Venezuela: end game?
After the outpour of concern (I will never be able to thank you enough, guys) I thought I'd give a quick update on the situation down here. This will be a crucial week in my country.
- •Last Sunday the opposition held a referendum to ask whether the people wanted the Constitution reformed, as the President has requested to do via a National Constituent Assembly.7,5 million people showed up. 97% didn't just say that we don't want the damn thing, we said OH HEEELL NO, we don't want the damn thing.
- •After that, governments around the world urged president Nicolas Maduro to withdraw the Constituent.Even this guy, whom I begrudgingly thank https://youtu.be/8uqdAwJARpg. (I just hope any sanctions do NOT include a blockade; that would work just like it did for Cuba.) Of course Maduro scoffed, but inside reports say that a withdrawal has been discussed, and only the most radical from the inside (mostly people on the DEA's sights) insist on carrying on.
- •Protests continue, of courseThey included a 24 hour strike like Thursday the 20th. Reports determine that 85% of people in Caracas upheld it, and similarly in the rest of the country. It was pathetically hilarious to hear state television explaining that the reason subway stations that had been completely packed the day before were now empty because we were on school holidays.
- •The National Assembly, controlled by the opposition, named new Supreme Court judgesThe 33 new magistrates (yes, there are too many... and you thought having nine was bad) have a combined law experience of 348 years. The current judges sitting in the Supreme Court, named illegally by the former Congress, have maybe ten years combined. And its president, Maikel Moreno, is a convicted murderer. (Google him.) Of course they declared the act illegal. Look at all the f**ks we give.
- •Repression has increased in brutalityNext Tuesday will mark the 120th consecutive day of protest, and it has cost the lives of over a hundred people, mostly young men and women in their 20s. Meredith Kohut, photojournalist for the NYT who covers Venezuela, paints quite the picture --shared on social media by wonderful actor and person Mark Ruffalo. https://twitter.com/MarkRuffalo/status/888724350169477120
- •Deadline: next SundayI'm expecting a whole lotta sh*t headed for the proverbial fan this week. More protests, more violence and a whole lot more negotiations on the day leading to the damn Constituent vote. On Saturday opposition is calling for "the taking of Caracas" to try and force a halt. Who knows if we'll succeed.
- •Four possible outcomesAccording to Argentine journalist Andrés Oppenheimer: (1) Maduro withdraws his constituent assembly, calls for elections next year after guarantees neither he nor his closest go to jail, and loses; (2) Maduro goes ahead with the damn thing, closes Congress, violence escalates, and he is ousted by one of his generals, who promises elections in six months; (3) like 2, but the US starts a blockade against Venezuela, and we turn into the new Cuba; (4) like 2, but regional leaders oppose Maduro...
- •...and it's civil war.Radicals on both sides are willing to go this far. Most Venezuelans don't. Please raise awareness, urge world leaders to increase pressure on the Government. With the National Guard blocking international help like the thugs they are, it's all you CAN do, I'm afraid. But it's quite a lot. And if you, like me, believe there us a God, pray. I thank you again, li.st.