Beginning last week, massive student-led protests all but shut down several of Venezuela’s major cities, including the capital. There have been at least five deaths and scores of injuries and arrests, coming to a head on Wednesday night when armed, pro-government militias (the so called “colectivos“) descended on demonstrators in the nation’s bloodiest act of repression in recent history. But, taken in context, the protests are tragically unremarkable in Venezuela. After all, opposition minded university students involved in the first protests against the Chávez regime would today be in their mid to late thirties. And there have since been a great many others: each wave had goals, each worked hard, and still the socialist revolution soldiers on….
But this time something feels fundamentally different. There’s no Chávez. There’s no independent media. And yet the world actually seems to be paying attention. . .