Venezuelan Students Say 'Better Naked Than Without Liberty'
Venezuelan students are getting naked on Twitter to protest the stripping and beating of an anti-government protester at the Central University of Venezuela (UCV) last week. Using the hashtag #MejorDesnudosQueSinLibertad, which translates to "better naked than without liberty," the campaign aims to draw attention to the ongoing repression and police brutality under President Nicolas Maduro.
Last Friday, an anti-government march at Caracas-based UCV, the country's largest university, was interrupted by armed and masked assailants. The intruders prevented student protesters from leaving campus and publicly stripped and beat one (unidentified) young man.
According to Fox News Latino, these masked assailants were pro-government militants, known as "colectivos," who are responsible for violence and intimidation across Venezuela (including the March beating of at least 12 UCV students). President Maduro, who succeeded Hugo Chavez, "has done nothing to publicly discourage the violence," according to Fox.
According to Reuters, the colectivos "view themselves as the defenders of revolutionary socialism but are denounced by opponents as thugs."
After the violence at UCV on Friday, Ricardo Cie, vice president of a Venezuelan marketing firm, tweeted: "If you are the one whom they tried to humiliate by taking off your clothes, I hope you see this social media initiative," along with a nude photo of himself and the hashtag #DesnudosConLaUCV.
Since then, Venezuelans have been posting their own nude photos to Twitter and Facebook, using the hashtags #MejorDesnudosQueSinLibertad, #DesnudosConLaUCV, and #MejorDesnudosQue ("better naked than").