The Full Scale of What’s Happening in San Cristóbal Isn’t Getting Through Because of the Media Blackout

20140225_VENEZUELA-slide-AGRJ-superJumboThe New York Times finally manages to get a reporter and a photographer on the ground in San Cristóbal. Willie Neuman’s piece is good. But Meredith Kohut’s accompanying photo essay is simply staggering.

The media blackout has numbed Venezuelans to the reality of San Cristobal’s descent into anarchy. This is a tiny corrective, an an ode to the power of great photo journalism in times of crisis.

(The Times has some other good stuff about Venezuela today as well.)

125 thoughts on “The Full Scale of What’s Happening in San Cristóbal Isn’t Getting Through Because of the Media Blackout

  1. Ah, they look so peaceful don’t they? Armed with their makeshift rifles and slingshots. These poor peaceful students just want to express their dissent. It has nothing to do with openly renouncing the authority of the state. Certainly firing weapons, throwing stones, and building barricades to block transit would be tolerated in most countries of the world, right? I just can’t understand why the Venezuelan police are repressing these poor students.

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    • It’s really bad now. You can trust CaracasChronicles to keep posting both stuff that we’re glad is happening and stuff that we’re fucking horrified is happening. Wish the same could be said for any part of the Communicational Hegemon.

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    • Are the Colectivos to be considered part of the “authority of the state”, Anon? Should the students just let ride them through the streets of their neighborhoods creating mayhem as they’ve been doing? From what I’ve seen and read the GNB and the Colectivos have been coordinating. In my opinion once the GNB started to coordinate with those paramilitary groups they lost whatever authority they had left. The students now have the right to erect the barricades and to use reasonable force to protect their families and their homes.

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      • No, they definitely should not allow people on motorcycles to use the roadways. They should definitely use wire to decapitate them. That’s OBVIOUSLY the solution here.

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        • Gary was speaking about colectivos which make up a part of the motorcyclist group, not the group of citizens who use motorcycles as whole. Colectivos are an unchecked threat to everyone and it is with that notion in mind that people are including the wire cables in barricades. The wire cables would go away if the paramilitaries did. There’s your obvious solution.

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        • Strawman.

          Gary said nothing of banning every motorcycle driver from using roadways in general.

          Nor did Gary justify the abhorrent practice of using wire to decapitate motorcycle drivers.

          He talked about putting up barricades and using reasonable force.

          To be fair to Gary, nobody likes it when motorcycle drivers come into the neighborhood and burn down some cars, you can ask people in La Querencia, Naguanagua, Carabobo.

          http://hoyesnoticia.net/carros-quemados-por-motorizados-de-paz-en-valencia-fotos/

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    • In “most countries of the world” the GNB, SEBIN and government armed milicias would not be allowed to fire live rounds of ammunition at the population or tear gas innocent people in their homes.

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      • The police in the United States would respond with vastly more force than has been used in Venezuela, and you all know that. And, yes, if there were violent, armed protesters in the US like there are in Venezuela, the police would not think twice about firing back at them.

        Even so, the officer who was seen firing at protesters has been arrested. So don’t generalize and pretend this is the case with all security forces in the country.

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        • Love your minimization, Anon, intended to manipulative. Only one itty bitty officer, Anon? Check your eyesight. And keep in mind the government-armed militias, many on motorbikes, commanded to loot and destroy, while using idealist enablers, many abroad, to manipulate the facts. Are you one of these cached enablers, Anon?

          Even so, the officer who was seen firing at protesters has been arrested.

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          • Yes, I keep hearing about these “government-armed militias” who have been “commanded to loot and destroy.” Sure would be nice to get some, you know, actual evidence to back that up. *Hint: government supporters who are armed is not the same as “government-armed militias commanded to loot and destroy”. There are also opposition supporters who are armed. Does that mean they are “opposition-armed militias commanded to loot and destroy”? Didn’t think so.

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              • Yes Juan, we’ve all seen the video. The difference is some think it actually confirms something, while others know that it doesn’t really tell us what happened, nor who did what. Are the people on the motorcycles un-uniformed officers? Or are they civilians? Were the police being shot at, and shot back?

                You see, the Venezuelan opposition is sort of infamous for this very kind of distortion. Puente Llaguno anyone? Remember when it was that the Chavistas were shooting on the innocent marchers? Whoops, turns out that was actually a lie. But I’m sure you believed it without actually trying to verify the truth, didn’t you Juan?

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            • Anon = Another f. up leftist paid by the Castros brother with Vzla’s oil.Go stand up in the streets of Venezuela to tell the people what you are writing here. Legitimate Defense is Legal from a Civil and a Moral point of view. So, come and shoot at me and my family after I am marching peacefully. You won’t survive that! And next time, put your name demonic soul from Hell so we can perform an exorcism on you. In the name of Jesus go back to the hole in hell you came from. Amen!

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        • The police in the United States would absolutely not respond in the way the GNB has. Police in the US do not coordinate with terror groups as the GNB has with the Colectivos.

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          • These people are so ignorant they think that in the Evil Empire™ people are starving to death, and if you protest they shoot you nuclear bombs. Some of them eat the poor people in the barrios too, just for fun because they hate the working class.Also you can’t make fun of the president because they look for you with their special tracker ray and lock you up on huge hive-like underground prisons where they torture you and brain wash you to make you into killer mutants and send you to South America to destroy the indigenous tribes because they’re also racists.

            Also there’s mind control chemicals in coca cola and the CIA is god.
            Long live Chavez.

