Opposition and revolutionary demos – the battle of the streets

“Today, Friday November 30th, the battle of the streets will be defined. The real correlation of political forces will be there for everyone to see. Yesterday, the opposition to the proposed constitutional reforms mustered its troops and from different starting points in the city of Caracas arrived by about 2.30pm. in the Avenida Bolivar.
The march looked impressive. I had just given an interview in English on a small radio station called Radio Venezuela En Vivo which is located at the top of the Hotel Anauco. From the top of the hotel the march looked fragmented with plenty of space between each figure n the march. There wasn’t the concentration of people that you would expect on such an occasion, a time for the opposition to demonstrate its real strength.
At ground level however the view was different. There was quite a crowd. As the marchers arrived they crowded more together so that the Avenue began to fill up. I took some photos of the marchers. There was the usual contingent from the middle class areas and also contingents from opposition run Zulia state.
One of the reasons for the turn out could be the fact that the opposition have taken out large adverts in the press stating that the reforms will mean that newly born children will have to be given up to the state and that freedom of religion will not be allowed. These are all lies. However, as many of them have not been effectively answered by the pro-Chavez campaign, which has consisted mostly of music, songs, red shirts and handing out government newpapers that do describe the reforms but don’t explain them in a form that many could understand (Venezuela has only just managed to abolish illiteracy so for many who can now read the reading level is still quite low), some sections of society have swallowed the lies of the opposition.
So the marchers came together and estimates of numbers vary.  At first I thought that there were perhaps up to half a million, as it looked impressive. Later estimates from helicopter pictures, TV screens and even the BBC put the number at between 150,000 and 200.000. The turnout must have even dampened the hearts of the organisers as it as reported that speeches from each speaker lasted between 4 and 7 minutes. By 4.30pm many marchers had begun to drift away. If this is what the opposition can muster, then Chavez should have no problems.
However, things are not that simple. There is a real fear of abstention with turnout predicted to be closer to 50% than 60%, still fantastic by the standards set in the UK! But of course there is the old whip of the counter revolution. Chavez supporters would have seen what happened yesterday and will want to give the opposition something to think about even before the referendum results on Sunday, so we are expecting a big turnout. Watch carefully the TV screens to see how much of the Avenida the sea of red actually fills.

It is also worth reporting that some of the trade union leaders in the UNT, such as Orlando Chirinos, had been calling for a No vote on the basis that the reforms did not challenge capitalism sufficiently! Due to pressure from his own members however he is now calling for a Nil vote, that is he is asking his members to simply press the vote button on the computer screen without having expressed a preference for either Yes or No. The result is a spoiled ballot paper as a form of protest.

We leave now for the gathering of Chavez’s forces, the forces of revolution, the forces for socialism. But just a final word. The CIA do have a destabilisation plan called Operacion Tenazas, Operation Pliers, a strategy to squeeze Chavez. Two things to mention as people can read the article by Eva Gollinger. Two things that she did not mention. Firstly, there will be attempts to smear Chavez personally in terms of sex and drugs. Secondly, the media will try to manipulate the results as not being fair and therefore not representative. The media may even try to  not recognise the results. From what I have seen over here in Caracas in relation to the BBC reporting, the socalled voice of objectivity over there in London has already started to implement parts of Operation Pliers with its gross distortions, such as accepting the words of known and active coup plotters from April 2002 as being the voice of truth and reason. Readers beware.
Darrall Cozens
November 30th


2 Responses

  1. Thanks so much for the blog. Great to hear an honest perspective of how things look on the ground as the role of the media has been so horrible here in the UK. We will be gathering at the Embassy in London on Sunday when the Venezuelan community here votes. We hope to show our solidarity and make sure our support for the yes vote is visible by wearing red.

  2. The propaganda from the CBC here in Canada is incredible. They’ve been absolutely lionizing the opposition, even at times referring to them as ‘the resistance’. They’ve refused to air anything to do with Operation Pliers. And there hasn’t been ANY mention of the violence perpetrated by the opposition protesters over the last few weeks – the attempted destruction of the free universities, or of the beatings and recent killing. They’ve couched the referendum in terms of ‘resistance against dictatorship’.

    The cowardly reporting of the CBC has truly sunk to FOXnews levels. It’s absolutely stunning.

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