Monday, November 26, 2007
Festivals, Referendums and Revolution
Venezuela is just rockin' these days!! The Third Annual International Circus Festival is kicking off this week in Caracas, and folks can enjoy circus entertainment from Argentina, Spain, Brazil, Chile, the United Kingdom and France through Monday, December 3rd. There will be street performances, acrobatics, theatrical events, music and artistic expressions all over town. Who said we couldn't have fun during the referendum campaign?
In the meantime, the state of Zulia, where the opposition passion runs high, is hosting the First Annual Festival of the Earth, where lovers and artists of clay and rock are coming together to create brilliant earthy artworks.
Caracas is also hosting the annual Festival of Artesans in Parque del Este, which I hope to visit tomorrow in order to find some unusual local handmade Christmas presents for my family and friends!
But oh, let us not forget the crazy violent opposition that today actually killed an innocent 19-year old worker from PetroCasa, a government company that builds affordable housing for low income families in Venezuela. Yes, that unfortunate event occured this very morning in the State of Carabobo after the opposition decided to launch a series of violent "guarimbas" in the streets across the nation as part of what their extremist faction has named "the march with no return". Well, we hope they will never return with all their violence and destabilization. Actually, in Caracas, this "guarimba with no return" had little affect. Just a few private university students blocked traffic in the late morning hours, but were quickly (and peacefully) dispersed by authorities. However, in the states of Carabobo and Aragua, the groups got violent, and at least 80 were arrested by security forces. The assassin of the the 19-year old has been detained, identified and will be charged with murder. We do have a legal system and a state of justice here, despite what the opposition thinks. But the oppositional media showed and said nothing. They only seem to care when the one who is hurt or killed is from the middle or upper classes. Event the international media, like CNN en Español, which has religiously covered the opposition student marches all month, aired nothing about the tragic incident. So much for media objectivity.
This Sunday is the referendum vote on the Constitutional reform. The "SI" to approve Chavez's proposal will most likely win by a clear margin, but the opposition will not cease its tactics. They will probably increase their violent actions over the next few days and after the referendum is won in order to prevent the Chavez government from implementing the new laws and regulations that will bring social and economic justice, and power, to the people.
The Colombia situation is deteriorating by the minute. Now, relations between Venezuela and Colombia are frozen because President Uribe of Colombia cut off President Chavez's mediation efforts (which Uribe had originally approved), because of a very short telephone conversation held between Senator Piedad Cordoba from Colomba, who is the main mediator in the humanitarian peace process in Colombia, President Chavez, and the head of Colombia's armed forces, during which the discussion was about the detained members of the FARC. Chavez says the conversation was necessary and authorized by Uribe, since Chavez was charged with negotiating between the FARC and the Colombian Army that is holding members of the guerrilla group as prisoners. But Uribe claims the conversation violated the terms of the mediation efforts and therefore, not only did he terminate Chavez's role, but also Senator Cordoba's efforts, which date back months, if not years, and include several assassination attempts against her by right wing Colombian forces. And, to top it all off, the Colombian government is now charging the Senator with "betraying her country", and the government of France has offered her political asylum. So, she risked her life to bring peace to her country, with the authorization of her government, and now she is a traitor???? This situation between Colombia and Venezuela plays right into the hands of the United States government, which has been searching for a reason to create a conflict between the two neighbor nations in order to justify an international intervention. Lets hope things don't get any worse.
Just four days left of campaigning and tensions are running high. Be on the lookout for massive media manipulation and wacky opposition tactics to deceive and distort the mere reality on the ground here that gives every indication of a strong "SI" in favor of the reform this coming Sunday.