Colombian cable news network NTN24 gives you a good sense of what today’s march was like in Caracas.

March days have their own rhythm, their own regularities, their own normality. The day ends with two dead, many tear gassed, news blacked out, and a regime that looks every bit as hopeless but also every bit as strong as it did this morning.

It was, in other words, a normal march.

And that’s the worst of it: this sense that the oceans of tear gas, the routine sadism and the occasional murder are our new normal. That everything we saw today is part and parcel of the system, more than it’s a challenge to the system.

Too dour? You tell me.

To leave off, the image today will be remembered for:

 

56 COMMENTS

  1. My sister was out there and her friend was hurt when the colectivos ambushed them. He is in a clinic and fortunately it’s not life threatening. My cousin was also around the same are (San Martin) and he was pretty shaken by how bad it was.

  2. Not much. But same is to say about the speech that maduro is giving now. The regime is trying to show that it has support by mixing old footage with the speech. See how the camera continously stops at a 90 degree angle and then mixes it with an old rally? Hilarious to say the least..

  3. Watch Globovision and you’d think the opposition hadn’t bothered to show. I saw images elsewhere that, if from today, hundreds of thouands made the march.

    • Globovision is censored so I stick with Periscope, Twitter, Instagram and Facebook for real-time information albeit, its fractured but its way better, immediate and interactive.

  4. My friend is marching and has reported “Que dolor, hay muertos y nosotros quedamos atrapados en el CCCT por las bombas lagrimogenas.😰😰😰

    Prayers for all involved.

  5. All we need for the things to start happening is for Francisco Toro to decide nothing is going to change and so he can “retire”(again). I think we’re getting close…

    • Good one but he’s correct. Nothing will change until the Great Satan of the North “El Imperio” begins to designate and indict the narcos such as Padrino, the first couple, DCR, Adan Chavez, etc. This would cause goons like Padrino to relocate his wife and two kids from Miami (junior was in Canada, now Miami). Then POTUS cuts off the oil through border adjustment tax or whatever mechanism they can muster. Cocaine and oil is what is propping this regime. Last but not least, Colombia’s Santos gets taken to task for providing record amounts of cocaine and political cover (already happening). They are scared shitless of Trump for he can cut them off in so many ways. That is why the Citgo donations and the secret WH NSC meetings Feb 8-9 which went nowhere. The reds tried to influence POTUS the only way they knew, by buying him and boy did that backfire. A testament to POTUS’ full plate of problems that he has not addressed BRV more forcefully. Note they refrain from personally attacking Trump.

  6. The repression is brutal but selective , lots ot tear gas and rubber bullets but not that many live bullets, some prisioners are taken to intimidate but there are no mass incarcerations ….its all done with organized precision to avoid harming more people than needed. The propaganda machine is put on full till to falsify reality , to create appearances that serve as a kind of substitute reality , bad news or information is kept on wraps , if their diffusion is inevitable then they try to make believe that actions is taken to punish the guilty (not necessarily all of them) even if later they are let go ……., billows of candified and irate speeches are spewn so as to suffocate the public with a thick fog of manipulated images and disinformation .

    If this was a conventional dictatorship the repression could be lots worse , but this is a new kind of dictatorship which understands that no holds violence has a terrible political cost specially for them who govern a country which is already hald mad with rage at the terrible living conditions they now experience and which every one knows is the result of regime mismanagement and corruption , of attempting to impose on the country a ruinous delusion to serve their bloated ideological and personal conceits.

    They are not worse because they cant afford to be they are too unpopular and too discredited in the eyes of the world and are facing worsening and deepening problems and failures from all sides , they have to thread carefully, if they are to avoid an explosion (which is what they most fear). They are in the target lens of intenational opinion and even if they try to supress news thats very difficult in todays age…..

    When people are movilized once , its easier for them to movilize again, if you have people do something for you one first time with repetition answering your calls becomes a habit ……this is the psychology that the oppo movement must start using to scale up the protests and make them a fixed feature of the countrys life , go back again and again , relentlesly in the end those marches and protests have a cummulative effect on peoples thinking , on conditions that weaken the regime and prepare it for it downfall.

      • Then they are pretty bad shots ….if you have a street packed with people by the thousand of thousands protesting for a whole day and in the end you only have two people killed, then you are not using live ammunition against them …..

        • Hitting a moving target has a chance to miss above 80%, specially if the target is moving in a perpendicular way in respect to the shooter.

          malandros also have almost no aim at long range, because they specialize in killing people that’s restrained or at less than 2 meters from them.

    • Bill, plastic buckshot and riot control munitions are lethal at point blank range which depending on type, anywhere up to 20-30 ft.

