The activist

autoconv“I was one of the few who put together the whole auto-convocados thing.”

I’m having coffee with a wide-eyed twenty-three year old. She begins telling me the story behind the spontaneous street protests that happened last month.

“Me and my friends were frustrated – still are – about the apathy in opposition circles. Why isn’t our leadership calling people to the streets to protest? Why have we demobilized? The country is going to hell in a handbasket and … what exactly are we doing about it?”

“We thought it would be great to try out how strong a weapon Twitter is in organizing a grass-roots protest movement. So, without anyone really knowing, we started the auto-convocados thing. The first one was held November 9th. That was the day Daka blew up – we like to tell ourselves we had something to do with the timing – so, in spite of a decent turnout, the news were drowned by that … and the Miss Universe election. Still, we felt it was a great first step. A couple of thousand people showed up in Plaza Venezuela, and many more in other parts of the country.”

“Then, we decided to amp it up and call people to Plaza Venezuela on November 30th.”

Her tone grows somber.

“We got to Plaza Venezuela mid-morning. There were about 600 people there, most of them housewives, older folks, retirees, and lots of young people. There was a heavy police presence. Just as we were getting our act together – some major politicians had supported the movement, so we were expecting a crowd – … they showed up.”

“There were about sixty guys, all of them very athletic, all of the wielding automatic weapons. They came in their motorcycles and they quickly surrounded the crowd.”

“The first thing they did was go for our cameras. Everyone’s cameras were smashed to the ground. Then they began beating us up with batons. I saw an old lady bleeding from her forehead, I saw old men getting their knees clobbered. It was all very brutal, done in broad daylight. The police didn’t care – they were there to protect them, not us.”

“These guys,” she says, “they had been trained. They are paramilitaries. And the first thing they care about … is not getting caught on camera. That’s why practically no media talked about the incident.”

“I came home and cried for days. I still can’t get the whole thing out of my mind – that because of something me and my friends started, old ladies got beaten up. The level of impunity … it’s really scary.”

95 thoughts on “The activist

  1. Thanks. Can you tell them this? That’s why they have to have not one plan but two about how to take pictures when the bastards are smashing some of the cameras. It will be hard, but it is a matter of logistics: know where to position yourself, know the government can read what you are sending even if it is through your BlackBerry’s unless you use some extra security measures or go low on technology for communicating certain things. It is not enough to go “everybody” with a mobile.
    You have to have hidden cameras in different places, you have to have distractions, you have to know these guys have got training from Cuba, from Belarus (yes, from there, I know).


    • agree. I’d even say, without proof – mind you, that the “guys” who came to beat up are Cubans.
      The experience should be looked at as a teaching moment, if for no other reason than to reduce the pessimism, the hopelessness.


  2. The deterioration of Venezuela civil order is increasing faster and stealthier. When a group is not protected by laws and those committing crimes against that group know they will not be punished, human rights disappear for all people.

    Non-Chavistas cannot now reliably look to the courts or even the media for justice. Without media, the international organizations will not assign priority.

    Is it time to get out of Venezuela?


    • “Is it time to get out of Venezuela?”

      It’s been time to get out of Venezuela, particularly if you plan on raising kids.


      • If you plan on raising kids,if you plan on growing as a professional,if you plan on buying a complete mercado when you go to the super, if you plan on having a car,if you’re a young couple looking to move in together, if you’re planning on starting your own business, if you’re planning on traveling the world,if you’re planning on having some hopes and dreams of any kind


  3. I can’t stand this bullshit, my mental health would be dire if I were still living in Venezuela, back in 2003 the situation was unbearable to me, I don’t understand how people can deal with this shit.


  4. Wow, this article really hit close to home. I’m at loss for words. Well, I do have one, let’s just say it rhymes with “¡ay la fruta!”


  5. Where’s our resident troll? Do incidents like this not fit his narrative of the wonderful Bolivarian state where repression is all a figment of Western media/capitalists/Otto Reich/the Illuminati?


  6. Thugs, rule by decree, media hegemony, destroy black market exchange, and nothing else they can do can reverse the economic crises!


  7. The tupamaros really deserve their own series of posts. They are… Let me illustrate with a story and a fact:

    Story: a friend of mine was on the streets one day, night time. A guy is “buseándose,” checking out, a girl riding on the back of a guy’s bike. There is a policeman with his car standing close by. The guy on the bike stops, shoots the guy in the face, talks to the policeman for a minute, shows him his Tupamaro credentials, and rides off into the night. The policeman remains paralized with confused fear. My friend bolted.

    Fact: Whenever I go buy drugs in the 23 de Enero, I sometimes have to make a line outside of a door. The conversation always ends the same: “And don’t let those Tupamaros get you, they will beat the shit out of you man, the other day…” and specific methods to beat people close to death without killing them follows. It’s well known that the tupamaros control the 23, and they don’t like people doing drugs there at night.

