international level.

They need four things: to depict themselves as victims of a dictatorship which is punishing and pursuing them, to make people believe that they are the “people” and not a classist minority, to consolidate these ideas internationally to construct a matrix of opinion, and circulate the image of a capital city in total disarray outside of Caracas.

The question is: will they achieve these objectives? They will do if they manage to consolidate an image throughout the continent, in the US and Europe [where they secure their correlation of forces], of extreme confusion, where only ideas relating to dictatorship, violations of human rights and press freedoms, and hunger make it through. For them this is vital, they depend on this front abroad, they need it and respond to these demands. Every image must legitimize the statements of the secretary general of the Organization of American States, presidents Mauricio Macri and Michel Temer, and the European governments that are already asking for intervention, alleging that the time for dialogue is over, above all the United States.

Friday April 7th in the evening, the US Southern Command made the following declarations: “Venezuela is facing a state of insecurity due to a lack of food and medicines. Political uncertainty continues and there is a deterioration of the economic situation. The growing crisis situation in Venezuela could compel an urgent regional response”. Hours before, it had unilaterally launched missiles on Syria. Imperialism exists and its danger levels are on red.

It is not the first time that the rightwing has set up a situation like this. The most recent episode was at the beginning of 2014, which left 43 people dead, its social base exhausted, public buildings and buses burnt, Chavistas attacked, the use of snipers and the siege of television channels. It is part of their repertoire of actions, to put it in sociological terms. On that occasion, the violence ended up destroying itself. Even [President] Nicolas Maduro said that he had made a mistake by underestimating the rightwing’s potential for damage. Do they have more [potential] this time? How do they intend to give the final blow?

Their capacity for mobilization is less than it was then. The rightwing grassroots does not believe in a large part of their own leadership – due to an excess of scams and internal disputes. Their support level could grow as the street confrontations manage to attract more radicalized and exclusively rich sectors. It is improbable that sectors of the working class listen to the rightwing calls for violence. Up until now, the images are clear: they are not present. The upcoming weeks will decide whether they manage to reverse that central problem. The other great absence is that of the Bolivarian National Armed Forces. Plans for coups have been discovered, operations dismantled and no traction [within the armed forces] has publicly come to light. Without military personnel and without the barrios, a correlation of forces will not break out in the streets of Venezuela.

That is why the central danger is coming from the external front, that’s to say, the United States and the tools they respond to. For them, the photos, the statements, the retweets, the media show. Because it is a show. It is dangerous: a young boy already died. A policeman was arrested: did he shoot because of the orders of a superior? Was it a rightwing plan to generate deaths? How much does it cost when a policeman opens fire? Or was it down to an error? A tumultuous river, that is what they need. And to take advantage of the government’s decisions to strengthen their strategy. Such as that of the decision to bar Capriles Radonsky from office for 15 years: adding more fuel to the fire. A political misstep in the current circumstances.

The rightwing has already set out its fighting agenda. Its central day will the April 19th, a date which is the four year anniversary of the swearing in of Maduro as president. Until then we will see its capacity for regroupment, ability to set the international stage – the government has Russia as a central ally, and the Vatican as a force which is pushing for dialogue – and build a scenario which allows for mass violence to spill over, or a foreign intervention. This is what is happening in Venezuela. The outcome is yet to be revealed.

Venezuelan President Attacked During Public Act

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro was attacked during a public act on Tuesday evening, when several people threw blunt objects at the head of state at a celebration of the battle of San Felix. https://venezuelanalysis.com/files/imagecache/block_node_images/images/2017/04/maduro_11abril2017.jpg

The president had traveled to San Felix in the western state of Bolivar state to lead an event commemorating the 200th anniversary of the battle, in which Republican forces delivered a stinging defeat to Spain’s royalist army during Venezuela’s wars of independence.

Videos show the president climbing onto an official moving vehicle and waving at the crowd while leaving the event to rapturous applause from hundreds of supporters. However just a few minutes later, several unidentified objects thought to be garbage and rocks were hurled at the head of state from the crowd, while the attackers screamed “motherfucker”.

The act has been hailed by Venezuela’s opposition as proof of the president’s low approval ratings among the population. Meanwhile, opposition governor for the Justice First party and former presidential candidate Henrique Capriles Radonski made renewed calls for the president to step down on Twitter in response to the attack.

