Politics aside, how do people in Venezuela manage to protest for weeks and months?


Pardon me for asking, but how on earth do people manage to protest for days, weeks and even months? Don’t they have homes to go to, jobs or places of study to attend or other obligations to fulfil? Taking politics out of the current turmoil in Venezuela, the question that I have is this: how does this seemingly endless protest work?

We learn from reliable media outlets that more than 120 people have been killed in the violence in Venezuela since anti-government protests began sweeping through the country on April 1st . Think about it, these protests have been going on for over four months and even though so many people have been killed and probably many more injured, the enthusiasm of the protesters hasn’t suffered a bit as they demanded that President Nicolas Maduro steps down, accusing him of suppressing democracy and staging a false election, to create a constitutional assembly that is designed to replace the current national parliament.

Other grievances were expressed as well, like the terrible shape of the national economy with its high unemployment, enormous rate of inflation and lack of many basic goods. And though I accept that these are all legitimate concerns, I still fail to understand how so many people can turn into full-time professional protesters.

Imagine, they get up every morning, have breakfast and then join thousands of other people like themselves, to demand the resignation of the government and the President. Many wear masks and are prepared to take on riot police, throwing stones, empty bottles and Molotov cocktails at cops. They seem fearless of the consequences and get arrested with their heads held high. And all of this continues for days and weeks and months, looking very odd from the outside and, probably, from the inside as well.

No wonder some people are starting to get suspicious. Maybe, they say, all these protesters have some sort of an agenda and even get paid by someone for their effort. Because you can’t really explain the determination of these demonstrators to take part in the violence on a daily basis by their enthusiasm and devotion to democracy, whatever democracy means these days. There has to be an incentive of some sort. May be it’s the publicity they crave, knowing that the world media is there, filming them. Or it may be the adrenalin rush that they look for as they battle it out with cops and soldiers on the streets. Or maybe some are doing a bit of looting on the side during the protests, for that has been known to happen a lot.

And, finally, the killer point: how will all these protesters benefit if President Maduro falls and his government falls with him? What’s in it for them? Because the new lot might be even worse than the current one and things may get really bad for everyone. That has happened after revolutions and uprisings, ever since the French Revolution in the 18th century, in fact, when people who came to power went on a killing spree and the first ever genocide in Europe took place, all the name of equality, brotherhood, freedom and so on. You would be surprised how many hideous crimes in history were committed in the name of freedom and equality. Nice cover for very sinister intentions.

Again I stress I’m staying away from politics in Venezuela. The situation there is a complicated one and, if you listen to the government supporters and the opposition, in turns, they say they are both right and love their country dearly. The national parliament has the opposition in control, so that means that some sort of democracy still exists, if opposition parties managed to secure an advantage. But the new constitutional assembly is mostly pro-President Maduro, and in this case the vote was a bit one-sided.

The UN says that human rights in Venezuela are abused and that security forces are responsible for dozens of deaths of the protesters. But the UN is known to get everything wrong and, judging by the footage of the protests in Venezuela, the people on the streets are not exactly waving flags and carrying banners but are engaged in an energetic confrontation with riot police.

It would be better if the violence stopped and both sides sat down to resolve things peacefully. But in our 21st century things seem not to work like that, especially when you have so many people willing and able to protest for long periods of time.