Venezuelans protest police shootings of students

Demonstrations often look alike, and for that reason they are often given short shrift by the media. People gather on an issue, march to a plaza somewhere, and then disperse home. A point is made. Next story.
 
But a large protest held in Caracas, Venezuela this weekend was different. Organized under duress, it was a sign of democratic life in Venezuela, around two great issues Venezuelans are still willing to fight for in their tattered, ruined democracy.

There is no justice in Venezuela's judicial system. And there is a great struggle underway for the soul of education.
 
The two spheres intersected last Monday when police shot and killed three blameless students on a Caracas thoroughfare.  It was a street execution in broad daylight, with one student shot at close range as he was backed into a corner. Three other innocents were injured.

The appropriately acronymed security forces responsible, DIM, claimed they mistook the students for some criminals they were hunting. But of course. Such things can happen.

Extrajudicial killings happen often in Venezuela, but there may have been too many witnesses to cover it up this time. Conceivably, it was unintentional. It almost doesn't matter because it is always intolerable.
 
The student killings were politically loaded because there is a great war for ideas already in Venezuela's universities.

Young students are resisting not only the influence of Castroite communist indoctrination, they are also resisting the idiotification of their education through Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez's parallel "university education" program called 'Mision Robinson.' 
 
There have been sit—ins and hunger strikes at several universities over a detested education bill called 'PLOE' which students accurately recognize as a Castrofication of education. It's an effort to insert leftist ideology into every aspect of university education, utterly corrupting it, and lowering the international value of the degrees from what historically have been  some of the best universities in hemisphere. Venezuela's 19th—century Andres Bello who founded and inspired many universities, was Latin America's greatest educator. 

By pushing this corruption of the university system, Chavez deals a blow to the opposition by depriving it of real education, not just in the value of the diploma but in the opportunity to learn how to think clearly and independently. Like other tyrants, Chavez is threatened by authentic education and wants it gone.  
 
Chavez is trying to cheapen the value of a university education by flooding the market, too. His parallel university system is claiming to be opening up the university system to the poor. In reality, he means all comers. He is setting up free 'Bolivarian' universities. No academic merit of any kind is required. Only political loyalty to Chavez's brand of Marxist—Leninism will do. Then you will have the credential, and woe be to those who discriminate against the diploma—holders of the 'parallel' system.

Chavez's claim about opening the education system is a ploy. The phoniness of the effort is obvious to the real university students because the existing state university education is already tuition—free.
 
Being free, state university places are in limited supply, so only the best students can get in. But the private sector has filled the void, and private institutions have taken off, peddling degrees throughout the entire region. There is no short supply of graduates.

For Chavez, this free market supply  is a negative development. Diverse private universities are not the answer to the natural limitations of a free public university system. As independent institutions, they are a threat. That's why he's got the PLOE bill to control their and their state counterparts' curriculum.
 
But by also claiming that a 'Mision Robinson' education is as good as a real university education, he can populate entire ministries and the state oil company with "graduates" chosen on criteria other than merit. In real terms the educational value is worthless, and most of the graduates will be just indoctrinated illiterates.

But the diploma will be as good as a party card for entry into the Chavez privileged class, like the nomenklatura of  the old Soviet Union. That's what's happening in Venezuela now and the students with real degrees and academic merit are noticing. It's a flashpoint, becauseall the hard work of  these students, eraning merit in a competitive academic enviroenment and getting a good job, is about to be blown away by the recrudescence of long—discredited communism.
 
Consequently, there has been an atmosphere of real tension on campus. And suddenly, police shoot three students for no reason whatever, quickly calling it a "mistake." What it looks like to the student resistors is an effort to terrify.
 
Particularly when the chief of the death—squad operation is Jess Chacon, a powerful Chavista loyalist, whose violent associations we have described here.  Everything he does is coercive and political.
 
Dangerous as it was for them, the students came out to protest. There were at least 1,000 and one eyewitness tells us it was up to 10,000. In any case, as blogger Daniel Duquenal notes,  it was one of the biggest since the recall referendum last year.

Chavez sent out low—flying military airplanes to intimidate the protestors but their numbers only grew.  They were joined by others who have long languished within a system where there has been no justice — reporters like Patricia Poleo, under a two—year jail sentence for bothersomely truthful reporting about the Chavez regime. And others who have long sought justice and never gotten it.

The demonstrators focused their demands on the resignation of Venezuela's corrupt attorney general, Isaias Rodriguez, a Chacon lieutenant, who has yet to prosecute a corruption or even crime case of any meaning, but who is fast to act against political enemies. In the atmosphere he's created, reporters can be thrown in jail for criticizing the regime, ambassadors can be beaten in broad daylight, and students can be shot on the street with nobody prosecuted. He's a real monster.
 
It's significant that this was a protest of young people. The looks of the young faces at the rally signal that this may be a harbinger of change. Large protests loaded with the young have brought down many a regime.

The demand is for justice for the murdered students and the freedom to speak freely about education. These issues won't go away when the protestors go home.