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        • In the US, is it permissible, for law enforcement, to:

          1. pin someone to the ground and then proceed to beat in the face with a helmet, instead of proceeding with the arrest? http://acn.com.ve/una-oficial-de-gnb-golpea-con-casco-a-mujer-en-la-isabelica-fotos/

          2. beat someone senseless using a rifle as a bat? http://www.venezuelaawareness.com/2014/02/24f-brutal-agresion-en-valencia-por-la-guardia-del-pueblo-fotos-y-video/

          3. fly fighter jets over cities when there a riots? http://informe21.com/actualidad/reportan-que-aviones-sukhoi-sobrevuelan-el-estado-tachira-fotos

          4. pour gasoline all over detainees and threathen them to light them o fire? http://www.el-nacional.com/politica/obligaron-desnudarnos-amenazaban-violarnos_0_359964248.html

          5. strip naked detainees and threaten to rape them? http://www.el-nacional.com/politica/obligaron-desnudarnos-amenazaban-violarnos_0_359964248.html

          6. vandalize the parked, non-occupied cars? http://www.unmundotriangular.com/2014/02/guardia-nacional-rompio-el-vidrio-del.html or to set them on fire http://noticiasvenezuela.org/2014/02/video-guardia-nacional-y-tupamaros-incendian-y-destruyen-carros-de-opositores-en-barquisimeto/

          7. In the US, are this kind of actions later praised as proper and exemplary by the president? http://www.leanoticias.com/2014/02/25/nicolas-maduro-la-guardia-nacional-bolivariana-ha-actuado-apegada-la-ley/

          I say you’re using a false equivalence. If you want to refute me, I’ll need US news stories of similar measures to contain riots AND also news stories of the US president praising the repressive actions.

          Go ahead, it’s only 7 items.

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          • Here’s just a few for you:

            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_cases_of_police_brutality_in_the_United_States

            The police in the US use force regularly, even in non-violent situations. And several of your “examples” are simply claims being made by opposition activists without any evidence to back them. Many of these claims and fake photos have already been proven false. Perhaps you should use the same discretion you use for government claims when you hear opposition claims.

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            • Wow, wait. I did say, to comply you had to submit a presidential statement praising the behavior of law enforcement in those cases, calling them exemplary or completely normal or something similar.

              Your homework is still incomplete.

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              • The president didn’t praise the behavior in those cases, because those cases are unproven allegations, and dubious to say the least. Anyone can claim anything, but that doesn’t mean it happened.

                As I said above, the president did respond to the one clear case of abuse, and the officer was arrested.

                The only one who should be doing their homework here is the one who posts all kinds of links to baseless allegations and claims they are fact.

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              • 1, 2, 3 and 6 are pretty well documented. You can see the pictures right there. Please refute those specifically.

                The “abuse” you mean is a SEBIN officer shooting at unarmed civilians with live ammo. Talk about an understatement.

                Listen, pal. The president said the national Guard had acted adequately, and no higher up in the National Guard (like the General Commander or the Chief of Staff) has been sacked. A proper response to misconduct is something along the lines of Colombian President Santos’ removal of the Joint Chief of Staff for not keeping their underlings under check.

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              • “The “abuse” you mean is a SEBIN officer shooting at unarmed civilians with live ammo. Talk about an understatement.”

                This whole idea that the opposition is unarmed is utter nonsense and you know it. Even the very photos that this post is based on clearly show the opposition protesters are armed. Anyone who has gotten anywhere close to any of the barricades knows they are armed. For example: http://www.radiomundial.com.ve/article/fiscal%C3%AD-de-lara-inici%C3%B3-investigaci%C3%B3n-por-asesinato-de-hermano-del-diputado-francisco

                So how about we cut the bullshit and stop lying about things we all know?

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              • Spin doctor in the house!

                Show me a picture of a student armed in 12F.

                That’s when the SEBIN officer shot at the unarmed students.

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            • Did you notice that most of the cases in the above link also state the consequences for the officer as a result of their poor judgement? The US officers are not all saints, and not always right, but there is always a system of checks and balances…. THAT is the difference.

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            • In the meantime (while you complete your homework), don’t think I didn’t notice that instead of citing a “List of US Human Rights appropriate Police Procedure”, you cited a List of cases of police brutality.

              You were the one to introduce the US as a yardstick for adequate law enformcement practices. Yet the US police incidents that compare, by your own initiative (I haven’t gotten into it yet, because your homework is still incomplete, pending the presidential endorsement) to the Venezuelan events are called over there “Police Brutality”.

              So don’t even try to back away now from Venezuelan law enforcement practices being National Guard brutality, and National Police brutality.

              Being sponsored by the President, the cabinet, several governors, the Prosecutor General, and acquiesced (on account of her silence) by the Ombudswoman, the Parliament (the majority hasn’t condemn it); We are talking about State Brutality, using your very own evidence and standards.

              I’m still waiting on your homework, though.

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              • “We are talking about State Brutality, using your very own evidence and standards.”

                Except for one tiny detail: you haven’t given any credible evidence that what you claim is even happening. You’ve presented baseless allegations and unclear photos/videos that purport to present things that they actually don’t present. I guess using discretion before jumping to conclusions isn’t your strong suit.

                Hint: It is not considered police brutality if the police are using force in order to neutralize violence being perpetrated against them or against others, or in order to arrest people who are resisting arrest. Your “evidence” up above doesn’t comply with the most basic requirements of evidence: it doesn’t prove who actually committed the offense, or it doesn’t prove that the alleged offense ever occurred in the first place.

