Venezuelans Sick of a Government That Claims to Act For Them
Had enough of chavismo
The old saw that "government's just a word for the things we do together" provides comfort to those whose politics demand a total (or totalitarian!) state, one that claims to care for and control almost every aspect of everyone's lives. Leftist parties in some countries have gotten the paradigm down to an art. Take Venezuela, where Hugo Chavez considered himself and his party and the people of Venezuela one and the same. He created an expansive welfare state that built a dependency in the population not just on the Venezuelan government, but on Chavez' United Socialist Party. After his death, his chosen successor Nicholas Maduro mobilized every part of the Venezuelan state he could to secure his election, "officially" winning with just 50.8 percent of the vote. That was enough of a victory, nevertheless, to claim a mandate to move forward on an ambitious program of total control by the state. What happened next shouldn't be surprising. The standard of living in Venezuela continued to decline. The government imposed price controls on everything from used cars to toilet paper to all consumer goods, then blamed capitalists and not their own destructive government intervention on the economic disaster price controls exacerbated.
Now, less than a year after Maduro's "victory," a critical mass of Venezuela's population has had enough, taking to the streets in some of the largest protests the South American country has seen in its history. El Comercio in Peru explains that the Maduro government is using its "Board of Social Responsibility in Radio and Television" to threaten news outlets in the country that transmit images that could "foment anxiety," like video of the protests and government violence therein, with sanctions. You can see video via Peru's El Comercio purporting to show a student being killed by pro-government forces here.
Reuters reported on three deaths earlier this week, in what it describes as "a militantly pro-government neighborhood" in Caracas. The government's response to the bloodshed was to order the arrest of an opposition leader who helped organize several of the recent protests. According to the president of the National Assembly, a member of an pro-government paramilitary group was killed, by "fascism," the Chavez politician said.
Watch amateur video of the student killing also purported to be shown in the El Comercio video linked above below: