[News] The Truth About Venezuela’s Opposition

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Mon Nov 7 13:16:10 EST 2016


https://www.jacobinmag.com/2016/11/venezuela-maduro-opposition-violence-capriles/?utm_campaign=shareaholic&utm_medium=facebook&utm_source=socialnetwork 



  The Truth About Venezuela’s Opposition

Lucas Koerner is a staff writer and editor at Venezuelanalysis.com.
November 1, 2016

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For the corporate media, “blue lives” seem to matter 
<https://www.jacobinmag.com/2016/07/philando-castile-alton-sterling-black-lives-matter-dallas/> 
in a lot of places. Just not in Venezuela.

On Wednesday, October 26, 2016, the Venezuelan opposition convened 
nationwide demonstrations <https://venezuelanalysis.com/news/12751> 
against the government of President Nicolas Maduro, protesting the 
national electoral body’s decision 
<https://venezuelanalysis.com/news/12736> to temporarily suspend 
preparations for a presidential recall referendum pending investigations 
into fraud.

As was to be expected, international media lauded the protests, 
rejoicing at the idea that the Maduro “regime” was now in its death throes.

“Mass Protest in Venezuela Demanding End of ‘Dictatorship’ 
<http://abcnews.go.com/International/wireStory/venezuela-braces-anti-government-protests-amid-crisis-43061587>,” 
wrote the AP. “In Venezuela, ‘Maduro For Longer’ Spells Trouble 
<http://www.forbes.com/sites/kenrapoza/2016/10/27/in-venezuela-maduro-for-longer-spells-trouble/#11cd5ec67c23>,” 
salivated /Forbes/.

“As the situation worsens, it is only logical that more Venezuelans will 
be driven by desperation to rise up. If there is more bloodshed, Mr. 
Maduro will be responsible,” wrote 
<http://www.nytimes.com/2016/10/27/opinion/a-dangerous-standoff-in-venezuela.html> 
the /New York Times/ editorial board.

Yet strangely missing from the narrative of the Venezuelan opposition’s 
peaceful march to victory over a cruel dictatorship was the small detail 
of the murder of a Venezuelan police officer by demonstrators Wednesday 
evening.

Miranda state police officer Jose Alejandro Molina Ramirez was shot and 
killed 
<http://www.telesurtv.net/english/news/Venezuela-Police-Officer-Shot-Killed-During-Right-Wing-Protest-20161026-0023.html> 
while attempting to disperse a protest near the Pan-American Highway in 
the southeastern Caracas municipality of San Antonio. In a graphic video 
<https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cB4LIV-zft0&feature=youtu.be>, Ramirez 
and other officers can be seen approaching a group of demonstrators when 
they suddenly come under gunfire from what appear to be the nearby 
buildings.

While Venezuelan media reported 
<http://www.eluniversal.com/noticias/sucesos/muere-efectivo-polimiranda-disipar-manifestacion_624375> 
the incident as a confrontation between police and opposition 
protesters, international media sought to separate the crime from the 
day’s demonstrations.

The /Guardian/ suggested 
<https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/oct/27/venezuelan-opposition-calls-direct-action-force-referendum> 
that the Miranda state police “did not link the incident to the 
opposition protest,” yet offers no quote from the police department in 
question. A review of the local department’s Twitter feed as well as 
local media accounts fails to uncover any such announcement. Nor does 
the newspaper bother to cite Interior Minister Nestor Reverol’s official 
statement that the homicide occurred in the course of a law enforcement 
effort to disperse demonstrators.

Although the /New York Times/ 
<http://www.nytimes.com/2016/10/27/world/americas/nicolas-maduro-venezuela-protests.html> 
and the /Miami Herald/ 
<http://www.miamiherald.com/news/nation-world/world/americas/venezuela/article110589762.html> 
indeed mention the killing in the context of the day’s protests, both 
newspapers consider the episode sufficiently unimportant to merit no 
more than one sentence each.

To its credit, CNN 
<http://edition.cnn.com/2016/10/26/americas/venezuela-protests/> does 
include the homicide in its headline, devoting one line to the incident 
before going on to cite “opposition leader” Henrique Capriles’s 
unverified figures for the number of injured and imprisoned from the 
day’s protests. Absent is any indication that Capriles is in fact 
governor of Miranda state and as such is responsible for the safety its 
police personnel.

