Venezuela Student Declaration: Liberty or Nothing


Español“There’s no going back,” says Venezuela’s Student Patriotic Council after 41 days of protests.

Hannah Arendt, a political theorist, referred to socialism and communism as ideologies that had lost touch with the realities of the world. She believed that amid the wars and revolutions that thrived during the 20th century, the oldest of all causes had been forgotten — the fight for liberty against tyranny.

Recent protests in Venezuela have generated criticism for not having “a clear purpose” and being “unorganized.” One other concern is that they are on a trajectory towards eventually “wearing out” and losing motivation. Unfortunately, these critics offer countless arguments for why this will not work, without expressing what will.

Students in Venezuela, the youngest politically active portion of the population, who have grown up practically in the same system, do not need to live under a different government to know there is something better.

What has no “clear purpose” is the way Venezuelans survive day to day without the slightest assurance of what the future holds, or worse yet, the slightest control over their own individual liberty. In Venezuela, we live without “organization,” and the simplest routine can become mired in chaos caused by a lack of institutions and deteriorating standards of living.

Worn out? If the last 15 years of economic and social decline have not worn us out, then protesting and brutal repression will definitely not achieve this either. On the contrary, it will awaken a desire to fight in all Venezuelans who have not been conditioned to submissive authoritarian rule. Venezuela is not a communist country — never has been, and never will be.

With this declaration, students in Venezuela make it very clear what this fight is about:

After 41 days of our just and legitimate struggle in the streets, 1,500 have been arrested, 44 tortured, and 30 Venezuelans have been killed. State institutions have not responded to the demands of Liberty and Justice. They continue to massacre our friends, ignoring requests that Student Patriotic Councilhave presented to the country and instead expand their paramilitary structure as a tool of repression against the people.

This is why our fight goes on, and more vigilant than ever. We will not give in to irresponsibility and complicity to this murderous regime. We are risking our lives in this, and our victory will signify the triumph of Liberty and Sovereignty in Venezuela. Today belongs to Táchira, where the warmth of its gallant and spirited people, without fear and standing as a example of resistance, reaffirm to the world that our struggle in the street has no return, and is supported by our principles of total commitment and the people. To surrender now would be to betray Venezuela.

The regime has not created conditions conducive to dialogue. What they call a “Conference of Peace” is a hypocritical, burlesque theater of lies, manifested in the streets as repression, bullets, torture, murder, degradation, and radical speech. The attack on the autonomy of our universities is the greatest proof of their unwillingness to create meaningful conditions for dialogue. They have not, nor will they ever, succeed in dividing us. Our organization and our principles are not debatable, disputable, or negotiable.

The people of Táchira have revived feelings of courage and fierce resistance. We have defended our spaces, our streets, our property, and our lives with the greatest bravery. Echoes of our courage can now be heard in every corner of Venezuela. We have avowed to disobey the confessed lovers of corruption and illegitimacy, as they can never erase the memory of the victims, the truth, and their responsibility.

Paramilitary groups, in conjunction and collaboration with the National Guard, continue to fire upon the Venezuelan people without mercy. In Táchira, on orders from José Vielma Mora, they murdered our friend Daniel Tinoco, a Venezuelan who protested peacefully for a free and sovereign Venezuela. We accept the resignation of the governor as the first step toward seeking justice for the memory of the fallen in Táchira.

The constitution is the roadmap for all our actions. The liberated areas in Mérida, Carabobo, Táchira, Zulia, Lara, Bolívar, Caracas, Miranda, Anzoátegui, and Barinas, the release of our friends, the incorporation of diverse sectors of society in this struggle, and the growing international concern over this dictatorship in our country are all victories that have come from the resistance in the streets.

As such, we reject the undemocratic stance of this regime, which acts outside of the constitution, human rights, and international organizations, using the Plan de la Patria (Plan for the Country) as a tool to violate the CRBV. We call on all our of armed forces officers to adhere to the true principles of their institution.

In conclusion, the Venezuelan people should assume the debate regarding solutions as enshrined in our constitution. From the resignation of public representatives, the National Assembly (Article 347), the restoration of supreme law (Article 333), and the repudiation of any authority that undermines human rights (Article 350). Whatever path chosen by the people, as a product of national debate over these possibilities, will be the one this Junta Patriótica will strive for to build a free Venezuela.

Today, we are young and you are in power. Today, we are the future, and tomorrow we will be the present. You are closer every day to becoming the past.

Liberty or Nothing,

Student Patriotic Council (Junta Patriótica Estudiantil)

Translated by Guillermo Jimenez.

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