Gocho Uprising Update

San CristobalSan Cristóbal, where the protest movement started, remains an extreme outlier in the current crisis, with many residential neighborhoods essentially out of the control of the government. Luis Miguel Colmenares, a Gocho friend of the blog, sent us this status update – which was sourced through conversations with four people in the city. We’ve translated it here:

  • Protest hotspots have spread throughout the city. Some roadblocks and barricades are manned around the clock, such as the one in Barrio Central (which is a shantytown, not downtown), while others come and go, such as Quinimari, Barrio Obrero, Carabobo Avenue, and dozens of others throughout Táchira State.
  • People wounded in the clashes have been arrested in hospital and turned over to prosecutors, and so many of the wounded are now refusing to go to hospital for treatment. Neighbors are trying to care for them in their home, with doctors getting around by motorbike when needed to treat minor wounds.
  • From 10 a.m. today (Friday), the whole area around the Airport was taken over by the military, including areas surrounding the Universidad Experimental del Tachira (UNET), the area around Pueblo Nuevo Fútbol Stadium, the bullring and its surrounding area. It’s not clear why, we suppose some VIP will fly in to the airport soon.
  • IMG-20140221-WA008
  • On Thursday, at 6:20 p.m., there was a minor onslaught with a few tear gas canisters and some rubber buckshot in the Pirineos area of Quinimari Neighborhood. Later, after 8:00 p.m. we saw a much harsher attack which left several people wounded. Right after it finished, the power went off in the entire area, which left neighbors really worried.
  • Running battles were common on the streets throughout the last week. We’ve heard more and more reports of state security agents forcing their way into protesters’ homes. Yesterday, on Avenida Carabobo, one older lady neighbor decided to allow student protesters to use her bathroom. Later on in the day, the National Guard broke into her house to beat her up.
  • IMG-20140221-WA010
  • There are no fatalities. Zero. In Táchira beating each other up is normal, it’s accepted. But there’s a code here.
  • This morning the city was calm, with few protesters on the street. Public transport is not operating. Businesses open briefly in the morning, or sometimes not at all, to avoid risks. There are few taxis on the street, most people avoid going out.
  • Broadband internet is working again, though it’s very slow, and it goes down in problem areas at sensitive times. The internet blackout isn’t a blanket thing: it’s not all over the city, or at all times.
  • The local media is completely under the government’s control now, they’re publishing none of what’s going on.
  • IMG-20140221-WA009
  • In the downtown area, there are cops on every corner. There are different security forces, with different uniforms, some National Police, some militia, other uniforms that we can’t easily identify.  90% of the shops are shut. Notaries are working, as well as a handful of bakery shops and very few restaurants.
  • A big march is called for 2 p.m. on Saturday at the City of San Cristobal Obelisk. We expect a peaceful rally to reject the military takeover of the city and the abusive repression of the students, as well as freedom for jailed protesters, and calling for peace in Venezuela.

All of the information in this report has been sourced by people on site in Táchira State. Civili Society organizations, student groups, and people in general.

I can vouch to the fact that the people of Táchira State is a gentle people, committed to kindness, solidarity, cordiality: these are the values of Táchira’s families.  But when you offend us and make a show of denying our rights, we face down abuses of power because we reject violence in all its forms and we demand respect for our state, and for all of Venezuela.

Al Jazeera managed to pay the city a visit.

27 thoughts on “Gocho Uprising Update

  1. Un-retired yet? Also, what a dire situation, here in Valencia it’s bad (mostly in San Diego); but you guys got it far worse over there.

  2. One guy on a motorcycle just died on Rómulo Gallegos avenue (Caracas) apparently due to a metal cable the people installed across the street.

  3. 1. Print money to “help the people” and give ‘em free stuff
    2. Price rise (Duh)
    3. Ooh! Prices rise? Impose PRICE CONTROLS! (because we’re dumbass Marxists)
    4. EVERYTHING SELLS OUT
    5. Crackdown on the resulting black market (after all, the PEOPLE are to blame)
    6. Kill millions of people
    7. The people finally have enough and kill all the communists
    8. Back to normal, business returns, people become prosperous and send their kids to university
    9. The Marxist idiot professors in their ivory towers teach the kids to be cool and left wing
    10. Those kids eventually run the gov’t and they want to HELP PEOPLE so they:
    11. Print money to “help the people” and give ‘em free stuff.

    12. Rinse and Repeat

      • Allow me to translate it into Spanish (minus the sarcasm because it is more effective that way I believe):

        1. Imprimamos dinero para llevar bienestar material al pueblo
        2. Los precios suben
        3. Los precios suben? Controlemos los precios!
        4. Los productos se acaban y ya no se consiguen en las tiendas
        5. Aparece el mercado negro
        6. Persigamos a los especuladores!
        7. Mueren millones de personas
        8. La gente se harta al fin y acaba con los comunistas
        9. Vuelve la normalidad y la inversion; la gente prospera y envia a sus hijos a la universidad
        10. Los Profesores marxistas enseñan ideas de izquierda a los jovenes
        11. Los jovenes inspirados por los profesores marxistas se dedican a la política
        12. El pueblo elige a los nobles jovenes marxistas
        13. Los lideres piensan en como ayudar al pueblo y deciden:
        14. Imprimamos dinero para llevar bienestar material al pueblo…

          • Sure, go ahead! Use this version; I think it is slightly better (only changed #4):

            1. Imprimamos dinero para llevar bienestar material al pueblo
            2. Los precios suben
            3. Los precios suben? Controlemos los precios!
            4. Los productos desaparecen de las estanterias
            5. Aparece el mercado negro
            6. Persigamos a los especuladores!
            7. Mueren millones de personas
            8. La gente se harta al fin y acaba con los comunistas
            9. Vuelve la normalidad y la inversion; la gente prospera y envia a sus hijos a la universidad
            10. Los Profesores marxistas enseñan ideas de izquierda a los jovenes
            11. Los jovenes inspirados por los profesores marxistas se dedican a la política
            12. El pueblo elige a los nobles jovenes marxistas
            13. Los lideres piensan en como ayudar al pueblo y deciden:
            14. Imprimamos dinero para llevar bienestar material al pueblo…

      • not just the ones in schools , the neiborghs who indoctrinate their children, the ones at community centers, websites,it’s everywhere. It’s the art of mind control. I have yet to read a Marx book, out of fear. Am i strong enough?