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              • http://caracaschronicles.com/2014/02/25/the-full-scale-of-whats-happening-in-san-cristobal-isnt-getting-through-because-of-the-media-blackout/#comment-125703

                As I said, 1, 2, 3 and 6 are pretty well documented.

                In 1, the picture shows a female National Guard beating a subdued female protestor in La Isabelica. There was no violence to neutralize as the protester was already pinned down.

                In 2, the picture shows several National Guard officers beating an unarmed older man. There was no violence from the guy to neutralize.

                In 3, you can see Sukhoi. It’s also public and notorious that government is flying them over Tachira. A fighter jet is not a proportional response to riots.

                In 6, there’s a video of two National Guard officers vandalizing a parked unoccupied car. A parked empty car perpetrates no violence against anyone.

                Refute these cases specifically.

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              • So you admit that of the 7 things you posted, 3 are not evidence of anything. Almost half were bullshit.

                Now let’s look at the remaining 4. Flying an airplane over a city does not constitute police brutality, nor did it hurt any of the protesters in any way. It is a questionable tactic, but certainly cannot be considered violence.

                One of the videos of broken car windows CLAIMS it was done by the GNB, but does not show who did it. So we can throw that one out too. (Opposition protesters have done MUCH worse vandalism than these car windows, by the way, but I notice you don’t mention any of that.)

                So what your “evidence” comes down to when we sort out the bullshit is ONE official breaking a car window, and TWO incidents of police hitting civilians (who may or may not have been committing violent acts and/or resisting arrest, the photos don’t tell the whole story). That’s your evidence of this supposed horrible repression by the government? Sorry, but you’re gonna have to come up with something more than that.

                I’m not saying the police haven’t crossed the line a time or two, but that’s a loooooong shot from a repressive police state.

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              • I didn’t admit the other three were non true, those were testimonies from victims, family members and attourneys. I decided to concentrate on the rest, since you’d just dismiss them as he said-she said.

                Flying a war plane over your own citizens, just because there a re riots, is not standard procedure anywhere. It’s intimidation of the worst kind.

                The video doesn’t claim those were GN. It shows they were GN. They have the uniform, the bulletproof vest, the military grade rifle, the official vehicles. What do you expect? for people to go down and ask them for their ID card? unsuccessful rebuttal.

                The girl wasn’t in a “may or not be” resisting arrest. The female national guard pinned the protester’s arms with her legs, proceeded to take off her helmet and beat the protestor’s face with her helmet, the protester was already neutralized. unsuccessful rebuttal

                The old guy was surrounded and beaten, instead of being pinned down and handcuffed.

                There’s the dead students, this repression, and the president endorsing the national guard’s actions as adequate.

                In a real democracy, the head of the law enforcement agency involved in such scandal would be dismissed EVEN BEFORE launching and independent investigation, as a way to condemn the events. There’s no such stance in Venezuela.

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              • “The video doesn’t claim those were GN. It shows they were GN.”

                Only one shows this, where one officer is seen breaking a window. The other video just shows broken car windows and CLAIMS it was the GNB and tupamaros. And if it were the tupamaros, this is no different than opposition radicals who have done much worse in recent days.

                “The girl wasn’t in a “may or not be” resisting arrest. The female national guard pinned the protester’s arms with her legs, proceeded to take off her helmet and beat the protestor’s face with her helmet, the protester was already neutralized.”

                The photos don’t show this. You cannot see the officer beat the detainee at any point. But even if it did occur, one or two examples of the police overstepping the bounds in the context of an eruption of violence does not make a police state.

                “The old guy was surrounded and beaten, instead of being pinned down and handcuffed”

                Again, photos don’t show this. Police often must fight with a detainee in order to subdue them.

                “In a real democracy, the head of the law enforcement agency involved in such scandal would be dismissed EVEN BEFORE launching and independent investigation, as a way to condemn the events. There’s no such stance in Venezuela.”

                Uh, actually that’s exactly what happened. The head of SEBIN was dismissed. So you admit that Venezuela is a “real democracy”.

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              • The video showed the GNB officer breaking a car window. Which is vandalization of private property.

                It’s pretty well established that Marvinia Alejandra Jiménez Márquez was brutally beaten by a female GNB officer as you can see in the video after 2:00 (around 2:30). It’s worth noting Marvinia has phisical disabilities in a leg and and arm, so double points for the GNB there.

                I haven’t found the video of the old guy beaten with a bat… YET (although beating someone with a rifle instead of restraining them is also not police procedure anywhere), but I did find a video of a civilian and a couple of GNB officers throwing rocks at residential homes without any provocation.

                here’s some more GNB brutality

                And yeah, It’s true that head of SEBIN was dismissed, and that’s a necessary yet not sufficient action in a State that respects human rights. But let’s go back to GNB, after Marvinia’s beating, the President endorsed GNB actions as adequate and the vice president called on an auditorium to applaud GNB actions in regards to these protests. http://www.eluniversal.com/nacional-y-politica/140225/arreaza-ojala-oposicion-asista-manana-a-la-conferencia-por-la-paz

                So no. The GNB has not been reprimended. More likely than not, the SEBIN guy was actually fired for the killing of Juancho instead of the 2 students.

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            • Either:

              A) You are right that the violence by authorities and their supporters is justified by the violence of the protesters, or

              B) you’re wrong and the violence by the protesters is justified by the violence of the authorities and their supporters.

              If (A), then the authorities are doing a terrible job at getting these delinquent few in line so that the rest of the population can go back to the harmonious, promising lives to which Maduro leads.

              If (B), then the authorities are committing a terrible crime.

              Either way, you’re defending the terrible.

