Venezuelans set fire to Hugo Chavez statue: It has started

Operation Boot Maduro seems to be moving to stage two.

Following this week's military mutiny, which was squelched, but not before locals ran out and attempted to defend the troops in pitched street battles, now at least sixty – sixty! – neighborhoods in Caracas have erupted into riots – big riots, with people reported shot dead.  Take a look at the series of tweets posted by Caracas Chronicles on its Twitter feed enumerating the names of the neighborhoods now in open revolt.

Here was its last tweet:

To underscore just what this nightmare was about, late last night, angry Venezuelans burned the big statue of their late, unlamented strongman, Hugo Chávez, whose socialism – so praised at the time by Bernie Sanders and the Hollywood left – turned their formerly rich country into a wasteland.  Someone needs to let Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez know about this vaunted socialism – and where it leads.  Watch Chávez go up in flames:

Yesterday, I did a pre-recording of a radio show with the highly recommended Conservative Commandos predicting that Catia and 23 de Enero would blow up (it will air today), and boy, I didn't know the half of it – those places, and a lot of others, were at the bottom of the dynamite fuse and ready to go.

 It's important also to note that 23 de Enero, or, Jan. 23, is an important anniversary in Venezuela – the anniversary of the overthrow of its military dictatorship in 1958.  It's considered an independence day in Venezuela, and a whole neighborhood is named after it – one that is right now in open revolt.  That is going to supercharge the activity that goes down today, particularly with big demonstrations scheduled.

All eyes remain on whether the soldiers are going to join the angry repressed people, who have no rights whatsoever, not even the right to food or medical care, in that socialist "sea of happiness," as Chávez once called it.

Many think nothing is going to happen, despite that mutiny the other day.  But watch this viral video from yesterday showing how soldiers are being treated under their Cuban-led socialist comrade rule.  Note this list of incidents from the Associated Press.

That sounds like an open invitation for soldiers to join the revolt.

Naky Soto of Caracas Chronicles observes that Maduro seems to be scared and hiding, and his generals are nowhere to be found

It's curious that Nicolás hasn't come up even in a picture, just as we didn't see any member of the military high command that's "willing to die for him."  There's been repression but also pot-banging: each tear gas canister multiplies the reasons for this political and social protest.  In words of a Cotiza neighbor, who said she'll protest "today, tomorrow, the next day (…) to kick that bastard out of where he's holed up, entrenched, fat as a pig and we're here starving, no way!".

Florida's Sen. Marco Rubio issued a warning of what was going to happen next, and his report is believable:

He just threw in a rather scary warning to them:

A note of caution: Francisco Toro of Caracas Chronicles writes that maybe this leads to the democracy people want but warns that it also could end badly – either the regime hangs on and the hellishness continues, or part of the military joins the people rioting in the streets, and part doesn't, meaning bloody civil war.  He's right on that, too, and his analysis is worth reading.

Rubio also tweeted that President Trump is on the case and asked Rubio to cancel a Florida gig last night to meet with him in his office over Venezuela.  Obviously, there is a plan, and as Venezuelans fight in the streets for their own freedom, the gears are turning.

Image credit: Venepress via Twitter, screen grab.