When the world gets closer.

We help you see farther.

Sign up to our expressly international daily newsletter.

Venezuela

Venezuela, Where Leftist Revolution Is The People's Enemy

As Venezuela's leftist regime further tramples its own laws and social-democratic ideals, protesters are reminding us what a popular uprising looks like.

Anti-Maduro protesters in Caracas on Wednesday
Anti-Maduro protesters in Caracas on Wednesday
César Rodríguez Garavito

-Analysis-

The last day of May marked two months of uninterrupted protests by Venezuelans against the government of President Nicolás Maduro. The tally of these two months of confrontation shows the state's deplorably disproportionate response to these demonstrations: one death a day, 2,977 arrests, 355 civilians illegally hauled before military tribunals, and more shameful numbers.

But beyond the statistics, tear gas and outrageous images of injured protesters, one can see the deeper significance of these protests. As the Venezuelan civil rights NGO Provea observes, this is the country's first popular rebellion of the 21st century. It is also one of the most intense, prolonged and innovative mass actions of our age, comparable to the wave of anti-systemic protests in some European countries and the Arab Spring revolts.

The vast majority of marchers have not been professional politicians from opposition parties, as claimed by the government and its partisans. They are young people backed by their parents and grandparents, native shamans, street musicians and ordinary members of the public exasperated by the dearth of basic goods and household products, and stifled by a regime that is closing the most elemental channels of democratic participation, such as the regional elections Maduro ordered postponed indefinitely last October.

But as the discontent is particularly marked by the millennial generation, its principal media mouthpieces are digital: with marches coordinated through Whatsapp, memes going viral on Facebook, and real-time reporting of protesters being arrested on Twitter.

Maduro has confirmed the demise of democracy

There is a sad irony perhaps that the most formidable challenge to the Bolivarian revolution should come from a 21st-century rebellion. Because the initial promise made by "21st-Century Socialism," as its founder the late president Hugo Chávez called it, was to deepen democracy and include the same sectors as those protesting on the streets today. It was the promise of the 1999 constitution, which Chávez managed to impose at the cost of a coup attempt against him.

But long before his death, Chávez had opted to favor social inclusion at the expense of democracy and political inclusion. Maduro has confirmed the demise of that democratic promise, with his current cocktail of social and political exclusion enforced through the militarization of the Venezuelan state. It is a policy we can see manifest in the Defense Ministry's involvement in boosting food production (Plan Zamora) and the perpetuation of the state of emergency.

Provea, for its part, concluded when the October polls were suspended that Venezuela had entered a state of dictatorship: a 21st-century dictatorship, maintaining the minimal forms of the rule of law (parliament, judiciary etc.. ) but fully controlled by the executive branch and armed forces.

The past two months confirm such a conclusion: as protesters take their claims to the streets, the Government pursues its plans to dismantle the Bolivarian Constitution of 1999 through procedures that are themselves a violation of that text.

Today it is these rebels of the 21st century left to defend democracy and human rights against the self-proclaimed heirs of 21st-Century Socialism who have made their choice clear.

You've reached your monthly limit of free articles.
To read the full article, please subscribe.
Get unlimited access. Support Worldcrunch's unique mission:
  • Exclusive coverage from the world's top sources, in English for the first time.
  • Insights from the widest range of perspectives, languages and countries
  • $2.90/month or $19.90/year. No hidden charges. Cancel anytime.
Already a subscriber? Log in

When the world gets closer, we help you see farther

Sign up to our expressly international daily newsletter!
Economy

Europe's Winter Energy Crisis Has Already Begun

in the face of Russia's stranglehold over supplies, the European Commission has proposed support packages and price caps. But across Europe, fears about the cost of living are spreading – and with it, doubts about support for Ukraine.

Protesters on Thursday in the German state of Thuringia carried Russian flags and signs: 'First our country! Life must be affordable.'

Martin Schutt/dpa via ZUMA
Stefanie Bolzen, Philipp Fritz, Virginia Kirst, Martina Meister, Mandoline Rutkowski, Stefan Schocher, Claus, Christian Malzahn and Nikolaus Doll

-Analysis-

In her State of the Union address on September 14, European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen, issued an urgent appeal for solidarity between EU member states in tackling the energy crisis, and towards Ukraine. Von der Leyen need only look out her window to see that tensions are growing in capital cities across Europe due to the sharp rise in energy prices.

Stay up-to-date with the latest on the Russia-Ukraine war, with our exclusive international coverage.

Sign up to our free daily newsletter.

In the Czech Republic, people are already taking to the streets, while opposition politicians elsewhere are looking to score points — and some countries' support for Ukraine may start to buckle.

With winter approaching, Europe is facing a true test of both its mettle, and imagination.

Keep reading...Show less

When the world gets closer, we help you see farther

Sign up to our expressly international daily newsletter!
You've reached your monthly limit of free articles.
To read the full article, please subscribe.
Get unlimited access. Support Worldcrunch's unique mission:
  • Exclusive coverage from the world's top sources, in English for the first time.
  • Insights from the widest range of perspectives, languages and countries
  • $2.90/month or $19.90/year. No hidden charges. Cancel anytime.
Already a subscriber? Log in
Writing contest - My pandemic story
THE LATEST
FOCUS
TRENDING TOPICS

Central to the tragic absurdity of this war is the question of language. Vladimir Putin has repeated that protecting ethnic Russians and the Russian-speaking populations of Ukraine was a driving motivation for his invasion.

Yet one month on, a quick look at the map shows that many of the worst-hit cities are those where Russian is the predominant language: Kharkiv, Odesa, Kherson.

Watch VideoShow less
MOST READ