Hugo Chávez used to describe himself as a “feminist” and his self-proclaimed “feminist revolution” has long been full of promises and colorful ceremonies —including rather comical costumes— when it comes to dealing with gender equality. But if women dare to demonstrate on the streets for their rights —even on International Women’s Day— chances are they’ll be met by a riot squads. Or in this case, just to honor the occasion, by an all-female riot squad.

That’s exactly what happened to two groups of women (La Urdimbre Colectiva and Las Comadres Púrpura) after they decided to take their protest to the Avenida Urdaneta in Caracas, in front of the Attorney General’s Office. Although the protest didn’t end in the usual tear gas cloud, you can’t help but wonder what precisely went through the mind of whoever made the decision to send women to deal with other women (déjalas que se entiendan entre ellas sort of thing?) as if putting the State’s repression and violence in the hands of women made it less reprehensible.

Let’s remember that it was a female PNB officer who brutally attacked Marvinia Jimenez during the 2014 protests. The officer has never been tried.

Maybe it is just becoming standard practice, as it seems to be increasingly common to see the first row of riot squads made up of women only. We saw it last year during a protest called by the opposition in May, which resulted in the aggression against PNB officer Dubraska Alvarez by a group of protesters, prompting President Maduro to quip that “the right” wanted to impose a “state of violence against women.”

If a woman in the armed forces suffers the costs and risks associated with the task of using state violence to suppress civil liberties, the government calls it gender-based violence. The same logic applies if someone asks Tibisay Lucena to do her job: it will be considered misogynistic and violent to request the head of CNE, who happens to be a woman, to comply with the constitution and call elections.

In the midst of the regime’s distorted and manipulative vision of gender equality, groups of women across the ideological spectrum are becoming increasingly frustrated with the many challenges we face. Many of us put them forward in a slew of declarations on the occasion of International Women’s Day last week. One of them was signed by more than 80 human rights and women’s rights organizations.

As Mujeres sin Tregua, a women’s group, has rightly argued, the government is “neither feminist nor popular” and its policies in the field of gender equality and women’s rights are “a total failure.”

To be sure, it doesn’t matter if Venezuela’s maternal mortality rates are high and rising, or if we have the second highest teenage pregnancy rate in Latin America, or a gender wage gap of 18%, an 85% shortage of contraceptives, increasing unemployment rates among women, and a lack of an effective electoral quota system to guarantee female political participation (women make up just 21% of the National Assembly).

The “feminist revolution” wants us to be seen but not heard. Fat chance.

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  1. Since the MUD started their high volume march last year the PSUV started to used women as cannon fodder in order to satanize and twist the truth if thinks escalate with the opposition or everybody that go against their wishes.

    Also who can forget Delcy elbowing his way thru the security staff of Mercosur screaming WOMEN RIGHTS!!!!

  2. The feminism which is given the head lines is the feminism of middle class and professional women who want to be more like men in their access to political power and the equitable reward of their professional or occupational achievement but the feminism which is most needed in our country is that of women in the marginal classes which must learn to defend themselves against machista men who are predatory and irresponsible and who make them pregnant only to later abandon them or who grossly mistreat them and neglect their children . Its the latter feminism that its wanting and which causes the most harm to our society and women and the children they breed …..its not as fashionable as the feminism of advanced countries but it is much more pertinent to us as a country…….!!

    The greatest abetters of this kind of Machismo are the women them selves who should be more self assertive of their rights to be treated with the same respect that men demand of their females …..and not allow themselves to be pushed over by male miscreants of the worst kind …..!! Dont know how exactly this can be achieved but it is at the heart of what Venezuelan Feminism should be about…!!

      • Blaming people is a favourite game of ours , if we blame someone its because we judge them and if we judge them its beause were morally superior to those we blame which tickles our conceit no end, but its really irrelevant ,if you need to blame someone blame history and the culture and poverty which made Machismo the monster it is today….both among marginal men and women…..!!

        What really matters is what is done to snuff machismo both among men and women (who treat their male children and mates as if they were princes). of course that involves mentally teaching women to demand more respect for themselves and men to afford them the same respect they would offer a peer male.

        The state can of course encourage a more responsible attitude, for example:
        1. preferential access to govt jobs and social benefits to be given to women who support their families alone.
        2. Men who abandon their families to be sanctioned with fines or with restricted access to govt jobs or benefits .
        3. Distribute birth control pills and other remedies free to women and men whose circumstances make them most vulnerable to becoming parents of neglected children.
        4. Pay men and women to allow birth control implants (lasting a year or more) at their most vulnerable age.
        5.Pay women and men a reward if they limit the amount of children they have in certain ages.

        Not saying these measures may be seen as draconian for some but I figure they would make people think twice before having children whose upbringing they wont support !!

  3. The sack of manure that assaulted Marvinia Jiménez was taken out of the country by Iris Varela as it became clear in the following days after the protest that some people were looking for her to give her a “reward”

  4. Venezuela’s government can be called a feminist government: it’s authoritarian, against free-speech and extremely repressive/retrograde, and there are few things in this world more authoritarian and retrograde than feminist groups.

    Hell, just ask their leaders:

    “But if women dare to demonstrate on the streets for their rights —even on International Women’s Day— chances are they’ll be met by a riot squads.”

    Is that really surprising? Is that as surprising as when the Bolsheviks started rounding up and killing the proletarians, to whom they had promised to ‘liberate’?

    Put some bleeding heart feminist like Iris Varela or any radicalized far-left journalist leading any country and see what happens, the naive women who think that they are feminists (when they are obviously not) would be the first to be executed.

    • Marc, there are societies even today that the feminist movement has hardly touched, and I encourage you to move to one of those places permanently.

  5. Hugo Chávez used to describe himself as a “feminist” and his self-proclaimed “feminist revolution” has long been full of promises and colorful ceremonies —including rather comical costumes— when it comes to dealing with gender equality.

    Maria Lourdes Afiuni and the mothers whose children have starved to death might disagree with him.


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