Violence is a canard

0

agoraphobiaNow that Leopoldo López has called people out into the streets, some are saying that Venezuelans are “too afraid” to march. They are afraid “colectivos” might begin shooting and killing at will.

Let’s think about this for a moment.

Suppose that in the entire country 500,000 people take to the streets this Saturday. Suppose that, God forbid, violence ensues and 5 people die as a result of it. This is purely hypothetical mind you, but let’s suppose a tragedy ensues.

Let’s do the math: 5 in 500,000 is 0.00001. That means that the murder rate for participating in this Saturday’s march would be 1 per 100,000.

Now compare that to the murder rate of actually, you know, *living* in Venezuela during 2015: 82 per 100,000.

In other words, the danger you face for deciding to go out into the streets and marching is much, much less than the danger you face for deciding to inhabit Venezuela for a year doing nothing political. And yet millions of Venezuelans choose to live in Venezuela anyway – and many of these might decide that going out to march is simply too “dangerous.”

People are entitled to their fears, but it doesn’t make them rational. Being afraid of violence during a march is about as rational as driving instead of flying because of a fear of airplanes. It is about as rational as washing your hands fifty times before going to bed at night. Let’s call a spade a spade.

There are plenty of reasons not to march – the probable lack of an outcome is the most solid of them. But being afraid of violence shouldn’t be an acceptable excuse.

Caracas Chronicles is 100% reader-supported. Support independent Venezuelan journalism by making a donation.

1 COMMENT

  1. Here’s one smart LL move: calling for the upcoming march well ahead of time. This gives people plenty days to mull over their decision. Well I remember when marches would be called within a short turn-around time, giving every appearance of disorganization, or fly-by-night planning — not a good image, and certainly not helped by the smiling, laughing participants doing their ‘bailoterapias’.

    • There are many reasons I think the timing is very good:

      1/ Another Disastrous week for the Dictatorship, with the WSJ Bomb on NarcoCabello.
      2/ The $$ Debacle, which will immediately create more inflacion and escasez
      3/ The increasing International Support, From Spain, to even Brazil now, 26 ex-presidents, OEA, etc
      4/ The laughable delay on the Elections date
      5/ More electricity failures, crimes, corruption scandals.

      And, above all, people were falling asleep again. They sorely lack Leadership in the opposition and Union right now. LL has provided just that, at the right time.

  2. “There are plenty of reasons not to march – the probable lack of an outcome is the most solid of them. But being afraid of violence shouldn’t be an acceptable excuse.”

    There are no acceptable excuses for not joining the March if you’re in Vzla. And oppose the Dictatorship. None. With 25000 dead each year, not counting the atracos, kidnappings and close calls, plus the entire country in such a Historic moment possibly on the line, Ignorance is the only excuse.

    Lack of outcome? There has ALREADY been an outcome of LL and Ceballos recent efforts. It’s calling even more Int’l attention to Vzla’s isssues. It’s Already having a massive impact on people, just read the social media. People are waking up a bit. Organizing as we speak. They will be talking and getting very upset during the endless colas this week..

    This is the kind of Leadership sorely missing in the Mudcrap. Leopoldo had to step up from prison to provide it, with populists chumps like Caprilito, people were falling asleep again. LL and Voluntad Popular are establishing their leadership. That’s a huge “outcome” and Success, in itself !!

    Lack of outcome? Just watch. People are already feeling a sense of Unity, Hope and Purpose.

    This March will be big. And the Bigger it is, the Bigger its impact, at home and Internationally.

  3. On the other hand, your chances of being arrested may be rather higher than that. And when I last checked, your chances of dying violently whilst enjoying the tender embrace of the Venezuelan prisons service (aka the prans) were roughly 24 times your chances of dying violently on the streets outside. Not to mention the possibility of being on the receiving end of some close personal attention from thugs in uniform. The government has done quite an effective job of instilling fear, and in any case, as you rightly point out, people don’t usually perform statistical risk analysis when making this kind of decision … they envisage the worst conceivable outcome and decide whether they are prepared to risk it.

  4. The most solid reason not to march wouldn’t be the lack of an outcome, but the cancellation of the the coming elections because of it. I’m not talking about guts, or what one would like to do: bear in mind the desperate measures the government must be considering to taint them or to avoid them altogether. The risk of giving them the excuse in a silver platter is too high. Everybody should wish to take the streets, of course. Who doesn’t? But I would not say it is advisable. Just the opposite.

