martes, 5 de febrero de 2008

(VI) Reaction and Revolution: Laying down for life

One day, at the beginning of April of 2006, I went to class as usual to realize that my university entrance was blocked as a protest for the Faddoul brothers case (three brothers none of them older than 17 and a man were kidnapped and executed). Now is almost routine to see the university entrance blocked, but that was the first time ever that I found myself in that situation.
I didn’t quite understood this reaction, specially because just a few weeks earlier three students from the Santa María university were killed under horrible circumstances and there was no reaction at all from any university. So I was wondering why this case and not any other, made the students block the entrance. A friend asked me to calm down and think positive, at least they were finally waking up. From the university, we marched a few blocks and then joined in the highway the people who personally knew the Faddoul brothers, the school community at least. We heard that similar actions were taking place at the Central University.
Then, I don’t remember if it was the same day or the day after, we stopped blocking streets and took a few buses (it is possible to find buses even on spontaneous marches, you just talk to the guy who drives it and he calls others, it’s a good business) and went to the “Nunciatura Apostólica” were we met with students from the Central University (UCV) mostly, and if I’m not mistaken, students from other universities as well.
I was still giving second thoughts to that protest, I think I was truly the soul of the disagreement in that protest. As we sat in the Nunciatura Apostólica, and made chants and rhymes about insecurity, I could not stop wondering why we were asking for security to the church authority except to go and ask that to the ones who are bound to guarantee our security (the government for example? The ministry of internal affairs and justice? The police?).It had no sense at all. “Be patient” – My friend asked me again, as he saw me sending killer looks to my friends of Política- UCAB who were leading that protest.
Nevertheless, from that senseless protest something interesting came: the students from the different organizations of the “Venezuelan youth for…” (put whatever you want in the “…”) worked together for a single goal: the fight against insecurity in a single way: they managed to met the different authorities in order to exchange ideas about how to reduce crime in the country and then they organized a larger protest called “Acuéstate por la vida” (“Lay down for life”) – an original way to call the country’s attention on the insecurity issue.
The idea was to reunite at least 67.000 people in representation for the 67.000 deaths of violent cases that the country had suffered till that day (the number is obviously higher now). The protesters lay in the ground for a few minutes in silence while a funeral song and a simulation of gun shots was played. That moment of being lay in the ground, with an unbearable sun on my face, had a special meaning for me because maybe for the first time I thought not only on Chavez government itself but in a trouble that affected us beyond Chavez and that it was not going to be solved if Chavez government simply ended one day.
As for the student movement, there was no such thing as a “student movement” back then but it was the first time that a coordination between different universities for doing something was tested with some results. At the end, no real plan was implemented for solving the insecurity situation despite all that effort of making one. The media and certainly everybody did not focused the news about those days on the students. And as horrible as the murder of the Faddoul brothers was, the response was high but short in time, there was no second demonstration about it that I heard of to make some real pressure on the government. It all stayed in a brief act of good will. My friend asked me for some more patience, but my university years were coming to an end and I’m not exactly known for being a “patient” person.
About the picture: I took it on the day the students blocked my university entrance for the first time since I entered the university.
Now here is the video of the "Acuéstate por la vida" event. Its in spanish but you should go to the minute 07:25 to see what the protest was all about. Enjoy

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