[DEBATE] : Chavez and the students
glparramatta at greenleft.org.au
Mon Nov 19 22:08:40 GMT 2007
check out these videos which show right wing opposition students attacking
and attempting to burn down the School of Social Work at the Central
University of Venezuela, where about 100 Chavista students and staff were
hiding. The opposition claimed that they were attacked by "violent pro
government gangs", but this video, shows that it was the opposition who were
clearly the violent ones.
one video was taken by a cell phone by Chavista a student trapped inside the
building - the opposition students said they were going to lynch them.
Another video was taken by reporters from Avila TV, (an independent tv
station run by youth), Jon Goiciocea, oppostion student leader then
publicised the phone numbers and ID numbers of these reporters, the
implications being "get these people·"
Also I recieved reports of opposition students attempting to burn down the
PDVSA office in Cumana in the state of Sucre yesterday, and the Governor,
Ramon Martinez, from Podemos, (previously aligned with Chavez, but now part
of the opposition) ordered the police to do nothing.
There have also been other violent incidents accross many of Venezuela's
universities the past few days, with rightwing students attacking Chavistas,
and rightwing students even attacking each other (at the University of
Zulia, a student from one rightwing faction shot a student from another
rightwing party, Primero Justicia).
Chavistas and leftwing students are trying to organise against this, but the
majority of the private and autonomous universities are controlled by the
rightwing, with extremist armed groups operating inside the universities
with the open support of the university administrations.
The proposed reforms would democratise the universities, making one student
vote equal to that of an academic staff vote, in the elections for
University board etc, currently staff votes are worth 10-30 student votes on
different unis - the university administrations are utterly opposed to this.
For background info on why Venezuela's universities have become the bastion
of the extreme rightwing in Venezuela please see:
The Battle for Venezuela's Universities:
Venezuela's resurgent revolutionary student movement
Who's Pulling the Strings? Behind Venezuela's "Student Rebellion"
Wednesday, November 7, 2007
MEDIA MANIPULATION OF VENEZUELA EVENTS
This week has been pretty active in Venezuela, to say the least!! On the
ground, things are heating up with the campaign for the referendum on
the constitutional reform, which will take place on December 2, 2007.
The pro-reform folks are the "SI" (YES) block and the anti-reform and
opposition folks are "NO" this time around. On Sunday, we had a major
march in favor of the reform.
were tens of thousands of pro-reform supporters in the streets of
Caracas that marched 7 miles from Parque del Este to Avenida Bolivar to
hear President Chavez speak. Most international media didn't report on
that, but rather has spent its time reporting on the minor opposition
student protests that continue to destabilize and provoke violence
throughout the nation.
Today, Wednesday, November 7, there was an opposition student march to
the Supreme Court in Caracas to symbolically hand over a document
protesting the constitutional reform as unconstitutional to the members
of Venezuela's highest court. The students marched relatively peacefully
throughout the center of Caracas and a small commission of students
entered the Supreme Court, were received by the judges and even had a
chance to read a statement before the high court members that was
broadcast live on national television. This event went without any
violent incidents, unlike last week's opposition student march to the
National Elections Council (CNE) that resulted in students trying to
illegally chain themselves to the staircase inside the CNE headquarters.
That incident did end in some violence and obvious reaction from state
security forces, though no major injuries occurred.
After the march to the Supreme Court (TSJ), the oppositional students
returned to the Central University of Venezuela (UCV) and proceeded to
kidnap a group of approximately 60 pro-reform and pro-Chavez students,
including Libertad Velasco, one of the more well known leaders of the
revolutionary student movement. Since public universities have autonomy
over their security, state security forces were not able to enter
immediately to resolve the situation and rescue the hostages. Private
media, such as Globovision, reported that there was an "irregular
situation" at the UCV, and later showed images of what they termed
"pro-Chavez" supporters armed and firing at the oppositional students.
What they did not tell their viewers was that those oppositional
students had kidnapped a group of about 60 pro-Chavez students inside
the Social Work school of the UCV and the "armed" individuals that
entered the ground were members of Venezuela's Civil Protection unit,
that entered the UCV after almost an hour had passed, to rescue the
hostages. Images broadcast later on national television clearly show the
hostages running out of the building on the UCV campus once rescued by
the Civil Protection officers. Gunshots were fired up into the air to
ward off the violent kidnappers, not to injure them in any way.
Unfortunately, in the confrontations before the Civil Protection
officers were able to enter the UCV grounds, 9 students were injured,
International media and wire services, such as Associated Press,
published this photograph:
claimed that government forces are repressing students in Venezuela.
