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Sun Feb 1, 2015, 12:41 AM

Venezuela: Where the Wealthy Stir Violence While the Poor Build a New Society

Venezuela: Where the Wealthy Stir Violence While the Poor Build a New Society
By Dario Azzellini Berlin, Germany
April 28, 2014

Artist and documentary filmmaker Dario Azzellini argues the protests in Venezuela represent a vicious attack on the country’s social progress under Hugo Chávez, spurred on by anti-Chavista politicians in affluent regions.


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The barrios of Caracas, Venezuela. Film still from Comuna Under Construction (2010), directed by Dario Azzellini and Oliver Ressler.
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Before Hugo Chávez became president of Venezuela in 1999, the barrios of Caracas, built provisionally on the hills surrounding the capital, did not even appear on the city map. Officially they did not exist, so neither the city nor the state maintained their infrastructure. The poor inhabitants of these neighborhoods obtained water and electricity by tapping pipes and cables themselves. They lacked access to services such as garbage collection, health care and education altogether.

Today residents of the same barrios are organizing their communities through directly democratic assemblies known as communal councils—of which Venezuela has more than 40,000. Working families have come together to found community spaces and cooperative companies, coordinate social programs and renovate neighborhood houses, grounding their actions in principles of solidarity and collectivity. And their organizing has found government support, especially with the Law of Communal Councils, passed by Chávez in 2006, which has led to the formation of communes that can develop social projects on a larger scale and over the long term.

You will not hear about the self-governing barrios in Western reports of protests spreading across Venezuela. According to the prevailing narrative, students throughout the country are protesting a dire economic situation and high crime rate, only to meet brutal repression from government forces. Yet the street violence that has captured the world’s attention has largely taken place in a few isolated areas—the affluent neighborhoods of cities like Caracas, Maracaibo, Valencia, San Cristóbal and Mérida—and not in the barrios where Venezuela’s poor and working classes live. Despite international media claims, the vast majority of Venezuela’s students are not protesting. Not even a third of all people arrested in connection with the demonstrations since early February are students, even though Venezuela has more than 2.6 million university students (up from roughly 700,000 in 1998), thanks to the tuition-free public university system that Chávez created.

A look at recent arrests reveals that the “protest” leaders are really a mixture of drug traffickers, paramilitaries and private military contractors—in other words, the mercenaries typical of any CIA military destabilization operation. In Barinas, the southern border state with Colombia, two heavily armed barricade organizers were arrested, including Hugo Alberto Nuncira Soto, who has an Interpol arrest warrant for membership in Los Urabeños, a Colombian paramilitary involved in drug trafficking, smuggling, assassinations and massacres. In Caracas, the brothers Richard and Chamel Akl—who own a private military company, Akl Elite Corporation, and represent the Venezuelan branch of the private military contractor Risk Inc.—were arrested while driving an armored vehicle in possession of firearms, explosives and military equipment. Their car had been equipped with pipes to be activated from inside to disperse motor oil and nails on the streets, not to mention tear gas grenades, homemade bombs, pistols, gas masks, bulletproof vests, night-vision devices, gasoline tanks and knives.

More:
http://creativetimereports.org/2014/04/28/venezuela-where-the-wealthy-stir-violence-while-the-poor-build-a-new-society-dario-azzellini-protests-in-venezuela/

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Reply Venezuela: Where the Wealthy Stir Violence While the Poor Build a New Society (Original post)
Judi Lynn Feb 2015 OP
mwrguy Feb 2015 #1
SamKnause Feb 2015 #2
Oele Feb 2015 #3
djean111 Feb 2015 #4
Judi Lynn Feb 2015 #7
Oele Feb 2015 #8
hack89 Feb 2015 #5
polly7 Feb 2015 #6

Response to Judi Lynn (Original post)

Sun Feb 1, 2015, 02:36 AM

1. K&R!

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Response to Judi Lynn (Original post)

Sun Feb 1, 2015, 04:14 AM

2. K&R

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Response to Judi Lynn (Original post)

Sun Feb 1, 2015, 06:42 AM

3. Chavez did not create the tuition-free public university system.

Also, the article is 9 months old and has been posted here before.

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Response to Oele (Reply #3)

Sun Feb 1, 2015, 09:06 AM

4. I missed it the first time, so I am happy to read it!

 

There are lots of things that get multiple postings on the same day here at DU. Keeps a person busy, checking on that, I imagine, or is it only the Venezuela stuff that gets monitored?

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Response to Oele (Reply #3)

Sun Feb 1, 2015, 05:42 PM

7. I'd like to share this information with the progressives here, from Wikipedia:

The Universidad Bolivariana de Venezuela (UBV, English: Bolivarian University of Venezuela) is a state university in Venezuela founded in 2003 by decree of President Hugo Chávez.

The UBV is a part of the Chávez government's "Mission Sucre" social programs, which aim to provide free higher education to the poor. Consequently, enrollment at the UBV is free and open to all, regardless of academic qualifications, prior education or even nationality. The government expects the student body to grow to 1 million by 2009, with more than 190 satellite classrooms throughout Venezuela. [1]
The education programme at the UBV is generally in line with Hugo Chávez's democratic socialist vision of a Latin American "Bolivarian Revolution". Opposition leader Julio Borges though, labels it a "thinly disguised propaganda factory that takes advantage of the country's most vulnerable citizens".[1] However, others are more optimistic. Maria Ejilda Castellano, the rector of the Bolivarian University in Caracas, has said that the institution is designed to benefit the poor precisely by encouraging the open exchange of ideas. Castellano said that the Bolivarian University is based on UNESCO principles for education and that "The professional produced by this institution will work for the transformation of society. She will be a critical thinker who can stimulate others and generate questions."[2]

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bolivarian_University_of_Venezuela

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When I posted the article originally, it was published through a different source. I am so glad to have been able to post it here last night.

In case you hadn't been able to grasp it, yet, progressive, liberal people, for whom this message board was designed, come here to share, exchange, pool their information.

In the Latin America forum, we pursue, share, appreciate information which our own corporate media side-steps usually. This is NOT the "Late Breaking News" forum, and you should learn to distinguish the difference. We are looking for information together, the progressives, liberals, democrats, Democrats here.

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Response to Judi Lynn (Reply #7)

Mon Feb 2, 2015, 12:43 AM

8. Yes, Chavez did start the UBV. But public universities were free long before Chavez.

So, he did not "create the tuition-free public university system".

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Response to Judi Lynn (Original post)

Sun Feb 1, 2015, 01:50 PM

5. So who is to blame for making VZ the murder capital of the world?

it is not the protests but the spike in everyday violent crime that is undermining VZ (that and gross mismanagement of the economy).

Can't blame that on outside forces.

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Response to Judi Lynn (Original post)

Sun Feb 1, 2015, 01:51 PM

6. K&R! nt.

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