Demonstrations often look alike, and for that reason they are often given short shrift by the media. People gather on an issue, march to a plaza somewhere, and then disperse home. A point is made. Next story.
 
But a large protest held in Caracas, Venezuela this weekend was different. Organized under duress, it was a sign of democratic life in Venezuela, around two great issues Venezuelans are still willing to fight for in their tattered, ruined democracy.

There is no justice in Venezuela's judicial system. And there is a great struggle underway for the soul of education.
 
The two spheres intersected last Monday when police shot and killed three blameless students on a Caracas thoroughfare.  It was a street execution in broad daylight, with one student shot at close range as he was backed into a corner. Three other innocents were injured.

The appropriately acronymed security forces responsible, DIM, claimed they mistook the students for some criminals they were hunting. But of course. Such things can happen.

Extrajudicial killings happen often in Venezuela, but there may have been too many witnesses to cover it up this time. Conceivably, it was unintentional. It almost doesn't matter because it is always intolerable.
 
The student killings were politically loaded because there is a great war for ideas already in Venezuela's universities.

Young students are resisting not only the influence of Castroite communist indoctrination, they are also resisting the idiotification of their education through Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez's parallel "university education" program called 'Mision Robinson.' 
 
There have been sit—ins and hunger strikes at several universities over a detested education bill called 'PLOE' which students accurately recognize as a Castrofication of education. It's an effort to insert leftist ideology into every aspect of university education, utterly corrupting it, and lowering the international value of the degrees from what historically have been  some of the best universities in hemisphere. Venezuela's 19th—century Andres Bello who founded and inspired many universities, was Latin America's greatest educator. 

By pushing this corruption of the university system, Chavez deals a blow to the opposition by depriving it of real education, not just in the value of the diploma but in the opportunity to learn how to think clearly and independently. Like other tyrants, Chavez is threatened by authentic education and wants it gone.  
 
Chavez is trying to cheapen the value of a university education by flooding the market, too. His parallel university system is claiming to be opening up the university system to the poor. In reality, he means all comers. He is setting up free 'Bolivarian' universities. No academic merit of any kind is required. Only political loyalty to Chavez's brand of Marxist—Leninism will do. Then you will have the credential, and woe be to those who discriminate against the diploma—holders of the 'parallel' system.

Chavez's claim about opening the education system is a ploy. The phoniness of the effort is obvious to the real university students because the existing state university education is already tuition—free.
 
Being free, state university places are in limited supply, so only the best students can get in. But the private sector has filled the void, and private institutions have taken off, peddling degrees throughout the entire region. There is no short supply of graduates.

For Chavez, this free market supply  is a negative development. Diverse private universities are not the answer to the natural limitations of a free public university system. As independent institutions, they are a threat. That's why he's got the PLOE bill to control their and their state counterparts' curriculum.
 
But by also claiming that a 'Mision Robinson' education is as good as a real university education, he can populate entire ministries and the state oil company with "graduates" chosen on criteria other than merit. In real terms the educational value is worthless, and most of the graduates will be just indoctrinated illiterates.

But the diploma will be as good as a party card for entry into the Chavez privileged class, like the nomenklatura of  the old Soviet Union. That's what's happening in Venezuela now and the students with real degrees and academic merit are noticing. It's a flashpoint, becauseall the hard work of  these students, eraning merit in a competitive academic enviroenment and getting a good job, is about to be blown away by the recrudescence of long—discredited communism.
 
Consequently, there has been an atmosphere of real tension on campus. And suddenly, police shoot three students for no reason whatever, quickly calling it a "mistake." What it looks like to the student resistors is an effort to terrify.
 
Particularly when the chief of the death—squad operation is Jess Chacon, a powerful Chavista loyalist, whose violent associations we have described here.  Everything he does is coercive and political.
 
Dangerous as it was for them, the students came out to protest. There were at least 1,000 and one eyewitness tells us it was up to 10,000. In any case, as blogger Daniel Duquenal notes,  it was one of the biggest since the recall referendum last year.

Chavez sent out low—flying military airplanes to intimidate the protestors but their numbers only grew.  They were joined by others who have long languished within a system where there has been no justice — reporters like Patricia Poleo, under a two—year jail sentence for bothersomely truthful reporting about the Chavez regime. And others who have long sought justice and never gotten it.

The demonstrators focused their demands on the resignation of Venezuela's corrupt attorney general, Isaias Rodriguez, a Chacon lieutenant, who has yet to prosecute a corruption or even crime case of any meaning, but who is fast to act against political enemies. In the atmosphere he's created, reporters can be thrown in jail for criticizing the regime, ambassadors can be beaten in broad daylight, and students can be shot on the street with nobody prosecuted. He's a real monster.
 
It's significant that this was a protest of young people. The looks of the young faces at the rally signal that this may be a harbinger of change. Large protests loaded with the young have brought down many a regime.

The demand is for justice for the murdered students and the freedom to speak freely about education. These issues won't go away when the protestors go home.