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June 01, 2007



Of course, according to Chávez's government Orwellian Newspeak, student protesters are just puppets of foreigners who are directing everything from a safe distance. How pathetic! These are the same people who 10, 15, or 20 years ago were victims of similar accusations from those who were in power then. A lot of allegations but very flimsy (or nonexistent) evidence.

What they don't (can't) say is that student protests against Chávez's arbitrary closing of RCTV have been massive. Why? Not because of dark motives, but because students care about democracy and civil rights, such as freedom of speech. Compare that to the pitiful marches by Chávez supporters, in which real students are lost in a sea of public employees forced to justify their salary by doing whatever Yo, el Supremo tells them to do.

On Wednesday's edition of Tal Cual, you could read this:

Estudiantes a la fuerza
A pesar de que el ministro Pedro Carreño confirmó la condición “estudiantil” de los manifestantes que ayer respaldaron en la plaza Morelos el cierre de RCTV, algunos funcionarios de las alcaldías de Caracas y Metropolitana se comunicaron con la redacción de TalCual para denunciar que habían sido “sacados” de sus sitios de trabajo e incorporados a ese acto, en “forma gratuita y obligatoria” como dice la Ley Resorte. Alegan que en algunos ministerios ocurrió lo mismo y que resultaba vergonzoso ponerse una franela roja “y hacerse pasar por estudiante”. Admiten que, ciertamente, había alumnos de la Universidad Bolivariana y Unefa, pero que “utilizarnos para esa función fue desagradable”.

In other words, public officers from the Caracas and Metropolitan city halls, as well as from several ministries, were forced to don red T-shirts and join the march as "students". The real students came overwhelmingly from the "Bolivarian University" (more a joke than a real university) or from UNEFA (a University mostly for military officers), whose students would face dire consequences if they refused to march.

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