Mar 11 2014

Venezuelan Opposition Movement Divided and Dangerous

Daniel Tinoco, a Venezuelan student leader, was shot in the chest by armed motorcyclists yesterday during clashes between pro-, and anti-government protesters in San Cristobal. Tinoco was reportedly protesting against the Maduro government.

Meanwhile a Chilean woman named Gisela Rubilar, supporting the Venezuelan government was killed in a separate incident in the border state of Tachira where she was a member of the ruling Socialist party. She was clearing away barricades set up by anti-government protesters when she was shot. Her death has been blamed on rightwing groups. Rubilar becomes the first non-Venezuelan to be killed in the clashes.

While the anti-government opposition has accused the Maduro Administration of harsh tactics and even torture of detained activists, there is little proof of widespread government repression. There have been deaths on both sides of the conflict.

Just over a year after President Hugo Chavez’s death, his vision of a Bolivarian revolution is facing its greatest challenge. The opposition movement’s campaign is well coordinated, calling for international supporters to express their solidarity in social media using the hashtags, #SOSVenezuela, and #PrayForVenezuela.

The protest movement, drawn mainly from the middle and upper classes, has failed to mobilize the poor, who have benefited greatly from Chavez’s redistributive policies that have been continued by the Maduro administration.

While food shortages and high crime are destabilizing Venezuelan society, a recent Wikileaks revelation lends credence to Maduro’s claim of outside interference in Venezuelan Domestic policy. Leaks suggest key protests groups have received hundred of millions of dollars from US purportedly pro-democracy organizations.

GUEST: Roberto Lovato, is an independent journalist and writer, who just returned from Venezuela and published an article for Al Jazeera called “Venezuela’s Opposition is United Against Maduro but Internally Divided.”

Click here to read Lovato’s article.

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