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When Push Comes to Shove, Venezuela’s Opposition Shows No Backbone against Military Barbarism

By: Orlando Avendaño - @OrlvndoA - Jun 30, 2017, 1:14 pm
(Asamblea Nacional)
Borges let himself be attacked and pushed away. (Asamblea Nacional)

EspañolA disappointing and barbaric video made its rounds through Venezuela social media this week, showing the attitudes and demeanor of both the country’s despots and their opposition. In a video recorded during Tuesday’s siege on the Legislative Palace, an officer of the Bolivarian National Guard assaulted President of the National Assembly Julio Borges.

“I am the President of the Assembly,” Borges tells Colonel Vladimir Lugo Armas in the video. Lugo abruptly responds: “I am the commander of the unit!” and insists with hostility: “I would appreciate it if you would leave. You may be the president of whatever, but I would appreciate it if you leave.” He then shoves Borges out of the room.

Borges didn’t say anything after that. He let himself be attacked and pushed away.

The scene is tragic and irritating. Arbitrary abuse of power is repugnant. Yet the video also demonstrates Borges’ submission to military tyranny.

Borges is the President of Venezuela’s legislative body. At the moment, its the only power that enjoys legitimacy and, therefore, is the only vestige of the republic that remains in a country torn apart by military barbarism. Fourteen million Venezuelan citizens voted for the representatives of the National Assembly. Borges allowed himself to be humiliated by the regime and in turn managed to humiliate those millions of citizens.

Meanwhile, thousands of Venezuelans risk their lives rebelling against Maduro’s murderous regime. They don’t enjoy congressional immunity, but they’re in the streets demonstrating far more courage than Borges did.

How can an army officer attack the highest legislative official in the country without consequence? Borges is third in line for presidential succession — stepping into power should Maduro and Vice President Tareck El Aissami ever fall from power.

We, the citizens, were also humiliated. But we don’t ask that Borges push back. We don’t demand rudeness. Nor do we long for bravado. Words would have been enough. Firmness and forcefulness. Borges was lifeless and docile. Borges’ submissive behavior against military barbarism lacked dignity, especially because his role requires that he represent millions of Venezuelans.

Those who resort to a shameful defense of these actions say that the congressman was behaving in a civil manner, but then they have a terrible concept of civility.

Tweet: This is a small piece of evidence showing how the military sector abuses popular will, represented by the President of the National Assembly.

Civility, in fact, has nothing to do with docility and submission. People with attitudes like these have delayed the exit of Maduro’s adminsitration and prolonged the agony we experience day in and day out. It’s the opposite of civility.

“Venezuelan soldiers have become bosses because more than one civilian has tolerated it,” New York Times Columnist Sinar Alvarado wrote. “Borges had to respond firmly as if he had been voted into power, which he was.”

“There was no need for a coup, it was enough to demand respect and make clear who is insubordinate and who has the legitimacy of public power,” Alvarado continued. “The message is clear: ‘I can mistreat the President of Parliament and nothing will happen.'”

That video, that push, are all you need to see to understand why the National Assembly is not in power and why Julio Borges has not assumed the presidency.

Orlando Avendaño Orlando Avendaño

Orlando Avendaño is a PanAm Post intern who resides in Caracas, Venezuela, where he studies social communication at Andrés Bello Catholic University. Follow @OrlvndoA.