By Les Blough, Editor: Axis of Logic; Rodrigo Trompiz and Jorge Martin: Hands Off Venezuela
“Latin America Is Waking Up, and No One Can Stop It”
Hugo Chavez Frias, President
17th Latin American Summit
Santiago, Chile, November 9, 2007
Day after day a small fraction of Venezuela's university students continue to engage in violent protests while the police and national guard contain them. Photos and video - even those shown on Venezuela's many Chavez-hating television stations have revealed no violent response by the police. Yesterday in the Andean city of Merida, a gunman shot and wounded 4 Venezuelan police officers and a bystander during a student protest. Merida lies in the west of Venezuela near the Colombian border. The use of Colombian paramilitaries is part of Washington's plan to foment violence in Venezuela leading up to the Dec. 2 vote on the Constitutional Reforms. In another violent student protest at Central University in Caracas last Wednesday, a group of Chavez supporters were putting up leaflets in support of the Constitutional Reforms which are slated for a vote by the people in referendum on Dec. 2. Opposition students surrounded them and attacked them. In the HOV report below, read how the Chavez supporters were trapped inside the university for hours.
On Thursday, Reuters, reported that 2 Chavez-supporters shot 2 of the opposition students.
"Hooded Chavez supporters shot at least two anti-Chavez students at a university in a clash on Wednesday that erupted after thousands marched through the capital calling for the vote to be postponed, witnesses and hospital officials said."
This has since been proved false but this corporate-media attack on Venezuela was disseminated through MSMBC and other media the world over and Reuters has not corrected their report. Their report appears in 27 different U.S. and international media today.
Following this false accusation, Reuters laced the rest of their article with anti-Chavez rhetoric. Reuters based their report on television reports by Globovision, Spanish-speaking TV corporation that daily spews it's hatred for Chavez throughout the Americas including the U.S.
On Wednesday, Associated Press bluntly stated that 80,000 students protested against "Chavez attempts to expand his power". The number was patently false and AP characterized the current Constitutional Reforms as a power-grab by President Chavez:
"Gunmen opened fire on students returning from a march Wednesday in which 80,000 people denounced President Hugo Chavez's attempts to expand his power. At least eight people were injured, including one by gunfire, officials said."
The AP article stated that "4 gunmen", with masked faces fired into "the anti-Chavez crowd", implying the shooters were Chavistas. AP failed to mention that the use of Colombian paramilitaries are part of the plan to destabilize Venezuela during this runup to the Dec. 2 vote on the reforms.
Arturo Rosales, an Axis of Logic correspondent stood on a sidewalk in Caracas and watched this group of protestors described as "80,000" by AP. He reports that the entire group passed by in about 10 to 15 minutes and judged their number to be no more than 2,000.
The opposition student protests are part of Washington's strategy to destabilize Venezuela and to bring down the government. Below, read the eye-witness account of the student protests by Hands Off Venezuela. See the video of the student protests and other photos below the HOV article. Obviously, the corporate media does not know the difference between an organized, peaceful protest and unfocused, chaotic attacks on society.
"The Latin American rightwing is lining up to attack the Bolivarian revolution ... [They aim to undermine] the series of changes that we are carrying out ... a process of changes that has resonance in the region, using the power of the mass media to externally sell a surreal image of what is happening in Venezuela."
Hugo Chavez Frias, President
17th Latin American Summit
Santiago, Chile, November 9, 2007
The wealthy elite in Venezuela have been steadily losing their power since President Chavez was first elected in 1998. The constitutional reforms represent another leap forward for the people and another loss for the opposition. They are confronted with a purely democratic process in which they cannot win a majority vote. Just as the U.S. has systematically backed minority governments in other Latin American countries, Washington and their corporate media are backing another attempt to overthrow this government. But this time, they are dealing with an empowered people in a democratic society - their worst nightmare.
- Les Blough, Editor
Opposition Violence at Venezuelan University - What Really Happened
November 9, 2007
by Rodrigo Trompiz and Jorge Martin
Hands Off Venezuela
|Violent opposition students outside the School of Social Work (ABN) |
According to eyewitness reports from Hands Off Venezuela members, violence broke out yesterday in Caracas when opposition students arrived back from a peaceful demonstration against the proposed constitutional reforms. Apparently frustrated by the lack of violence, a group of about 250 of the opposition students (many from other universities) went straight to the Central University of Venezuela (UCV) to the School of Social Work which is a stronghold of revolutionary students inside UCV.
There, a group of revolutionary students was campaigning for a yes vote in the referendum. They had an assembly for students/teachers/non-teaching staff in the morning and were putting up posters and giving out leaflets.
They were then attacked by the opposition students who surrounded the School. Molotov cocktails and stones were thrown, the toilets were destroyed, the door of the Students Centre (Bolivarian dominated) was burned down, and around 150 people (students, teachers and non-teaching staff) were trapped inside the building for several hours, with the violent opposition students trying to force their way into the building to lynch them.
Some of the students inside the Faculty are nationally known Bolivarian student leaders (including Andreina Taranzon who spoke in the debate with opposition students at the National Assembly earlier this year at the time of the RCTV protests). They managed to call the state TV and reported live on what was happening.
The police are not allowed to enter University premises owing to a law on University autonomy. The Mayor of Caracas offered the possibility of the Metropolitan Police going in to contain violence and allow people in the School to come out, but the rector of the University, a member of the opposition, refused the offer. The University authorities are responsible for security on their own premises and did nothing to prevent violence from escalating.
|Violent oppositon supporters at the UCV- picture Reuters|
Meanwhile, opposition TV stations were full of reports that masked Chavista supporters had fired on opposition students and that one person had been killed (this was then proven to be false, nine students were injured, most of them from inhaling fumes from the fires started by opposition students).
Finally, the head of emergency and fire-fighting services was allowed by the rector to go into the university and negotiate the safe exit of the people who were trapped inside the School of Social Work by a violent mob of opposition students.
|The School of Social Work trashed by opposition students (ABN)|
The international media has been "reporting" about these clashes as if "armed Chavista gunmen" had fired on peaceful opposition students. A member of Hands Off Venezuela was present at the University when the violence broke out. He reports that the gunmen who originally opened fire stopped him on his way through the UCV to the Bolivarian University nearby. He reports that the two gunmen on the motorbike did not look like students, but were more likely thugs hired for the occasion and that they were shouting anti-Chavez slogans and boasting of having shot at Chavistas.
Even news agencies now are reporting that Bolivarian armed men arrived at the UCV after the opposition students had sieged 150 people inside the building of the School of Social Work to help those sieged gain safe passage out:
Later, armed men riding motorcycles arrived, scaring off students and standing at the doorway - one of them firing a handgun in the air - as people fled the building. (The Guardian )
What Hands Off Venezuela eyewitness report is that, faced with the inaction of the University authorities, hundreds of students, University workers and people from nearby neighbourhoods finally went into the University to help the people at the School of Social Work escape from the violent mob of opposition students. Some of them were carrying guns, which was only normal considering the extremely violent nature of the situation.
Bolivarian students, teachers and non-teaching staff have now held a joint meeting at the UCV and called for a demonstration against fascist aggressions to take place in the UCV on November 15.
See the video of what the Reuters, AP, U.S. and European media call "Non-Violent and "Peaceful Protests by Venezuelan Opposition Students:
Student Opposition "Non-violent protests" and "Police Brutality" in Venezuela
Video from VTV via Apporea. Axis of Logic commentary