The economic damage and cruelty that the Venezuelan people have suffered (first, under the late President Hugo Chavez, and more recently, under the regime of Nicolás Maduro, who succeeded Chavez in 2013) is palpable. One only needs to strike up a conversation at one of the student coffeehouses or visit the offices of Cedice, the thirty-year-old free-market think tank that has refused to bend or bow to the regime, to realize that the government has failed to extinguish the flame of liberty.
Yet, dozens of students are in jail and more than a thousand have been indicted. Reports of torture are common. The government has tried to co-opt them, intimidate them and even lure them into a farcical “dialogue.” But they have stood their ground.
As Juan Requesens, leader of the youth revolution, told me on my recent visit to the Bolivarian Republic, these students—who have known no other government than the cult of Chavez, “chavismo”—have no intention of giving up. “We will not sit down until they free political prisoners and stop all manner of torture.” They will continue their fight until true democracy under the rule of law is restored.