  7. Too dour Quico. It is too early to judge the impact of today’s march. These things come together more slowly. It would be helpful if there were more international support to restore democracy. In that regard where are the students in europe and ameriica who show up instantly to protest virtually anything. Where are they, Quico. Isnt it fair to conclude that the the international socialist left never supports the removal of left wing dictorships.

  8. Maybe they should reconsider the concentration points. People are too easily ambushed. Also, the objetive is not clear enough. If people are going to die, at least they should know why.Some people think they are fighting to overthrow Maduro, some people think they are just fighting for elections, some people are just being emotional and don”t think at all. For instance, I would give my life to see Maduro beaten to death, but I would not give my life so that some bullshit politician becomes governor of nothing. I don’t see elections as a means to nothing at this point. So perhaps it would be more effective to have a hundred marchs to Miraflores, and just say that your objetive is to end the dictatorship whatever ot takes.I think it would be better for our morale. A long battle only works if your objetive is clear and you just stick with a plan.Another option is to have a huge concentration point with hundreds of thousands or millions of people if possible. We have to lead the fight, but we can’t have people killed for nothing. I fear that the regime is showing that it will kill us and persecute us if they really have to, and I don’t think we are prepared for that. We have to prepare to defend ourselves for that level of violence, because I think it is coming. You just have to see them and hear them to know.

  9. A security camera filmed the murder of the girl in San Cristobal , she was alone crossing a street just as a group of colectivo motorbikes passed behind her , one of the bikers without the least warning or provocation shoots her and she falls down death ….!! These are not men but monsters !!

  10. People are protesting because they are pissed off and have a lot of anger to vent , by protesting they show support for the opposition which wants the govt out as do a huge mayority of Venezuelans ……but basically they hate the regime and their honchos and must express that hatred …..!!

    The oppo is movilizing people so they can let their anger show and advertise to the world how the government is hated by swollen rivers of people , at some pont the protests might become something else and maybe help create the conditions for the regime to fall …time will tell …the prostests are not going to stop , they are going to grow worse…!!

    • I saw both the video and the photos of the lying body (white shirt) in the middle of the street. One could see it was a security camera because it showed three different locations being filmed at the same time, the murder appeared in the top part of the film . very clearly !!

  11. Emotionally, I agree with FT–perhaps 4/19 was over-hyped, and underwhelming. Rationally, I agree with BB–the Regime is walking on eggs to avoid large-scale bloodshed, this being the Cuban playbook for today’s day and age, waiting for Oppo attrition, hoping for oil price hikes, and coddling the upper-echelon military. A break will only come if/when the: Regime over-steps in violence; Military breaks ranks; Caracas barrios lose their fear and come down from the hills; or the U.S. imposes petroleum/financial sanctions on what is basically a Military/Communist dictatorship. Maduro’s public cadena nacional euphoria today for having survived the “Mother Of All Marches” only reflects his total ignorance that he is sitting atop a pinnacle of quicksand….

  12. Two notes from my wifes relative who lives in a middle class apartament building , a neighbor died yesterday , had been sick for a week , constant coughing , couldnt go to the doctor for lack of money , had to sit in order to sleep or he would suffocate , finally they brought him to the university clinic where they diagnosed him with pneomonia but they didnt have the antibiotics to help him so he died…….

    The daughter of another neighbor works in a govt office and was ordered to attend the govt march , says bus after bus from the interior came in half empty , doenst understand where they got the images shown of the govt concentration, she saw much less people present ….where they mixing real images with images from past concentrations?? is that possible…??

  13. A couple of weeks ago I suggested a US blockade of oil tankers leaving the country. Sure, it would play into Maduro’s storyline of an impending US invasion, but what people have to understand is there will be no more elections in this country with this regime in power. With their hands dirty with drugs and other crimes at the highest levels, these people simply cannot risk losing power via elections and I’m not convinced demonstrations alone can topple them.

    I sure wish Maduro would do something to piss off Trump, because within a few weeks it’d all be over.

    • “I sure wish Maduro would do something to piss off Trump, because within a few weeks it’d all be over.”

      Short of an Islamic terror attack hatched in Venezuela, the American people would absolutely not support American military invention in Venezuela, nor would any influential policy makers. Full stop. Hell, my family is Venezuelan, and I wouldn’t even support it.

      Besides, in your imagination, what would it even look like?

  14. It’s hard to know what the Trump state dept. is thinking day to day, but a blockade would technically be an act of war. Not a thing done lightly, and not sure if would even help.

    If the US wants to help Venezuela, the very best thing it could do is lean heavily on Venezuela’s allies to abandon Maduro on the world stage, while finding ways to internally fragment military support. Easier now that most of this loyalty is bought.