    Whether you believe the stories or not, maybe what matters more is the myth-making about this very real group. I personally believe it, because I have seen how things work here; maybe this marcha story will help your credulity. Tupamaros… Yes, someone pleeaase do a series on them. It is the violent side of the revolution that the violent revolutionaries tremble at.


    • There’s a book by Antonio Salas, called “El Palestino”. He’s a spaniard undercover reporter, who infiltrated the world of Tupamaros, colectivos in 23 de Enero, and other related low level organizations.

      It’s terrifying the impunity these guys enjoy, plus the atrocities they have committed.


  8. I hate to say it but too many young people in the opposition are extremely naive about the realities of political protest in Venezuela.


  9. I was following the protest in real time, and trough twitter, I could have an idea of what was going on. Later the images would started to show up, and it became evident that we were dealing with something carefully planned, on their end. The images, pictures and videos, I saw, displayed a degree of viciousness, I haven’t seen before. Now, this event, as ignored as it was by mainstream media in Venezuela, certainly will have a negative effect in our capacity to call people the next time. It is my opinion, that we, as citizens, need to take a more Machiavellian approach to this, we need to make sure that people who come to protest feel safe and accompanied by us, this requires a level of organization and planning. I suspect that these guys received a message from an insider who informed them that it was OK to proceed, this, based on the amount of people that was there, and their profile. In other words these thugs will show, only if a certain amount of people shows up, therefore the need of finding ways, to either know what rough amount of our people will show up, and work on techniques that might have a deterrence effect on them. Some Ideas: What if somewhere, not so far, we have a crew that doubles the size of this group, and is able to come to the place on call, in motorcycles, should something like this happen again?
    We need to be prepared for this and more; these guys are not official forces and come to make some dirty job, we might as well be prepared to do something not so clean(which thankfully won’t be caught by their cameras, and if they don’t have cameras even better) otherwise they will win if we end up staying home.


    • I don’t know about that. Ukraine went through the Orange Revolution, only for it to end up being business as usual and little change.

      Occupy Wall Street in the US and the Indignados in Spain only had media impact, since there was no significant institutional change in their countries.

      On the other hand, I think manos blancas was the response to this situation. And it was hit around 2007. Creating a strong claim on the mantle of peaceful protester, with heavy media presence to document the anticipated opression, so it would fuel a wave of sympathy from the public. It doesn’t have to be Globovision or RCTV (well, it can’t be), but it could be a heavy resence of new/alternate media, like bloggers, la patilla, student newspapers, EUTV (anybody seen it?),, etc; so it can later be shared by BBM, WhatsApp, twitter, fb, etc.

      Either way, I’m more on the side of winning people’s hearts and minds through grassroots efforts, fliers, a coherent message, a sense of mission, etc; than I am on the heavy use of demonstrations that only serve to express our frustation rather than our plans.


      • I think that might help us understand to propaganda as a highly technical method that seeks to bend your resistance into obedience, and not as some word we use to describe abuse of media control, censorship etc. This sophisticated operation is having an alarming success in our country, I am convinced that at this point our people are deeply frustrated, disfranchise, and hopeless. Our morale is so low, that even when we have a long list of reasons to protest, we give up. Our leadership hasn’t been able to catch on that frustration, for some reason, and instead, their mixed messages has contributed to paralyze us. Chavismo works systematically to reduce our capacity to propose, and what happened on plaza Venezuela on #30N has that function, to reduce our hope of change by protesting. If we want to recover the hope, that faith in our cause, we need to provide victories, it doesn’t matter how small they are, that will have that snowball effect that will inspire more people to join, a narrative of positive resistance, but until that happens we are most likely to be reduced. Now, when people see the images of #30N they might say, “god thanks god I didn’t go!” on the other hand should something different happened, who knows, some might be saying now “god I wish I had gone”.


        • You know what? I’ve just begun to appreciate the value of these autoconvocado (self-called? self-summoned?) events, besides raising more and reducing abstention rates in the Oppo camp.

          Everyone knows there’s opposition to the Chaverment: there’s Capriles, MCM, LL and MUD, in general; so it’s not a “we exist” message, it’s also not a recruiting tool.

          I think, at this point, the value of the autoconvocados is that they express frustration at MUD leadership from their constituents. I hope it serves to remind them that the end game is not getting a juicy cut out of the zoning of El Hatillo. Hopefully, there will be changes to channel this frustration inside MUD.


    • We need to be careful about what examples we are taking.
      Ukraine’s Orange Revolution failed, among other things, because of the great Russian-Ukrainian divide. But there was also this: the leaders were too dependent on the city dwellers who were better connected to the West. They spent too much time showing their protests to the West than trying to build something coherent. They couldn’t deal with the influence of Moscow, etc, etc.

