Collective violence

Tupamaros in Caracas

Tupamaros in Caracas

As I left yesterday’s march, having reached our announced endpoint in front of the Fiscalía (the Prosecutor General’s headquarters), I made a point to note the total absence of law enforcement personnel in the area. There had not been a single policeman in sight for the entire route of the protest.

I started my subway ride back home acutely worried for those who remained gathered in front of the Fiscalía, since I know that, while there is safety in numbers, once these start to dwindle, smaller groups become a prime target for armed government vigilante thugs, locally known as colectivos.

I know this because I was victim of a colectivo attack while protesting a few months back, in Plaza Venezuela.

Back then we held a small street rally of no more than 200 attendees. All of the sudden, in a violent frenzy of motorcycle roars, dozens of male and female thugs encircled our group of unarmed demonstrators. They were armed, and uniformed in black battle gear and bulletproof vests. Before I could even process this scene, several had already jumped off their bikes and were brutally, indiscriminately beating any target in sight.

Though they did have prominently displayed handguns, they chose to carry out their savage attacks with steel rods, billy clubs, and using their motorcycle helmets as bludgeons. Not content with merely dispersing the protest, they systematically chased the fleeing victims, tackled and pinned them in teams of two or three, and hurt them. I looked one in the eye, and saw pure, unadulterated hatred.

Colectivos are the government’s parallel instruments of repression. They operate outside the bounds of institutions and accountability. They are recognized, even sometimes lauded by the government, and they do their thing in broad daylight. Iran has them and uses them, and now, so does Venezuela.

Leopoldo, María Corina and the opposition groups that called for yesterday’s protests are not at fault for the heartbreaking deaths that occurred. They are, however, either deeply naive in ignoring the very probable chance that colectivos would show up and kill protesters, or – more likely – tragically ill-prepared for such a scenario and just hoping for the best.

Either way, calling for a peaceful protest without comprehending and preparing for the full scope of what we’re dealing with is, I’m sorry to say, irresponsible and lazy. If you’re going to take the protest route, then you better do your goddamn homework. Successful non-violent resistance movements are a science. They involve tactics, strategy, training, and contingency plans. None of these were remotely hashed out for yesterday’s march.

I’m all for protesting and armar un peo en la calle, but we face a regime that shamelessly promotes vigilante terror squads and dutifully ignores human rights violations. We are not prepared to face these goons in the streets. Far, far from it.

100 thoughts on “Collective violence

  1. Totally agree. Could someone translate it to widen the audience? I know these are hard words, especially now that there is an arrest warrant on Leopoldo López, but what we are facing is no easy enemy.

  2. I’ve been saying this for a couple of years: if the way of the protest is to be taken, it must be taken fully understanding there will be blood. That’s precisely why I’ve been so critical of any protest-based solution to the crisis: a lot of people are going out on the streets with pots, whistles and signs thinking all they have to do is being loud enough. On the side of the colectivos you have reckless hate, you have some people who have killed, you have hardened criminals. This is no children’s game. A lot of folks in the opposition have failed to understand the facts and now two young students are dead. How do we justify that? What do we say to their families and loved ones?

    The opposition needs to do some serious, cold calculation before any sort of collective action. Otherwise, we’re only providing cannon fodder.

  3. I admire your courage and objective analysis. Too many forces are vying for power and are wiling to accept human casualties. What Venezuela simply needs is rule of law, where courts keep political ambition in check. Thank you for your courageous reporting that aims to hold all actors accountable to a noble vision for Venezuela.

  4. I agree fully with you, Emiliana. I think we need to debate this openly. Madurismo and what is behind it are experts in provoking violence. That has been their modus vivendi since they existed, that was the norm for all their models since extreme left (or right) movements came into being.

  5. Thing is, even the most prepared, pacifist anti-government protests are always going to be answered with government violence (Even more so now) So I don’t really agree with the whole “The opposition is irresponsible for calling for people to take to the streets” gimmick, Its the people’s right to do so, its not their fault that on the other side those in power would gladly kill their own people in order to stay in power.

