A few months ago, in the heat of the student protests, Quico wrote a post saying that, come May, the protest movement would have been forgotten. Among other things, by May, he said, “several high profile student movement leaders will be in jail, perhaps alongside some additional, household name politicians.”
The student movement proved to be remarkably persistent, which prompted Quico to prematurely declare that he had gotten it all wrong. “There are still peos in multiple cities basically every day, and ongoing large citizen mobilizations. The protest movement has proven way, way more resilient than I’d foreseen …”, he said when May arrived.
Well, I think Quico got it right, he was just off by a few months.
As the country awakens from the stupor of the World Cup and people head for their school vacations, student political prisoners are indeed in jail, facing not only the wrath of the government but the collective indifference of a movement that placed the heavy burden of salvation on their unprepared shoulders. Their peers are frantically trying to stir public opinion from their lethargy, but it is unlikely they will gin up the same crowds they were gathering a few months ago.
Today, Sairam Rivas, Manuel Alejandro Cotiz, Christian Gil Villanueva, and many more face the judge. Their alleged crime is camping out in front of the UN offices in Caracas to call the world’s attention to Maduro’s egregious human rights violations. The case against them is paper thin. But, as Quico prophecied, their plight has been pushed from the front page. It wasn’t May, it was July.
I was once a student politician, just like Sairam Rivas. Those were other times, and I don’t think I would have had the courage that she has displayed so far.
Sairam is twenty years old. Cotiz is eighteen. As these kids face the injustice of chavista Venezuela, our prayers and deepest admiration are with them. We have not forgotten them.