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Venezuelean hunger strike ends
March 25, 2011 5:30 PM   Subscribe

A half-month hunger strike by Venezuelan students has ended. More than 150 students participated in the protests, some sewing their own mouths shut.

Among student demands was an end to the practice of using the courts to punish dissidents, freeing of between 20 and 40 political prisoners, and a meeting with OAS Secretary General Jose Insulza.

The Chavez administration acceded to the third demand and promised a roundtable review on the treatment of the prisoners.
posted by clarknova (18 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite

 
The numbers from various news sources all conflict: the number of days, the number of prisoners, the number of protesters. The mean margin of error for all of these is around 50.
posted by clarknova at 5:31 PM on March 25, 2011


sewing yer mouth shut in the time honored tradition of keeping the opposition from tempting you with philly cheese steak and tiramisu
posted by kitchenrat at 5:36 PM on March 25, 2011


I consider myself to be pretty left-wing but Chavez is an ever-present reminder to me that having good intentions just isn't enough. You can't just terrorize your way to equality.

Thanks for the object lesson, Hugo. Now kill yourself.
posted by Avenger at 5:42 PM on March 25, 2011 [5 favorites]


half-month, mind you. not some flimsy fortnight.
posted by quonsar II: smock fishpants and the temple of foon at 5:52 PM on March 25, 2011


Mouth Sown Shut.
posted by clavdivs at 6:04 PM on March 25, 2011


If I had balls this big I'd have to have a wheelbarrow to carry them in.

Things like this remind me that I'm part of a long and proud tradition of social justice as a student, and that I shouldn't ignore the injustices in my own country, nor my own part in stopping them.
posted by WidgetAlley at 6:04 PM on March 25, 2011


Just in time for swimsuit season!
posted by cmoj at 6:24 PM on March 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


Not really. Rainy season starts in a couple months.
posted by ryanrs at 6:35 PM on March 25, 2011


I'm really confused. The "mouth sewn shut" article is from September 2009? It's currently nearly April 2010?

That's one hell of a half-month.
posted by hippybear at 6:39 PM on March 25, 2011


Sorry, currently nearly April 2011.
posted by hippybear at 6:40 PM on March 25, 2011


YACSP. Yet Another Chavez Smear Piece.

As hippybear points out, the sewn mouths article is from two years ago. And oh by-the-way, a couple of the political prisoners that those students were protesting for were Lázaro Forero and Iván Simonovis. The guys that kidnapped Chavez and tried to stage a coup. What do you think would happen if a couple of disgruntled Secret Service agents kidnapped Obama? I can guarantee you'd have FOX news protesting their "inhuman" confinement and posturing about these poor "political prisoners'" rights.

Same shit.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 7:25 PM on March 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


Just like those who protested for Chavez when he was in prison for participation in a coup?

different day.
posted by clavdivs at 9:07 PM on March 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


half-month, mind you. not some flimsy fortnight.

Most months aren't February.
posted by Tomorrowful at 9:14 PM on March 25, 2011


As hippybear points out, the sewn mouths article is from two years ago. And oh by-the-way, a couple of the political prisoners that those students were protesting for were Lázaro Forero and Iván Simonovis. The guys that kidnapped Chavez and tried to stage a coup. What do you think would happen if a couple of disgruntled Secret Service agents kidnapped Obama? I can guarantee you'd have FOX news protesting their "inhuman" confinement and posturing about these poor "political prisoners'" rights.

This!

It seems super difficult to get reliable news about Venezuela. (I wouldn't trust a neoliberal journal like The Economist on this issue, for example, since they are opposed to many of the social justice reforms of the Chavez government.) The tricky bit is that as far as I can tell the Chavez regime is fairly authoritarian but that their legitimate actions against the oligarchy are always framed as ZOMG-suppressing-dissent. (Like that whole canard about how awful it is that the state TV channel shows only Chavezista material...it's never mentioned that there are tons of other TV channels owned and run by the oligarchy.)

What I hear indirectly from a friend who has lived there is that anarchist/autonomous left organizing is discouraged and sometimes suppressed by the state but that the big issue for the state is dealing with the wealthy oligarchy and its large apparatus.

I think it's really important to figure out just who is being suppressed and why with the Chavez government - by analogy, when our government holds anti-Muslim hearings that's suppressing dissent and being racist, but investigating and working against neo-nazi groups is okay, and it would be bad international news coverage to frame it as "US government suppresses dissent by investigating white supremacist groups!"

Also, I think there's this left over Cold War-ism about "dissent" and "dissidents". I am myself often out there actively dissenting, and I've been suppressed pretty actively on occasion (ouch! Officer, that's my head you're hitting!) But what I do isn't legitimate just because it's dissent; it's legitimate because my political positions are legitimate. If I advocated the violent overthrow of the state in blood and fire, especially so that rich people could get richer, my "dissent" wouldn't be worth much.

Chavez is who you get when you have profound, profound rightist inequality and violence, so that only a left strongman can redress the harm done to ordinary people. If the US government, for example, supports democracy, then they need to reign in their corporate and oligarchy allies so that you don't have to be an authoritarian left-wing military guy just to get into power and create reform.
posted by Frowner at 10:14 PM on March 25, 2011 [10 favorites]


Frowner, if i could favorite your comment a million times i would.

i get the pro-olygarch assholes on twitter all the damn time because am not shy about smacking down chavez' penchant, for example, for defending assholes like Daniel Ortega or Gaddafi.

the riquitos in Venezuela have used the internets very well for their misinformation campaign. chavez is an authoritarian douche but the minute you tell these people you see no problem with him nationalizing the oil industry or his land reform policies, the mask slips off. they want democracy for their social class, the certainly dont want it for those unwashed poor masses.

i just see him as a transitional figure. the oligarchies in all of latin america need to be squashed and land reform needs to be put back on the table with any talks of pro-democracy and social justice reform.

these "pro-democracy" venezuelans who are against chavez want nothing of that.
posted by liza at 8:10 AM on March 26, 2011


That Chavez sounds like a terrible guy. A roundtable review? He should learn how to deal with dissent the way our allies in the Middle East do.
posted by Tashtego at 10:05 AM on March 26, 2011


If the US government, for example, supports democracy, then they need to reign in their corporate and oligarchy allies so that you don't have to be an authoritarian left-wing military guy just to get into power and create reform.

1.  P ⇒ Q
2.  ¬P
3.  ???
4.  Profit!
posted by perspicio at 10:38 AM on March 26, 2011


i just see him as a transitional figure. the oligarchies in all of latin america need to be squashed and land reform needs to be put back on the table with any talks of pro-democracy and social justice reform.

I don't think that Chavez sees himself at all as a transitional figure. He wants to rule forever.

He is just another megalomaniac who is an enemy of personal freedoms of expression and thought, which is unsurprising given that he is delighted to fawn on some of the world's most brutal regimes, so long as they are anti-U.S.

Some people in freer countries and more bourgeois societies who sympathize with Chavez and other left-wing dictators seem not to extend the rights to the freedoms that they enjoy to those subjects.

"Land reform" is a euphemism for "confiscation" ... like calling auto theft "car reform." This has worked very well throughout its history as a practice (recently in Zimbabwe). When the old guard is destroyed and the ensuing famine has run its course, the country will have many extra acres per person.
posted by knoyers at 9:14 PM on March 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


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