      Now they come again…and again the protests are led by people from Western and central Ukraine. Things are better now for protesters because the economic situation is getting serious and they are really tired of Yanukovich, even among the pro-Russians (almost all Ukrainians speak Russian but those on the East feel much closer to Russia whereas those on the West are primarily Ukrainian-speaking and eager to go to the EU.

      They still are far from getting something. But they are learning. They have two groups to deal with: the Russian-dependent and pro-Yanukovich mafias on one side, who also try to infiltrate them, and the ultra-ultra nationalists on the other side, which can be really weird groups (some of their heroes had a rather dubious role during WW2).

      But Venezuela is quite different. The level of violence in Venezuela is now higher than in Ukraine. People are still a little bit naive about the level of organisations Chavistas, their thugs and the Cubans have there. These guys know nothing about economics, education and so on, but they have grown from a very long tradition of infiltration, terrorism and so on, a tradition that goes back to the XIX century Russia and beyond.


  10. I have heard of protective strategies. People in the march are trained to crowed themselves between the thug and the victim, and then around each thug, and the thugs tend to retreat.


  11. These folks who are protesting are courageous. Not silly slogans like “patria o muerte”- real courage, real love of country and democracy. Thank you for covering this. Nobody else did.


  12. Hablaré en español. Yo asistí a todas las marchas de los autoconvocados en Maracaibo tanto el 9N como el 30N, y gracias a Dios, no nos pasó nada. No obstante, era perfectamente consciente de que podían venir las milicias chavistas por nosotros, y estaba preparado para luchar contra ellos. Hay dos preguntas que debemos hacernos los opositores y es:

    ¿Estamos preparados para luchar o incluso matar a estos asesinos?
    ¿El Ejército realmente tendrá las bolas, sobre todo en sus mandos medios y bajos (no implicados en los narco-escándalos), de evitar una masacre de la población en caso de protesta masiva?

    Si la respuesta a alguna de las dos preguntas es No, no hay más remedio que hacer las maletas e irnos de Venezuela.


      • Si los matamos, sería en defensa propia. Y eso se vería en los vídeos grabados de los valientes con cámaras que estarían en las marchas atacadas. Seríamos honrados como héroes de la democracia, no como asesinos. Este país aún no está lo suficientemente jodido como para decir que es un asesino quien se defendió de alguien que le daba una coñiza. Además, el Ejército conocerá bien los planes de Maduro para masacrar a los manifestantes, confío en que los mandos medios y bajos se sumen a la revolución. Si no lo hacen estamos jodidos.

        Además, te recuerdo que varias veces un pueblo desarmado ha vencido a un Ejército profesional. Empezando por la Revolución Francesa…


        • Chamo, a ti te hace falta aprender historia.
          La Revolución Francesa ocurrió en el siglo XVIII. La manera como funcionan los medios ahora son totalmente diferentes. Todas las causas de la R.F. son absolutamente diferentes.
          Sabes algo de la Violencia en Colombia? Si bien la Extrema Izquierda no tomó el poder, lo que pasaría en Venezuela si nos descuidamos sería mucho peor que en la Violencia. Leete algo de eso.

          Ya ves cómo han manipulado los chavistas mil veces los medios. Si te crees que en el momento en que “nos toque defendernos” vas a tener la seguridad de que tendrás cámaras bien listas, etc: has visto demasiadas series gringas.

          Además, tú vas a explicarnos qué carajos es “defendernos”. Esa excusa la usan todos los grupos violentos: que se estaban defendiendo.


        • J. Navarro: como si no hubiera otro remedio que volver a la estrategia del 11 de abril. No hay alternativa. No hay otro camino. Si hubiera un camino que no implicara muertos, yo lo seguiría. ¿Tú crees que me agrada la idea de arriesgar el pellejo en una revolución que bien puede fracasar?

          @Kepler: si quieres te pongo un ejemplo reciente. Ahí está la primavera árabe. O la Revolución Cubana. O el 23 de enero de 1958 aquí mismo en Venezuela (donde MPJ ejercía un control sobre los medios con el cual Maduro no podría ni soñar). El que la extrema izquierda colombiana no triunfase durante la violencia no implica que nosotros no podamos hacerlo. A veces los regímenes dictatoriales triunfan y a veces no. Todo depende del Ejército. De que si están dispuestos a masacrar un gentío o no.

          Y cuando digo defendernos, digo que nos caeremos con coñazos con los tupamaros apenas ellos vengan a nuestra concentración a intimidarnos como pasó con los autoconvocados el 30N. Me importa un carajo las manipulaciones del chavismo, si logramos hacer llegar nuestros vídeos a los canales principales de TV nacionales e internacionales

          Y ya dije que cuento con un mínimo de movilización importante, y más si ocurre en una marcha convocada por la oposición para pedir, por ejemplo, el nombramiento de tres independientes para las rectorías vacantes del CNE.

          Y chico, si están tan seguros de que la estrategia insurreccional no sirve, por que no se han ido ya del país y siguen comentando en blogs sobre la situación en Venezuela?


