Visualize July

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.

14 thoughts on “Visualize July

  1. The brother of a friend is in jail since day 1 of the protest.

    I’m sure there’s going to be more civil unrest in the near future.


    • Is not called indifference.

      What many of you forget is the fact that civil society has been mobilized since early 2002; is not indifference but attrition. The strongest will always win provided the weak one does not deal a fatal blow. We were nearly there twice, but failed short.
      An almighty Chavez had proved to be extremely resilient by 2006, and most people, middle class people, started smelling Cuba and left for good. Rich people had long done so even before 1999 elections. Now poor people is looking for a way out; so, officially, we are an exporter of oil and refugees.
      Many of you who post here fit wonderfully in one of the categories.

      Very easy to ask for more sacrifices from London, Ontario, Berlin, New York or Miami. My respect for those still on board.


      • Good comment. To me the problem was choosing the wrong strategy. Trying to make a do or die push to topple the government. Easy pickings for the regime who just needed to outlast to beat them. 2002 all over again.


    • I really hate gratuitous belittling. We are not our worst enemy. What we have here is the result of very effective repressive measures. The government solved a shortest path problem by finding out the source of the white heat radiating from the student protests and proceed to single hotheads and inspirers out and throw them in jail. As Juan just said, not everyone has the courage that they have displayed so far.


  2. After being skeptical of Quico’s comments back in March, I now recognize he really nailed that prediction. So far, the next big event we are going to see isn’t a protest, it’s the next Parliamentary Election.


  3. You are correct. Quico nailed it, once again proving that pessimists are right more often than optimists.

    I disagree about the indifference of the the Venezuelan public. Venezuelans have demonstrated time and again that they are willing to take the risks and do what is necessary. However, every time the opportunity has been upon us, the leadership of the Opposition has failed to recognize and seize the moment.


    • “every time the opportunity has been upon us, the leadership of the Opposition has failed to recognize and seize the moment”

      Totally agree with that


  4. The Petro-State Peon patronage, backed by many of Venezuela’s 80% D-E socio-economic classes, is on balance stronger than the protests from the 20% middle class (which doesn’t even reach the level of poor by U.S. standards using free market exchange rates). Only when the already-thin oil income runs even thinner is there even a possibility of change. Meanwhile, the Govt. is trying to strengthen the Consejos Comunales and is running a middle class area census (again) to try to see which houses/living quarters have excess space/bedrooms in order to eventually shove in D-E residents as Mision Vivienda funds run shorter and shorter (Cuba and Allende’s Chile re-dux). Venezuela is fast becoming a textbook case of a failed democracy/economy which had all the potential to have become a well-off democratic state, but whose own citizens failed the test of democratic responsibility.


    • “Venezuela is fast becoming a textbook case of a failed democracy/economy which had all the potential to have become a well-off democratic state, but whose own citizens failed the test of democratic responsibility.”

      True, but we ain’t the first. Argentina in 1930 and Cuba in 1958 bear strong similarities with the Venezuelan case. Though both past cases don’t show us any path to resolve our current crisis, they can tell us a lot of what not to do. That, in my book, is an advantage neither of them could possibly have.


  5. As I said back then, and repeat today: be careful with sample sizes of one. It’s not whether we are seeing the predicted results match or fail to match reality; it’s whether the information for reaching the prediction was the complete and correct information, and whether it was processed correctly, regardless of the outcome. Analogously, betting on red on the roulette table will still be only right less than half the time, in the long run. But on a single run, you may falsely conclude you were right or wrong to bet on red.


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