(Breaking Update) Venezuela: Where Is the (International) Outrage?

SOS Venezuela

Breaking Update:

Under the headline, “Venezuela tells CNN journalists to ‘get out,’” CNN has just reported:

Venezuela has revoked or denied press credentials for CNN journalists in the country, following the president’s announcement he would expel CNN if it did not “rectify” its coverage of anti-government protests.

Read more here

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Update:

The Guardian reports:

The Venezuelan military plans to send additional troops to a border region where unrest has been particularly fierce, officials said, as the government faced growing criticism for its heavy-handed attempt to subdue a protest movement with nighttime sweeps that have turned many parts of the country into dangerous free-fire zones.

The interior minister, Miguel Rodriguez Torres, said a battalion of paratroopers would be dispatched to the state of Tachira, on the western border with Colombia, where protesters have clashed with police and national guard units, bringing the state capital, San Cristobal, to a halt.

Read more here

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Original post:

As the violence and repression continue in Venezuela, the grim headlines in blogs and web sites covering the Venezuelan rebellion say it all:

• “The Night Venezuela Finally Imploded

• “Sliding to Venezuelan hell…

• “A night of violence and murder in Venezuela as the Cuba-backed dictatorship unleashes wave of terror

In “Venezuela: The Game Changed Last Night,” one reads:

Listen and understand. The game changed in Venezuela last night. What had been a slow-motion unraveling that had stretched out over many years went kinetic all of a sudden. What we have this morning is no longer the Venezuela story you thought you understood. Throughout last night, panicked people told their stories of state-sponsored paramilitaries…

The headlines also express pessimism and desperation: ”As Protests Become Widespread, So Does Repression in Venezuela.”

But they also express grief for the deaths of so many innocent people, in particular for the death of the beautiful, 22-year-old Génesis Carmona, who was Miss Tourism Venezuela and who tragically died Wednesday as a result of a gunshot to the head she suffered during Tuesday’s demonstrations in Valencia, Venezuela.

Venezuela  Genesis Carmona

Génesis Carmona (Photo courtesy dolar.com)

At dolartoday.com, Octavio De Lamo expresses his grief, Venezuela’s grief, in this manner (author’s translation):

I can not contain my tears at the news of the death of Génesis Carmona. I can not, because I think of her parents, her family and her friends. I can not because I think of my children, because I think of my grandchildren.

I can not because I think of all the wonderful young people who fill the streets hoping to express their thoughts when an evil bullet, fired by an evil official, obeying the orders of an even more evil ruler, strikes a beautiful young lady, barely 23, just to make it clear who are the ones who rule.

De Lamo firmly believes that his cry is shared by millions of Venezolanos who find no explanation for the perverse regime and who feel that the bullet that killed Génesis was meant for all the young people who are fighting for a better future, because the bullet’s aim was “to kill the future, because the regime is as afraid of the future as it is of the young people who symbolize it.”

Many are highlighting examples of bravery as shown in the photo below how residents of one community “are no longer afraid and stopped this tank” or by calling for a more intense battle for freedom and urging “everyone to the streets this Saturday.

Venezuela se acabo el miedo

Photo courtesy dolartoday.com

Others cry out for support. One Facebook site by its very name simply and dramatically calls for help: “SOS Venezuela.” (Lead image courtesy SOS Venezuela)

But one thing for certain, Venezuelans — and others — are disappointed by the lack of attention and coverage thus far given their struggle by the international press and community.

For example:

• Hit & Run: Is Western Media Ignoring a Violent Political Crackdown in Venezuela?

• Mediaite: Venezuelan Journalist Rightly Wonders Why American Media Ignores Unfolding Crisis

• Babalú Blog: Media silence flabbergasts/enrages Venezuelan freedom-lovers

At Caracas Chronicles, under the banner, “The Game Changed in Venezuela Last Night – and the International Media Is Asleep At the Switch,” Francisco Toro writes alongside a photo of San Cristobal on Tuesday night:

Venezuela san cristobal

“San Cristobal on Tuesday Night” (Photo courtesy Caracas Chronicles)

Dear International Editor:

Listen and understand. The game changed in Venezuela last night. What had been a slow motion unraveling that had stretched out over many years went kinetic all of a sudden.
What we have this morning is no longer the Venezuela story you thought you understood.

Throughout last night, panicked people told their stories of state-sponsored paramilitaries on motorcycles roaming middle class neighborhoods, shooting at people and storming into apartment buildings, shooting at anyone who seemed like he might be protesting. People continue to be arrested merely for protesting, and a long established local Human Rights NGO makes an urgent plea for an investigation into widespread reports of torture of detainees. There are now dozens of serious human right abuses:

National Guardsmen shooting tear gas canisters directly into residential buildings. We have videos of soldiers shooting civilians on the street. And that’s just what came out in real time, over Twitter and YouTube, before any real investigation is carried out. Online media is next, a city of 645,000 inhabitants has been taken off the internet amid mounting repression, and this blog itself has been the object of a Facebook “block” campaign.

What we saw were not “street clashes”, 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 weren’t going to be front-page-above-the-fold, but I’m staggered this morning to wake up, scan the press and find…

Nothing.

Commenting on a screenshot of a New York Times front page, Toro concludes, “As of 11 a.m. this morning, the New York Times World Section has…nothing,” and makes similar observations of other media outlets’ websites.

Perhaps the world is focused on the crisis in the Ukraine or mesmerized by the Winter Olympics, but that is no reason for, as Toro concludes, “looking through these pages and finding nothing. Venezuela burns; nobody cares.”

Author: DORIAN DE WIND, Military Affairs Columnist