    • If the elections aren’t convenient to the regime, they won’t happen. Only street pressure can change that outcome. What’s the fear? Making the goverment angry at us? Please, that bunch of cold-blooded criminals can and will do anything to stay in power anyways.

  5. These situations are potentially very dangerous. These guys don’t embrace the Iranian and Syrian regimes because they like drinking tea.

  6. You should check your math. 1 per 100000 death in one day it is 4X the current murder rate.So under your assumptions, you are indeed in more danger, not safer, by attending the march.

    • Yeah I was going to comment that the comparison is not apples to apples. Also, when marching I presume you are exposed to the same situations that “living” entails anyway in addition to the possible confrontation. So does the 1 in 100,000 for one day include the usual 0.224 in 100,000 (or 82 in 100,000 per year) causes? Sloppy work there Nagel.

      Basically can you say that marching exposes you to a completely different set of dangers? or rather that it’s cumulative? After all, on your way to the march and back you still face the usual regular guantlet of dangers.

      I think this post could be argued better.

    • What about growing a brain?

      Because chimps can make do with cojones but humans… we need a brain.

      You fashion growing one any time soon? wrap your head in newspaper?

  7. You are so brave.

    I hope you will be flying to Venezuela to be at the front of the thing, facing the bullets.

    May I remind you, the biggest marches happened AFTER the 11A massacre. People are not afraid to march when they believe the goal is at hand.

    But personal bravery apart, if you think marching is the way to go, then you are deluded.

    You are just repeating the experiment trying to get different results.

    Bravery without intelligence has a name, you know?. Find it out.

    PS: your stats are bogus. Most of the dead are young males living in slums, so for people outside this group the number is not 100:100000, but much lower.

  8. So, Juan is flying to Caracas or Maracaibo this week.

    Did you have trouble getting a ticket? In any case: you are very brave.

    And yet you miss the point.

    It is not just about the people they will kill but the people they will say we will kill. Remember: even if most of the people killed in the previous protests were of their doing, they managed to sell that to the outside work as “a lot of it carried out by the opposition” – particularly to the governments around us.

    Also again: you did the maths badly, as someone else pointed out here.

    You should read https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thinking,_Fast_and_Slow
    by a psychologist who actually got the Nobel Prize for Economics

    • Critical thinking for the poor beleaguered people that live in Vzla, or should I say survive in Venezuela? Why are you all in general, so aggressive when positing your opinions? Instead of assertive? If I may ask without being insulted.

      • I have all the respect for the beleaguered people that live,that survive in Venezuela.
        That is why I write this. They don’t usually write here. They even write most of the time in Spanish, if they write on the Internet.

        Calling for one more march under similar conditions as before and without any desire to think things through is irresponsible towards the poor Venezuelans who want to get rid of Chavismo.

  9. “Let’s do the math: 5 in 500,000 is 0.00001. That means that the murder rate for participating in this Saturday’s march would be 1 per 100,000.

    Now compare that to the murder rate of actually, you know, *living* in Venezuela during 2015: 82 per 100,000.”

    Adjectives are tricky. When confronted with these sentences I asked myself, is it disoriented? callous? cruel? lazy? sloppy?

    All of the above?

    To begin, (murders per 100.000) does not measure the risk of being murdered, but the amount of violent deaths in a population. This basic understanding defeats your point, because you are measuring one thing (“The risk of being murdered or hurt when participating in a manifestation”) with the wrong tool.

    To measure “risk of being murdered for a person” other factors are to be taken into account: gender, age, criminal record, income, place of residence, etc.

    I am sure you can see that a 65 years old housewife, member of a family making 100K UDS per year, living in Prados del Este does is not at the same risk of being murdered than a 20 years old man with a criminal record living in Valles del Tuy. Even for a young man without a criminal record the risk has to be significantly lower.

    If you put yourself in a closed environment (a manifestation) surrounded by shooters I can assure you the risk of being killed, shot or otherwise harmed increases exponentially. I suggest you calculate the proportion of killed, hurt, imprisoned, tortured among the participants of the 21, 22 February 2014 marches. That will give you an idea.

    Better still, count the proportion of victims plus those affected (as in, families, etc).

    Not really your number, is it?

    Listen, in all honesty, I am not good at math. But you are something else.

    And in any case, IT IS THE WRONG THING TO DO. Marching 16 years has not accomplished anything.