    • Hal9000, I disagree.
      See: there are regimes that are more experts on this. There are systems that are more shameless when it comes to infiltrating groups and provoking violence. The extreme left has excelled on this for ages. They, in fact, developed methods since the late XIX century for infiltration, violence creation, etc. They wouldn’t hesitate in killing one of their own to have the perfect scenario.
      People associated with the PCV and other extreme left groups that became then PSUVers were actually trained for these actions in the old Soviet Union – by KGB etc- then by Cubans and now by Cubans and some were trained in Minsk at an institution under orders of what is still called (unlike in Russia) “KGB”.

      We should know this.

      Like in Ukraine, we should have special groups that are solely there to catch anyone with weapons or with other plans and isolate them. We need to have groups specialised in capturing any picture and those that are positioned in such a way that if they are also under the watch of other groups. This is SERIOUS business.

      We need to promote events where it is much more difficult for the regime to associate us with anything related to the violence they provoke.

      • I fully agree with what Keplar says above. It’s a terrible dilemma. How does a human being react when faced with pure evil? You cannot ignore it, ‘it’ comes to you. It’s ugly and it’s vicious. The absolute worst reaction is naivete. That will always result in disaster. If organized protesters fail to bring some kind of police protection, or their own security, violence will ensue. I there is no official police protection, and there is no self security, undertaking a protest march is a very dangerous thing to do.

    • That’s right. That argument is a fallacy. Neither MCM not LL not HCR are responsible for none of that. The responsible individuals are those shooting and those who armed them.

      That argument is putting the blame on the girl that dressed provocatively and was rape. No. The rapist is who is guilty.

      Now, I do agree with Emiliana in that a plan is needed and yesterday no plan was available. Everything was a huge improvisation. All non-violent struggles were carefully planned.

      • Rodrigo, what I think is irresponsible from the oppo leaders (although it seems I would have to pinpoint LL and MCM here) is selling the idea that trying to force a change of government that way is a sensible course of action. Because it’s not.

        • You may blame them for having a strategy that won’t yield results. That I can agree with. But by no means can you argue that they are to blame for the deaths.

          • Of course you can blame them for the deaths, since any reasonable person could foresee that sending people into the streets would likely result in deaths. Without even going back far, just look at last year’s protests of Maduro’s election in which a dozen people were killed. Anyone could predict that similar things would happen here, and they did.

            • I think we can all agree that as consenting adults, none of us are “sent” to do anyone’s bidding. We make a personal choice in attending a protest and (hopefully) understand the risks. Let’s please stop characterizing those who participate in these events as mindless lemmings. I, for one, have never been “sent” anywhere, by anyone.

              My point is that political leaders should have the foresight to anticipate probable outcomes and take the necessary precautions.

              • Oh, you don’t like the word “sent”. Okay, well then “calling” people into the streets. Its the same thing. They called people out into the streets knowing what the consequences would likely be. And they got exactly what they wanted. Chaos. It doesn’t take a genius to figure this out.

      • They’re certainly not to blame for the deaths, but I do think they have some responsibility to better organize these efforts. That’s what being an opposition leader is supposed to be about.

        Like you said, everything was a huge improvisation. And it shouldn’t have been. It’s not like the colectivos came as a surprise.

      • I agree that the lack of planning was irresponsible. But the most abominable thing about this is that the government, who as the sole bearer of the monopoly on violence, is responsible for the life and safety of Venezuelans, is not only failing to protect these rights, but using public monies to arm paramilitary groups to gun down political opponents. We must not lose our moral compass and forget the kind of unmoral fascism that this entails. Whenever Capriles comes out and calls “extremists” from “both sides” to come to peace is insulting, as he not making the slightest distinction between the unarmed kid who went to the march an was gunned down and the thug who was paid and ordered to murder him. I understand that the responsible thing is to tell people to stop protesting peacefully (which is a constitutionally right) to stop more senseless bloodshed because the government is paying people to kill unarmed citizens, but language matters and Capriles and other oppo leaders seem to be using this moment to atheir grievances at LL and MCM at the risk of playing into the goverment strategy.

