The regime tonight has crossed one of those big, sloppy, obvious, dangerous red lines tonight. The kind of crossing from where there might not be a return point. Not that I am picky on that, as far as I am concerned that red line was crossed when RCTV was closed. But I digress.
Yet, arresting the mayor of Caracas, the highest recipient of votes in the country after the presidential vote, a reelected mayor, and well reelected at that in spite of all the bias in favor of the regime's candidate who was then named as a sabotaging shadow mayor anyway, breaking into his office with dozens of goons, some masked, breaking the window pane to enter the office, arresting, or rather, kidnapping him since there was no arrest warrant or judicial order shown, shooting live bullets in the air to disperse curious and protesters, and probably more that I am not aware of, is truly a Rubicon.
Let's not be mistaken about it: tonight arrest of Ledezma is only comparable to arrests in the middle of the night in the darkest regimes of totalitarian nature.
This being said, what are the regime's intentions? What is next?
Clearly that show of force is a proof of weakness for the regime. This is a group of people that feel very threatened, very isolated and have an urgent need to destroy all in front in the vain hope that this will avoid what they feel, at least at a subconscious level, their own coming downfall. The question here is why now? After all this is still a regime that does have significant support even if it far from a majority now. It is a regime that has almost all power levers in hand, no critical media in front and still some oil revenues. A normal political group would make the best of the cards it still holds to try to make some amends to gain some time to regroup. But the wave of repression in recent weeks betrays a divided regime, scared as hell, cognoscenti of the true economical disaster they are trying to hide. Their only unifying factor is to become all guilty of the most absurd, uncivilized, and barbaric, repression.
Ledezma is only one link in the chain pulled. A few students and Leopoldo Lopez have been languishing in jail or courts for the past years (not forgetting all of the political exiles and other jailed folks from years ago). The arrests of Julio Borges and Maria Corina Machado are a mere matter of days apparently. The night is rife with rumors for the oncoming arrests of the remains of the leadership of Voluntad Popular. It is unavoidable that Capriles' own arrest nears, barely slowed down because his quality of former presidential adversary is judged too hot by the regime as long as the rest has not been arrested first. Soon in the opposition alliance MUD there will be left only the compromised, those like Ramos Allup who are thought to play double agents as evidence is piling up. But even having contacts inside chavismo will not save them in the end.
Again, all of these was predictable, speculated on in this blog and elsewhere. This is a dictatorial regime and the only surprise at this point is that so many people inside the opposition still try to pretend to justify democratic mechanisms that tonight we know, once and for all, are not viable with a regime that understands "dialogue" as a polite synonym to "submission".
Thus we must understand the triggers. A normal regime would have been heartened by the modest public show of support for Lopez yesterday morning (even considering that the country is coming from the major Carnival holidays and that people prefer to stand in line for food rather than attending political activities). And yet what matters to them is the stern rebuttal of the foreign Spanish minister to the idea of blackmailing Spanish companies in Venezuela into browbeating Rajoy's government to muzzle his press. What matters to them is that CNN was able to interview by phone Lopez without them preventing it, and that interview revealed the brutality in which Lopez is held even though he is not declared guilty yet, even through a kangaroo court.What matters to them is that in spite of all its efforts the regime cannot control information. That is just too much for them and I posit that it is what is sending them in overdrive before the real bad news on hunger riots, and narco generals indicted in real courts of justice, start crowding the screens in the whole world.
What next? I do not know. The time of definitions have come for the opposition. Protesting in the streets is useless at this point as the regime is clearly ready to kill. Nor it is needed as 2014 enlightened enough the world on the nature of Maduro's regime.
My modest suggestions is that the opposition becomes more vocal and direct than it is. The truth of the disaster must be spoken and the people must be told. Who cares about "not scaring Peoria" when it is clear that even a putative electoral victory will not be recognized by the regime? It is a little bit like the South African situation, demanding that countries put sanctions upon our country. If we want to be taken seriously, we must start acting seriously. The world is listening now, even Clinton tweets on us.
Unfortunately for us, in a country where people tweet in anguish more about how many dollars will be available to travel than the lack of medicine we cannot hope that ambiguous politicians like Ramos Allup or Henry Falcon will have the will to stand up when the upright ones are in jail.
Leopoldo López and the political prisoners in Venezuela should be released without delay.
— Bill Clinton (@billclinton) February 20, 2015