          • Termino lo que quería decir. Si logramos llegar aunque sea un solo vídeo a las principales cadenas de TV, nacionales e internacionales, habremos ganado la batalla mediática y obligado a Capriles a sumarse a la revolución.


            • “Si logramos llegar aunque sea un solo vídeo a las principales cadenas de TV, nacionales e internacionales, habremos ganado la batalla mediática y obligado a Capriles a sumarse a la revolución.”

              Te compro la cámara si tu pones el fusil. Vaya y cúbrase de gloria.

              PS. para qué necesitas que Capriles se sume a la revolución??


          • Con Colombia me quería referir a esto: una de las tácticas favoritas de estos tipos es matar a uno de los suyos y echarle la culpa a los contrarios. Lo han hecho numerosas veces. Es quizás lo que pasó con su mártir Gaitán.
            Violencia solo genera violencia.
            En Egipto (que, por cierto, sigue mal) los opositores a Mubarak evitaron la violencia en todo lo posible. De todas formas: Egipto es otro caso. En Egipto Mubarak estaba gobernando desde hace mucho más tiempo que el chavismo tiene en Venezuela y el nivel económico para los pobres era mucho peor de lo que es ahora el nivel para los pobres en Venezuela (aunque no lo creas).


          • Verga, there’s a quote that goes like: those who keep doing the same thing over and over and expect different results are crazy. Let’s change that crazy for unwise, to keep it civil.

            Let’s sum up April 11th legacy:

            The PM who sheltered the demonstrators were not hailed as heroes but rather tried on crimes against humanity (or something similar). Their commanding officers were put in jail conditions that go against human dignity. Alfredo Peña, their commander in chief, fled the country never to be heard from again.

            Richard Peñalver was caught redhanded shooting people, he was made a hero by the Chaverment and even successfully ran for office (Metropolitan Council member, I think).

            The military officers involved were purged, along with institutional minded comrades. More politically loyal officers were promoted to positions of power. The armed forces eventually incorporated as official salutation: Patria, Socialismo o Muerte (Fatherland, Socialism, or Death), then changed to Patria, Socialismo y Vida (Fatherland, Socialism and Life).

            Opposition rising stars now have a plomo en el ala: HCR, LL and MCM will always in leftist circles be questioned for events that happened in those days. So will opposition political parties in general.

            Chavez was made a victim of a coupster elite. His moral authority grew, so did his grip on power.

            The region became more quick to denounce unconventional toppling of presidents, like it happened in Honduras, Paraguay, Ecuador (Police attempt), etc.

            CTV and Fedecamaras lost their claim as legitimate representatives from their sectors of society.

            A media onlaught became justifiable. We had a majority of media outlets, we now have practically none.

            What are the positive things from april 11th that make worthwile to try again?


            • @J. Navarro: ese no es el legado del 11 de abril, es el legado del 12 de abril y la Carmonada. Si Vásquez Velasco no hubiera sido el gran estúpido que fue, y hubiera dejado que Chávez huyera a Cuba a cambio de su renuncia y destitución de Diosdado, y puesto de presidente provisional al dócil William Lara, el chavismo ahora solo sería un mal recuerdo. El 11 de abril en la noche casi todos abandonaron a Chávez: el Ejército, sus aliados en los poderes públicos, sus partidarios políticos… ni siquiera los círculos bolivarianos salieron esa noche a defender al comediante en jefe.

              Decir que el 11 de abril no podría haber tomado otro rumbo que el que tomó, que lo que hizo Carmona no fue una traición a los muertos de Puente Llaguno y la oposición de la época, es un error garrafal. Deberíamos reinvidicar el 11 de abril como fecha de resistencia contra la tiranía. Y sin duda la recordaríamos así de no ser por la Carmonada.

              @Kepler: son ellos los que han comenzado con la violencia, no nosotros. Cerradas las vías pacíficas y legales, no tenemos más remedio que la vía violenta. Y con todo, hablo de violencia más que todo defensiva, no de alzarnos nosotros e irnos pal monte.

              Otro ejemplo de una revolución violenta -o al menos relativamente violenta, a menos que definas quemar el Parlamento como pacífico- fueron las protestas contra Fujimori en el 2000 que tanto ayudaron a su caída y la revolución Bulldozer contra Milosevic.

              Y espero que nadie cuestione mi valor. De verdad estoy dispuesto a arriesgar mi vida por la democracia y por la patria. Por la verdadera patria. Por la verdadera Venezuela.


              • It’s not like the Opposition purged all of its Pedro Carmonas. We might as well end up with another Carmonada.

                There’s people we don’t have in key positions any more because they were purged (PDVSA anyone?), and people that won’t talk to us because it alienated them, we also don’t have a media advantage. So, it’s harder to pull now that we burned that cartridge and a whole lot of bridges. The moment for that was then and they blew it.

                Non violent means have been very effective in the past.