    So you are willing to put lives at risk for nothing.

    I suggest you reconsider.

  10. The risk of dying *increases* by 1 in 100k Venezuelans per year. Mind you, that is puny compared to your 82 in 100k number, but what if there are riots or a massacre and 250 or more people die? Then we are up to 50 in 100k, no? Now you’ve almost doubled the risk of dying for those courageous and patriotic 500k people. Using Alejandro’s reasonable argument that the 82 in 100k number mainly reflects homicides involving violent your men in the barrios, we are talking about 500k people choosing to spend the equivalent of a year living as a violent young man in a barrio.

    There might be a lot of reasons why people might not take to the streets, it need not be about a fear of dying It could be a lack of trust in the opposition leadership. A sense that it is irrational to listen to the calls from a guy in prison, no matter how courageous he might be. Or it could be a shortage of altruism. Why would you risk your skin for your fellow person when you think they won’t do the same for you, that your spilled blood will be wasted. Perhaps many have already decided to leave the country, that this is no longer your fight. Or quite simply, it could be a classic tragedy of the commons. Let the other pendejo take the bullet.

    My hope of course is that there are enough patriotic Venezuelans left. A march need not lead to bloodshed if properly organized. I don’t think people should march because LL asked them to. He might be an inspiring patriotic and courageous guy, but I think the inspiration should come from the awareness that Venezuelans as a group want change, with that desire channeled in a orderly way by the MUD.

    It’s worth remembering that the point of a marcha is to show solidarity, not just to bring forth immediate change, despite the level of urgency, and also that a demonstration is unlikely to lead anywhere if the barrios are not inspired. What Venezuela needs is order, and if the MUD can show that it can deliver that it will be a plus.

    I must also ask, the colectivos have been around before, why should they be expected to act with exceptional violence now?

    • What about thinking it is the wrong thing to do, throwing a lifesaver to a drowning government that likes nothing most than a street fight?

      Easy things:

      March

      Throw rocks.

      Difficult things:

      Building a big majority.

      Creating an irresistible narrative.

      By all means, march, we will see you next Monday.

      • Like I wrote, a marcha is a display of unity and courage. Part of the narrative that you want to spread is that the opposition is courageous, patriotic, rational, orderly, united.

        A properly organized marcha need not devolve into a bloody mess. There might be fringe elements that will throw stones. That might be unavoidable, but that should not be either the emphasis or the goal.

        Unfortunately violence attracts press and sells newspapers and history books, but that obscures the accomplishment of the simple act of holding a marcha, especially if its well organized.

        That the government might aim to disrupt the marcha should not discourage its organization. The fact is that in the end the guys with the guns tend to win, but the chance of an electoral victory can be augmented by a marcha if it summons voters to the oppositions side.

      • “Building a big majority.”

        Caprilieber on sight.

        That does not work that way, buddy. Your hero couldn’t cash a check inside a vault.

        • On the defense of his argument, convincing people who is brainwashed is an important thing to avoid having to spend the next like 30 years trying to getting rid of this crap.

  11. This argument doesn’t make any sense. I understand that you want to stress that security should not be a concern to march, but how do you measure fear? As you say it is irrational, trying to rationalize it won’t solve anything, I mean who thinks in terms of murder rate when going out?

    I mean the march will actually take place in Venezuela, so the murder rate is the same, Or do we march in an isolated laboratory? This kind of posts only feeds into people calling for other to “man up” or “grow a pair”, once again I feel at lapatilla.com

  12. So, according to some “pacifists” on this blog, they should all stay home, afraid, after the daily Line for toilet paper and diapers, a chicken if they’re lucky. Then a few thousand brave souls from the Leopoldo camp go out, march peacefully, there’s a couple incidents, maybe a couple dead, a few arrested, that’s it. They might release a dozen students, and raise the teachers’ salary by 10%..

    There Mudcrap remains divided, after that, people would have demonstrated nothing but weakness and their willingness to be abused, like sheep, enchufados, hoping for the next Tigrito from the regime. Internationally, people will say “let’em simmer in their own Guiso!”..

    And then there will be some stupid “elections”, completely meaningless and fraudulent, the Dictatorship will allow a slight “win” for the opposition, that NarcoCabello will CRUSH in a few weeks. Since there’s no Parliament, and no separation of powers anyway.

    Then the same shit continues, and worse, until they steal the Presidential elections in 2019. Next thing you know, your children will be asking you how come you did NOTHING and opposed any action to get rid of the dictatorship.

