Venezuelan People


Duglas Barrios

One single short speech -transmitted Thursday in a mandatory nationwide radio and TV broadcast-comprising reasons, demands and proposals was sufficient for the university students who have demonstrated for two weeks rejecting "lack of freedom of expression" in Venezuela to provide the plenary session of the National Assembly with the rationale behind their street protests and their outcry: they demanded respect for civil rights and putting an end to discrimination.
Douglas Barrios, an economics student at Metropolitan University of Caracas, read out the statement of the university student movement. Among other things, Barrios clarified they are neither coup-plotters nor people attempting to destabilize the Venezuelan government.
He conceded they were armed, but only with "awareness, character, solidarity, joy, optimism and humility."
The leaders of the university students who have staged a number of singular street demonstrations and rallies since private television station RCTV went off the air last May 27 said they continue to advocate this cause until the signal of channel 2 is restored to the TV station that stopped broadcasts because the Venezuelan government refused to renew its license. In this regard, they rebutted "unlawful seizure of (RCTV) antennas" by the Venezuelan State.
The students -who surprised both reporters and deputies when they appeared in the hemicycle wearing red t-shirts, as red is the color of President Hugo Chávez' revolution- said they realized that their historic role goes beyond RCTV.
"Therefore, today we are still in the streets. We are convinced that all Venezuelans should be treated in the same way, without discrimination and without prejudices establishing a difference between good and evil people. We do believe in equity and equal opportunities before the law. We believe that if some Venezuelans have the right to go to (the presidential palace) Miraflores, then all Venezuelans should have the right to do so too. If some people have the right to come to Caracas from the countryside to demonstrate their views, then all Venezuelans should be given the same opportunity to do so. Every citizen, regardless of his / her political stance, has the right to work and develop as state worker," Barrios said.
In the statement they also rejected any form of international intervention in Venezuelan domestic affairs, "whether it comes from the United States, Nicaragua or Cuba."
"We do not believe in the hegemony of the minorities or the majorities. We rebuke any form of government, either present or past, undermining the right to live in freedom," Barrios underscored.
On behalf of his partners, Barrios said they are taking class in the streets, fostering vindication of civil rights. "Stop discrimination. We demand and promote national reconciliation."
They made a call to be allowed to express their views and "demonstrate freely" and asked for their proposals to be taken into account. Further, they celebrated the fact that they were able to voice a plural stance at the National Assembly: "We succeeded."
They also rejected the criminalization of protests and demonstrations, and asked authorities to annul legal measures against people arrested during recent demonstrations.
"We demand respect for the right to choose. The persons should be allowed to make their own decisions." Decision-making should not be the State's or the government's privilege. "Life without choices would a robotic and unipolar existence."
"We dream of being taken into account without wearing a uniform," said Barrios taking off his red t-shirt. "Now, we are leaving, for now."

El Universal. University Students: “We Demand National Reconciliation”. Webpage:

Translated by Maryflor Suárez




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