Despite being updated late Thursday afternoon, the CNN article likewise 
makes no mention of Venezuelan attorney general Luisa Ortega’s official 
figures <https://venezuelanalysis.com/news/12756>, which include 
eighty-six people injured nationwide, including twenty-six police and 
National Guard personnel.

Reuters, meanwhile, succeeds in suppressing 
<http://www.reuters.com/article/us-venezuela-maduro-protests-idUSKCN12R2J8?feedType=RSS&feedName=topNews&rpc=932> 
any mention of the dead cop at all, preferring to highlight “veteran 
activist Maria Corina Machado and jailed protest leader Leopoldo Lopez’s 
wife Lilian Tintori” who it said are urging “Gandhi-style civil 
disobedience.”

The irony that these far-right figures were key protagonists in 2014’s 
violent antigovernment protests — which left forty-three dead, over half 
of whom <https://venezuelanalysis.com/analysis/10580> were government 
supporters, police and National Guard troops, and passerby — is lost on 
the international news service.

Why does the mainstream media systematically under-report or outright 
ignore the Venezuelan right’s almost nonstop violence against Venezuelan 
government personnel and institutions?

Because reporting incidents like the killing of Molina, the wounding of 
twenty-six other officers, attacks 
<https://venezuelanalysis.com/news/12751> on socialist youth leaders in 
Cojedes or state cultural workers in Amazonas threaten to slaughter a 
sacred cow — namely the idea of a peaceful and democratic Venezuelan 
opposition.

After all, it’s difficult to argue that Venezuela is an “all-out, 
no-more-elections dictatorship 
<https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/global-opinions/wp/2016/10/21/its-official-venezuela-is-a-dictatorship/?utm_term=.a48a7d22345e>” 
when you have an opposition that wins elections and holds regular, 
authorized protests where its activists frequently attack police, civil 
servants, and government supporters, often with complete impunity.

It’s inconvenient to report these uncomfortable facts that show 
opposition leaders’ utter disregard for the rule of law, which is 
normally considered a sacrilege by Western journalists.

Yet no one seems to care that Henrique Capriles has yet to issue a 
public statement condemning the homicide of a police officer in his 
state during a protest that he himself led. Contrast this with the 
media’s eagerness to report 
<https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/post-politics/wp/2016/07/08/texas-republicans-blame-black-lives-matter-for-shooting-of-dallas-police/> 
Texas lieutenant governor Dan Patrick’s comments blaming Black Lives 
Matter for the killing of Dallas police at a protest earlier this year.

Nor does the international media hesitate in calling hard-right 
opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez a “political prisoner 
<http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jared-genser/venezuela-amnesty-law_b_9679576.html>_._” 
Lopez — who previously played an active role 
<https://venezuelanalysis.com/analysis/11452> in the 2002 US-backed coup 
for which he was granted amnesty — is currently serving a thirteen-year 
prison sentence <https://venezuelanalysis.com/analysis/11508> for public 
incitement to violence and criminal conspiracy during 2014’s 
antigovernment protests.

In the United States, he would likely be facing a much stiffer sentence 
or possibly life imprisonment for such offenses. Compare with Puerto 
Rican nationalist Oscar Rivera López, who is currently serving a 
fifty-five-year sentence in US federal prison for seditious conspiracy 
despite the fact that “he was not convicted of any violent crimes 
<https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/jul/10/puerto-rico-last-political-prisoner-oscar-lopez-rivera>.”

Sadly, the international media has a lot more tears 
<http://www.nytimes.com/2016/07/02/opinion/in-venezuela-political-prisoners-as-pawns.html> 
to shed for Leopoldo Lopez than it does for the victims 
<https://venezuelanalysis.com/analysis/11953> of opposition violence.

In most cases, “blue lives” apparently matter an awful lot — except when 
they’re serving under a self-declared socialist national government that 
has been branded an “unusual and extraordinary threat 
<https://venezuelanalysis.com/news/11872>” by the United States.

    Adapted from /Telesur/.


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