Thursday, March 24, 2011

Are self starving students managing to expose the inner workings of the regime?

Self starve, wreck an Imperial McDonald!
Self starvation is becoming increasingly popular these days in Venezuela, and I do not mean to be facetious.  I did write a few weeks ago that I was perturbed about that audacious game of starving oneself to death as a protest form in front of a regime that has so little value for human life (in English and in Spanish).  There is a mix of lots of individual courage, some recklessness and a tad of showmanship involved; but these students are dealing with the biggest showman that Venezuela politics ever have had, someone that does not take easily to be outperformed, and someone with the violence behind him to exact revenge when time comes.

And yet it worked: the first hunger strike by students in front of the OAS forced the government to recognize that there were bona fide political prisoners in Venezuela and that the judicial system was there to serve the interests of Chavez.  There was not even a pretense to consult the High Court before releasing some of the prisoners.  Even if the freedom of political prisoners is not complete, even if the judicial system remains genuflected in front of Chavez from now on there is no need to accuse the regime of such evils: they have been proven, they are an established fact.

A very "bourgeois looking" student,
sewing his mouth
But at the same time another hunger strike was starting and this one was much harder to understand and yet will expose equally well the regime.  This time a new group of students demanded that the regime pays its promise to education, that there was no excuse not to provide campus with the minimum funds for them to operate.  It is still early to predict the outcome, and things are getting ugly as students are doing one of the grotesque habits learned in pathetic Venezuelan jails: to sew one's mouth in protest.  The government is refusing so far to meet with the students whose sole demand is that the minister in charge receives them and the university rectors for a frank dialogue where real decisions can be made that satisfy both parts.

But the regime cannot dialogue because it is a military regime in nature and for a military regime dialogue is equivalent to defeat.  A military regime knows this very well in its core.  Historically since Chavez reached office any, ANY promise of dialogue never took place, and the feeble attempts to which it was forced too were never carried through Chavez but through his underlings until the regime found a way to dismiss the proceeding and move on a new offensive.  El Caudillo cannot dialogue, he can only give orders.

And thus this time around the regime cannot find its voice because what looked at first as a silly hunger strike gamble in front of a totally useless UN dependency (1) is turning out to be quite revealing of its warts.

For example we can consider the attitude of the University Minister, a rotating post where all fail and where none manages the real goal chavista goal which is to submit the autonomous universities where chavismo is regularly defeated by margins as high as 5 to 1.  The infelicitous Yadira Cordova, who probably received a Cuban like order not to meet the students, has gone as far as saying that they were manipulated, thus bringing the old and very tired argument of the chavista collective paranoia that all is a conspiracy against the bright revolution.  A very Cuban strategy, by the way.  And a very understandable projection sine none in the regime will say something original, something that does not closely toe the party line.

Chavista freedom loving students, yeah, right.....
The regime also tried to call for a march of its students, those that it wants to sell as real students.  Unfortunately I can witness that there was no such a spontaneous gathering of chavista students and that the bulk of the march was conformed by public employees told to go or less.  My S.O. working in the public administration was drafted and he sent me a few pictures such as the one I am posting on the right and to open.  It was clear to all that it was a poor show, reflecting the lack of imagination of the regime who still think at this point that political battles are won by whomever manages to have more people hitting the streets. Never mind if groups of them deface a McDonald along the way while some other bolivarian students stopped by inside for a bite to eat, as seen by my S.O. among many other interesting stuff he saw.

Other more grotesque and absolutely tasteless strategies were tried.  A group of chavista "students" went to set a barbecue stand in front of the hunger strikers and offered them meat, claiming that they were worried for their health.  They eventually tossed the meat at them.  We get regular reports that at night motorbike gangs with hidden faces drive in front to intimidate.  And at the most infamous late night chavista show of La Hojilla they showed a video of supposedly a hunger strike student eating a sandwich.  Even though the said student declared later that he was not on strike, tha the was on the support team and thus had to hide and not eat in front of his comrades, VTV keeps passing over an over the libelous  "scoop".  These days we are reminded daily of the thuggish ways fo chavismo, unable to rise to the situation, always sinking to the lowest gutter it can fit and resorting when all else fails to mere unjustified disqualification.

And yesterday a Chavez that cannot dodge the issue anymore tried to dodge it anyway attending the graduation of a Bolivarian University promotion, a promotion that will not be able to find a job in the private sector because sadly their diplomas are worthless as they spent more hours studying socialism ideology  than technology.  You should have heard the speech of the valedictorian (?) and wonder if you would even want to hire him as a cab driver.  Once there Chavez promised a few things that coincided with the claims of the starving students.  And yet these are not going to lift the strike until they receive a written promise by the regime, from Chavez or the minister in charge.  Why? Because Chavez has promised so much and given so little for them to believe his words in a cadena.  The regime's word is worthless.

This is where the surprising success of the strike is coming and how slowly but surely they have become a part of a much larger mobilization of which they are becoming the leading face, whether we like it or not.  The students are not asking for much in a country which spends billions in useless weaponry, that wastes hundreds of millions in rotten food, that is known for its largess to its foreign pals.  And the country understands that, sees that there is no excuse for a "social" regime not to increase scholarships, not to provide food in student cafeterias and refuse to make decent teachers wages just because it wants universities embrace its ideology.  The students on strike are not asking anything for themselves, they are pleading and sacrificing for all students, chavista or not, from elementary school to campus.  The point of chavismo inefficiency, misuse of money and egotism is suddenly and mercilessly driven in the heart of the regime.

And thus we must embrace these striking students with all our heart because they are proving to us that there is some decency left in Venezuela and that the fight for our future is worth fighting.


1) UNDP in English, is a UN organization which among many tasks has to evaluate the progress in human development.  In Venezuela it has lost some credibility because it has accepted the statistics of the regime at face value (which it does with any government).  We can understand that the UNPD does not have the means to verify the human index for every country in the world but we cannot understand that UNDP has not expressed clearly that it doubts the numbers of some countries where democracy and transparency do not prevail.


  1. "Viva la arepa!" LOL

  2. Generally any energy flowing in the correct direction will help.Passive behavior and resignation will not.As long as there are so many people working for the government and pretending to be Chavistas,or folks who get contracts through Chavistas, it will be hard to get rid of Chavez...because too much energy will be flowing in the wrong direction.
    Anyone who takes a strong stand, and takes risks gets my vote.I keep that one simple.

  3. 1979 Boat People10:23 PM


    Just to light up your day.

    Vietnam cop 'beat cabbie for not running light'

    Have you ever heard such similar story in Venezuela? If NOT then It is NOT THAT REALLY BAD in Venezuela after all.

  4. I don't know if you guys have read this blog: "Cesar Guevara Irreverente".

    The guy is a chavista, but he dares to critize the government and give warnings to what's wrong to Chavez himself. His latest post is about the ex-chavistas. Quite interesting...

    I do believe that the student's hunger strikes, the public protests like the one of the nurses cruxifiying themselves, the cacerolazos, plus their own stupid mistakes one after the other, are working slowly but surely.

  5. I wonder if chavistas will adopt the "written promise" approach. That would be a sight to see.


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