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    • It’s indicative of the weakness of your “argument” that you don’t dare use your real name when justifying the violation of human rights just because someone sets up a barricade.

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      • Yeah plob500, JC thinks your argument is weak because you don’t use your real name. And pointing out that someone doesn’t use their real name on an internet blog is a really good argument against them…

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        • Actually , “Anon” is a very good blog name. After all, “Anon”= “No tiene nombre.”
          Spanish speakers know what THAT means.

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          • Es el mismo tipo de siempre con otra de sus identidades get a clue, honestly, etc Supongo que CENCOEX liquido la deuda por gastos de representación y promoción de la revolución.

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        • So Chris finally is back!!!

          Where are the iranian auto makers these days Chris? I remember you told us to sit tight and watch for the car revolution.

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    • It’s really not that complicated, but it looks like you desperately need a lesson in basic human modes of conduct:
      If a government is performing poorly in many ways, people have a legitimate reason to protest. If the government does not heed the demands, people have the right to continue protesting until their demands are heard and actually given a response. If instead of doing this they repress the protests, people are going to protest more aggressively, and as the citizens respond, so too will the government step up its repression, which only begets more violent reactions. This could easily be avoided if the government just did its God. Damned. Job. and rectified its mistakes instead of further fueling the problem. Which brings us to these pictures of Tachira and your one-sided view of the spectrum.
      Did we learn something new today?

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      • That’s a nice fairy tale. Perhaps fit for telling around the camp fire. But in the real world everyone knows the protests began violently with the vandalizing in San Cristobal. And no, protesters do not get to demand a response from a government. That isn’t how this works. Governments do not have to respond to protests. In fact, in the US they rarely get a response at all from the government, and if they did ANY of the things these protesters are doing they would get a much harsher response from the government. You all secretly know this, but you pretend you don’t. Can you imagine stringing barbed wire across the streets of Manhattan and the city simply canceling public transit as a result? Didn’t think so.

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        • There was no rocking throwing or anything else until the authorities cracked down on the initial protests in early February, arresting students protesting about the lack of safety on campus.

          What you see now is simply the reaction of weeks of government crackdown and violence aimed at the community, including shooting tear gas into apartment buildings.

          Why did the chavista governor of Tachira himself say the government was using too much force??? Chavistas are not known for criticizing their own, so his statement speaks volume.

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          • These problems are due to the different economic contexts of the two countries. What we are comparing are the political responses to violent protesters. Try to stay on topic.

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        • You make it sound like the protesters are a group of cuatro loquillos as Maduro said, when it is clearly not the case. You’re dealing with half the populace, which includes opposition members as well as people who simply did not vote, so the government indeed has to respond to the demands or risk losing stability. What’s more is that insecurity, inflation, impunity and corruption have no political affiliations, this affects everyone on all sides, so this is beyond mere ideology.
          In the US I see no blatant displays of these four factors, nor of the many other abuses the government here does. Can you imagine the US allowing armed thugs, whatever their political tendency, to run wild unpunished in Manhattan? Can you imagine the US running prison systems the way Iris Valera does? Can you imagine Obama arresting Chris Christie in a military prison based on trumped charges and zero incriminating evidence?
          You sir, have the mentality of an autocrat. The image you have in your mind of Venezuela and its government is the fairy tale. For shame.

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          • No, the government does not “risk losing stability” unless people are trying to overthrow the government, which is illegal and unconstitutional. And the claims that there are armed thugs running wild just doesn’t hold. The ONLY incident in which it was shown that someone was firing at the protesters the government immediately arrested the offender. As for detentions, if this were in the US every single one of those people you see in the photos would be in prison right now. Every. single. one.

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            • So, Chavez back in the old days was doing something illegal and unconstitutional, correct?
              Overthrowing elected governments is against the law, but you’re thinking that democratically elected governments can do no harm or can’t end up breaking the law themselves, only because they represented the will of the majority. Democracy is much more than winning elections, and that point has been discussed before on this blog.
              The fact remains that if a democratically elected government over time ceases to uphold the foundations upon which it was built, it becomes necessary to remove it. This is also in Constitutions all over the world. Whether it is through force or through legal means is purely up to the government in power to decide.
              The fact that you ignore all this and the fact that you choose to believe that there are no such things as armed thugs roaming our streets only proves to me that you did not study nor do you work in anything remotely associated with political sciences, and that you do not live in Venezuela (Or, what the hell, maybe you’re a chavista writing from some ministry for god knows what reason because I cannot fathom whom you pretend to convince on this blog).
              As a parting gift, I’ll humor you: Let’s take the most recent example of violent unrest in USA, the LA riots. More than 50 dead and thousands more injured, damages and widespread looting estimated at hundreds of thousands of dollars. To this day, some cases of those riots remain open and unsolved. “Every. Single. One.” of those rioters detained? Claro que siii, campeon!.
              The crux of the matter is that Americans don’t have that many reasons to resent their government enough to barricade the streets of major cities, because USA has a little something called effective division of powers, an opposition actually watched over by the law, respect for legal positivism, and functioning political institutions.
              Good talk, Anon. Still waiting on that list, by the way.

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            • It is neither illegal nor unconstitutional to demand a political officer’s resignation. Presidential resignation is clearly allowed by article 233 of the constitution.

              Illegal and unconstitutional would be taking an option outside of article 233 which allows: resignation, Supreme Justice Tribunal decreed destitution, disqualification by a medical board designated by the TSJ with parliament consent, abandonment of office declared by parliament and popular recall.