Take it from someone on the ground who is closely monitoring all events:
The Venezuelan government is doing everything in its power to allow
these students to freely enjoy their rights to protest without
permitting them to destabilize the country, create chaos, and place in
danger the lives of citizens. These types of protests that these
students freely enjoy in Venezuela would NEVER, I repeat, NEVER be
permitted in the United States. There is just no way the US Government
or any city, state or county's police force would permit students to
take the streets and public spaces almost daily, throwing molotov
cocktails and bottles, as well as other debris, at the police, while
damaging public property. In the US, thousands of them would be jailed
and subjected to severe repression. Venezuela, on the other hand, is
overly permissive with these protests and despite the ample freedom
enjoyed by all sectors in this country, the international media distorts
the scenario and attempts to paint a portrayal of the Venezuelan
government as repressive. Repressive is the US government, permissive is
Stay alert to the media manipulation and the growing threat of a
"colored revolution" (termed the "Marigold Revolution") in Venezuela
(like Ukraine, Serbia, Georgia, etc).
Published on venezuelanalysis.com <http://venezuelanalysis.com>
Pro-Chavez Students Blame Opposition Students for Violence at University
Kiraz Janicke - Venezuelanalysis.com <http://Venezuelanalysis.com>
Caracas, November 8, 2007 (venezuelanalysis.com
<http://venezuelanalysis.com>) - Violent clashes erupted between
pro-government and opposition student groups on Venezuela's Central
University (UCV) campus Wednesday after a march of approximately 10,000
opposition students against proposed constitutional reforms returned to
Initial media reports surfaced that a student had been killed, however,
the National Director of Civil Protection and Disaster Management,
Antonio Rivero, who intervened in the conflict, confirmed that there
were no casualties, but that one student had suffered a gunshot wound in
the leg and eight others had minor injuries, including trauma and
The Dean of the Faculty of Law at the UCV, Jorge Pabon, claimed on
private TV channel Globovision that "a gang of armed individuals stormed
in the campus and lambasted the students who were returning from a march
to the Supreme Tribunal of Justice (TSJ)."
Pabon referred to the group as pro-government. "They are violent groups
that respect nothing; all that they want is to impose what they please
in a given moment," he said.
Pabón said that some students were wounded, particularly a student from
the School of Mass Media, whose "ear was broken."
However, UCV student Andreína Tarazón said that it was the
pro-government students who were attacked by an armed group.
"We were sticking up posters in Social Work in support of 'Yes', [ in
support of the constitutional reforms] when they attacked us with tear
gas bombs, they said we were going to lynch us, we made a barricade,"
Unedited footage from Avila TV showed a mob of predominantly male
opposition students, some wearing balaclavas and tear gas masks,
surrounding the School of Social Work, (where around 123 pro-Chavez
students and administrative staff were hiding), throwing rocks, chairs
and other objects, smashing windows and attempting to burn down the
Tarazon said that the university authorities witnessed the attacks by
the opposition students, "but they did nothing."
Human Rights Lawyer, Eva Golinger also said the violence started when
the opposition students surrounded and attacked the pro-government
students in the School of Social Work.
After approximately one hour National Civil Protection officers
intervened in the conflict and acted to secure the release of the 123
students and staff trapped inside the building. Images broadcast later
on national television clearly showed the hostages running out of the
building on the UCV campus once rescued by the Civil Protection officers.
Golinger said shots were fired into the air during the rescue operation,
but the incident in which students were injured occurred prior to the
intervention by the Civil Protection officers.
President of the UCV workers' union, Eduardo Sanchez, said that
"supposed reporters" from private media channel Univision, were also
carrying guns and accompanied the group that attacked the School of
While it remains unclear exactly how the violence started an
unidentified group of armed men, wearing balaclavas also allegedly
entered the campus and set alight to a bus and fired at students.
The opposition media has blamed the attacks on armed government
supporters; however in April 2002 the same private opposition media in
Venezuela circulated false claims that government supporters had opened
fire on unarmed opposition protests in order to justify a military coup.
It was later revealed that the shots were fired by snipers placed in
surrounding buildings and formed part of a plan to generate a political
crisis and facilitate the coup.
In politically polarized Venezuela, the elite private and public
universities have become a bastion of right wing opposition to the left
wing government. Extremist groups and armed gangs operate openly inside
the universities. Last week a student was shot at the University of
Zulia in a conflict between two armed gangs. Although the opposition
initially tried to blame it on the government; it was later revealed
that the incident was unrelated to the political situation in the country.
Clashes between pro and anti-government student groups have also
occurred on other university campuses around the country in the past few
The reforms include a proposal which would democratize Venezuela's
universities, making one student vote equal to that of one academic
staff vote. Currently, the vote of one academic staff member in the UCV
is worth 10 student votes, although this differs around the country,
such as in the University of Carabobo, where one staff vote is worth 30
student votes. However, university authorities are vehemently opposed to
the reforms, claiming among other things, that they violate university
Minister of Justice, Pedro Carreño, made a nationally televised call for
calm and for opposition students and the private media to "return to the
fold of democracy" and warned all Venezuelans to be on alert against
provocations over the next few days.
The opposition march to the TSJ, demanding the referendum on the reforms
be postponed until February 3 2008, was relatively peaceful. However,
Vice- Minister of Justice, Tarek El Aissami, said one student was
arrested carrying explosives.
Progressive students have rejected the violence at UCV and called on the
opposition students to participate in a peaceful debate on the reforms
at O'Leary square in Caracas today.
