Venezuelans Resist an Illegitimate and Violent Regime
A majority of Venezuelans voted for change and now has no choice but to resist a regime that can hold on to power only with violence.
Is the election in Venezuela over? Apparently not. The self-declared winner, Nicolás Maduro, is behaving very much like a man who knows he lost on April 14. In resorting to violence and brute force to silence the opposition’s demand for an honest recount, Maduro has signed the death warrant for chavismo’s legitimacy.
Numerous videos of soldiers and other chavista thugs chasing, beating, and shooting unarmed protesters have circulated around the world since last month’s election. Last night, video from Venezuela’s national assembly showed opposition members being beaten as they protested a gag rule imposed by assembly president Diosdado Cabello.
Post-election analyses have shown that even many of those who had supported caudillo Hugo Chávez before his recent death were among a majority of Venezuelans who voted for change last month. And that majority now has no choice but to resist the Cuban-backed regime that cannot hold on to power, let alone govern, unless it uses violence against the Venezuelan people.
Opposition leader Henrique Capriles Radonski has called for a peaceful protest today in Caracas, and the Maduro regime has summoned its supporters to a competing demonstration. Chavista leaders have threatened to prosecute opposition leaders for inciting violence and sowing the seeds of a “civil war.” But it is clear that chavista leaders are eager for a confrontation. The competing demonstrations are on opposite sides of metropolitan Caracas, so if the government’s backers want trouble, they will have to go looking for it.
If there is widespread violence, it should be remembered that it is the regime that purchased $9 billion in Russian arms and distributed thousands of weapons to militias. It is the chavista movement that has deployed motorcycle-borne gunmen, modeled on the Iranian basij, to attack opposition protesters. Maduro and his Cuban handlers are deluding themselves if they think they can elude responsibility for escalating violence.