              Non-sanctioned mechanisms include: false arrest, arbitrary arrest, murder, kidnapping, or any mechanism not presented in article 233.

              According to article 68, citizens have a right to protest peacefully and unarmed. (Like 12F)

              What IS illegal and unconstitutional according to article 68 is using fire arms (like the SEBIN guy) and toxic substances (like tear gas, everywhere).

              Nice try. Good luck next time.

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    • And I just can’t understand why you’ve stopped sipping your champagne to enter this debate. I thought life was rosey in the socialist paradise?

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    • Anon
      Yes, poor students just want to express their dissent.
      And yes they do it by building barricades, throwing stones and blocking transit.
      And yes, again, they are renouncing the authority of the state
      So we are in agreement after all !!
      They express their dissent from the oligarchy entrenched in Miraflores
      they use barricades, throw stones and block transit, because that is their only weapon against the Bourgeoisie governing their country.
      And they renounce the authority of the state, because they are the true Revolucionaries, those that really want a better future, in true Democracy, without the Oligarchy and the Bourgeosie that has stolen their country.
      Revolucionaries that want to get rid of those that have surrender the independence of their country to an imperial foreign power.
      Anon, you and I also have to agree that the people have the right to throw away their oppresors, have the right to demand non facists goverments, where ALL THE PEOPLE have a right to live in Peace, where you can express your opinion without fear or retribution.
      To live and work for your family and country, not live in abject poverty because of the tariffs imposed by the crown in Havana.
      Viva la Revolucion!!

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      • “They express their dissent from the oligarchy entrenched in Miraflores
        they use barricades, throw stones and block transit, because that is their only weapon against the Bourgeoisie governing their country.”

        Or they could do it the way most the world does it….. through elections. And thanks to this government they’ll have the chance to recall the president pretty soon. But a revolution AGAINST the poor and AGAINST democratic elections? Sounds really revolutionary.

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        • Yes you are right, and that is what these revolucionaries are fighting for, tue and democratic elections.
          The oligarchy and bourgeoise that holds the goverment, have stolen from the poor people and made them poorer, that mother, in the ” barrio” that cries every night because she can’t feed her children, where her husband has been improsened for the last 2 years , and he has not even been charged yet, that barefooted and sick child, that plays within the sewage of the ” barrios”, that young man that cannot find a job.
          All of them deserve a future, an education, free health care, help with their housing, All of Venezuelans deserve the oportunity to live better lives, but the oligarchy aided by the crown in Habana, has stolen all of that.
          The bourgeosie lives like kings, on the back of the poor people.
          So this is a Revolution for the Poor, the Destitute, for the Children, and for our Youth….

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          • “The oligarchy and bourgeoise that holds the goverment, have stolen from the poor people and made them poorer”

            Except not. Poverty is way down from the 1990s.

            “that mother, in the ” barrio” that cries every night because she can’t feed her children,”

            Uh, caloric intake per capita is up almost 50 percent.

            “where her husband has been improsened for the last 2 years , and he has not even been charged yet, that barefooted and sick child, that plays within the sewage of the ” barrios”, that young man that cannot find a job. All of them deserve a future, an education, free health care, help with their housing, ”

            I hear you man. But these problems go way back, and overthrowing this government isn’t necessarily going to solve them. It could even make them worse.

            Besides, what would you say to the majority of the population who voted for this government to stay in power TWICE in the last year alone. To hell with them?

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            • And I hear you too.
              you are right, poverty is down, caloric intake is up.
              The fact that before Chavez, there was corruption and illicit enrichment, does not discount the fact that today those practices continue.
              And the ones that pay for those practices are the poor, the destitute and the marginalized.
              How is it possible that one of the richest country in the world, exists the levels of poverty we encounter today in Venezuela.
              And yes you are right once again, these problems go way back, but today’s bourgeoise and the elite had a compromise with the people, they were elected based on the promises they made.
              And those promises were not kept, Poverty is still rampant, lack of proper housing, medicines, food, and most importantly a total absence of ” Future”
              And to the voters that voted for this goverment I am not saying to ” Hell with you”, at the contrary they are the ones that deserve that the promises made to them, be kept, we all should fight with everything we have so those promises, become reality.
              Not a single child should go hungry, not a single human being should be without a proper Home, no one should be without medical care, everyone should have access to education, we all should feel secure, young men should not have to resort to mugging to survive.
              So we are looking for a true Revolucion, the one that will give us a a goverment that will truly represent the interest of the destitute, the poor and the marginalized.

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              • Oh, no, man. It makes perfect sense if you don’t bother factoring in the whole inflation thingamajig. Admittedly, inflation is a bit of a performance buster. That and a peg on ye olde bolivar, which, for computational purposes, hides the tricksy inflation when touting incomes and poverty reduction.

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        • “Or they could do it the way most the world does it….. through elections.”

          This is nonsense.

          Every democratic country in the world has way more demonstrations than elections. The US (your favorite yardstick country) has constant demonstrations for and against gay rights, immigration reform, budget reduction, abortion laws, gun control, lifting the embargo on Cuba, discrimination against religious minorities, police brutality, etc.

          In particular, a radical wing of the republican party insist Obama should step down because the believe he wasn’t born in America.

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    • I bet you celebrate the 1989 and 1992 “popular rebelions”, let me guess, it’s worth celebrating that the poor people violently revolt against the corrupt, incompetent “burgois” goverment, but it’s awfully unacceptably wrong if middle class people violently revolt against the corrupt, incompetent “proletariat” goverment.