    People will be asking how can countries like Cuba and Cubazuela remain oppressed for decades and decades, in misery, like sheep, for decades. And people will remember Leopoldo Lopez and Ceballos, when they tried to wake people up.

    Come the year 2050 in Cubazuela, the cars in the street are from the year 2000. And you will go visit as tourists, much like American now visit Cuba.

    I hope not. I hope Saturday’s March will be MASSIVE and effective.

  13. You say: “There are plenty of reasons not to march – the probable lack of an outcome is the most solid of them.”. This sounds odd. Because if you do not march, surely you contribute to the lack of an outcome. You are talking about a self-fulfilling prophecy. Or about the opposite of Kant’s ctegorical imperative. Marching is the thing to do, regardless of the outcome.

    • Of course. Plus Marching is a form of Voting, a Constitutional form of Free Expression; but one that cannot be stolen, since it could be seen, felt and heard everywhere.

    • Listen, don’t try to look intelligent bringing Kant to Machurucuto, leave him in Germany: marches will not change outcome, they will not alter the government popularity or resources, they are meaningless. If anything, they will only provide an excuse for government propaganda, violence and more innocent people imprisoned.

      Instead of being lazy, try to do the difficult thing: build a narrative people are willing to fight for. Then the marches will come out from Catia and Gramoven, not from Altamira. And without anyone calling for them.

      Right now, it’s just sad to listen to intellectually bankrupt arguments for the one millionth time.

      • “Instead of being lazy, try to do the difficult thing: build a narrative people are willing to fight for. Then the marches will come out from Catia and Gramoven, not from Altamira. And without anyone calling for them.”

        Exactly. But your average “General Salvo la Patria del Castro-Comunismo” won’t get it. They are in for the instant pleasure.

  14. And for those picking on JCN’s math. Here’s the math.

    TWENTY FIVE THOUSAND DEAD by violent crime PER YEAR.

    EVERY YEAR. 25,000.

    Compare THAT to a Pacific March in today’s Venezuela for one day.

    Or multiply 25,000 by Cubazuela’s 50+ years of Chavismo : 1 MILLION and a quarter DEAD.

    Not counting the daily violent robberies , kidnappings and living in constant FEAR all their miserable lives.

    Now do the Math.

  15. People who will march will do so because they feel more indignation and anger than fear , plus they feel the instinctive need of expressing that anger epically , in a way that gets noticed . The consequences will include both good and bad things , We dont know now in what propportion but the expectation of those that march is that in the long run they will help further weaken the govt and ultimately contribute to its toppling.

    There is enough anger to go arround and inspire people to protest. but there are also two countervailing tendencies in people , one is a healthy fear of getting hurt (very human ) and another one the lazy love of staying comfortable ( very strong in Venezuela) , Will see what prevails.

    Additionally there is the the infinite capacity of the human mind to justify its visceral preferences with all kind of rationalized thinking . it wont do any good , it will make things worse by allowing the govt to justify a suspension of the elections , LL is an overly ambitious radical etc etc.

    The question of course is what do you do with peoples anger , with their desperation , its very real you know . Tell them do nothing because there is nothing to be done , at least for the time being . Wait until elections are held to cast your vote (which many bank on being held anyway) . Thats not going to stop them . If we are already embarked on a protest you either lead and support that protest or you stay out .

    The protest will happen not because of LL calling for them , but because people are angry and need to express that anger or if they dont happen it will be because they are naturally fearful of protecting their hides or feel lazy about getting up and joining them . In such circumstances all condemnations are useless.

    .

  16. For a long time I thought the term “radical opposition” was bogus, a propaganda trick to excuse the existence of government paramilitary groups.

    The opposition was made of democratic, tolerant people. The radicals, the violent were on the other side.

    After these two latest posts I have reconsidered. There is a radical opposition. It’s a small minority and is certainly not violent. It is also incapable of winning an election outside three or four electoral districts in Eastern Caracas, South Florida and maybe Madrid.

    What makes them radical?

    It is, I think, the belief that this government will fall after a definitive, orgasmic march that will be the mother of all marches.

    So entrenched is this belief that they fall into the most common of vices: thinking their position is equal to the truth.

    And so you have someone like LL, you know, brave, sincere, honest and stubborn BUT never winner of an election outside his comfort zone, never an original political thinker, never a manager of a difficult area… and this guy becomes the hero for these people.