    • The root of the problem is in plain sight: a fraudulent money supply based not on gold or silver but on fiat currency and fractional reserve lending. It creates bubbles that defy the feedback mechanisms and controls of the free market. The US dollar is the biggest scam in the world. Stop linking you money to it. Link your money to gold, forget about exports, grow and make what you need to live and be done with all this drama FOREVER.

      Or, as the OP wrote, do it over and over and over again like stupid sheeple.

  4. It has been an interesting thing to watch all the pictures of the riots from both Venezuela and Ukraine. But I must say. The Ukrainians seem to be a more organized bunch (and they have to deal with winter weather. Look at the pictures from this site to get a good idea of the order of magnitude difference. The pictures coming out from Venezuela look like a normal garbage pick up day.
    http://www.businessinsider.com.au/pictures-of-the-kiev-riots-2014-1

    • The photographers of the Ukrainian riots are professional photographers (with a fetish for apocalyptic images it seems) working for international media. In Venezuela images are produced by young people trying to dodge the bullets…

      • Perhaps, but you still can tell the difference. For instance I saw a picture where a whole street in Kiev was lined with piles of burning tires (I mean in the hundred) and behind the protesters had another pile one tires (in the thousand) as backup. That show a high degree of organization. I don’t see that in our cities. I’m not saying we should be more violent or burn more objects. I’m just suggesting that the protests need to be more organized.

  5. I’ve been a reader of this blog for a couple of years and, up until recently, kept coming back for the cynicism and dark humour.

    But things have changed in the last year, with Maduro seemingly taking his cues from Mugabe and Ahmedinejad in terms of the language and methods he’s using to silence opposing voices. The basiji and Green Bombers seem almost exactly the same as the colectivos in their methods.

    And since the New Year, things have become like a horror movie for us watching from afar. I can’t even begin to understand what it must be like to be living through it.

    Sadly, these days I come to CC daily to read in horror what is going on in Venezuela. Articles used to rasie a wry smile at the Kafka-esque stupidities of the Bolivarians. Now, instead of smiling, I shout when I read about the injustices, and occasionally find that my eyes are a little wet when I read about another young life lost or about another innocent being beaten.

    I’m over in the UK and two of our major TV organisations (the BBC and Channel 4) don’t even seem to have accepted yet that there is unrest in the country. (the BBC has about 70% of televised TV news traffic in the UK- if they don’t publicise something then, in effect, it isn’t happening). They both carry a little on their websites about Venezuela, but it’s mostly about Kiev.

    And for an example as to how things are being presented to us by our national broadcaster, there was a piece on how both sides are exploiting social media. The piece showed several images which the anti-government side had claimed were from Venezuela, but had been found to be either old footage or from another country. However, on the other side of the coin, none of the government lies were shown and none of the footage from the internet of civilians being beaten by colectivos has been shown. As far as I’m aware, the shooting of Mr. Dacosta Frias has not been shown on UK TV, nor has the shooting of Genesis Carmona been mentioned.

    Both channels have failed to condemn politicians in the UK who were so supportive of Maduro when he was elected. (there’s a picture of them in Caracas, celebrating Maduro’s election victory/set up…the visit paid for by the UK taxpayer: http://order-order.com/2014/02/17/labours-venezuelan-ally-seeks-arrest-of-opposition-leader-blocks-twitter-locks-up-protesters-three-killed/ )

    My news sources are now coming directly from CC, facebook and (the one which really surprises me) al-Jazeera.

    People, don’t be afraid. The world is watching this uneven fight, and Maduro and his Orcs will pay for their brutality.

    My thoughts and prayers are with you. Please keep yourselves and your loved ones safe.

    • The images you were talking about as well as journalists like the guy in the video above reporting being attacked by protesters cast a poor light on all of the protesters – people really need to be aware of that because it makes it even easier to denounce the movement against the government…

      • The guy in the video and the faked images do undermine the message…but not as much as world renowned broadcasters like the BBC completely ignoring the violence of the colectivos.

        And beating someone up is bad, but not as bad as shooting a young woman in cold blood. Plus, if the beating of one person is to be condemned, then what of the footage of the woman being beaten by colectivos using motorbike helmets?

        The BBC and Channel 4 have also managed to miss the al-Jazeera interview with Mr.Montoya, the ‘government supporter’ who was killed…and they’ve avoided mentioning that he was a paramil thug.

        • I don’t think it’s that easy – if you want to sell the protests as peaceful and beat journalists up that is going to frame how media will report about you (as in “the protesters”). That is not my personal opinion, it’s how media works.
          At the same time I think its very dangerous to point fingers at others for doing something “worse”. If you condemn one kind of violence you have to be fair and condemn every kind. And don’t get me wrong – I’m not a supporter of Maduro, but more than ever it’s important to keep ethics in mind.

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