OK, so my title is a little bit wishful thinking at this time, but we are on our way there: anyone following Twitter accounts from Venezuela will realize that today, at day 5 of the first official protest of February 12 in Caracas that there are more than half a dozen flash points across the country. Of variable sizes for sure but what is remarkable is that they persist. What is more remarkable is that even as I chose February 12 at the start, we should not forget that these protests started a few days earlier in Tachira and Merida before spreading across the country: this is not, it bears repeating, a caprice from Caracas Eastern suburbs inhabitants, this is the expression of a national malaise, like it or not.
It is true that "el pueblo" as unhappy as it may be, is not joining in large amounts the protest. Many reasons for that. A material one is that they have no time for that since they must dedicate hours everyday to stand in line for basic food staples. If there is one thing the chavista regime has been successful at is to blackmail these unfortunate people into a forced loving submission, a phenomenon that will deserve as much study as the Stockholm syndrome got. Another major psychological barrier at joining the protest is that for many in "el pueblo", after having professed eternal love for Chavez, voting for him once and again, even for his dead body through supposedly Maduro, it is damn hard to admit that you got it all wrong. But worry not, even if MA-CAB-RO manages to repress this outburst the next one will be hunger protests and those, my friends, are not as easy to repress...... (1)
But the time has come to give some organization to these protests that have escaped the hands of politicians. Leopoldo Lopez, Maria Corina Machado and Ledezma who did not quite know, I am sure, what they were starting February 12 are now on the run. An order of arrest for the first one, a threat to disenfranchise her from parliament for the second one and nothing for the third one that the regime considers a nobody (but surely something will happen to him soon enough). Since there are in no condition to assume leadership of the protest, their political organizations not prepared for the extensive need for body guards and hundred of constant followers that protect such kind of revolutionary leaders, it fell on Capriles today to come out and try to assume the leadership, even if at first he was not only critical but almost condemnatory as it sapped his own waning leadership. But I suppose that they all got to their senses and all realize that as soon as one falls into the hands of the regime, the others will follow in short orders.
Whether Capriles found his Damascus moment or pragmatism hit him in the face, he went today on CNN to announce the next steps. The reader that still reads this entry should be reminded that the Venezuelan air borne media IS NOT transmitting any of this, unless duly tuned down, if at all. If you have no cable TV, no Internet culture, in places like San Felipe you would have no idea what is really happening elsewhere in the country. The regime has already shut down a Colombian network and my guess is that it is a matter of hours when they will force out of the cable grid CNN.
Capriles announcements were according to the moment. He supported Leopoldo Lopez (message: you get us all because we are all in this together even if we have our differences). He called for a nation wide protest which details and time will be announced in hours (message: no matter what censorship you try to pull on us we are going to show you that the country is truly upset and that we trust that "el pueblo" is becoming receptive). He is calling to expand the protest motives to food scarcity and inflation (see "el pueblo" comment above, message: even without TV or radio or newspapers I am going to prove to you, MA-CAB-RO that you are on your way out because of your incompetence and corruption and that is the true reason we are all upset).
So there we are, the final confrontation is being prepared.
Ultimas Noticias has a partial video of Capriles intervention earlier. It bears noting that Ultimas Noticias was sliding towards chavismo lately but this week there has been a strange reaction from their part. Not only the Capriles video comes up fast but this morning they had a thorough investigation of what happened February 12 on one of the murders that day that will not please the regime. I am putting that video also, after the one from Capriles.
1) A wit in Twitter came up with MA-CAB-RO
El trío MA-CAB-RO (MA-duro, CAB-ello, RO-driguez Torres) cada vez se enreda más ... A ratos se ponen la capa de caporucita, siempre rojitaThe trio MAduro, CABello, ROdriguez [prez, Nazional Assembly and interior minister] is contradicting itslef more and more. At times they wear the hood of red riding hood, always red [untranslatable pun where RRH is caperucita and he writes capOrucita for their mafia like actions]
— Alfredo Weil (@AlfredoWeil) February 16, 2014