      • But we know how improvised things are in Venezuela and that needs to stop. And we are getting short of venues now so that has to come quick. And we know Chavismo is tapping on calls and going through people’s emails and messages – Cubans and Russians and Bielorrusians are giving them technical training for that- and certain things are not openly said.

        Something else: we urgently need to say what we have as proposals. This has also been a terrible mistake for opposition both in Russia and in Ukraine. Just “move” is not enough given the fact we got some form of (very contested, true) elections last year.

          • Joe, the proposals are not directed to Maduro!
            The proposals are for the whole world and for Venezuelans at large.

            Likewise, whenever the opposition has brought forward denunciations about corruption and the like, it has done so to the Fiscalia, etc and then the oppo tweets to us that the Fiscalia doesn’t do anything.

            But we KNOW the Fiscalía won’t do anything.

            What the opposition can do – and it’s little but it is better than now – is to make sure that all our
            CONCRETE claims are succinctly and clearly communicated to the outside world and that the denunciations keep rolling, that they are also visible in a public space – at least on line – every single one of them. But this requires some minimal organizational skills, not a lot but some!

            It’s never about Maduro and his regime. Those are criminals who won’t hesitate to kill anyone of us if they can get away with it. It is about showing to everybody else what we stand for, very clearly.

          • “Who is going to listen to these proposals?”

            Well… citizens in general, voters in particular. That’s the point of a political movement proposing anything: convince people to support them so they can carry out the proposals.

        • I wish you could be more descriptive about these surveillance activities. You make it sound like they have NSA like powers when in fact the don’t. The cannot tap into gmail unless they know your password and that is quickly detected by the user. Yes they “own” the lines and a few providers including the telco but the are still far behind the Americans. Their MO is very different regarding Internet communications. They can place malware on your computer if you let them but the cannot read all packets at will.

      • Exactamente! No es posible, es que no me cabe en la cabeza como la prensa internacional y muchos venezolanos mal llamados demócratas, no termina de entender la presencia de los colectivos armados al margen de la ley, amparados por el Gobierno.

      • What about a guy telling the provocative girl to go into a dark alley full of bad guys? The rappers are still guilty, and the girl is surely not, but the advisor’s ethic and motivation should be questioned.

        • or how about if I take you up for drinks in any Caracas Tasca. We are both very aware of the crime statistics. It is kinda late but I insist that we should have one more. I convince you and you stay. We leave the Tasca and you are kidnapped on your way home. Am I responsible?

          • Depends on your motivations. If you did it because you wanted me kidnapped, then yes, you are bit responsible. And also if you send me totally drunk to drive my car. If someone is showing leadership by encouraging demonstrations without a clear target, organization, and (maybe) just hoping for troubles to ensue so they can show how right they are in their fight against the regime, then that person is not taking his/her leadership seriously.

            I definitely don’t think that LL/MCM/whoever should be blamed (and even less jailed) for encouraging demonstrations. The demonstrators were surely aware of the risks (specially the ones who stayed to the end), and I’m no one to say what was in the minds of the organizers/advertisers of the demonstrations, who probably are just as convinced as the other demonstrators that “tenemos que hacer algo”. So, benefit of the doubt is in line. But it wouldn’t hurt a bit more clarity on the targets so that there is no need of the doubt.

              • Don’t take me too seriously anyway, I’m a bit lost on what to think.
                Obviously the country is a mess, and I understand we want to show our discontent, and multitudinary pacific demonstrations are a great way to do it. Nevertheless, in an environment where the guys in power have no shame in oppressing, and where some of the guys in your side are either too hot-headed to keep it pacific, or have their own agenda of making some chaos to validate their positions in a time with no elections or media… is not easy to understand where is the safe/effective lane, and to differentiate the ones playing fair and honest (even though perhaps not in agreement with ones own postures), from those playing dirty, and those just being stupid.