      If the crisis continues this way and democratic avenues to express dissent and compete in fair elections continue to be reduced it will become more likely that people will protest more violently, similar to the way communist guerrilas took arms in the 50s and 60s.

      I agree that guarimbing it’s bad and all, but it’s the expression of a frustrated middle class that see no future in the current path set by the goverment. If anything like the repression that have been filmed in the last days here in Venezuela would happen nowadays in the US, a giant scandal would follow with lots of police people jailed or fired.

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    • Well anon, when you are attacked with guns you arm yourself with whatever you can. The building of barricades…etc is a reaction to government repression of the right to protest as established in the Venezuelan constitution.

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    • “These poor peaceful students just want to express their dissent. It has nothing to do with openly renouncing the authority of the state”.. Yes, they are. Rightly so. Thieves do not deserve to wield power.

      Chavismo wouldn´t become government and even less so “tolerated” in “most countries in the world”. At least the ones worth living into.

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    • I buy almost everything except food and clothing from online auctions most people aren’t aware of the almost unbelievable deals that they can get from online auction sites the site that has the best deals is http://bit.ly/1hiWedi

      I checked with the BBB and was told that it is all legit. How they can sell gift cards, laptops, cameras, and all kinds of goodies that we all want for 50-90% off, I don’t know I do know that I bought my son an ipad there for less than $100 and my husband a $250 Low gift
      cards for 48Why would I even think about shopping anyþlace else?

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    • I buy almost everything except food and clothing from online auctions most people aren’t aware of the almost unbelievable deals that they can get from online auction sites the site that has the best deals is http://goo.gl/Pt036z

      I checked with the BBB and was told that it is all legit. How they can sell gift cards, laptops, cameras, and all kinds of goodies that we all want for 50-90% off, I don’t know
      I do know that I bought my son an ipad there for less than $100 and my husband a $250 Low gift
      cards for 48Why would I even think about shopping anyþlace else?

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  2. It’s really bad NOW? This is how it began in San Cristobal from the very beginning with attacks on the governor’s residence, etc. Oh, but you didn’t really say much about that at the time because you were busy maintaining the false narrative of “peaceful” protests. Whoops!

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      • Hmmmm, I didn’t have any problem seeing the photos of vandalism and violent protests from San Cristobal right after it occurred. But maybe if you keep claiming that there is “hardcore censorship”, and keep writing in ALL CAPS, then maybe people will start to believe you.

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              • And you have been pretending the protesters are “peaceful” for weeks now, when everyone knows its not the case. The photos are just another example of your hypocrisy.

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              • a) It’s not clear to me that barricades are *not* peaceful.
                b) From our FAQ
                Are the protests peaceful or violent?

                Both. The bulk of the protests have been peaceful. Some of the protesters have resisted the National Guard and the riot police with rocks and in occasions, with molotov cocktails. Barricades have been erected all over the country, often using burning tires.

                Get it? The *bulk* of the protests have been peaceful – doesn’t mean all of them are. We’ve been honest as to how we’ve characterized the protests.

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              • JC,

                Even your ONE sentence on the entire blog in which you admit some are violent, the distortion is glaring. You say the protesters have “resisted” the National Guard, as if the aggression first came from the National Guard and some protesters just decided to “resist” with violence. Everyone knows that’s not the case, and that this whole thing began with violent protests in San Cristobal in which oppo students vandalized the governors palace. The protests were violent from the very beginning, and this is why the National Guard has responded the way they have.

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              • Toro,

                Right, its “trolling” to actually, you know, discuss what you are arguing and how it compares to the evidence. Of course you would want to shut that down right away, for obvious reasons.

                By the way JC, nowhere do you mention that opposition protesters are also armed, as can be seen in the photos, and that they have also KILLED multiple people. That might, oh, you know, portray things a little differently, no?

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              • I think it’s clear the bulk of the deaths have come from the ranks of protesters – not to mention the detentions and allegations of torture.

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              • The bulk of the killings after last year’s elections were Chavistas, but that didn’t stop you from denying that they occurred, and blaming the government for them now did it?

                It needs to be determined who is responsible for the deaths, not just which side the dead were on. Government officials who were responsible for killing innocent protesters should go to jail immediately. However, violent protesters also belong in jail. You complaining about “detentions” makes no sense. That is PRECISELY what needs to happen. Those causing violence need to be punished. On both sides.

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              • Evidence of colectivo and state forces using and wielding guns are everywhere. Ultimas Noticias, not exactly an oppo newspaper, documented clearly who was doing the shooting on 12F. Their pictures/video plainly show the colectivo that day was killed by the same person who also shot a protestor, a plainclothes govt gunman. That’s why Maduro was forced to say on TV that the intelligence services were acting against his orders by being at the march. The only reason Maduro even acknowledged it, apart from any power struggle behind the scenes (the colectivo killed had criticized and threatened corrupt government officials), was because it came from a pro-government paper.

                There are dozens of videos, probably more, of GNB and colectivos taking potshots, beating protesters, and firing tear gas into apartment buildings and private residences. What action has the government taken?

                Regarding last year, you claimed that all killed were Chavistas. Now you are backtracking as it was pointed out that among those 8 Maduro claimed were killed, the father of the only one who was ever named said his son was not a Chavista and had been killed protesting AGAINST the stolen election.

                Those on this blog are well informed on what is going on in Venezuela. Take your lies elsewhere, somewhere where you might have better luck, maybe the comment section of CNN.com or some other place.

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              • “Evidence of colectivo and state forces using and wielding guns are everywhere.”