    His lack of instinct, of timing, is clamorous. Yet he calls to march… again.

    You have this other guy, governor of an extremely difficult state, victor over godgiven, re-elected with those votes we need to turn this country over, victor in a presidential election (admittedly, he didn’t know how to cash in those votes) with more than 7 million votes; And this guy is the enemy, a traitor.

    Not really logical, is it?

    A radical is someone who is willing to stick his (or her) own head deep in his (or her) asshole, persist in error despite all evidence and common sense, and usually fail to achieve anything.

    Good luck boys.

  17. Did it ever cross your mind that this unlucky 82 per 100.000 folks live and roam mainly in the poor, violent areas where we don’t?

    It might not be easy to imagine, but you are far more likely to be assasinated in La Vega than in La Florida. So technically speaking, by exposing yourself to the colectivos, you’re setting foot on the bigger Venezuela; the one with more than the average 82/100.000 homicides. That figure is not homogeneous…

  18. Alejandro , youve put some interesting ideas in this blogs text , there is lost more acrimony in the discussion than I though possible , I see Capriles more coldly pragmatic position as highly worthy of respect and also LL more heroic stance as also worthy of respect , despite the tactical differences I have no doubt as to the overall integrity of these two men .

    One thing however which I ve always wondered about is the creation of a narrative that attracts former Chavista to the oppo camp, Ive always seen this as desirable but also as fraught with many difficulties because we have a population thats been infected with a number of passionate ideas which most of the oppo doesnt share . You seem to think that the creation of this narrative is possible , I suppose because youve given sometime to thinking about how it should be articulated , if so, would you mind sharing with us some basic points on what this narrative should include ??

    Your doing so would be most appreciated.

    • Sure.

      A little background first:

      1) We were opposing a charismatic leader. He is gone. His replacements are NM, DC and Jessee Chacon.

      2) Inflation is at +100%, devaluation is at +500% and running.

      3) All polls say support for the government is less than 30%

      The situation is so dismal that you can run a campaign with a simple message: the TRUTH.

      So, you can say to anyone: listen, the fact is you are poorer now than in 1999. You will be poorer next year. You have to queue to get corn flour and milk. Next year you will be queuing for kerosene to light your house.

      Sure, you hated us, middle class brats, but what about you mate? can you raise your voice? can you say “no” to the government?

      What if your child gets cancer? can you go to the hospital? didn’t they kill the doctor? and the other one left, didn’t she leave to Canada?

      What if you get shot while riding that damn bus? huh? who will save you? feed your family?

      What about Hugo then? he is dead, never to return. You are stuck with Nico and Godgiven. Is that ideal?

      We will fix this. We will solve this mess. We are the change this country needs. We don’t need you to die for us. Just vote MUD. That’s it. Sure, we are no miracle workers, it will take some time, but if you stick with these arseholes you will be starving in six months, your children too, your parents will die with no medicine to treat their hypertension.

      Socialism? bullshit, it failed, look around you.

      We will get this country going in less than a year.

      We are the Change.

      The Solution.

      • Spot in – this is about the working class Venezuelans. What will inspire them? These groups are the big uncertainty and the critical part of the equation and my sense is that none of us have a clue of what would drive them to support the MUD (or any opposition candidate)? It’s not about injustice or political prisoners…. they have weathered social and economic injustices for a lifetime, but Chavismo finally threw them a lifeline. To be sure it’s not pretty right now, but they don’t trust the oppo enough to join their lifeboat.

  19. Here are some facts:

    Mario Silva released LL video. Now Lilian Tintori is releasing a hand written letter that LL gave to his lawyers. After those two related events I am 100% sure that the government is teasing the fire and want people to “pacifically protest”, then they will surely infiltrate the rally and there would probably be blood.

    On the other hand we have Shannon coming and going into Vzla to “mediate”, apparently he is going directly to Miraflores. What is he mediating about?

    Then you have all th WSJ, Cartel del Sol mess, involving Diosdado and the military.

    On the other hand you have the Cubans negotiating with the US.

    Here is mi teoria:

    On Saturday, sure some people will go out, they will be attacked, chaos, the government will have blood on their hands and Maduro will blame Diosdado and a couple other Cartelsoleños, they will jail them and after a quick trial they will be sent to a comfortable military prison. Then they will release some of the political prisoners and call for elections. So, after all the turmoil Maduro will be seen as a democrat, Diosdado as a killer/drugdealer, the Cubans will have even more control of venezuela and everything will stay more or less the same.