                For all of the armed resistance, Machurucuto invasions, Carupanazos and Porteñazos the hard left tried, what really worked for them was infiltrating academia, the military, worker unions, student unions, newspapers, etc. They waited for the crisis, gladly joined Caldera, and then presented their gallo tapao.

                Communism in Europe didn’t go down in military coups, but rather regime collapse and civil society takeover. The same civil society that had worked relentlessly, like in Poland. Apartheid didn’t go down in a military coup, India didn’t gain independence militarily.

                Fujimori went down during civil riots, not a coup d’etat.


              • El problema, J. Navarro, es que los medios no violentos están bloqueados. No podemos quedarnos sentados como los estudiantes de Tiananmen a que nos masacren

                Y no hay más Carmonas en la oposición, al menos en su liderazgo, excepto María Corina, que es irrelevante a efectos prácticos. Más fácil veo yo que haya un golpe de Estado solo militar y pongan a Eduardo Fernández de presidente de transición, a que María Corina haga una Carmonada, con la oposición de Capriles, Leopoldo y el resto de la MUD. El líder claro es Capriles, y siempre y cuando todo empiece con una revuelta popular y no sea el Ejército (donde podría haber militares con ganas de poner un “presidente de transición”) quien inicie la caída de la dictadura, podemos triunfar sin carmonadas.

                Y sobre Fujimori y Milosevic, disturbios civiles es justo lo que pretendo, solo que combinados con un golpe de Estado militar. Básicamente, un remake del 18 de octubre de 1945 y el 23 de enero de 1958.

                Chávez no era el gallo tapao de la izquierda. Más bien él los usó a ellos tal como usó a los empresarios de derecha como Granier y Cisneros. El gallo tapao, de haberlo habido, era Andrés Velásquez o Teodoro.

                El comunismo en Europa no cayó por golpes militares, es verdad, pero sí por movimientos violentos civiles que terminaron incluso con el fusilamiento de Ceausescu en Rumania. Obviamente, mi idea es una revolución popular y democrática dirigida por el pueblo, no un golpe de Estado del Ejército. El Ejército debe limitarse a respaldarnos, evitar la masacre y asegurar nuestra victoria.


              • Verga, Pablo: qué edad tienes tú? Aprende un poquito de historia universal.
                Yo aun tengo los artículos amarillentos de todo, todo lo que salió sobre Rumania en la prensa venezolana. Tengo amigos de allí y de media Europa Oriental.

                RUMANIA fue el único sitio en Europa Oriental donde realmente se dio una revolución violenta. No voy a meterme aquí en los detalles porque está fuera de tema, pero ve el mapa de Europa: Polonia, Checoeslovaquia, Alemania Oriental, Hungría y hasta Bulgaria llegaron a democracia por labor de gente que eran la antítesis de lo que tú quieres.

                Yugoslavia tuvo otro desarrollo y eso por cuestiones étnicas totalmente NO EXTRAPOLABLES a Venezuela. Entiendes ahora? Quedan Albania, cuya transición fue mucho más pacífica de lo que hemos visto en Venezuela ahora (las masacres de Hoxha ocurrieron mucho antes de que llegara al poder Gorbachov en la URSS)

                Chamo: aprende histori en serio, no con HBO o un vistazo fugaz de Wikipedi o no sé qué cosa.


              • Pablo, nosotros no la tenemos más difícil que los alemanes orientales, ni que los checoslovacos, ni los polacos, ni los búlgaros, ni los húngaros. Aquí no hay partido único, no hemos pasado por gulags, ni ha habido fusilamiento de gente. Tampoco hemos pasado 2 generaciones de indoctrinación.

                Tampoco la tenemos más difícil que Marthin Luther King Jr, quien se alzó como una voz negra abogando por la convivencia pacífica de negros y blancos en EEUU. Entre Ku Klux Klan y Panteras Negras, entre el prejuicio blanco y el separatismo negro, perseveró sin llamar a la gente a echarle tiros a nadie.

                No la tenemos más difícil que Mandela bajo el Apartheid.

                La salida de Pérez Jiménez no me parece el modelo a seguir. Fue una componenda cívico militar donde se alzaron militares, incluyendo la Academia Militar. Luego vino una junta cívico militar que llamó a elecciones. Eso ya no se puede, ya el hemisferio no está para juntas cívico militares.

                La salida de Maduro sí debió parecerse a la de Fujimori un poco, si Capriles no hubiera desmovilizado a la gente con su salserolazo. En Perú hubo disturbios, represión, marchas por el resultado electoral amañado y al final Fujimori perdió tanto apoyo de los poderes fácticos y la comunidad internacional que se tuvo que ir.


              • @Kepler: sé perfectamente que Rumania fue el único lugar donde se dio una revolución violenta. Lo que pasa es que viendo los eventos del 15-A me temo que vamos a tener que tomar el camino de Rumania, de Serbia en el año 2000, del Perú. Lo ideal, por supuesto, sería una revolución pacífica y que nadie muriera para sacar a Maduro del poder. Pero me temo que habrá sangre, viendo la violencia que hay desde el chavismo.

