Roughly one month ago I asked what the end game in Venezuela might look like as the country continues to spiral out of control. Judging by what’s been happening this weekend we may be getting close to an answer to that question. Despite the ramped up “militias” of President Nicolas Maduro and the dozens of people who have died in violent clashes between protesters and militia groups, starving and disaffected citizens continue to take to the streets. In one Venezuelan city, a statue of former dictator Hugo Chavez was torn down and smashed in the streets. (Video via the Daily Mail)
This is kind of a big deal, to paraphrase a quote from Joe Biden. Chavez is still considered the father of the revolution among hard core socialists and Maduro is basically his successor. Granted, this statue isn’t nearly as large as the one of Saddam Hussein which was famously torn down in Baghdad, but it’s still a powerful totem to the socialist movement. Seeing angry citizens tearing it down and smashing it in the streets is a demonstration of precisely how much the bloom has come off the rose of the socialist revolution.
The day after the statue incident, another protest march took place, this time featuring mostly women wearing the white shirts which have come to symbolize the opposition party. (Or, in some cases, going topless.) This may have resulted in fewer beatings and deaths, but the militias still barred them from reaching the government buildings they’d hoped to protest in front of. (Associated Press)
Women banged on pans and some stripped off their white shirts Saturday as they protested Venezuela’s socialist government in an event the opposition billed as a “women’s march against repression.” As they marched, local media carried a video showing people toppling a statue of the late President Hugo Chavez the day before in the western state of Zulia.
Thousands of women took over streets in major cities all around the South American country. Wearing the white shirts of the opponents of country’s increasingly embattled government, the women sang the national anthem and chanted, “Who are we? Venezuela! What do we want? Freedom!”
Some sported makeshift gear to protect against tear gas and rubber bullets. Others marched topless. One woman came in her wedding dress.
Here’s a quick visual which demonstrates how some of the people are now willing to go so far as to use “the D word” when speaking of the president. The sign reads, “Out! Dictator, Foreigner, Communist”
There are many more images in the library provided by the Daily Mail I linked above and they’re powerful. But that doesn’t mean that Maduro has been swayed by the plight of his people. Still, the wheels seem to be coming off the wagon. There is what appears to be a war taking place in the streets between the socialist regime and the people it has completely failed, leaving them without food, jobs or access to medical care. An armed revolt may be the worst possible outcome in terms of the toll in human life and suffering, but every day it’s looking more and more like a possibility. All of this could be avoided if Maduro would either step down or call for immediate elections which are transparent and fair. But I wouldn’t hold my breath for either of those things happening.