  20. Nagel, seriously.

    This has to be a sad joke. Now you reduce the REAL and existing chance of getting KILLED by colectivos to a badly reasoned statistic shenanigan. How nice to reduce the pain of families to statistics.

    When you go to a marcha, your chances of getting shot do not reduce to 1 in 100k. They grow by certain ammount much bigger than 1 in 100k, adding to the existing 82 by 100k. Having people concentrated so tightly make them perfect targets.

    Odds of being killed in a public manifestation nowadays should be on the 1:2000 range or even much less. In fact, if someone does the numbers, casualties since January 2014 would clearly show that.

    I assume it is just easier to forgo that part and send the sheeple to die for a clueless idiot (Leopoldo) who handed himself to chavismo.

    People should not go to the streets unless armed and ready to return fire to colectivos. At least from that perspective, a carnage is perfectly fine and justifiable on my eyes. People would die in honor, fighting, and not before maiming colectivos.

    Since oppo people are pussies and won’t get armed themselves, sparing their lives as Leopoldito Pendejopez requested will make no dents on chavernment.

    Unarmed people SHOULD NOT go against colectivos. That is just wrong.

  21. It seems rather obvious to me. The reason to march is to show that by jailing Lopez, you’ve failed not only to shut HIM up, but failed to intimidate the street.

  22. I wonder where civil rights in the USA would be today, if college kids in the 60’s performed risk analyses before they marched?

    • You raise an interesting point. Except that you make it sound as though the (overwhelmingly Caucasian) college kids of the 60’s, in the US, led and formed the bulk of the Civil Rights march. Far from it.

    • Sure, but there is a crucial difference here: college students (middle class) and black people (the lower class) were together on the same side. Plus sectors of the Republican and Democratic parties. Plus the US Army was neutral.

      Do you think, if the middle and lower classes in Venezuela were on the same side, could the government stand one round?

      No right?

      Exactly. The trick is to do politics and put the lower and the middle classes on the same side.

      MLK did a lot of risk analysis to do what he did. He was vehement, but not stupid.

        • Listen: read what I said.

          Does the opposition have the certainty that the lower classes in west Caracas will go out to the streets supporting its aims?

          No?

          Risk to win is one thing. Risk to lose is just a waste.

          You and the others can talk all the bullshit you want, to this day the truth remains: the biggest triumphs the opposition has had came in elections, not the streets.

          Stop thinking with your innards and start using your brain!

    • Completely different scenario, for reasons mentioned below. While you’re conjuring up completely inaccurate analogous situations, might as well start with China in 1989.

      If people are going to march, it should be part of some strategic, well thought out, overarching plan (which the civil rights movement had). Not just “Let’s have another march”, with no plan or tactics to counter the collectivos and GNB. The fecklessness of the opposition, next to the oil boom and the late Comandate’s charisma, has been Chavismo’s biggest asset.

      • Well, life is messy and I am afraid the, “well thought out, overarching plan,” won’t happen unless the people demonstrate that they want one.

        For now LL’s plan, as imperfect as it might be, will have to do. Show the government and the world that the Venezuelan people want:
        -First, freedom for political prisoners.
        -Second, a halt to persecution, repression, and censorship.
        -Third, a definitve announcement of the date for the Parliamentary Elections.

        And Alejandro, even you should be able to figure out that there will be no electoral triumphs if there are no elections.

      • What overarching plan do you expect a demonstration to fit in?

        I think a demonstration serves as a a unifying show of strength, organizational prowess, and determination.

        Beyond that you can tag on additional goals, at your own risk.

        The MUD is trying not to steer away from the message that it seeks the non-violent renewal of Venezuela. In that sense LL’s message is confusing and incompatible and I understand HCR reluctance to throw in his hat with LL. In the past LL called for mass demonstrations to press the government for changes in leadership, which is bound to result in violence, while simultaneously claiming to act in the name of peace. His approach has resulted in confusion and is not the same as pressing the government for transparency and clean elections. You can of course argue that calling the government to be honest is pointless, that that ship sailed long ago. Whatever the case, the MUD is choosing at this point the peaceful option, which is the only viable option in order to operate within the confines of the current political system.