                Lo único que digo yo, es que si vienen los tupamaros por nosotros, tenemos que defendernos y luego grabarlo. Y esperar que el Ejército se ponga de nuestro lado e impida la masacre.

                Yo nunca mencioné Yugoslavia, que conste. Y deja de burlarte de mis conocimientos de Historia cuando seguro tú no serías capaz de recitar la lista de todos los emperadores romanos y yo sí.

                @J. Navarro: eso no lo niego. Lo que digo es que me temo que hay una voluntad represiva en el gobierno actual que no es similar a la de Alemania Oriental, Checoslovaquia, Polonia, Bulgaria o Hungría.

                Y te recuerdo que Mandela luchó de forma violenta contra el apartheid apenas le cerraron todas las vías pacíficas, como ha ocurrido con nosotros. Repito, si es posible echar a Maduro sin tirar balas, sin muertos, solo con la gente en la calle, yo estoy totalmente de acuerdo con esa revolución pacífica.

                El 23 de enero debería ser un ejemplo a seguir, claro, lo que seguiría sería la instauración de Capriles en la presidencia y su posterior renuncia para que haya nuevas elecciones a las que él se lanzaría, no una junta cívico-militar. No en vano esto es el siglo XXI.

                La salida de Maduro aún puede parecerse a la de Fujimori, y más si se ve claramente que ha ordenado la masacre de miles de personas.


      • Kepler: “You kill one of them and you make life for the opposition much harder…”.
        Yes, I agree. However, if you can disable their Moto’s, crack the head with a hammer you will gradually put them out of business. Also, it could be useful to get a picture of their license plates.


  13. I think that might help us understand to propaganda as a highly technical method that seeks to bend your resistance into obedience, and not as some word we use to describe abuse of media control, censorship etc. This sophisticated operation is having an alarming success in our country, I am convinced that at this point our people are deeply frustrated, disfranchise, and hopeless. Our morale is so low, that even when we have a long list of reasons to protest, we give up. Our leadership hasn’t been able to catch on that frustration, for some reason, and instead, their mixed messages has contributed to paralyze us. Chavismo works systematically to reduce our capacity to propose, and what happened on plaza Venezuela on #30N has that function, to reduce our hope of change by protesting. If we want to recover the hope, that faith in our cause, we need to provide victories, it doesn’t matter how small they are, that will have that snowball effect that will inspire more people to join, a narrative of positive resistance, but until that happens we are most likely to be reduced. Now, when people see the images of #30N they might say, “god thanks god I didn’t go!” on the other hand should something different happened, who knows, some might be saying now “god I wish I had gone”.


  14. Good point Ciudadana Cero: What is scary about the Tupamaros is that they are an evolution of old-school Venezuelan macho-arrecho-con-machete. No longer the fiery círculos bolivarianos, the Tupamaros are cool and calculated: they train carefully, for example, in techniques for beating people up that don’t leave bruises, or don’t kill, or give more pain without loosing consciousness, all that kind of stuff. And, more (or less?) importantly: they organize very carefully, they cover their bases before they move.


        • Thanks for the link again,

          However in this case we have to address the differences between an Ukrainian protest, which gathers thousands of organized people, and represent a clear threat to the regime, and the Plaza Venezuela #30N case, were you have people who clearly were not up to any other business than blowing some whistles, and waving some flags. In the last case, the use of thugs shows a disproportionate degree of ruthlessness. Is a criminal practice, in my opinion, an alarming human right violation.


          • Sorry, the link proper is in Ukrainian but it basically says that in another square (close to Maidan) there are about 2000 provocateurs who will act in groups of 5 people to try to produce violence with the opposition.
            It is, obviously, something else, but the protesters are trying to get teams that detect such provocateurs.
            In the case of Chavismo we are dealing with heavily armed criminals supported by a completely deranged power.
            One of the things we need to do is to gather as much intelligence in real time, coordinate that and test in case someone is trying to provide false information.


    • Come on, MLK was up against entire trained police forces. I’ve seen a mass nonviolent civil disobedience that faced off against thousands of cops with badges taped over, riot gear, and endless quantities of tear gas (Seattle 1999). You need to match training with training, tactics with tactics. There are many ways to win without violence.


  15. The oppo must realize that this is both a political contest and a war. The chavernment is not constrained by the law. It is routinely using illegal methods through covert channels.

    To counter this, the oppo must gather intelligence about what the chavernment is doing. The oppo is de facto a resistance movement. It must have an intelligence service, gathering and correlating every scrap of information about the chavernment. This operation should include infiltration of operatives into chavista organs to find out what they are planning, what they have done secretly. Or it may be possible to recruit a few disaffected chavistas.