                Thanks for the TED link by the way.

      • The provocatively dressed analogy is, in my opinion, flawed. Its more like you have a good friend who asks you to dress provocatively and asks to meet him/her in an alley renowned for being frequented by rapists.

        While he/she is not responsible for the rape that follows that does not mean their actions are beyond reproach.

        I agree with Emiliana, we need to have a conversation about what is to be expected of oposition leaders that call for protests.

      • In a way, there is a flaw in these long 15 years where people just say the world CIVIL DISOBEDIENCE, and they do not fully understand what is about. The thing is, yes you are going to protest, or break the law , that you think is not fair, in a non violent manner , BUT you have to accept the punishment. ALL the Bailoterapia masters just propagated the idea of non-violence and Gandhi, and MLK , but no one , I don’t mean the leaders, maybe they cannot explain in detail hey this could happen, because they don’t have tim e for strategy and tactics? Then why people do not do their job and look up even in wikipedia? I think by now you already has to know that is going to happen, But no , let’s go and do it again because this time is not going to happen? (sound’s like the gambler’s fallacy at this point) For God’s sake even Thoreau went to jail, because he decided that he was in civil disobedience and he was not going to pay taxes… Or the fantasies of watching the “No”film…or OTPOR The thing is you are going to break the law, or do a demonstration that the government just don’t like, in a non violent manner, well you have to accept the fact that they are not going to be. And I don’t mean yes please accept to be beaten and tortured. But you have to have the thing in your head…Unless you were doing a bailoterapia…and then we know nothing is going to happen!

    • It is precisely because they’re ready to kill that people can’t just go out to protest without having some sort of strategy. The point is not to stay at home. The point is to do your best to be ready for the violence when it inevitably happens.

      Just some minimal preparation. An escape plan, well-defined teams scouting for armed thugs, some real-time communication between different groups of protesters… anything! It’s not rocket science, really. We’re not against general Patton here. It’s just a small band of thugs. They’re already outnumbered, they can be easily outsmarted.

      Remember the Guarimbas? Those seemed to work much better than marching. Since there were so many concentrations going on at the same time, the red shock groups had a hard time trying to attack everyone.

      • You cannot outsmart or outrun hot lead at 2000fps. There is no plan you can dream of that will protect the weak, the frail, the young, the old, and most women (no disrespect) because those are the weakest and the slowest.

    • I agree with you, here in Nicaragua the Goverment has what is call Turbas Divinas they have machetes instead .They are the reason why nobody can protest .The goverment provides transportation and drugs for them. In Venezuela there is no time to talk ,while Dictators concentrated in their brutal hegemony .People have the rights to ask for change , to protest. It is very easy to wait for nothing to happen.

  6. Plan or no plan, unfortunately people will inevitably get hurt. What is most important seems that people have to travel in numbers. If momentum is to continue it cannot simply be students protesting, a larger demographic needs to get involved.

    • To do that we need to set up groups carrying out propaganda work in very much guerrilla style…but with open information about how real life is outside Venezuela, about corruption in Venezuela, etc…and we need to do that for months and months.

      And then and only when the economic situation is worse than it is already now – when it gets even worse – we will manage to get more people to join.

      When we do that we would need to have very clear demands.

      • Again, if they are to do this it needs to be done in numbers. Otherwise individuals risk being locked away forever (kidnapped and key thrown away). Travelling in small groups will result in killings. Needs to be done by very large consecutive rallies. Opposition leaders really need to step up here.

      • This is the key. Getting the masses clear information how how sh*tty things are in Venezuela compared to other countries, and the real causes. This clear message backed up by evidence has to reach the barrios and the countryside where the people have no or little access to anything even mildly critical of the government.

        When things don’t improve, and when they get worse, the same old lies about CIA sabotuars and hoarders will be harder and harder to accept the more time one spends in line to get diapers, flour, milk, etc.