“Maduro, just go already,” he tweeted on Tuesday evening.

“You can no longer fool the people of Bolivar! The whole of Venezuela hates you @NicolasMaduro and your narco-corrupt leadership! #ElectionsNow!” he said in another tweet.

Nonetheless, pro-government activists have drawn attention to the hundreds of supporters cheering Maduro at the end of the event, dismissing those who threw the objects as a handful of trouble-makers.

Five people are reported to have been arrested in relation to the assault.

Readers can see two videos of Maduro leaving the event below. 

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro was attacked during a public act on Tuesday evening, when several people threw blunt objects at the head of state at a celebration of the battle of San Felix.

The president had travelled to San Felix in the western state of Bolivar state to lead an event commemorating the 200th anniversary of the battle, in which Republican forces delivered a stinging defeat to Spain’s royalist army during Venezuela’s wars of independence.

Videos show the president climbing onto an official moving vehicle and waving at the crowd while leaving the event to rapturous applause from hundreds of supporters. However just a few minutes later, several unidentified objects thought to be garbage and rocks were hurled at the head of state from the crowd, while the attackers screamed “motherfucker”.

The act has been hailed by Venezuela’s opposition as proof of the president’s low approval ratings among the population. Meanwhile, opposition governor for the Justice First party and former presidential candidate Henrique Capriles Radonski made renewed calls for the president to step down on Twitter in response to the attack.

“Maduro, just go already,” he tweeted on Tuesday evening.

“You can no longer fool the people of Bolivar! The whole of Venezuela hates you @NicolasMaduro and your narco-corrupt leadership! #ElectionsNow!” he said in another tweet.

Nonetheless, pro-government activists have drawn attention to the hundreds of supporters cheering Maduro at the end of the event, dismissing those who threw the objects as a handful of trouble-makers.

Five people are reported to have been arrested in relation to the assault.

Readers can see two videos of Maduro leaving the event below. 

venezuelanalysis

Maduro Calls for Regional and Municipal Elections

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro placed a call Sunday for the National Electoral Council (CNE) to set a date for regional and municipal elections due this year.https://venezuelanalysis.com/files/imagecache/block_node_images/images/2017/04/1491763492385.jpg

“I am anxious for gubernatorial and mayoral elections to be held so that the opposition halts the guarimbas and [we can] respond to them with votes,” he declared, referring to ongoing anti-government protests that has seen opposition supporters erect burning barricades and destroy public property in cities across the country.

“We would defeat them in a matter of hours and radicalize this Bolivarian Revolution,” he continued, speaking during his weekly television program “Sundays with Maduro”.

Venezuela’s CNE has yet to announce dates for the elections, which it says will not be released until political parties complete a controversial renewal process requiring them to collect tens of thousands of signatures from members in three states of their choosing.

Regional elections were supposed to be held last year, but were postponed by the CNE, citing logistical conflicts with the recall referendum process, which was ultimately stalled in court over 53,658 fraudulent signatures collected by the opposition.

Opposition leaders, for their part, responded to the president, stressing that local and regional elections would not be enough to end the protests.

“General elections and respect for the AN [National Assembly]. Regional [elections] are important, but we can’t settle for that when we have people in the streets,” affirmed National Assembly Vice-President and Popular Will party member Freddy Guevara via Twitter.

Earlier this month, the opposition accused the government of committing a “coup d’état” in response to a controversial pair of March 29 Supreme Court rulings that temporarily authorized the judiciary to carry out certain legislative functions in light of the National Assembly’s ongoing contempt of court.

The decisions were subsequently reversed on April 1, but the opposition has continued in the streets, insisting that the Maduro government is illegitimate and demanding early presidential elections.

In January, the National Assembly passed a resolution declaring that President Maduro had “abandoned his post”, refusing to recognize the elected head of state’s authority.

The opposition-held parliament has been on a collision course with the other branches of government since taking office in January 2016, swearing in deputies under investigation for voter fraud and passing legislation ruled unconstitutional by the Supreme Court, including a controversial amnesty law and a proposed constitutional amendment retroactively cutting short the president’s term.

The Chavista government is widely expected to suffer heavy losses at the regional elections, in particular due to an ongoing economic crisis which has taken its toll on its popularity.

Nonetheless, the United Socialist Party of Venezuela continues to be Venezuela’s largest party, with an estimated 35% support amongst the general population.

venezuelanalysis

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