51 years on from that one, fleeting, dizzying flash of no-bullshit national unity

Quico says: If I told you that, in the wake of a sham referendum aimed at keeping the president in power forever, Venezuelans of all kinds – left and right, rich and poor, military and civilian, catholic and communist, pro-US and anti – could rise up after a decade of autocracy and come together, all of a sudden, in one great big joyful spasm of revulsion against dictatorship, dedication to democracy, unity of purpose, optimism, freedom and hope…would you believe me?

It wouldn’t be the first time. All the crap that came afterwards – and, believe me, there was a lot of crap afterwards – has dimmed our historical consciousness of it to the vanishing point, but today of all days we owe it to ourselves to remember: it did happen.

It comes as no surprise that those who profit from division feel threatened by the very prospect of national unity. And so they’ve spared no expense to try to scrub that moment out of our school’s history books and our collective memory, recalling it, if at all, only to distort it.

And yet, it happened. Nothing they can do will change that, or the menace that it holds for them. Because if it happened once, it can happen again.