Today’s podcast is on the student protests in Venezuela, which have monopolized the headlines this week in Venezuela.
During his Alo Presidente show last Saturday Chavez said,
“Interior ministry, spray them with gas and dissolve any disturbance,”…“We can’t show weakness as a government.”
Even the Papal Nunzio’s office got gassed.
Noticias 24 has photos, while El Universal reports that Students claim that Molotov cocktails were planted
Student leader Ricardo Sánchez exhibited a video where a police agent is filling bottles with presumed gasoline.
Noticias 24 has that video, showing the molotov coctails being prepared in the presence of the metro police chief:
State-controlled VTV in turn accuses the students of hiring a truck to carry molotov coctails to be used at a demonstration.
From the Venezuelan bloggers:
There is Repression in Carabobo too
After Chavez gives the green light to repression, wholesale attacks on the opposition begin.
In the Washington Post: Partners In Crime
Why Lawlessness Works For Chávez and Putin
In both countries, key members of the opposition are barred from participating in the regime’s continuous political campaign. The fight to suppress real opposition is waged through constitutional amendments that create an appearance of competent rule but actually are designed to exclude opposition. What is not accomplished by faux legalism is carried out through government-backed neighborhood militias or extreme nationalist youth groups.
In my discussions with the Venezuelan student leaders, I was struck by deep parallels with the conditions faced by Russian civil society leaders, such as Oleg Kozlovsky, whose courage has never faltered in the face of attacks, arrests, threats and harassment from official and unofficial sources. It occurred to me that the monstrous violence on the streets of Caracas and Moscow is perhaps useful to both regimes — and that in their incompetence at delivering public security, they have found a convenience that contributes to their grip on power.
The first step toward improving this situation is to drop the pretense that these two governments have constructed a vertical structure of power and recognize that they have institutionalized a horizontal structure of incompetence — one characterized by violence, insecurity and impunity. It’s time we summoned the political will to hold such world leaders accountable for the rights of their own people by all means available, regardless of how much oil they export.