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Venezuela’s Last Stand against Deathbed of Normalized Repression

By: María Gabriela Díaz - Feb 18, 2014, 4:00 pm

EspañolToday, the leader of the opposition in Venezuela and national leader of the Popular Will Party, Leopoldo López, surrendered to authorities — amid accusations of inciting violence during the protests last week. Minutes before surrendering, López gave a speech to his supporters in attendance.

Venezuela is in mourning today. With each passing day, Venezuelans see their country waste away — its economy, its civility, its security, its democracy, and above all, its freedom. These words are not meant to speak in favor of Leopoldo López as a politician, but as a citizen. Just like any one of us who, day after day, have our access to justice and transparency denied.

On a daily basis, we see thousands of criminals act with impunity — attacking innocent civilians whose only fault is to have worked for what they have. From this point on, the goal of the demonstrations should be to denounce corruption, call for disarmament, demand provisions, reestablish justice in the Venezuelan state, but above all, advance a sincere dialogue with both sides acknowledging one another.

If we have learned anything in the last few days, it is that the only real crime in the eyes of the government is dissent — to think differently. Everything else is negotiable.

In April of 2013, we learned for the first time that Venezuela stood divided in two halves. The state, however, decided to only really govern one half exclusively — ignoring and, in effect, punishing and repressing the other. As such, Venezuelans gradually began to live in the dark — lacking proper information and communication — unable to learn what was happening with the other half of the country.

What should cause Venezuelans the greatest fear is exactly what they are living out today: adapting to repression. Gradually, the population becomes accustomed to it — accepting it as normal — and this is precisely what we must fight against.

Yesterday, it was Ivan Simonovis. Today, it’s Leopoldo López. Tomorrow, it’ll be all of us.

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Translated by Guillermo Jimenez.

María Gabriela Díaz María Gabriela Díaz

María Gabriela Díaz reported from Caracas, Venezuela, and led the PanAm Post internship program. She has a Bachelor of Arts in political science with a focus in international affairs.