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  HOME | Opinion (Click here for more)

VenEconomy: An Armed Revolution of Fear, Silence?

From the Editors of VenEconomy

Hugo Chávez always touted “his revolution” as being “peaceful but armed.” A half-truth that remains even though Nicolás Maduro, the Castros chosen one, is the one leading the way in Venezuela.

For starters, the “peaceful” adjective is completely debatable. A supposed pacifism is belied by all the casualties that left the oil industry stoppage that resulted in an attempted coup d’état back in 2002 in the hands of violent backers of the chavismo regime; the massive layoffs of some 20,000 oil workers from PDVSA at the rhythm of a whistle the own Chávez blew; the evictions of PDVSA workers from their own homes with tear gas bombs thrown by “honorable” officers from the National Guard (GN); the lands and properties dispossession from peasants by force and by will of the late “Supreme Commander” Chávez; the murders of trade unionists, all the political prisoners and the persecution and many abuses to demonstrators protesting the countless failings from the Government.

Yet, Chávez was telling the truth when he meant his revolution was armed. He knew well what he was saying, because his people took care of illegally putting sophisticated weapons in the hands of colectivos (armed gangs backing the Government), who were given a nod to do as they please. A policy that is getting out of the hands of those who have the nation in their grasp as described in the two following events:

First of all, a situation at José María Vargas, the nation’s second most important hospital, two weeks ago. It turns out that this particular hospital was taken by a group of armed-to-the-teeth masked men who identified themselves as being members of the so-called Colectivo Tupamaro, one of the main “colectivos” backing Chávez’s socialist process. This violent group coerced and forced the medical staff to attend two of its members who happened to be injured as a result of a car accident. Even though that was not the first time the hospital had been harassed by criminals, the curious thing about all this was that the armed group vowed never to repeat such action and offered the medical staff protection, claiming that “they work hand-in-hand with Venezuelan authorities.” When there’s a confession…!

And second of all, another proof how these “colectivos” have gotten out of control was published in local newspaper El Nacional, which reported a “joint action” between Colectivo Lídice and the “Guard of the Sovereign Nation” (a branch of the Venezuelan army), to dissolve a party taking place in Los Mangos de Lídice, a slum in Caracas.

Regardless of being aware they were disturbing the peace of their neighbors, these people were subject to violence and outrages (according to some reports) on the part of armed civil groups and military officers in the roles of law enforcement officials, an action that is above the law and should not be taken as something perfectly normal.

The State relies on the GN and the Bolivarian National Police as law enforcement bodies as established by the Constitution and laws in general. Besides being illegal, the use of armed civilians as law enforcement officials in order to impose fear and silence in the population, may be the trigger for anarchic and violent events which we know the beginning of, but never how or when they end.

VenEconomy has been a leading provider of consultancy on financial, political and economic data in Venezuela since 1982.

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