Thursday, January 15, 2009

Venezuelan Student Protests Disrupted by National Guard

A much longer post is necessary for me to really delve into the many issues facing Venezuela right now and the role that students have played in fighting for the cause of democracy and human rights in their country. Suffice it to say for now that the leaders of reform in a country that has been ruled by someone whose image is posted on every other corner of the city and demands that the country support his cause for "21st Century Socialism", are the students. One of the student movement's leaders, Yon Goicoechea (who is a Keynote Speaker at the upcoming International Students For Liberty Conference), received the 2008 Milton Friedman Prize for Advancing Liberty for his work in fighting for liberty, which he accepted on behalf of the entire student movement.

I recently visited Venezuela to act as an international observer in their November 23rd elections along with a coalition of some 20+ other students from around the world. I have kept in touch with many of the Venezuelan students I met while there and one of them just sent me this link, a photographic portrayal of the most recent student protests to Chavez's attempt to eliminate his own term limits. (Chavez proposed a constitutional reform for this and several other authoritarian measures last year, which was defeated, but he is calling for a new vote in the middle of February. It seems that Chavez believes in the principle that the people must keep voting until they get the right answer.)

These photos speak for themselves. A student movement, premised on peace, non-violence, and human rights, versus the government's use of the military to bomb them with teargas and use high-pressured hoses against students (look at the clip at the bottom of the article to see). As well, here is a short video that I took from my experience as an international observer in the Venezuelan elections this year:

2 comments:

Sam said...

It seems like Chavez is adopting a "cornered cat" mentality. His "21st Century Socialism" has been bolstered by revenues from oil exports, and with prices plunging, Chavez has been facing more and more problems balancing his books. The International Herald Tribune reports: http://www.iht.com/articles/2009/01/15/america/15venez.php.

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