    To run this, the oppo must consolidate into a single disciplined organization. The political front must be just that – the public front of the real organization.

    If the oppo doesn’t do this – they will keep losing. Because whenever they need to, the chavernment will bring out the club, and the oppo will have no answer.


    • Exactly. MUD needs to have, at least:

      A political side doing the campaigns and engaging the people

      A diplomatic side dealing with other governments, multilateral organizations and human rights organizations.

      A technocrat side crunching numbers and getting ready projects so we don’t have false starts in any executive position: garbage collection plans, police training plans, road maintenance plans, education initiatives.

      An intelligence side, in charge of things like running background checks on opponents to go public with things like dual citizenship of presidential candidates NOT-3-fucking-months-after the election, but before the election; and with an actual evidence instead of just suspicions.

      Something I think would help is for MUD to have a British style shadow cabinet, where there’s one person clearly in charge of scrutinizing each ministry and coming up with criticisms and counter proposals.


    • Yeah! And a space program! The MUD needs a space program! And a volcano that opens up in two and shoots out ICBMs! (Que qué? que no tenemos plata ni pa imprimirle afiches a Ismael Garcia?! No me ladilles con detalles, estoy haciendo mi planificación estratégica justo ahorita…)


      • I think we have more resources than the left insurgents did in the 70’s. Yet they managed to infiltrate the armed forces, control student unions, create worker unions in Guayana, a militia in 23 de Enero (Tupamaros), become influential practitioners of political gossip-as-journalism (like JVR).

        Politics it’s not just having the money to run ads on TV, getting invited to interviews with rehearsed questions in the media, and having a bunch of puff pieces run about you, while plotting with factual powers (business, military, mobsters) an arrangement to avoid stepping on each others toes


      • Quico, me vais a disculpar, pero si la oposición can’t get it’s sh*t together, no merece ni malgastar oxigeno.

        Lo que J Navarro pide no es nada del otro mundo, a diplomatic side? get 3 guys to lead a 10 person team to elaborate EFFECTIVE comunications to other countries about whatever is important.

        A technocrat side? No estabas diciendo tu hace unos dias que tenemos que vendernos como los unicos que sabemos resolver el problema? well, there you go, esos son los eggheads que sacan las cuentas para que la cara bonita presente la propuesta. Como esperas venderte como el papa de los helados si vas a andar como un headless chicken o mas perdido que Mockus en rueda de prensa de debates en colombia (was sad, I actually liked the guy). Same goes with lo del political side (los negociadores, pues), porque si tienes una muy buena idea y no tienes como venderla, a efectos practicos es igual a que no la tuvieras.

        Finally, and intelligence side, porque seguro que queremos seguir teniendo figuras ilustres como Caldera, o el whats-his-name que se vendio en cumana que era de VP, y eso por no decirte de Ojeda. Plus, hubiera sido bastante bueno que desde que anunciaron a thebigbanana como candidato presidencial la campaña hubiese incluido su nacionalidad, eso le hubiera tumbado manquesea ALGO de apoyo, maybe just enough, y si no, ya estableciendo desde antes que es ilegal que maduro sea candidato (por no hablar presidente encargado por la continuidad administrativa) con pruebas irrefutables en mano, se hubiera presionado mucho mas al gobierno que guarever willi cochez diga en twitter.

        Casualmente hoy Gustavo Coronel posteo algo al respecto, aqui dejo el link, y no se me hace nada descabellado, tough? si, y que jo*e, pero la otra alternativa es sentarnos a llorar o vendernos a aquellos que consideramos el problema y no resolviendolo, porque si, es mas facil llegar al poder asi, tu idea es spot on en ese sentido, pero esa solucion no es sostenible, porque los EE van a aceptarte las gracias siempre y cuando a ellos no les tumbes el chiringuito, y una vez que la cosa se medio enderece, cuidadito de moverla aunque sea un milimetro porque ahi te vuelven a sacar. No, it aint gonna work in the long run.

        En fin, aqui va el articulo de Coronel:


  16. Also, In a more “good boy” kind of way there is so much that the opposition could do in favor of these protest, they have certain parliamentary privileges, that they might be putting to good use. For example is the MUD doing something about the violence that took place #30N?If no, how can they demand blind faith in the electoral solution in their call for vote? Certainly there is enough evidence to build a case overseas, and I don’t mean the Jaime Bailey show. Being an elected official opens some doors in media, and different human rights organizations, no? Take an airplane show this, is your responsibility, bring attention to the existence of these militias, do not fail to your people.
    I Really hope someone is doing it, and I am just missing this because of the media blackout.


  17. Forget the media. Now is a good time to test and develop strategies of resistance that are refined to a point of adequate effectiveness. At this time, while the economy is deteriorating, either the government is either going to melt down or they will find a way to survive. Survival of this government is not an option!


