The Game Changed in Venezuela Last Night â€“ and the International Media Is Asleep At the Switch
Janill Gilbert stashed this in Change
Dear International Editor:
Listen and understand. The game changed in Venezuela last night. What had been a slow-motion unravelling that had stretched out over many years went kinetic all of a sudden.
Throughout last night, panicked people told their stories of state-sponsored paramilitaries on motorcycles roaming middle class neighborhoods, shooting at people and Â storming into apartment buildings, shooting at anyone who seemed like he might be protesting. People continue to be arrested merely for protesting, andÂ a long established local Human Rights NGOÂ makes an urgent plea for an investigationÂ into widespread reports of torture of detainees.
There are now dozens of serious human right abuses: National Guardsmen shooting tear gas canistersÂ directly into residential buildings. We have videos of soldiers shooting civilians on the street.Â And thatâ€™s just what came out in real time, over Twitter and YouTube, before any real investigation is carried out. Online media is next,Â a city of 645,000 inhabitantsÂ has been taken off the internet amid mounting repression, and this blog itself has been the object of a Facebook â€śblockâ€ť campaign.
What we saw were not â€śstreet clashesâ€ť, what we saw is a state-hatched offensive to suppress and terrorize its opponents.
After the major crackdown on the streets of major (and minor) Venezuelan cities last night, I expected some kind of response in the major international news outlets this morning. I understand that with an even bigger and more photogenic freakout ongoing in an even more strategically important country, we werenâ€™t going to be front-page-above-the-fold, but Iâ€™m staggered this morning to wake up, scan the press and findâ€¦
Why now? Is this related to Ukraine in any way?
No, more related to Hugo Chavez dying in 2013, so a change of power; which seems to always be shaky.Â I think I saw something awhile back about financially the country could not afford to continue all the social programs it had, that they were never sustainable, and it was only a matter of time before it was going to hit a wall, don't know if that also is playing some part.Â Really don't have a clear answer, more research needed ;)
One thing I'm getting a sense of is that there's a lot of unrest in the world.
Even in places I thought were stable like Venezuela and Ukraine.