Archive for December 9th, 2007

Gasolina, Hermanos

Venezuela again.

Here’s an interesting TV programme (en español) about the ‘student movement’ in Venezuela.

People in these parts -that is, my home office- when thinking about student movements, think cool slogans inspired by Marcuse and stuff, and not ‘Do you want to be a lawyer? WELL NO. Now you will be a MINER.’, which -however much you try and stretch your imagination to make it palatable- is simply not cool.

The caricature of Chávez with thick lips is none too subtle either.

Back in the day when Venezuela was a democracy, in the 1980s, the police would use live rounds of ammo on student protesters, sometimes from helicopters. Since Chávez plunged the country into dictatorship, the police have been using worryingly light-handed tactics.

Anyway, there was this big incident not so long ago, represented in the world’s media as pro-Chávez students firing on opposition students, the latter supposedly having been hemmed in to the grounds of a university by the security forces after returning from one of their marches. Only it wasn’t like that at all: see, the opposition students came across the pro-Chávez students putting up posters in a faculty building, so they decided to burn the building down, blocking off the exits, firing bullets and throwing petrol bombs and tear gas cannisters into the building. With the pro-Chávez students inside, of course, along with the staff. Chants of ‘they’re going to die, the chavistas are going to die’ can be heard on the tape. The security forces were unable to intervene, since the vice-rector of the university demanded that the autonomy of the university be respected. Firing shots in the air, as one of the witnesses observed, was the only way of getting enough room to evacuate the building. Oh – and the students didn’t even belong to the university, and they targeted the social work faculty for its leftist tendencies. And some of the opposition students wear Celtic cross symbols, which -sorry, GAA fans and Gardai- are often used by neo-Nazi groups.

Apart from that: the clenched fist logo used by the students was nicked from the US-backed Serbian student movement OTPOR. Or maybe not – it coulda come from the US-backed Georgian student movement, or the Russian one. Holy shit: it isn’t just the logo! It’s the entire student movement! Apparently getting fresh-faced young students to go out and protest in colour-coded ‘revolutions’ is all the go these days. In fairness, it wasn’t just the US administration: the Vatican was in on it too. And Silvio Berlusconi. And the Partido Popular. Like, totally cool.

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December 2007