Venezuela’s Jacobins are in the news again. Whether in the commemorations of the first year since the death of Hugo Chávez — a veritable Toussaint — or in Nicolás Maduro’s recent interview with Christiane Amanpour, discussions of Venezuela continue to center on the towering heights of political power. To some extent this is defensive: in recent weeks, those seeking to restore the feudal privileges of the deposed Venezuelan ancien régime have attempted to harness largely middle-class student protests to depose the Maduro government, and the international community has heeded their call.
Well-heeled domestic elites (whose English shows no trace of an accent) have taken to Twitter and the international media to mobilize solidarities. They have been well-received by the US press and a slew of naïve celebrities, who eagerly regurgitate exaggerations, misrepresentations, and outright lies about so-called “human rights’ abuses” at the hands of the Maduro government. These attempts to seamlessly stitch “violence” to the “revolution,” however, have fallen increasingly flat as the days pass and the anti-Chavistas grow increasingly desperate and divided.
After a few deaths at the hands of government forces — some resulting in arrests of the police and soldiers involved — the brunt of the violence is now falling upon bystanders and the Chavistas themselves, as with the two shot dead by opposition gunmen in a wealthy Caracas neighborhood on March 6, and a Chilean woman killed on March 9 in Mérida after helping neighbors clear barricades.