        The alternative is of course to call for demonstrations for the violent overthrow of the government. But you can’t expect the MUD to go along with this, this is not what the MUD is all about. They are players within the system. If you want this option, you have to turn to a third actor like LL. But now you are fighting the guys with guns. You can hope for a definite turn in public opinion, perhaps for increasing foreign intervention (more sanctions and the like), and ultimately for the military to step in and (suddenly) favor the opposition.

        As you can see the violent option can succeed but it is a crapshoot, unless LL or some third player knows something we don’t and has tacit support from the military.

        Remember, it’s always the guys with guns who decide, in the end.

        • Well, at the very least, I think the call for demonstrations should come from someone other than Lopez, who is hated by many chavistas. The growing ranks of Chavistas who are fed up and might be inclined to risk the collectivos who control their neighborhoods to demonstrate, but they are less likely to do so at the behest of Lopez.

          Who knows, I could be wrong. But what is not wrong is that comparing this to the american Civil Rights movement is absurd.

          • I disagree. It took courageous people to force the government to act then, and it will take courageous people to force the government to act now.

        • I should add an edit to what i wrote, my interpretation of LL’s intent is sloppy, “violent opposition” is too strong a descriptor, probably “civil disobedience” is better. However the end result of the approach headed by LL has been to encourage a violent response from the government and its supporters, arrechando el avispero, arguably one of LLs intents in calling for demonstrations, but only he knows that. I should add that this response has led to international condemnation of the government and some reprimands, not at all a negative result, but it may have generated mistrust in the opposition.

          But still, the conclusion does not change, the guns will dictate the results, ours, theirs, or someone else’s, implicitly by threat of force or explicitly by actually firing on protesters and taking prisoners.

  23. When we did the mass protests on the 15th of March, and then again on the 12th of April, in Brazil, there were several threats from the left, people were really scared of going at first… But, as the day went by, people would turn on their TVs, see the waves and waves of peaceful people joining in, and they would feel motivated to go. Sure, it wasn’t enough to convince everybody to go with us, but they were not really afraid of “being killed”, that’s kind of too extreme, but about some sort of chaos happening, and they won’t being able to run away. I think that’s probably what many Venezuelans must be thinking now, specially the elderly and women. And I certainly can understand them not wanting to go. For to protest in dictatorships is not easy at all. Nevertheless, I think that the people who don’t want to go should give moral support to the ones going. That is the correct thing to do.

    Obviously, people living in the very dangerous areas would not feel very safe to protest where they live here too (the Eastern – Western Caracas division exist in all our cities), but this issue was solved with the strategy of finding one ‘safe’ area to protest per city. In Sao Paulo, that place was “Avenida Paulista”, in Rio it was “Copacabana Beach”, and so on.

    Good luck, Venezuela! We are with you on Saturday!

    • That’s the Spirit! And best of luck to Brazil too. They showed balls and courage. Hopefully Cubazuela will do the same.

    • Ok, does the Brazilian government have “Colectivos”?

      Does it imprison elected officials?

      Does it torture women?

      Does it kill minors and students?

      Do the protesters have to march to Planalto’s gate to get the government’s attention?

      Does it consider the opposition as cannon fodder?

      No?

      I thought so.

  24. There is an old saying: “Battles are fought by ordinary men who wish they were someplace else.” Sometimes you have to swallow hard and do what is right. What are the consequences if, after LL calls for demonstrations, nothing happens?

    The world is watching.

    God bless Venezuela.

    • If Caprilito and others don’t join the Marcha de Protesta Pacifica, well, let’em enjoy Cubazuela for another several more decades: that’s what they deserve.

      Y ahora con epidemia de Sarna y todo, si no les pica, eso ya es su peo. Que se rasquen en la cola del pollo hasta en 2050.

  25. My two cents:

    If you go to the march, you are OBLIGATED TO BE READY TO EITHER DEFEND YOURSELF OR RUN AWAY WHEN THE DEATH SQUADS COME, GUNS BLAZING.

      • Regardless of my decision to join or not, it’s just a logical thing that people going to march are facing a very high chance of being either hurt of killed by colectivo death squads, people have to know that fact and they have to be prepared for it, be either going prepared to defend themselves or prepared to run fast when the aggression comes.

        You don’t do zilch by hiding the truth and telling people that “the regome won’t dare to attack us”

  26. “Let’s do the math: 5 in 500,000 is 0.00001. That means that the murder rate for participating in this Saturday’s march would be 1 per 100,000.

