Thirty metro stations closed and several metrobus were suspended in Caracas yesterday. On Friday, a group of NGOs formally denounced the government’s unilateral discretion over this public service, discriminating against its users and imposing chaos on the city just to counter opposition protests.
Plaza Brión in Chacaito was practically besieged by the National Guard and the PNB, but the demonstration marched to El Rosal, crossed over to Bello Monte and went onto the Francisco Fajardo highway, also blocked by the National Guard – with SEBIN talents supporting them with drones and cameras-, preventing the march from going much further than El Recreo. Chavismo needs to keep control over downtown Caracas at any costs. Idiots.
The ministry came
The march was meant to denounce repression and the Interior Ministry was its destination. If you had heard the arguments of general Fabio Zaverce during the discussion he had with Rafaela Requesens, head of the UCV Students Center Federation, you would’ve suckerpunched him for his idiocy and his clumsiness.
Zavarce doubled down on the defense of his dead (officers) and denied ours, on justifying repression as a security matter to safeguard public property, on congratulating women for being “less aggressive, more orderly.” He said it, I was there.
Control and Risk vice-minister Rosaura Navas went to the blockade and merely listened to the arguments presented by lawmakers Delsa Solórzano, Marialbert Barrios, Adriana D’Elia and Tamara Adrián, among others. After nodding several times, without saying a word and fleeing from a letter of commitment to end repression against protesters, several officers escorted her away so she could get away.
No tear-gas, no voice
This march confirms once more that violence is caused by the government, not demonstrators. They didn’t attack us with tear-gas and for the first time in over a month of protests, an Executive Branch official came over to listen to the protesters’ demands. Sadly, she received instructions to stay quiet, which means she was useless. By the way, she wanted to talk through the contention walls, but the lawmakers were sufficiently insistent to make her cross to the other side and look them in the eye as they spoke.
The myth of Lara Croft
I’m sick and tired of the primitive absurdity of associating strength with masculinity, of exalting women’s power because “they have more balls than the National Guard” or “having more guts than any PNB.” I’m fed up of people being called heroes for insulting the officers who block our way. Reasons abound for us to be angry —arrechos, as we say in Venezuela— but civility must prevail, especially now that we’re so close to reaching the inflection point we need.
The tragedy we’re experiencing requires that we find solutions to structural problems, which we won’t achieve with ovaries or balls but with institutions, which won’t depend on how loud we scream but on the laws we defend, because we’re called to defend justice and we must do it right. Any transitional scenario will put us face to face with those who think differently, that’s what democracy is about. Any hope of governability is tightly related with those exchanges and their solidity. Focus on the cause, not the anger.
Interior minister Néstor Reverol was monitoring the Plan Zamora in Carabobo and, with his poor arguments, he reinforced the idea that this alleged confrontation with an “armed rebellion” is used solely to violate due process and present civilians before military tribunals, sidestepping the increasingly uncomfortable Prosecutor’s Office to do whatever they want: “the fascist right-wing not only caused grief to Carabobo families, but also instigated rebellion, which is a military crime,” said the minister.
The regime responsible for repression and with ideological explanations for recent events, will have the integrity to investigate their own crimes and offer impartial trial for “these detainees who were hired by the terrorist right-wing.” Lawmakers Carlos Paparoni, José Manuel Olivares and Juan Miguel Matheus denounced this atrocity and remarked that the regime seeks to send 40 people to Guárico prison tonight. By the way, Giovanny Lobo, government secretary of Zulia’s Governor’s Office, said that 14 people have been arrested in Villa del Rosario, Perijá, which will be in Prosecutor’s Office custody for bringing down the statue of el finado. The blamed the opposition for this event and claimed that agitators were paid Bs. 30,000.
Failure after failure
Despite the regime’s overwhelming effort to persuade the three allies they have left that the Constituyente’s discussions are progressing, the truth is that they didn’t even manage to gather a significant number of women to fill the surroundings of the Ombudsman’s Office and they couldn’t manage a decent group to visit the “Venezuela Producción Soberana” exhibition in Fuerte Tiuna. Nicolás dedicated heartfelt tweets to Farabundo Martí and Karl Marx in the anniversary of their birth, but mostly ignored chavista women and production. Fortunately, he was nowhere to be seen yesterday; perhaps a voluntary march (as opposed to bureaucratic) and mounting international pressure aren’t helping his artificial optimism.
Elías Jaua isn’t doing much better either, and it’s uncommon for civilians to enter Fuerte Tiuna. I’m grateful for the message this reveals: “production” is just part of the military agenda, another privilege for that class.
While Pope Francis sent a letter to the Venezuelan Episcopal Conference asking the Church to mediate in the conflict we’re going through without condemning government violence, Rubén Blades posted another statement saying that the country “can no longer stand this misrule that promotes chaos, hatred and division.” Today, musicians and artists will march from Altamira to the Alfredo Sadel square in las Mercedes, and on Monday, we’ll visit Jaua to remind him that the original power resides with the people.