                State forces, yes. Colectivos, not so much. And guess what? The state forces in virtually every country on the planet wield guns. Especially when confronted with violent groups. Just because there was a plain-clothed officer in the video is not evidence of “colectivos using guns”. If you think it is, then you obviously don’t have capacity for objective thought.

                And dozens of your videos have been shown to be fake. But, again, it is not unusual for police forces to use force when confronted with violent groups engaging in illegal activities. What IS unusual is for people to think it is okay for violent groups to vandalize government property and block major roads, and that the government is somehow repressive when they respond with force. Every government on the planet would respond that way, most with much more force.

                You demonstrate just how well-informed you are when you refer to the elections as “stolen”. I take it you still don’t know that all of Capriles examples of fraud were proven false?

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  3. “Around her neck, like a scarf, she wore a diaper printed with small teddy bears. It was soaked in vinegar, to ward off the effects of tear gas, in case of another attack.”

    ¡El poder creativo del pueblo!

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        • I think Maddow does a good job (for the most part) in trying to put forward facts and angles. She has an affinity that some will agree with and some will not. Of late, I have noticed some new comments contributors trying to link the US centre-left to anything and everything scurrilous and outrageous re Chavismo. Those who embraced Venezuela’s petro-populism should hang their heads in shame for having given celebrity endorsement and cover to a corrupt, authoritarian and violent petro-regime. Wanted to nip in the bud any momentum (and distraction) the comment might have commenced. The Maddow video is quite entertaining and highly prescient regarding the socio-political descent over the past year and the complete mess that is February 2014. (PS) Is CITGO still spending money on public diplomacy through subsidized heating oil in the US Northeast?

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    • Anon is clear evidence the VIO is back in the saddle. I guess they got more funding given that Maduro intends to send an ambassador soon.

      Already hearing rumblings at the embassy here in DC about “media reach outs” and other activity.

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  4. For 15 years now the govts has been exercising a slow motion, low profile , routine violence, scalating the last few years which smothers peoples lives, robbing them of their dignity , of their hopes , of the every day things they need to lead a normal life , of their freedoms, suffocating them until they can take it no more and are roused into protest .!! Every day your hear them: the Regimes Untouchable Mighty heap abuse and insults and threats upon you , take away your right to hear free opinions expressed , to know the truth of govts malfeasances, brutal corruption , blunders , your right to go and buy the food and medicines and other staples you and your loved ones need to live , your right to get a decent job , to be able to afford things with the money you earn because of runaway inflation, to travel , to buy a car , to a safe life protected from the attacks of a growing horde of crule and vicious criminals , Instead your are subjected to a process of gradual emasculation through a system of systematically programmed fear !!.
    All this growing violence and youre supposed to take it , gratefully , humbly , stupidly because its done in the name of that ramshackle farse they pompously call a Revolution and the memory of that naricisitic nincompoop who arrogantly gave away the countries wealth to buy the applause of foreign tyrants .
    Well there is in humans a limit to the amount of abuse they can take before they rouse themselves to revolt , to protest, to respond to the arrogant violence of the regime with their own kind of liberating violence .
    What we see in Tachira , and now spread to the rest of the country begun as a peaceful protest which as the repression of the regime increased has become in some places more and more violent , still the violence is largely restrained compared to the violence which is meted out to them by the ‘forces of order’ and their armed paramilitary helpers . Almost all the dead and injured from these disturbances come not from the ranks of the police and their páramilitary supporters but from the ranks of plain people defending their streets and homes from armed invasion , and also the defense of their right to free assembly and expression !! The filmed documentation demonstrating the abuses of repressive govt forces and their motorcylce riding goons are incontrovertible and massive !!
    And yet violence has to be held back to allow the processes of a civil assertion of peoples rights to take effective steps to quell and contain the govts many abuses .!! We admire the spirit with which the people of Tachira have acted to uphold their dignity but also recognize the need for such expressions of protest to rein themselves enough to allow more quietly effective froms of dissent to advance the cause of all Venezuelans who suffer from the regimes abuses and blunders .!!

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    • Also remember that those that argue for an electoral solution forget that Lopez was disqualified from running under B.S. allegations (among many other undemocratic shenanigans by Chavez over the years)

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  5. Francisco,

    I read your OpEd in the NYT. Well done!

    I read the article before I read the by line, and was thinking, “Wow! They are finally starting to get it.” Then I saw it was by you. But, in a way, the fact that you are able to get published there, shows they a beginning to understand.

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  6. When you justify a goverment using armed thugs to shoot tear gas inside the homes of THEIR OWN people by saying “The US does it too” you really should consider stepping down from your sanctimonious high moral ground, stop judging everyone elses opinion and maybe taking a good look at your own

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  7. FT: A+ on linking to Neuman’s article, to Kohut’s photo essay, and to your penned op-ed, all in the NYT.

    Loved your mockery of the latest leftist label: fascist. Yesterday, I finally figured out the reason for using nomenclature that produces head-scratching in normal minds. The clue is simple: Obfuscate by labelling your enemy with the very words that apply to your own actions, but which you wish to hide, for their contradictory nature to your playbook.

    So it works like this.

    In the face of vast, accumulating wealth, which you wish to hide, for riches being contrary to your stated politics, label the enemy you’re trying to economically choke to your benefit, an “oligarch”, a “mantuano”. Give these labels a patina of hatred, and have your trained seals rinse and repeat.

    In the face of increasing repression and violence, which you wish to hide from the world, label the enemy you’re trying to destroy, a “fascist”. Give this label of patina of hatred and have your trained seals — including media enablers abroad, not all of them so innocent — rinse and repeat.

