The Crisis in Venezuela

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A Socialist Project e-bulletin .... No. 1458 .... July 29, 2017

The Crisis in Venezuela

The Left and Venezuela

Claudio Katz

During the last two months Venezuela has been faced with a terrible wave of violence. It has already resulted in more than 60 deaths along with looted schools, burned public buildings, destroyed public transportation and emptied hospitals. The major media, however, simply engage in a running stream of gruesome denunciations of the government. They have installed the image of a dictator in conflict with the opposition democrats.

But the statistics do not corroborate that narrative, especially when it comes to those who have fallen. When the number had risen to 39, an initial report pointed to only four who were victims of the security forces. The remainder had died in looting or shoot-outs... within the opposition mobilizations. Another assessment noted that 60 per cent of those killed had absolutely nothing to do with the clashes.

These characterizations are consistent with the estimates that attribute most of the murders to snipers linked with the opposition. More recent inquiries report that most of the victims lost their lives through vandalism or settlements of accounts.

There are numerous denunciations as well of incursions by paramilitary groups linked to the Right. And there are indications that much of the violence enjoys local protection from municipalities governed by the opposition.

Those death tolls are consistent with the fascist brutality that led to setting afire persons associated with Chavismo. Burning alive a partisan of the government is a practice more closely linked to the Colombian paramilitaries or the criminal underworld than it is to the traditional political organizations. Some analysts even estimate that out of a total of 60 deaths, 27 were of sympathizers of Chavismo.

Others say that within the opposition marches there are some 15,000 persons trained as shock groups. They are using balaclavas, shields and home-made weapons to create a chaotic climate and establish "liberated territories."

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