One of the issues that have stirred up considerable interest in the literature about social movements in recent years is the one regarding the tactics of collective protest. When a group of people decides to publicly express its dissatisfaction with the authorities, why does it sometimes use peaceful and conventional tactics, such as an organized demonstration in a plaza; and other times violent and rowdy ways, for example destroying public or private property? Why are tactics with a high symbolic content, such as a theater performance ridiculing a hated politician, sometimes used?
Claims of conspiracy and sabotage, ones all-too-familiar for Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro, resulted in the expulsion of three U.S. diplomats from Venezuela on February 16th. As might be expected, the decision was made after the U.S. State Department articulated its concerns over the perpetual discord throughout the nation, most evident in the February 12th protest that gained international attention. The Venezuelan Foreign Ministry was quick to issue a statement critiquing the U.S.
What started out as a relatively calm student protest in Venezuela on the afternoon of February 12th turned into a day of grieving for three Venezuelan families whose loved ones perished in an effort to affect change in light of the continuous corruption that marks the fabric of the country. This march was the most recent in a series of manifestations rallying against the ineffective economic policies of President Nicolás Maduro.
On February 12th Venezuelan opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez called on opponents of the socialist Venezuelan government to take to the streets and support student groups that had been protesting the overwhelming problem of violent crime in Tachira State the week before. Ever since protests have continued on an almost nationwide scale.
As the third week of anti-government protests in Venezuela starts an important question has been lingering: why has the international community been so passive in the face of violent repression against protesters in Venezuela? This, even as prominent international human rights organizations have condemned the government’s unchecked response against dissidents. Why have they not acted with the same resolve as in other similar recent cases in Honduras in 2009 or Paraguay in 2011?
Venezuelans remain restless as political chaos affects their country and groups have been divided into supporters of President Nicolás Maduro and the opposition. La Universidad Central de Venezuela (UCV) has become a microcosm for the nation’s situation as student groups confront one another within the university's walls.
In the largest city in South America, more than 8,000 families are living in temporary tents consisting of plastic sheets and timber.
Last week, Argentina’s president Cristina Fernández de Kirchner faced a general strike from some of the largest unions of the country. Most businesses and services throughout the country were closed including transportation, hospitals, schools, and restaurants.1 With many taxi and bus drivers on strike, those who did not participate could not go to work for the day. Picketers blocked off roads, preventing travel throughout the capital. In other cities throughout the country, such as Córdoba, smaller scale strikes had similar effects.