A week ago,
In one of his more bizarre televised speeches, Venezuela’s President Nicolás Maduro compared the opposition to movie villain Chucky from the 1980’s ‘Child’s Play’ slasher series
“The Chuckys of fascism,” according to him.
At least he stayed away from zombies.
He’s gone on to say that “behind ever Chucky there’s a Chuckylina,” an outsider who’s pulling the strings.
During a speech last Saturday where he warned that President Obama “has given orders to assassinate President Maduro” while
he was surrounded by men wearing olive uniforms, Maduro warned the “Chuckys”–he has rechristened the protesters after the bloodthirsty doll from the 1990s–that they had “a few hours” to leave Altamira Plaza in Caracas or they would face the full force of the Venezuelan military. Maduro warned that he was ready “to finish liberating the places still hijacked by the scammers and violent people who have taken them… I will go liberate those spaces with the public forces.”
Maduro also boasted that Venezuelan police had “captured almost 60 Chuckys in Plaza Altamira” and that he would “respect all the human rights,” above all the “right to work and right to health.” He then called opposition leader Henrique Capriles Radonski, who ran against Maduro in the country’s last election cycle, a “fascist.”
Daniel Duquenal asks, Is Capriles going to negotiate our surrender?
But back to the demonstrators, during yesterday’s “Cubans go home” protest,
not a flag from any political party. None, I have seen none!!!! In the two hours that I walked along, and back home. This is not about politics, about who should represent the opposition. This is about millions of Venezuelans that have had enough of chavismo, that want to reclaim their future.
They have their work cut out for them:
Maduro has been employing the services of armed paramilitary groups on motorcycles commonly known as “motorizados” or “colectivos,” who have wreaked havoc in both the capital of Caracas and outside rebel states like Táchira. Maduro has also employed the Bolivarian National Guard (GNB), the domestic wing of the military, against protesters, many of whom are said to be Cuban nationals and trained in torture and violent repression of political speech.
These groups have engaged in an active torture campaign, disfiguring the faces of protesters, and shot many in the face to prevent an open casket funeral featuring a young protester. They have also flooded apartment buildings known to house college students with teargas at night in an attempt to intimidate the protesters into not coming out the next morning. The current death toll is at 28, all unarmed student protesters.
It’s worth pointing out that the Bolivarian militia, an armed civilian force, is similar to Cuba’s Territorial Militia.
Cuban intelligence runs the Venezuelan state security apparatus, in exchange for 100,000 barrels of oil per day, as John Hinderaker points out. John links to that “Chuckylina” of the vast right wing conspiracy, the NY Times:
For Cuba, a military advisory role abroad is nothing new, even if its activities here differ from the combat brigades sent to Angola and Ethiopia in the 1970s or the advisers in Nicaragua in the 1980s. Cuba’s assistance in Venezuela is much broader, including areas like telecommunications and national identification card systems. The emergence of Cuba as Venezuela’s top ally has led to criticism that the Cubans are helping Mr. Chávez tighten his grip on an array of institutions.
Oscar Montealegre was in Caracas on February 12:
It was not the protesters that we had to worry about; it is more so the thugs that are commissioned by the government. I witnessed many of these thugs standing in the flatbeds of pick-up trucks; one truck had two men with no apparent government uniform with machine guns on their backs. Seeing that reinforced the intimidation tactics used by the government.
The students released this video on Saturday,
Among they protest also against Russia building a military base in Venezuela (3:10 in the video). John Hinderaker, again,
What happens in energy-rich Venezuela is important. Is it too much to hope that the final collapse of socialism in that country will extinguish the appeal of socialism across Latin America? Yes. Even here in the U.S., socialism–the stupidest idea that has ever occurred to a human being–keeps making comebacks. But in the medium term, the collapse of the Russia-Cuba-Venezuela-Nicaragua axis will be of great benefit.
It looks like Maduro called Cuba for reinforcements: Reports claim that Cuba prepares for Venezuela disruptions
two Cuban dissidents who have provided good information in the past said they have received reports that military reservists in six municipalities around the country were contacted this month to be ready for trouble in Venezuela.
Guillermo Fariñas, who served with a commando unit in Angola and underwent military training in the Soviet Union until he suffered a training accident, said three supporters told him about call-ups in his home province of Villa Clara.
The Military Committees in the municipalities of Santa Clara, Ranchuelo, Sagua La Grande and Manicaragua have asked several reservists with combat experience in Africa and Nicaragua and under 50 years of age if they would be willing to deploy to Venezuela.
So far, Maduro has not employed the official armed forces against protesters. Whether he’ll be able to control the military to the point that the Venezuelan military will fire on their fellow citizens remains to be seen.
Related: Busting the myth of freedom of speech in Venezuela