        This protest accomplished nothing, except maybe harden the hearts of some lukewarm chavistas who were starting to rethink their regime support. This has given them another ‘victory’ in the war against the fascists imperialists. What is waiting for hours to get a bag of flour when you are part of a historical, glorious revolution overcoming imperialist enemies?

  7. I fully agree with you in the general concept that the opposition (despite 13 years of experience) has not mastered the “art” of protesting. However, I wonder if the political leadership had the responsability yesterday of ordering the end of the protest in front of the Fiscalia, as it was a student protest.
    But, as you say, this is a new stage, and protests like these will be more and more contested by open violence from colectivos and police forces, and the leadership who is calling to armar peo en la calle, has to be prepared, has to lead, has to know how to answer

    • Rodrigo, con mucho respeto, get off that cloud and come back to earth. I don’t have to see the video to know that Mr boulders ideas will not work in Venezuela.

      • Spencer,
        you need to see the video,
        because between Rodrigo and you, one of the two is being naive
        and is not who you think it is.

        • Well then go hire mr boulder to advise you and let me know the results. Or should I wait to see the results?

  8. I spent the day on the streets of Maracaibo yesterday. There was not a single truck with water(twas a very long walk), there was not a single truck with music, there was no microphone, no logistics, NOTHING.

    Im sorry,but we are the opposition, and we have been abandoned. They later called us to move to the C-1 wich is on the other side of the city.We had already walked like 6km. Yesterday was a joke, people died, and all for a joke, and to give the government and their brain-dead supporters more reason to chest-pound and say they won, and they’re right.

    They won and they will always win, it’s like god is at their side. They always come out on top. ALWAYS.
    I’m extremely disappointed.

    • Who are “them”? Can you talk to them? Can’t you take this up? Can’t you send a message, tweets, organise others to do the same?

  9. I disagree.
    The end point of the protest was the fiscalia, and that was announced by MCM and LL. Nothing happened until then.
    The deaths happened after the protest was officially over, when the group of students that decided on their own to saty were attacked. How is it MCM and LL’s responsibility that a group decided to stay after being called off?
    The kids felt empowered, they felt strong, they felt defiant, and they underestimated the criminals they were about to face off.
    I do agree that we should be more prepared at neutralizing the colectivos, with a more ellaborated strategy, infiltrating them (?) misguiding them (?) getting our own group of “guards” (?), but what happened yesterday has nothing to do with that.

  10. You have to get as much on film by any means so that the government lies can be exposed. For them, it will always be a case of heroic chavistas being attacked by the evil, CIA-backed opposition. Get everything you can up on Youtube fast – photos, videos, interviews, anything. Any word from Sean Penn, Danny Glover, or Oliver Stone? This is a dying, failed revolution and this is when communists are the most vicious and dangerous.

  11. Emiliana (or whoever else was there)

    Did the students vandalize the Fiscalía? Who burned those DISIP cars? I ask out of fairness, not justifying the deaths, of course

  12. Unfortunately, there will be casualties for those demonstrating on the side of right, no matter how well-organized they are, no matter how peaceful, and particularly when confronting a fascist/Communist regime protected by thugs, and with no rule of law/effective public law enforcement, as in Venezuela. Casualties happened with Ghandi’s peaceful resistence, and with the U.S.civil rights movement, and this in spite of protesters facing relatively civilized (British/U.S.) governments. Timing in Venezuela might be better later on, when economic hardship for a wider range of the population becomes even worse, but events often don’t wait for ideal conditions, and reach a tipping point, as in the Arab Spring, and as is happening now in Venezuela, and things will become much worse if the detention of Leoplodo Lopez materializes.

      • Spencer, thank you, and I tend to agree, but the Regime is hard at work providing counterweight so that the tipping point will hopefully be reached sooner, rather than later.

  13. First, the ones with the blame of the deaths are the regime. Period.

    Second, do you think that people didn’t knew that? That they were going to face a bunch of armed thugs? I mean, it was evident.

    Here’s a thought. Maybe people knew all that and decided to go out anyways. What then?

