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In Venezuela the poor celebrate and the rich protest. Why? Printer friendly page Print This
By Arturo Rosales writes from Caracas. Axis of Logic
Axis of Logic
Tuesday, Mar 4, 2014

Do the opposition really know what they want?

The Colombian novelist William Ospina observed that throughout the world the rich celebrate and the poor protest. On the other hand, in the “strange country” called Venezuela, the poor celebrate and the rich protest. Why?

The traditionally privileged sectors of Venezuelan society have tried to rise up against those who have won democratic elections – in fourteen years the Bolivarians have triumphed in 18 out of 19 electoral processes and the opposition has either refused to accept the results or accept them begrudgingly except for one national referendum they won in December 2007 and isolated victories in local and regional elections.

In the December 8th municipal elections the Bolivarians won 76% of mayoralties (256 out of 337 – 240 by candidates on the ticket of the United Socialist Party of Venezuela PSUV) and for this reason it has  not been a surprise that recent disturbances by paid agent provocateurs have been concentrated in 18 municipalities controlled by opposition mayors and dominated by the middle classes. The disturbances have been declining from 18 foci to 8 and now 6 municipalities after the “uprising” started on February 12th.

The disturbances have been localized and the idea that this has been a “popular uprising” by the Venezuelan people against the Maduro government is just media fantasy, manipulation or outright lies by the international media. This media represents the interests of the bourgeoisie desperate to regain power in Venezuela and control the biggest oil reserves on the planet so as to sell them off to the highest bidder – probably the US multinationals - at a knock-down price.

The disturbances

It is not really a great achievement to block access to middle class suburbs with flaming barricades while under the protection of the local opposition mayor who does nothing and his municipal police force merely “requests” the protesters not to block the roads and thus allow free access to traffic. In some areas of Valencia and San Cristobal the protesters will not allow housewives to leave their urbanizations to go to work or even go food shopping which has caused physical and verbal confrontations amongst opposition voters.

Has such a self-destructive political strategy to oblige a president to resign ever been observed in the history of the world? Yes, it has - in 2004, when the opposition was self-blockaded into its own urbanizations. At that time, the same wrong-headed, mindless strategy was used which was and still is more out of desperation than hope. The opposition was soundly defeated in the streets and is set for another whipping in the coming days and weeks.

This is how the rich feel they must protest in Venezuela. They cannot win democratic elections and resort to unconstitutional means characterized by violence. However, there is a far more sinister side to these disturbances as 17 people have been killed as well as at least three members of the National Guard.

Paid assassins have been roaming the areas where there are barricades picking off unfortunate victims on both sides – as happened in the 2002 coup d’état when 19 people were shot by snipers placed on roof tops by the opposition so as to blame the massacre on President Chávez.

In the last week four chavista motorcyclists have been killed and almost decapitated by wires stretched across the roads to stop them crossing the opposition barricades. Such murders are the raw material required by the international disinformation media such as CNN, BBC Fox News, TVE and Columbian channels to accuse the Venezuelan government of killing its own citizens. Do such accusations against Syria sound familiar?

Wny protest in the first place?

This is an important question as the reasons given by protesters for causing mayhem in selected municipalities vary. They say they are protesting against:
  • Food shortages
  • Insecurity
  • Inflation
  •  The country is falling apart………and so on
The real reason is that the US needs a compliant puppet government so as to control Venezuelan oil supplies and so is obliged to oust President Maduro. Sure Venezuela has its problems but these are being addressed by the government. One is no longer poverty, the main problem facing the majority of the population for hundreds of years.

Besides the fact that poverty has fallen from over 60% in 1999 to 19.6% now according to the National Statistics Institute (INE), the president of the country’s biggest privately owned company, Polar, stated on live TV last week,

“I am one of those persons who recognizes openly, as I have always said, that Venezuelans have an important increase in income in recent years, especially since 2010. This has allowed the most vulnerable classes to have more income and increase their level of consumption”.

