The Venezuelan opposition and its backers in Washington may have underestimated the Chavista grassroots.
Source: The Nation
The protests this week have far more to do with returning economic and political elites to power than with their downfall.
Ukraine. Bosnia. Venezuela.
Tear gas. Masks. Water cannons.
Ours is an age of riots and rebellions, of radical self-creation in the heady streets: Spain’s indignados, the Occupy movement, Mexico’s Yo Soy 132, and of course the Arab Spring. We are understandably excited when we see people in the streets, and our pulse may even rise at the sight of masks, broken glass and flames, because for so long such images have represented the shards of the old world through which we can catch the perceptible glint of the new. Recent protests in Venezuela against the government of Chávez successor Nicolás Maduro might therefore seem to be simply the latest act in an upsurge of world-historic proportions.
The character of our present moment is undeniable, and the tangled web of causes and consequences is the same from London to Cairo to Santiago: budget cuts in the name of “austerity,” rising unemployment, increasing popular resistance, and an upsurge in racist violence and policing measures like “stop-and-frisk.” The failure of an economic system in the short and long term has generated an entire class of undesirables, living proof of that failure who must be contained, controlled, and silenced.