        • Yo no se. Todo lo que el dice es cierto, excepto cuando llama a Capriles “cabron” por no haber salido a defender los votos luego de las elecciones. Paso los 40 minutos hablando de responsabilidad en la protesta , de organizacion y de claridad, y luego dice que Capriles es un cabron porque contuvo una reaccion de rabia social que, desde mi punto de vista, hubiera terminado en masacre.
          De todas formas, en todos los demas puntos, desde A hasta Y, estoy completamente de acuerdo.

          • Igual pensé yo. Llamando a Capriles “cabrón” fue innecesario y le restó al planteamiento de este jóven. De lo demás, ha acertado bien, super bien. Al parecer, Julio Jimenez tiene futuro como politico. Que Dios lo bendiga. El país lo necesita.

    • Good stuff. This guy has a spine….a natural born leader. But he’s now on their list for this silly stunt. He understands but hes unaware that they work off lists and a day may come when the come looking for him

  14. The protesters, including you, deserve our strong support. They are putting everything on the line, that is a personal decision, whatever can be done to reduce the risk should be encouraged, but at the end of the day, it is the Maduro regime that should be held accountable for this violence.

  15. The Opposition should consider using “Flash Mob” tactics. Protest big for one hour and disperse. Don’t give the other side time to organize and respond.

  16. Phrase heard yesterday, from Panfleto Negro:

    “-Pa’ que me mate un malandro pa’ quitarme el teléfono, prefiero morir luchando por mis derechos-“.

    “If a thug is going to kill me for my cellphone, rather die for my rights”.

    What answers you people have for that?

  17. My humble opinion is that street protests, as seen yesterday, will do NOTHING to tumble the government.

    Yesterday’s protest was done by middle to upper classes. Until the poor people jump in PLUS the military, nothing will happen. Meanwhile, these protest only outcome is a more united government and sadly a few people killed here and there in very surgical actions by the armed groups of the government.

    I think the focus of the country should be in the chaos created by the government, I.E. insecurity, scarcity, unemployment, bad services, etc. Instead of chaos created by street protest called by the opposition.

  18. 1. Protestors should carry mace or spray paint to spray eyes of attacker or paint over masks.
    2. Find a way to permanently disables motos, so their numbers dwindle. Sugar in the gas tank is one method. A hammer to the engine head might also do the trick.

  19. The regime has the ethical maturity of a six year old child. It’s my way because I say so because I want it. You cannot reason with this. this is the same shit that happened 2002-2004. I do think the leadership has to be taken to task. For starters they continue to herd the masses to the polls knowing the system is cooked. Instead of exposing the system, they abide by it. I have been in disagreement about this ever since Rosales. You have something like 32,000 voting machines (Olivetti bingo terminals) in the country and not one machine has been commandeered and dissected (reverse engineered). 500 machines failed last time around because they are complex fully blown computers with moving parts. Yet not one machine can find its way to oppo hands like they did in the Netherlands a few years ago. Completely lost due to incompetence.

    • I think HCR just gave up the whole thing, just that he does not know it yet or in the best case he does not want to pass the torch out of hope of recovery. In any case he got a lot of flak when he lost support to demonstrate the fraud of the presidential election, got more flak by using the Governors and Mayors as plebiscite against Maduro and certainly crashed and burned with his inability to capitalize the current situation. Not to mention that period with the “beard”.

      Former president Rafael Caldera was certainly skillful to build his case back at the Caracazo to appeal to the people and putting the government as evil and unsentimental on people’s hardships. HCR seems to just focus on telling Maduro to “do your job”, “fix the country”, “tienes el pais hecho leña”. Please…that it is incredible soft for Maduro and his cronies.

      HCR is not even trying to exploit the tangible separation between Maduristas, Chavistas and Cabellistas (sound funny when you type it). He just touches on the sale of the country to the Cubans and the pervasive presence of Cuban intelligence teams reigning over our military cadre. There is a completely laid back approach to the rampant corruption at all levels including visible high ranked officials, how easy has been to steal $30,000,000,000 and HCR has just put on lite-out-of-the-weeds generalizations of corruption and boliburgueses.