    In the face of increasing sovereign interference from Cuba, and massive aid packages to the detriment of your own country, both of which you wish to hide from the world, exaggerate puny funding from the NED, concoct subversive elements from the CIA and wallpaper these to cover up your own nefarious designs.

    Dummies or self-serving idealists will fall for it all, every time.

    Loved the translated chant at the end, so true, so accurate, so under-reported.

    “No way! No way!
    I’m not going to take
    The Cuban-style dictatorship
    You’re shoving in my face.”

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    • Add to “oligarch” and the now passé “mantuano”, this pearl of popular economic betterment: “squalid” or “escuálido”.

      While you’re at it, don’t forget to underline that you don’t want the poor rising to “squalid” conditions. Meaning, you want ‘em to stay poor.

      And THAT is what differentiates the left from the centre, or even the right. Use palaver to pretend to care about the poor, but make sure they know their place.

      Proof? Hector Rodríguez, minister of Education, warned today on state media: “We’re not going to lift people out of poverty in order for them to be middle class so that they can pretend to be squalids”. No siree. The poor ultimately have to know their place. (That shouldn’t be too hard given the dismal and factual results of 15 years of non-efforts by the 5th republic to improve economic conditions.)

      http://www.eluniversal.com/nacional-y-politica/140225/rodriguez-no-vamos-a-sacarlos-de-la-pobreza-para-que-se-vuelvan-escual

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      • Syd, all very good! These are the same tactics applied by Chavez, and most dictatorial regimes in general, until most fall apart from their own incompetent weight. The sad thing is the level of ignorance in Venezuela generally is so high, particularly in the core Chavista base, exacerbated by communicational hegemony only seen in the past in the most repressive Communist and fascist regimes worldwide, that a goodly number of Venezuelans actually believe the Government lies. Hopefully, since most thinkig/informed Venezuelans have not/probably will not emigrate, as their counterparts did in Cuba, the Venezuelan final outcome will be one that is beneficial for the Country.

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  8. Anon knows that the tide of international opinion is turning against the Venezuelan government and he is scared. Even most liberals in the US are against Maduro. It’s only the absolute lunatic fringe of the left that would support the Bolivarian Revolution. The Danny Glover sorts.

    The topic of physical violence aside, no matter at the hands of the government or the oppostion, there’s no justification for the other forms of NON-physical violence / repression that the Venezuelan government dishes out against its own people. I’m talking about the intimidation against people in the private media who’ve dared to speak out in the past, the sudden revoking of TV stations’ licenses when they are not towing the government line, the cadenas that are forced to be played on top of the private TV and radio stations’ broadcasts, the takeover of private industries, the fact the common citizens only have a set allowance of dollars to spend on their vacations outside the country (even though it’s their own money that they’ve earned and should be free to spend), the absolute disregard for rule of law, the lack of checks and blances between the the executive and other branches of government that causes a lot of this chaos….and the list goes on. I think I’m only scratching the surface here.

    It’s amazing to me that any educated person could still believe in the Bolivarian revolution. That it actually works. Anon, and other fools, may of course, be able to point out certain truthful instances of where Chavez/Maduro have helped out this cause or helped out that person, but what about the society as a whole that has been dragged down? Some people may have been lifted up a little, while most people have been dragged down a LOT. I have family in Venezuela. Middle-class…or at least they were. I’m not sure that label would fit them anymore. I think not. My father-in-law in Venezuela hasn’t been able to find a job for months. We loaned my in-laws some money so they could at least get their car repaired and he could go out and find a job or least use his car as a taxi. That money was loaned to them in July and he still hasn’t been able to find parts to repair his car. This same father-in-law was once car jacked, several years ago, and lost that car. I visited Caracas in late 2009, and back then, the grocery stores seemed relatively normal. I don’t recall it taking too long to find what you needed and check out…but look at the grocery stores now! Things have only gotten progressivley worse as the “revolution” has progressed. And let’s not forget…even those people who have been lifted up….a little, are still living in poverty/misery, with the rest of the people who’ve been dragged down. The other countries in Latin America that have reduced poverty without the “revolution” also speaks volumes.

    So let’s respond to Anon anymore. Because his bull shit comments are just a distraction. Instead of talking about the non-violent forms of repression and the failure of the “revolution”, he would prefer to keep us arguing about who’s causing more of the phyical violence.

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      • Iguana_Master_7000, I suspect that you are not far off at all, Anon’s [No tiene nombre] incessant, obsessive rants have the flavor of Chris Carlson, a.k.a. Gringo in Venezuela [had a website at one time], Clueless in Caracas, Get a Clue. Chris Carlson is a certified, hard-core PSF. He’s been around for years and years. And years. Google “Chris Carlson” @ venezuelanalysis.com: 28,000 odd hits.

        How much material support Chris Carlson is getting for this, I have no idea. He has been doing this for years. It would not surprise me if this were a labor of love, or done for arepas and a place to stash a sleeping bag. If he has an independent income, it would not surprise me that he was doing this for free, as he has the fervor of a true believer. If the Revo is giving Chris Carlson material support, I doubt that he is getting Eva Golinger-type compensation.

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        • Yes, style-wise/vocabulary-wise, Anon. is almost certainly GAC. He’s doing the same thing now with “proving” the protests/Government actions aren’t what they really are that he used to try to do about “proving” statistically that the Venezuelan economy was full of great achievements–that is, until the bottom fell out with massive inflation and just-beginning massive devaluation. He spends way too much time and effort trying to defend the indefensible not to be on a Government payroll of some sorts. It is a complete waste of time to refute, or even engage him.

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