Venezuela's civil war gets closer as mobs burn Hugo Chavez's childhood home

Following the toppling of at least five statues of the late Venezuelan dictator Hugo Chávez, angry mobs startled the ruling regime by burning down Chávez's childhood home, set up as a shrine to his socialist revolution by his supporters.

It surely takes the anger and bitterness in the streets to another level.  We no longer hear much in the way of restraining voices for nonviolence in that socialist hellhole.  The mob has taken over, and the monuments are beginning to topple.

It's a sign of a growing civil war, in fact, and like most such events, it could be very bloody.  In the midst of the largely nonviolent Velvet Revolutions of Eastern Europe in 1989, the sorry end of the region's worst dictator, Nicolae Ceauşescu, was the exception – dragged from his palace hideaway to some wall by angry rebel troops and summarily shot as crowds cheered.

The other Nicholas, Nicolas Maduro, seems to be headed for the same fate, given the efforts to take down the relics of the illegitimate regime.

Still, as Eric Farnsworth noted in the Associated Press piece linked above, it is still symbolism.  The protests are symbolism; the monument topplings are symbolism.  They aren't actually acts of war.  Only the Venezuelan government is moving on with a war footing.  It is now deploying snipers to shoot into crowds – which isn't a symbolic gesture at all.  As the monument toppling is, it's a real one.

Nevertheless, it may point to worse for the Chavistas.  The growing attacks on the symbols of the Chavista regime may well extend to attacks on the rulers of the Chavista regime.  It's the direction it's headed, and by their actions, the Chavistas show that they know it.

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