Right-Wing Opposition Provokes Violent Destabilization Efforts
In the Andean city of San Cristobal extremist right wing youths based around the conservative universities, and numbering no more than 50, held violent protests this week in response to calls from opposition leaders for “action on the streets”.
The calls for street action from the opposition, amounting to destabilizing the country, were proclaimed to demonstrate their lack of recognition of the decision of the High Supreme Court which proclaimed that the swearing in of President Chavez could be constitutionally suspended until his return.
Students of the Universidad de Los Andes, and the Catholic University in Táchira State, both well known hotbeds for extreme right wing militancy, smashed windows and played out running battles with security forces in acts which have been denounced by Bolivarian spokespersons.
Recently elected PSUV Governor, Jose Gregorio Vilma Mora, denounced the violence, and highlighted the role of international right wing groups in the destructive acts.
“It’s about organized groups which are coordinated and paid in US dollars. We have photos of them being paid within the hallways of the Universities” he stated.
“Underneath the violence and the spite there is a scheme, planned from outside of Venezuela, to generate violence… They had 9mm pistols in their hands, with munitions, to create chaos…they have mortars, armaments, munitions, and guns, to hurt the people of Táchira”.
The youths vandalized various private institutions which work alongside the local government, such as the Foundation for the Family of Táchira and the Táchira Institute for Women, as well as inflicting infrastructural damage to various buildings, and the attempted burning of an ambulance.
Táchira State was one of those lost by the opposition forces in December local elections, despite strongly voting for Capriles Radonski in October, and was previously considered a center for anti-Chavez sentiment.
Many in the opposition ranks, overexcited by the improbable prospect of the failure of the health of President Chavez, incorrectly see their opportunity to finally topple the revolutionary forces, and with this end in sight are attempting to create the social conditions which would justify, both nationally and internationally, an intervention sufficiently forceful to undo the democratic results of October and December.
In the violence in Táchira six members of the National Guard were injured. The National Guard denounced that the youths were loading their mortars with nails and other such instruments.
Governor Mora called on citizens to “have a clear head” and “don’t be induced by the terrorists”. He went on to guarantee security and stability in the State.
He explained that he expected those responsible to be brought to justice for their acts: “the security forces have all of those involved identified through photographs. We are not going to allow violence to take Táchira State”.
The events, Mora claimed, had been specifically planned to disrupt two important events this week: the arrival of the Vuelta de Táchira, the internationally acclaimed cycling competition; and the International Festival of San Sebastian, which is held every year in this month.
“They want to sabotage the arrival of the 3rd stage of the Vuelta de Táchira, a thing of pride for Venezuela in the world… and they chased off the tourists who came to enjoy the starts of the International Festival of San Sebastian”.
Communications Minister Villegas also called on the country not to “fall into the provocations of the irresponsible minorities”. He went on to call on certain sectors of the opposition, who have recently talked of opening dialogue and negotiation, to reject the armed, violent, fascist minorities within their own ranks: “rational sectors of the opposition, be clear, emphatically oppose the irresponsible minority which use violence”.
Vice Minister for Student Politics, Jehyson Guzman, went further and claimed that the violence was part of a wider plan by the international right wing forces to destabilize the country. He claimed that it was a pre-planned action, carried out by the most vile right wing forces present in the border state of Táchira, which, in certain sectors, suffers from the infiltration of Colombian right wing fascist, violent, paramilitaries and drug barons.
“It’s an operational mode which is pre-planned. This shows us that there are groups which are outside of the legal order. We are sure that they are not university students, but the right wing forces using the Universities as a mask to carry out this vandalism” he stated.
Many have laid the blame for such violence at the door of opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez, himself famously involved in violence during the failed 2002 right wing coup attempt in Caracas.
Lopez, speaking against the ruling of the High Supreme Court last week, stated that the opposition are planning a demonstration for the 23rd January, and, worryingly, that the opposition forces “will encounter each other in the streets, with actions”.
The opposition to which Lopez belongs have suffered 3 successive electoral batterings in the past months (Presidential, local, and National Assembly elections), and hence certain sectors in their ranks are looking for extra-electoral and extra-constitutional means to achieve the defeat of the Bolivarian revolution.
“We need to do things differently, not just go to march then return home, no” stated Lopez, suggesting a change in tactics for his following.
Students who belong to the revolutionary student movement ‘Country and University’ denounced Lopez and the fascist student group ‘White Hands’, considered responsible for the violence in Táchira, and called for students not to let themselves get caught up in the imperialist inspired destabilization plans.
Government forces, including the PSUV and PCV, have called for the people to be aware and active on the 23rd January to maintain the stability of the country.
Jorge Rodriguez from the Socialist Unified Party called on the revolutionary forces to “take the streets of Caracas” to secure the defense of the revolution, whilst the collective leadership of the Communist Party stated that “we alert the Venezuelan people to be very watchful, because this opposition is looking to provoke the people and show the deeds as if they were actions of the revolution”.
Such words come from the experience of 2002, and more recently, from the destabilizing actions by the opposition in the electoral campaign of October 7th, which saw sabotage in the electric and energy sectors, as well as planned and strategic food stockpiling this past month.
Such acts are intended to create the idea of ‘crisis’ in the population, an idea pushed and reiterated by the right wing politicians in their discourses. They are also intended to falsely create the impression of a country without control nor order, without government, which is intended to particularly appeal to the foreign powers who fund and support the instigators of such terrorist actions.
With the atrocities and tricks of 2002 and 2003-4 so fresh in people’s memories, many have observed that the revolutionary forces are better prepared and peacefully armed to defend their President and the revolutionary process should the opposition seek to abandon the path of electoral struggle which has gone so badly for them recently and go down that of violent destabilization again.
Reassuringly, Interior Minister Nestor Reverol spoke out last week, making it very clear that, whilst respecting the right to protest peacefully, the security forces “will not permit even an inch of destabilization”.