    Now compare that to the murder rate of actually, you know, *living* in Venezuela during 2015: 82 per 100,000.”

    IMHO, the blogger should really REALLY erase such nonsense. You are comparing the probability of being killed in a few hours with the probability of being killed in a whole, 365-day-long year. Your figures fire backwards with a vengeance, and prove that marches are very dangerous indeed.

    But again, IMHO, you miss the point completely. I don’t know anybody who’s not marching because they are afraid. I do know many people who will not be there because they think it will be counterproductive. Given the excellent historical precedent, you can’t blame them.

  27. Besides, tho mood is not for marching. Recent events on the government ‘s side have not been well attended.

    I think the time is ripe for politics, not manifestations.

  28. Students join the Hunger Strike.

    MCM and Copey join forces for the Big Protest. It’s gonna be Huge!

    It’s about time for Venezuelans to wake up.

  29. What is the matter with you people?? It is a “peaceful march”! Yes, of course, it COULD be attacked. There COULD be blood spilled. A lot of things COULD happen. But, it is not like you are being asked to participate in the “Charge of the Light Brigade”!

    The reasons why you SHOULD go out and march:

    1. Participating promotes unity of purpose amongst the Opposition. It demonstrates that you are not as alone in your feelings about the situation as you may think. A lot of us probably use this blog for that purpose. When marching, you feel powerful in your multitudes. That feeling of empowerment stays with people for weeks afterwards, giving them hope.

    2. Put enough people on the streets and it sends a signal of ascendency to the the regime and to the supporters of the regime. To people who are indecisive, it tells them who looks stronger, and people like to be on the side of the winners.

    3. It is also about “taking the initiative”. The Opposition has been “taking it” from the regime for a long time, without responding. When one side takes the initiative, it invigorates them, and forces the other side into a defensive and reactive mode. While they are reacting, they are not pursuing their own strategies, and in their haste to respond, they can make critical mistakes that can be exploited. That is why maintaining the initiative is important to success in every human endeavor.

    If you are in Opposition to the regime in Venezuela, you are facing an existential challenge — a moment of “fight or flight”. Well, a lot of people have chosen to flee. Who knows? It could be they are smartest ones. But, if you are reading this blog, you probably haven’t lost all hope and are still “en la lucha”. So, come Saturday, put on your metaphorical armor (dress in white, in this case), and get your butts out there and make difference!

    • And 4: You have every RIGHT to protest! It says so right in the Constitution. But, sometimes people have to defend their rights… or lose them.

      And 5: Leopoldo Lopez has been sitting in jail for 16 months. He didn’t have to. He could have arranged exile instead. But, he is there fighting for YOUR rights and YOUR dreams of a better country instead of being with his family. If he tells you that he wants you to march in protest for one day, I think it is the least you can do.

    • Exactly. And for many more reasons. Especially since the “elections” will never be fair, and Chavismo will never go away peacefully.

      Yet many on blogs like this one still think it’s “too dangerous”, as 25000 get killed every year, or even “pointless”… most of those don’t live in Cubazuela, thankfully, of course.

  30. It’s baffling that the MUD (or rather, their official spokesman) decided not to join the march. This really is the land of the unusual.

    • Perhaps for once they know something the English speaking Venezuelan expats and those living in El Hatillo-Chacaito do not know.

    • Mudcrap is what it is. They are highly corrupted too, Chavista Light.

      They are just in “quitate tu, ‘pa poneme yo” Mode. You can BET they have been promised Millions and Millions to cool off and join NarcoCabello in the so-called “Parliament”.

      The bright side is that they are showing their true colors right now. And people will remember, after many more years of misery in Cubazuela. Caprilito is just a populist dumb ass, that’s all.

  31. I want to believe it will be huge, but until you get the barrios identifying with LL (and inspired by him) and the rest of the MUD, it will be a stillborn event. I hope I’m wrong.

  32. Well, I choose to remain in Venezuela, I choose to fight for my rights and I will do whatever it takes, (within the bounds of the law) to have my voice heard and a future for me and my children in the country I was born. It saddens me to see and hear people who comment from afar and would never have the guts to do something (in person) for what they claim to believe. I distrusts you much more than I distrust Chavistas. They have a set of beliefs and conducts that I do not share but at least, they are straight forward about it. I am sadden by some of you. I still hope you could join us Saturday. Silence and inaction is simple apathy and Chavismo is counting on that.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here