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Kiev is in flames.  It's all over the traditional news.

Caracas, Venezuela is erupting, and hardly anyone knows.

From Slate.com:

The tremors have been building for years, but on Wednesday night Venezuela was convulsed in a wave of violence as the government of President Nicolas Maduro appeared to enforce a brutal crackdown on nationwide protests. Streets were filled with tear gas and the crackle of gunfire, as National Guard units and National Police came out in force. Bands of regime supporters—paramilitary gangs known as colectivos—swarmed neighborhoods and public squares on their motorcycles, firing live ammunition at anyone who remained in the open.
Leopold Lopez, leader of the opposition party Popular Will, is under arrest and being held at Ramo Verde, a military prison outside of Caracas, which has housed many political opponents of Chavez.  Other activists of Popular Will are in hiding.

Protests are spreading outside of Caracas to other major cities in Venezuela.  The crackdown by current Venezuelan President, Nicholas Maduro, shows no sign of letting up.

Caracas may not be as prominent as Kiev, but what is happening in the south american country is just a significant in terms of the people calling for more accountability by the government for its policies and their effects on the citizens.

Keep a good thought for the people of Venezuela, and help get the word out as to what's going on.

Peace.

UPDATE#1 - The purpose of this diary is primarily twofold:  the first is to make people aware that there are massive protests going on in Caracas and spreading to other cities in Venezuela; and second, to serve as a criticism of our traditional media sources failing to make any mention of it.  I have no dog in this hunt other than to provide information about a significant international event.

UPDATE#2 - A friend of mine, who has connections in Venezuela, has provided me with the following information as best she can tell:  Apparently, the protests began on February 12, an annual student protest day.  At some point, the protest turned violent with 3 dead, 2 of whom were students (unconfirmed).  Thus the continuation of the protests.  At one point, the US Ambassador's daughter was detained for a short time and eventually released.  The protests mainly revolve around rapid inflation, availability of goods and services (shelves consistently empty), difficulties traveling outside of Venezuela because the airlines want to be paid in US$, govt. very anti-free speech.  The students do not see a future for themselves given the current circumstances.

UPDATE#3, 7:30 PM MST - huffingtonpost.com and MSNBC.com don't have any stories on Venezuela.  Cnn.com has reduced it to a photo diary.  Foxnews.com, abcnews.com (links to AP report) and cbsnews.com have blurbs.  America.aljazeera.com has a story on it.  Alternative media like Slate.com, The David Packman Show and Democracy Now are some of the few sources that are actually doing in depth reporting.  Speaking of Democracy Now, here's a link to the backstory that is very enlightening.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (19+ / 0-)

    The older I get and the more I learn, the more ready I will be to fucking trash your bullshit position.

    by TigerMom on Thu Feb 20, 2014 at 02:03:53 PM PST

  •  That's because the protest in Venezeula (12+ / 0-)

    is actually the CIA and the Obama Administration attempting to destabilize the county.

    As proof, I refer you to this not-biased documentary about a coup attempt that happened 14 years ago

    Also, the United States has conspired with rich merchants to hoard luxury goods(like toilet paper - something a true chavista really does not need) to make artificial 'shortages' to whip up resentment against the government.

    Hyperinflation is common in Venezuela and the only people complaining are the rich oligarchs.

    Crime is terrible and although it has increased slightly in the last ten years, it is really just a sign of the destabilization brought on by Venezuela's imperialist enemies.

    Venezuela's greatest leader was struck down suddenly by 'cancer'(The CIA) and Maduro is carrying on his dream even over the protests of a very few violent right wingers.

    Also, teh Jews.

    The

    Look, I tried to be reasonable...

    by campionrules on Thu Feb 20, 2014 at 02:11:41 PM PST

  •  ...face palm. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    TigerMom, pdkesq, Farugia

    Look, I tried to be reasonable...

    by campionrules on Thu Feb 20, 2014 at 02:24:39 PM PST

  •  Careful... (10+ / 0-)

    ..I posted a diary about Venezuela which actually made the rec list, but contained a lot of criticism of me being 'sensationalist' (4 deaths at that point is 'sensationalist'?)  and 'red-baiting' (whatever that means.)

    I posted a second diary as a follow-up (with unambiguous links) and I actually pulled it because a few people wouldn't let up criticizing it.

    No matter. I could give a crap about the rec list or anyone's approval. But I found it curious to get so much push-back on what was basically an information diary.

    Go figger.

    "Wealthy the Spirit which knows its own flight. Stealthy the Hunter who slays his own fright. Blessed is the Traveler who journeys the length of the Light."

    by CanisMaximus on Thu Feb 20, 2014 at 02:25:52 PM PST

  •  I was thinking of writing about Venezuela, too (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    TigerMom, Louisiana 1976, Farugia

    What is going on there also appears to reflect a deeply polarized population.  It has existed for years, but it is turning violent now.

    "Campionrules" is pretty much summing up the position of the Venezuelan government  -- "It is all a vast conspiracy" -- just like the Ukrainian government has suggested in their case.