      Now, the paramilitary groups that are killing on top of the crime killing which is by far a lot of killing for a country that is not officially at war. Our people has traded a lot for an almost guarantee that a bullet (strayed or purposely aimed) will kill you while making 4 hrs line to buy half a chicken.

      Maduro just had had it too easy, too soft, and too uncompromising opposition.

      It seems Chavistas/Maduristas are right… HCR is just too bourgeois to understand the righteous fight for the survival of what is left of our Country, thus unable to mount an effective opposition against a government that is even losing its own people.

  20. Maduro just said on TV that Leopoldo is going to jail, Leopoldo says:

  21. Amazing. Would expect the new and ‘improved CC’ to be reporting on the current situation and giving some some insight on what will happen next. But nothing. Seriuosly dissappointing Juan….need to step it up. There is a serious information vacuum on the scope and depth of the current protest. Need to discuss that. Pero nada….need Quico.

    • Juan is doing an excellent job, with a thankless task (community unremunerated time-consuming service). The new/younger/multiple contributer format is excellent. CC was never meant to be a streaming news source. There is a general impartial news blackout in Venezuela, with even U. S.-based Twitter blocked last night (seems to be on this A. M.). Even the Government probably doesn’t know the true numbers of wounded/disappeared (though, perhaps, the number of dead). The new young contributers to this Blog, all excellent, cannot say too much for fear of retribution, since they live in Venezuela. Commenters on this Blog have done a wonderful job helping to fill in the information gap. FT even tried to eliminate commenters (against Juan’s better/correct judgment), particularly, in my opuinion, because some (myself/Syd/et. al.) often went against his expressed “wisdom” when we thought he was wrong.

  22. So to sum up, and put this firmly in context (oiste g0nk?), the protest marches happened with no marshals, no walkie-talkies, no pepper spray, no mace, no collecting stragglers, no water / refreshments, no protest twitter feed, no facebook page, no control / crisis centre, no satellite link-up…? Like this was going to be a walk in the park? A picnic? For heaven’s sake…

    To a certain extent I understand that this is a student protest, MCM and Leopoldo Lopez were trying to ride the wave and they are probably appreciated by all participants, but the very least they could have brought to the party was some organization. If they’re going to be accused of orchestrating events anyway, they might as well do some orchestration.

    Hugely amateurish. The injured and dead deserve so much better. A team of Irish documentarists doesn’t fall from the sky, cargo cult-like, every protest day. Sometimes you have to get off your ass and do it for yourselves

  23. I’ve said this before, I’ll say it again. Venezuela is an occupied country, and the oppo is the Resistance. The oppo must organize as an underground army – a unified command structure, They must all hang together or they will all hang separately. In particular, a unified intelligence structure, to track everything that is going on, and covert agents to find out what the chavernment is planning. Also what the chavernment actually controls – police, military, and paramilitary forces. Identify all the police commanders – which ones are chavista tools, and which still have some ethics. You have to know what the terrain to fight on it.

    Furthermore, the opposition must develop a viable or at least plausible strategy and follow it. I agree with JCN – mass demonstrations are not a strategy – not against these people. It’s an Underpants Gnomes policy; there’s an air gap between “We do this action” and “this desired result happens”.

  24. Nota: Also Posted in Miguels Blog

    How about some help from the readers to find out from where is the Venezuelan government buying the “expired” CS 37/38 mm Tear Gas Canister ? Take a look at the picture in the link below:

    http://www.ultimasnoticias.com.ve/noticias/actualidad/politica/gn-disperso-protestas-con-lacrimogenas-vencidas.aspx

    It could be made by Condor in Brazil, by Falken Spain or other supplier (China, Russia ?

    Brazil:

    http://www.condornaoletal.com.br/produtos.php

    What is curious is the expression “Fecha de validad”.

  25. Wow, superb weblog layout! How lengthy have you ever been blogging for?
    you made running a blog look easy. The full look of your website is excellent, let alone the content material!

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