    Unfortunately, this is -exactly- the sort of thing the US is always accused of doing. Fomenting military coups which would most definitely be the result of such a move. Frankly, I don’t think there’s a single overt measure the US has at its disposal that would do more good than harm. The most difficult fact to accept is also that Venezuela is simply of little strategic importance to the US. Dropped exportation combined with the boom of American shale oil sources saw to that.

    Venezuelans are going to have to continue to march to keep the pressure on this regime. But absent a regional solution, something internal has to give.

    • “If the US wants to help Venezuela, the very best thing it could do is lean heavily on Venezuela’s allies to abandon Maduro on the world stage, while finding ways to internally fragment military support. Easier now that most of this loyalty is bought.”

      I realize there are no easy solutions, if there were, Maduro would be done already. But speaking logically, the only thing keeping these guys in power is their control of Venezuela’s only export of any significance. Shut that off and I believe they’re going to buckle.

      The longer “the project” is allowed to continue, the better prepared they’ll be for standing alone against the world. Fidel used Russian funds for many years (in lieu of oil revenues like Maduro has today) to maintain his stranglehold on power. By the time those funds finally dried up, generations has grown up in socialist misery and knew nothing else.

      Those marching today remember what democratic institutions look like. They remember how well non-public services functioned before the state took them over. A few more years of this and those memories will all but be lost to those who remain behind.

      I believe it’s now or never.

      • Oil?

        In part. Honestly, I’m under the impression that what’s also keeping these guys in line is twofold:

        (1) The arbitrage possibilities that come from privileged access to a broken exchange rate. Venezuela can be crumbling to pieces, but as it continues to do so, paradoxically, the financial moat that this cadre has created grows wider and their walls taller and more luxurious.

        (2) Drug trade. It’s not just the oil, but the fantastic wealth these people are making through narcotrafficking coupled with the ability to launder that money through official channels.

        So it must also be asked: Can more be done to interdict their financial operations that hasn’t already been done?

      • But agreed. It really is now or never. My fear however is that 2014 was ALSO a now or never moment, and it receded quickly into never.

    • “If the US wants to help Venezuela, the very best thing it could do is lean heavily on Venezuela’s allies…”
      Who? Like Evo? [Haw!] Evo lies awake at night fantasizing that he would become important enough for the US to oppose him.
      The entire world could not do as much damage as Maduro is doing to himself.

  15. Multiple reports saying GM’s plant in Venezuela has been seized. What can Maduro be thinking with this new expropriation, is he betting that Pres. Trump has too much on his plate with Syria and North Korea? Why this provocation, Why now? Why add to the news of protests with this story? Is he trying to hide this story in the news of the protests? Anyone have some insight on this, the timing is just confusing.

    • It means nothing. How many cars could GM sell in Vz over the next twelve months?
      At most, it’s just bad theater to manipulate El Pueblo.

      As for Trump, just think it through. In context of all the world’s trouble makers, Vz is not even in sight. Oh, well. Should have invested in nukes…

  16. All elements for a regional intervention of Venezuela are now in place: seven Venezuelans dead in the last few days of protests; illegal seizure of General Motors Plant in Valencia; debtors seizing oil cargoes of Venezuelan oil in the Caribbean (including Russian debtors); Maduro saying he will arm his followers; Cabello saying he doesn’t give a shit about international public opinion; governance inexistent; default still most probable; obvious repression; in progress; popular pressure increasing on the military; displacement of Venezuelans into neighboring countries increasing by the minute.
    Something is urgently required from the outside to reinforce internal protests. From the OAs, from the U.S. from a group of countries. NOW is the time.
    Opposition should include other tactics in the mix: sit ins. Strikes. I wonder What is Fedecamaras doing, if anything? Labor Unions? I wonder if there is a strategic central command somewhere. I hope there is. Because diversification of tactics will be needed to extend protests.

    • No. None of that is sufficient or new. El Pueblo supports every policy that created this catastrophe and only El Pueblo can bear the consequences, or undo the results.

      1. Seven dead and how many would you kill in response?
      2. How many soldiers do you want to fight on behalf of General Motors? GM can get satisfaction by due process, just like Chevron, et al.
      3. One debtor seized oil by due process.
      4. Maduro arming followers (like the colectivos?) — nothing new (BTW: it’s just talk so far and it will be little or nothing, as weapons might get to the opposition).
      5. Cabello never did care about international opinion.
      6. Governance?! Please…
      7. Default on sovereign bonds? This isn’t the eighteenth century — creditors won’t send gunboats.
      And on and on, sliding into mob rule…

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