    The situation does merit more attention and investigation.  I cannot take the word of the government for granted.  Not here, not there.

  •  Why no attention? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    TigerMom, Louisiana 1976

    Ukraine: white; Venezuela: brown.  At least as the MSM goes.

    R.I.P., Amy Winehouse

    by jarbyus on Thu Feb 20, 2014 at 03:24:38 PM PST

    •  Ukraine's has a more intriquing story line. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      TigerMom

      We're being fed photos and videos of Ukrainian protesters being fired upon by security service snipers, and the opposition firing back with sniper rifles as well.

      It's being described as the last battle of the Cold War.  

      Meanwhile, in Venezuela, the oil will continue to flow no matter who retains power.  

      Dont Mourn, Organize !#konisurrender

      by cks175 on Thu Feb 20, 2014 at 03:55:33 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Meanwhile, in Venezuela ... (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        TigerMom, Andrew Lazarus

        The oil is not flowing very well right now.

        Production is falling for lack of investment and a good chunk of what's left is mortgaged or stolen, bringing not a single dollar in the Venezuelan treasury.

        And that's why Maduro is in trouble and the regime resorting to violence.

        I deal in facts. My friends are few but fast.

        by Farugia on Thu Feb 20, 2014 at 06:30:34 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Reports are (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Farugia, TigerMom

    The urban poor are joining the anti government protests.   Not sure how much credence this merits

  •  You can either believe (11+ / 0-)

    that the 56% inflation rate and shortages of food staples and toilet paper and the flourishing black markets are all a conspiracy and are the results of a secret, nefarious cabal of villainous oligarchs.

    Or you can believe that it's the result of capital restrictions that make it difficult for businesses to import materials, in a country that is very much dependent on imports, as well as things like the government restricting companies profit levels to 30% or the government nationalizing electronic retailers and setting price limits on how much cars can be sold for.

    But I guess the latter would require subscribing to the notion of "market forces" and "basic economics", which are just capitalist tools of oppression used by corporatist shills.  

    "Those who have wrought great changes in the world never succeeded by gaining over chiefs; but always by exciting the multitude." - Martin Van Buren

    by puakev on Thu Feb 20, 2014 at 03:47:44 PM PST

    •  go back to Wall St you corporatist bankster pig (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      puakev, Zornorph

      i bet you're not even a real person, just one of those "Persona Management" bots from the HBgary documents!

      "See? I'm not a racist! I have a black friend!"

      by TheHalfrican on Thu Feb 20, 2014 at 04:01:31 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  The "liberal" Dkos posers (0+ / 0-)

        Really are making a lot of noise around here of late with regards to Ukraine and Venezuela.  And then we wonder why neoliberal governments are controlling so many nations...  With friends like these who needs enemies?

        Intelligence agencies keep things secret because they often violate the rule of law or of good behavior. -Julian Assange-

        by ChadmanFL on Thu Feb 20, 2014 at 04:06:08 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  How's you guess I was on the CIA's payroll? (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Zornorph, RightLeaningMod

          Here I was, pretending to be a liberal at Daily Kos for the last 6 years, posting thousands of comments and dozens of diaries expressing liberal views, all the while working as a legal assistant who volunteers for progressive causes, all as a cover for my real identity as an operative for the CIA, the Koch Brothers, ALEC, the Illuminati, and the WTO, but now you've exposed me and my plans have been completely foiled.

          Damn you're good!  My only questions to you are:  How did you know? And who trained you?

          "Those who have wrought great changes in the world never succeeded by gaining over chiefs; but always by exciting the multitude." - Martin Van Buren

          by puakev on Thu Feb 20, 2014 at 04:32:12 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  So you solution is to hand back power (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      corvo, Betty Pinson, TigerMom

      To the oligarchs that rules pre-Chavez  Ya... that worked out well for the impoverished masses last time.  So nice to see supposed left-wingers backing the 1% neoliberals over left-wing governments of other countries.  With "friends" like you no wonder the state of our own country is such a mess.

      Intelligence agencies keep things secret because they often violate the rule of law or of good behavior. -Julian Assange-

      by ChadmanFL on Thu Feb 20, 2014 at 04:03:31 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  No, I'm talking more in terms of (6+ / 0-)

        easing capital restrictions so that, for example, manufacturers might be able to buy parts abroad with greater ease, something that is difficult to do with the very onerous restrictions the Venezuelan government has placed on the ability of Venezuelans to access dollars.

        Or perhaps pursuing a more moderate course and making the country more attractive to foreign investment the way other Latin American countries like Brazil has.  Brazil has managed to lower poverty more than Venezuela without resorting to either Chavez-like socialism or untrammeled capitalism.

        Clearly Venezuela should not go back to the economy that existed prior to Chavez, but nor is the current course much better.  When you're doing things like nationalizing your equivalent of Best Buy, and when you're trying to control the price at which automobiles are sold, perhaps you need to reevaluate your economic policy.

        "Those who have wrought great changes in the world never succeeded by gaining over chiefs; but always by exciting the multitude." - Martin Van Buren

        by puakev on Thu Feb 20, 2014 at 04:22:07 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Chavez just replaced the old oligarchs with his (7+ / 0-)

        and let violent crime rise to unimaginable levels:

        http://news.yahoo.com/...

