Fifteen years later, the famous eleventh that has its thirteenth, the useful coup of 2002, has been replaced by the bruises Nicolás took in San Félix, Bolívar state. He said: “… the Republic rises in Bolivarian arms and we have to match the future challenges,” when governor Rangel Gómez and minister Carmen Meléndez focused on what was happening. “Prepared in civilian-military union” and Rangel Gómez pointed with his mouth and hand and turned to see if the rest was seeing it too. “To keep giving an example, to keep advancing with the people,” said Nicolás, when he finally noticed what the others were seeing and hastily concluding the event, connecting with the basics: “Long life to Chávez, long life to Bolívar and long life to Piar.” The general, with his face covered in green paste, was answering that he’d take Nicolás’ words to the brave soldiers that participated in that magnificent parade and to the people of Bolívar state, but that people was already moving, in chaos, jumping in several directions, but the armored vehicle’s position prevented the general from seeing more. He requested permission to leave and Nicolás replied: “Advancing… Advancing downwards and backwards.” What he’s been doing with the country: downwards and backwards.
The presidential guard ran and VTV’s narrator spoke about the civilian-military union and the honor of taking Manuel Piar’s earthly remains to El Panteón —the same Piar who was murdered on Bolívar’s orders— and the cadena ended abruptly, focused on a statue of the hero while Nicolás’ guard tried to catch the objects that people were throwing at them. Some say they were eggs —hardly, a pack of eggs is about Bs. 10,500 right now-, other say they were stones and chavistas say they were small pieces of papers with requests. Whatever it was is irrelevant, the viral video closing with “You Bastard!!” is evidence that the people broke the security protocol of a military event and attacked the dictator in his car. Several journalists reported five people arrested, including two teenagers and none of them over 20 years old.
The commemoration of the two hundred years of the Battle of San Félix was ignored and the arbitrary decision of kicking Correo del Caroní’s team out of from the event, was vindicated by Nicolás’ flight. A few days ago, journalist Ewald Scharfenberg wrote: “The government forgot an important piece of advice: never push the adversaries to the point where they have nothing to lose.” Guayana has had serious issues with electric power and water for years, they experience shortages of food and medicine like everyone else and they’ve also suffered the meltdown of basic industries. The fact that its citizens broke past Nicolás’ security circle to throw things at him and insult him, created a providential effect, the end of fear, the joy for a small but significant victory. Each object thrown at Nicolás symbolically repays each tear gas bomb shot against recent demonstrations, but it’s also a political hit, one that reveals Nicolás as he is, a man without authority. It doesn’t matter what their propaganda says, we all saw what we had to see.
Thank you so much
OAS SecGen Luis Almagro’s statements on Venezuela should be repeated by every public institution in this country. He started with: “Day by day, repression increases in Venezuela. It’s the mark of authoritarianism to repress protesters that demand democracy. The regime now has another criminal habit, throwing expired tear gas, which is much more hazardous, and even throwing it indiscriminately from helicopters.” He praises the civic capacity to become stronger against adversity and ratifies that he’ll continue to denounce these abuses. “As secretary general of the OAS, I must say that we can’t allow the regime to sacrifice more Venezuelan lives in order to cling to power. We can’t accept the people wounded and arrested that they consider necessary to keep their privileges. We can’t abide the National Guard and other State security forces to continue repressing, following criminal instincts,” and he urges all democrats in the region to deject the regime. “The time is long due to return the Venezuelan people their sovereignty, to call for general elections to allow the people to decide through votes, what they’re now expressing on the streets.” Surely, the international community can help us find solutions to restore democracy. Almagro addressed chavismo, saying that allowing the people to vote “would be an undeniable demonstration of love for the country” and the only way Venezuela will ever live in peace again.
Yesterday, Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, demanded that the government respect peaceful protest and freedom of speech, and called for an end to violence. The Inter American Human Rights Commission urged the government to offer protection for protesters and to respect and guarantee the necessary conditions for the exercise of political rights and freedom of speech. Brazil and Chile also called for an electoral timetable, so Venezuelans can resolve our political crisis by ourselves, and France said that barring Henrique Capriles from running for office constitutes “an additional destabilizing element,” demanded respect for the right to protest peacefully and expressed their concern for renewed tensions in Venezuela.
Opposition lawmakers gathered before the National Guard Command in El Paraíso to demand the end of repression and urged them to stand beside the people, with the Constitution in hand, and an irrefutable argument: the soldiers suffer the same things all Venezuelans suffer. Later, they met with different sectors of civil society to denounce the breakdown of constitutional order and read a statement in which they promised to work hard to restore democratic order: the manifesto in defense of democracy. They called for a march this Tuesday that will depart from Montalbán and El Marqués, here in Caracas.
The Panama Papers, the journalistic investigation that represents the greatest leak and journalistic cooperation in history, done with the participation of eleven Venezuelan journalists, this Tuesday won the Pulitzer Prize 2017 “for being an extraordinary example of journalism in depth that reveals a significant and complex issue, exhibiting profound understanding of the matter, a playful narrative and a clear presentation, using all journalistic tools at their disposal.”Caracas Chronicles is 100% reader-supported. Support independent Venezuelan journalism by making a donation.