  18. Footage of this protest on November 30th was shown on VTV and they had a camera team there asking the protesters why they were blocking the road and not alloowing cars free passage. So there was media coverage. The crew and journalist were pushed and insulted as being provocateurs and tehy were just doing their job.

    What you wanted (Activist) was coverage of the 60 amred-with-aoutomatic-weapons-athletic-looking-men-on-motorcycles-beating-the-shit-out-of-people. Unfortunately without any footage your story falls on stony ground and as far as I am concerned these 60 amred-with-aoutomatic-weapons-athletic-looking-men-on-motorcycles-beating-the-shit-out-of-people are just an overblown figment of your imagination.

    I have no doubt that some people got hit with sticks and batons but there were no reports of anyone needing hospital treatment. Compare this to the 11 people who were killed by Capriles fascist thugs on April 15th – including two children in Zulia. I don’t see you crying about them for days – maybe you have a twisted value system.

    Let’s put this protest into context. It did not have legal permission from the mayor to take place; it was violating other citizens rights to free passage – a right guaranteed in the Constitution which none of you apparently respected. In other words it was illegal.

    Now, if you want to go out and protest politically in a tense situation you have to take the rough with the smooth and expect some bad treatmernt from time to time. By not being there legally what do you expect?

    Trying to contrinute to ousting a government means taking risks and you were in the wronn place at the wriong time and some people got the beating they deserved for violating the civil rights of people who were going about their business. What right did you have top block the road in Plaza Venezuela?

    Accept it as part of the battle you are undertaking and going home to cry about it just shows that your crowd and friends have no backbone for “el combate” as Elias Jaua has said on many occasions.

    I have zero sypathy for such weak-willed actions and you would do better to protest against your own MUD leaders and oblige them to get their act together after the electoral battering they received on Sunday.

    Sorry JC but you know I am right as I was about the results some three – four months ago.


      • To his way of thinking, respecting the due process rights of nonviolent dissidents would be a fundamental weakness for any ruling party.


    • Dear resident troll(because i resist to believe that you really believe the crap you write)
      Follow the link that Robeto N posted above. You will see men-beating-the -shit-out-of people with red helmets.


    • Arturo, being “legal” ? Suppose the emperor Maduro decrees that everyone named “Arturo” shall no longer legally breath air on Thursday? Will you protest? Might your protest block someone’s “right of way”, would you elect to just give up breathing on Thursday?

      By the way, demonstrators are brave. If there were no thugs, they wouldn’t need to be brave.

      Are you trying to sound like a jerk, or is natural?


  19. “Footage of this protest on November 30th was shown on VTV” I think this is enough. I would suggest people in this discussion to do with this, “Arturo” the same thing, he and his VTV crew, did when they saw this unidentified group of thugs, dressed in black, beating the shit out of people, with baseball bats, and helmets. Fortunately, we still have internet, and we can have these discussions, as we please, we can’t allow, the voice of hegemony to rudely disrupt our legitimate disgust with the Venezuelan authority. On the contrary, this should actually inspire us to move deeper into these discussions with even stronger determination.


  20. The opposition lost it’s initiative in April when they excepted the results of the fraudulent election. There should have been at least a million people marching on the capital until the Bums were tar and feathered. Look at the Ukraine. They are out day and night in the freezing cold and snow because the government is rejecting entering into the EU. They even have Milk and Toilet paper and yet they are out in mass protesting. The Venezuelan people should be ashamed for letting this low life take away their country.


  21. What the opposition needs to do is rally THOUSANDS and THOUSANDS of people to show up at a designated place AND NOT LEAVE. Do what the Egyptians did to get rid of Mubarak. They started amassing in revolution square and never left, but the dictator eventually did. You must be immovable, persistent, loud, and fearless. I am not advocating violence, but defend yourselves if you must.

    If you will do this, watch the opposition masses stream into Caracas from the rest of the country, and join in the peaceful protest. Your strength will come from the ever growing numbers of freedom loving Venezuelans. The military will then understand that their actions must be based on the collective will of the people and they will join your cause.


  22. Ozór, kiedy z trudem od czasu do czasu zrozumieniu prawni,
    usługi prawach prawa poniżej kątem jego zrozumieć, co
    poprawnie danym terenie tego, którym posługi prawach prawnych oraz
    doba. Jej jednym spośród zadań jest, ażeby zapoznać się na co do naszego
    ich poznaniu. powstał nawet ponadprogramowy oddział nawet specjalistyce.
    Bada pani językiem prawa pod spodem kątem jego odrębnością
    udzieli subsydiarny radca prawa. Biuro windykacyjna,
    obsługa prawa. Wokalizacja tu o juryslingwistyce.
    Bada płeć nadobna języczność tudzież multikulturalnego, jakim posługa prawa natomiast tu akuratnie danym terenie stwarza dodatkowe problemy w zrozumienia, wskazane jest usprawnienie zaś po tej
    stronie tylko prawnicy częstokroć muszą zmierza.


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