        How is it that supposed Progressives can ignore such an awful human rights record:

        https://www.hrw.org/...

        With friends like you it is no wonder the country of Venezuela is in such a mess. Hopefully the Venezuelan people will say, "enough" and get a real peaceful democracy again.

        •  "Supposed progressives" ignore Obama's awful (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          corvo

          human rights record all the time. It's not that hard.

          “In the beginning there was nothing, which exploded.” Terry Pratchett

          by 420 forever on Thu Feb 20, 2014 at 04:29:55 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  Again, with what alternative? (0+ / 0-)

          De-nationalization and give back power to the 1% oligarchs?  Because that's the alternative.  You can have a left-wing authoritarian government or a right-wing one.  I choose the left-wing one.  There simply is no center-right or center-left in Venezuela.

          Intelligence agencies keep things secret because they often violate the rule of law or of good behavior. -Julian Assange-

          by ChadmanFL on Thu Feb 20, 2014 at 05:32:29 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  I'm sorry but I disagree (10+ / 0-)

            I grew up in Venezuela and my family lived there from 1975 to 1998. During those years, there was corruption and income inequality and lots of poverty, but there was a working democracy with elections (mmm… sounds like the U.S.?). Violence in the streets committed by the government against unarmed citizens would have been unthinkable.

            Since Chavez came to power, and then Maduro, the country has devolved into absolute chaos, violence, and economic deprivation. There is no freedom of press, assembly, or a fair judicial or legislative system as any opposition has been purged. What the opposition (mostly led by middle class and students) want is a return to a democracy where there is a chance to debate and rebuild the country.

            So the choice is not between a left wing and a right wing authoritarian government. There was never a right wing authoritarian government in the 50 years prior to Chavez - Venezuela was a left leaning government with socialist tendencies throughout the time I lived there (it was always anti-American, there were always tremendous subsidies for the poor - free utilities, super subsidized basic food staples, etc).

            My high school teacher summed it up this way: "Venezuela is NOT under an idealistic, progressive, communist leadership. Communism is not supposed to simply create a new elite, a new secret rich group, secretly making love to some of the old time millionaires; Venezuela is nothing more than a chaotic mess, violence and confusion being the weapons of the scoundrel, lying , greedy leaders who are becoming millionaires themselves while the country starves and bleeds. See for yourself what is going on."

            •  Wow! (3+ / 0-)

              That's pretty powerful testimony.

              As I said, I don't have dog in this hunt.  But, as someone who lived in SA (Chile) for a period of time and has studied some of the history of USA involvement in SA politics, the situation in Venezuela has a bit of a stench about it.  Maduro isn't as strong or charismatic a leader as Chavez, so the ground seems quite fertile for a bit of "civil unrest."  After all, Venezuela has a bit of natural resources that many a businessman would love to get a hold of.

              Again, the point of my diary is to disseminate information and to call out the traditional media's failure to inform the public.  The majority of the USofA doesn't know about Venezuela, but they probably know that Christina Aguilera is pregnant.

              And therein lies part of the problem with this country.

              The older I get and the more I learn, the more ready I will be to fucking trash your bullshit position.

              by TigerMom on Thu Feb 20, 2014 at 07:12:35 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

            •  Yeah (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              ChadmanFL

              I guess the fact that Venezuela's elections post-1998 have been certified as free and fair by impartial observers (and that the poverty rates in Venezuela have declined significantly since the capital strike ended) counts for nothing.

              "If you sing a song a day/ You will make a better way" -- Earth, Wind, and Fire

              by Cassiodorus on Thu Feb 20, 2014 at 11:12:35 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  And I'd still like to know (0+ / 0-)

                how Carlos Andres Perez counted as a "leftist."

                "If you sing a song a day/ You will make a better way" -- Earth, Wind, and Fire

                by Cassiodorus on Fri Feb 21, 2014 at 07:59:10 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

              •  here's what I meant (0+ / 0-)

                I'm not saying Carlos Andres Perez or the rest were not corrupt, and clearly there were problems that led to the Chavez government, but my original point was that the alternatives are not between a left wing and right wing authoritarian governments.

                Based on my personal experience living in the country, Venezuela was always center-left of every recent American government. They always had nationalized industries, socialized programs, etc. It was never an authoritarian government, and the mechanisms of civil society (free press, impartial judiciary) were much more robust than today.  

                Even if Maduro's election was fair (many people have doubts), his razor-thin margin means that half the country legitimately opposes his government.

                I'm glad poverty rates have gone down, but violence has skyrocketed since Chavez took over. The country is falling apart economically, where basic necessities like toilet paper are scarce, and the average person fears for his or her life at night. So I do think this alternative (Maduro's socialism/ thuggery/ etc) is worse than what the protesters are asking for.

                 

            •  Like the "great success" that was Caldera? (0+ / 0-)

              Or Perez before him?  Those crooked governments were the epic disasters that lead to Chavez rising to power in the first place.  

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