One could go at a length about all the grotesque distortions in in Grace Jaramillo’s op-ed of February 27 (“How Chavez Planted the Seeds of Violence”) but the following quote really stands out:
“Venezuela’s political disenchantment had to be expressed on the streets – it was the only avenue, literally, after more than 14 years of increasing restrictions against basic rights since Mr. Chavez came to power. “
In December, the opposition lost decisively in municipal elections it had worked very hard to cast as a referendum on Maduro’s government. Henrique Capriles, one of the opposition leaders that Jaramillo mentions in her piece, did not even attempt to dispute the outcome, and instead called on his supporters to look into why they had performed so disappointingly. Capriles is the governor of Miranda state. How does that happen if taking to the streets to demand Maduro’s resignation is the “only avenue”?
Jaramillo says nothing about the 2002 coup that both Leopoldo Lopez and Henrique Capriles helped lead. The coup briefly deposed Hugo Chavez democratically elected government. This video shows Lopez and Capriles participating in the illegal “arrest” of a government minister during the coup. It speaks volumes about Venezuela’s very high tolerance for dissent that both these men were not put behind bars for decades. Carpiles served a few months in jail for his role in the coup and Lopez did no time at all. Is that what would have happened to people involved with the violent overthrow of the Canadian government?
What little political violence Venezuela has seen over the past 15 years has primarily targeted Chavista peasants. The culprits have been shielded by a judicial system that continues to shield the rich just as it shielded Capriles and Lopez for their role in the coup. Jaramillo has no avenue, other than very crude propaganda, to defend violent protests aimed –as in 2002 – at deposing a democratic government.