Paint It Red: Chavista Absolutism Seizes Caracas Metro

EspañolA video that is circulating on social media shows how totalitarianism, reinforced in Venezuela by the government and discourse of former President Hugo Chávez, has been woven into the fabric of our society, where confrontations among Venezuelans appear to get worse every day.

The video demonstrates how Caracas Metro operators react to young people who appear to be protesting by kicking them out of the station. One of those young people happened to be wearing a t-shirt bearing the logo of the now defunct RCTV, which Chávez took off the air because of its tendency to support the opposition.

The video has drawn criticism on Facebook, Twitter, and other social media, as it demonstrates a clear violation of the right of the people to use a public space like the subway system of their city.

The Caracas Metro was opened in 1983 and was the fifth subway to be built in Latin America. However, it currently serves as a political flag for the Chávista government, despite the visible impairments in its maintenance and operation.

In November 2013, a few months before the municipal elections, the mayor of the Libertador municipality of Caracas, Jorge Rodríguez, took advantage of the situation and covered the walls and other parts of the Caracas Metro with his campaign “Te quiero Caracas” (I love Caracas); something that would be impossible to do for any mayor of the opposition whose municipality falls on the Metro’s route.

In the last ten years, the Metro has changed completely. The old subway cars were replaced with new red ones. The advertisements on billboards and walls disappeared to make room for government propaganda.

Government absolutism not only changed the color of the subway, but the entire “Metro culture,” a source of pride for citizens of Caracas, also disappeared. All that was left behind was the overcrowding, the shoving, the trash, and neglected spaces. It’s now clear that the abuse of power also found its way to the “reddening” of the Metro, and the seeds laid by a radical socialist leader are now bearing fruit.

Translated by Mariana Nava.

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