## Violence is a canard

Now 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.

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.

#### Juan Cristobal Nagel

Teaches Economics at Universidad de los Andes in Santiago, Chile. Former editor of Caracas Chronicles.