Ender Pernía, an Economics student at UCV said that the students who are
opposed to the reform "are throwing away a historical process trying to
destroy the dreams coming from the struggles of all student sectors ".
Video of the clashes at the university
Opposition student throwing tear gas bomb at government supporters
trapped inside the School of Social Work UCV (ABN)
Source URL: http://www.venezuelanalysis.com/news/2814
Mandi Smallhorne wrote:
>Does anyone have contacts inside Venezuela who can reliably tell us what
>this is all about?
>New Statesman, 15 November 2007
>Skirmishes in major Venezuelan cities in recent weeks have culminated in a
>shoot-out in Caracas at the Central University on 7 November, leaving nine
>The violence follows a series of student-led protests, which have ranged
>from calm to brutally violent in the run-up to a referendum due to be held
>on 2 December on President Hugo Chávez's constitutional reforms. Under
>these, the president can stand for indefinite re-election.
>Startling footage from the scene showed masked bikers wielding shotguns,
>students in gas masks hurling Molotov cocktails through clouds of tear-gas,
>and general chaos as terrified groups scattered at the piercing cracks of
>Fighting broke out after students returned from a peaceful march to the
>Supreme Court, where they had been calling for the referendum to be delayed
>to allow more time for discussion on the reforms. The courts are unlikely to
>grant that demand.
>What happened next depends on whom you talk to - or which television station
>Globovisión, the only public access channel to remain critical of the
>government after the forced closure of Radio Caracas TV in April this year,
>blamed pro-Chávez troublemakers for instigating the violence. It reported
>that a bus full of students was pulled over, emptied and then torched by
>"Bolivarian Circles" - Chavista loyalists, who the opposition has branded a
>"militia" armed by the government, a charge denied by the president.
>Globovisión went on to report that the Bolivarians entered the campus on
>motorbikes and opened fire on students, who retaliated in "self-defence".
>Venezuelan newspapers, which are generally hostile towards Chávez, reported
>News channels sympathetic to the government, which now make up the majority
>of broadcasters, reported that "fascist" students attempted to "lynch" an
>innocent group of Chavista loyalists holed up in the social studies
>faculty - the only pro-government stronghold on a campus hostile to Chávez.
>Zarida Seijar, a 25-year-old pro-Chávez student who was among those trapped
>inside the building, maintained that the anti-Chávez protesters were the
>aggressors. "They were shouting that all Chavistas were going to die; we
>were terrified. When we realised the police weren't going to come, we
>started texting our friends who came with guns to save us," she said.
>Whatever the precise sequence, it is clear the student movement has become
>the most powerful and well-co-ordinated resistance group against President
>Chávez. Born during the closure of Radio Caracas TV and spurred on by the
>defection of the former defence minister Raú Baduel, the angry students have
>no single figurehead or well-defined agenda. But their increasing militancy
>and the strong-arm measures taken to quell them is taking their message of
>defiance to an international audience.
>Speaking to Latin American leaders at a summit held in Chile two days after
>the protests, Chávez claimed that the students are part of a "fascist
>offensive" under direct control from Washington. "The United States
>organised the 2002 coup and now it is doing the same in Caracas, supported
>by the media and CNN," he said, which was denied by the US embassy in
>Caracas. Brandishing copies of newspapers portraying his supporters as the
>instigators of 7 November violence, Chávez insisted: "It's the other way
>round; it was the rich kids [who where responsible]."
>By the time Chávez delivered these words, an eerie calm had descended amid
>the charred detritus around the campus. But feelings still run high. Those
>who oppose the reforms - which would grant yet more powers to the executive
>and president - see this as their final opportunity to thwart Chávez's
>ambitions before Venezuela undergoes irrevocable change.
>"We don't know what we will do after this; it really could be our last
>chance. These reforms centralise all control," said 19-year-old Veronica
>Brito. "Universities have always been places where federal politics have
>been off the table. Under this new constitution, they would lose their
>Other controversial measures include granting the president direct control
>over the Central Bank, eliminating freedom of information in "exceptional"
>circumstances, and a loosening of the state's obligation to adhere to
>human-rights legislation. Intellectual property would be abolished,
>monopolies prohibited, and the president would assume the right to appoint
>regional vice-presidents, reducing elected governors to ceremonial
>positions. The military would be redefined as an "anti-imperialist popular
>entity", and the threshold number of signatures necessary to trigger further
>referenda or elections would be raised across the board.
>But support for the proposals remains strong; around 60 per cent according
>to one newspaper survey - thanks mainly to grass-roots loyalty and the
>inclusion of popular measures such as a six-hour working day and more
>welfare support for workers. Significantly, 5 per cent of state revenues
>will be set aside for a new "popular power" fund to finance projects such as
>Chávez's much-vaunted communal councils. The councils, expected to total
>around 50,000 by the end of the year, have been hailed as an innovative
>mechanism for devolving state power and funding.
>Even though the student movement is aiming to ratchet up the pressure with
>further rallies, Chávez still looks set to maintain his clean sheet of
>electoral victories. Only a nationwide outburst of mass opposition could
>interrupt Venezuela's inexorable socialist metamorphosis.
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