These words from Lorenzo Mendoza, president of the Polar Group of Companies and certainly not a socialist or chavista, encapsulate the reasons why the middle class is being so easily led into another political defeat on the streets.

If the vast majority on Venezuelans – around 20 out of 30 million – receives more income, this income is not going to the privileged classes that had always lived comfortably with some living in opulence. Add to this that these days tax collection from businesses is very strict compared to 20 years ago when almost none paid any taxes. Then you have an explosive mixture of social resentment combined with inherent social racism.

The government has made it more challenging to acquire dollars, so desired by the middle classes, after investigations revealed that an estimated US$20 billion out of the US$43 billion issued in 2013 had been used for irregular purposes by both importers and travelers. This is also yet another selfish “cause célèbre” for the money-grabbing middle classes to protest. The government wants to use the dollars available for the benefit of the majority of the population and not to finance trips to Disneyland or Fifth Avenue in New York, or import plastic toys from China. The middle class mindset is incapable of grasping such policies as they do not directly benefit them personally or their materialistic caprices.

These are fundamental reasons why the rich protest in Venezuela – not because they are starving as is the case of the poor in many emerging economies – but because they have had to share the national wealth with the “inferior and uncultured” mestizo classes whom they have always despised and who live in poor housing in the barrios.

Unwittingly the middle class has lent itself to a slow motion coup d’état that has been unfolding for a decade or more, financed by the US empire, while it thinks that it is defending and trying to recover what it lost during the “good old days” – that is, pre-Chávez in 1999. Little do the nicely dressed, pot banging ladies and their fashionably attired offspring realize that, if the US were to install a puppet government here in Venezuela, the oil wealth that has allowed everyone to live better since 2003, would be spirited away to the US and the coffers of the multinationals. Only a select few would be given a handsome reward as the new oligarchs and today’s common “protestor” would receive nothing. That is how it happened in the 4th Republic and it’s what brought about Caracazo in 1989. One only nees look at what happened to the international reserves of Libya – US$200 billion – after the NATO invasion. These reserves vanished!

Now, such a political scenario could lead to real destabilization by the millions of chavistas in the country (the PSUV has well over 7 million signed up members) unwilling to accept that the accomplishments of the Revolution be destroyed. And it would not be 18 municipalities with protests but probably the 256 controlled by the PSUV and its allies. These would be ingredients for a civil war and not just disinformation on so-called chaos pumped out by the mendacious corporate media and the paid US shills we see every day manipulating and lying through their teeth.

Somehow I do not believe that anyone, least of  all, the middle classes that have the most to lose, want such a scenario in the country.

A recent survey

During the riots and disturbances some surveys have been carried out to gauge the reaction of the population to the current situation.
Here we quote the pollster Hinterlaces that sheds some light on current attitudes.
  • 29% would accept that he could leave power if he lost a referendum
  •  Only 23% think that he should resign because of the limited protests
  • This means that 71% of the people surveyed support the constitutionality of the state and are against unconstitutional means of resolving internal conflicts.
  • 85% of people are “fed up” with the street protests.
Public opinion is stacked against the strategy being used by the extreme right wing in yet another bid to oust the democratically elected Bolivarian government of Nicolás Maduro as this vain attempt to “Ukrainize” Venezuela continues in a few municipalities.

The organizers and financiers of the destabilization had hoped that by causing food shortages, hoarding food, sabotage of the electrical system and causing mayhem that the vast masses of chavistas would turn against the government and take to the streets. Once again the Venezuelan fascists, the US State Department, the US Embassy, the CIA and undoubtedly Mossad have completely misjudged the intelligence and spirit of the Venezuelan people as the destabilization efforts are dying a slow death.

Violent protests could continue in limited areas for some time and could turn into real terrorist acts such as bombs and assassinations as the opposition had gathered around Bs. 120 billion (US19 billion) to finance this coup attempt.

Such actions would certainly not bring the rich out to protest but strike the fear of God into them. This would probably encourage them to support President Maduro’s peace initiative in the country instead of following their own selfish instincts that historically have always characterized the middle and upper classes in Venezuela.

We await further developments.


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