Now the fingering starts, doesn't? "It was your fault!" will say the regime, "no, it was yours!" will retort the opposition. One can always count on The Times (paywall) for its sobriety in reporting:
In the latest incident to hit Caracas, armed vigilantes on motorcycles began shooting at anti-government demonstrators, setting off a stampede of frightened people by firing into crowds. Chaos erupted as the pro-government gang roared up and began firing into the crowd of more than 100 protesters who had been sparring with security forces.
As people fled in panic, one demonstrator fell to the ground with a bullet wound in his head. Onlookers screamed “assassins” as they rushed the 24-year-old marketing student to a police vehicle. He was later identified by family members as Bassil Da Costa.
Also killed was the leader of a pro-government 23rd of January collective, as militant supporters of Venezuela’s socialist administration call themselves. Diosdado Cabello, the National Assembly President, said the “revolutionary” known by his nickname Juancho was “vilely assassinated by the fascists” but he didn’t provide details.
"Armed vigilantes..." you see this is the product of Hugo Chavez's lifelong promotion of hatred. This is his only enduring legacy, and it is also the single biggest obstacle for Venezuelans to ever solve the many problems they have peacefully. For each forgiveness attempt tried by politicos there will be victims rightly claiming "there can be no peace without justice". There can be no justice, as long as chavismo holds power, and there can be no peace when half of the Venezuelan population have no way of ever getting redress, when half the Venezuelan population is treated like third rate citizens in their own country, when they are not even recognised as legitimate interlocutors. No one can reasonably expect that after more than 15 years of aggravation, of insults, of disrespect, of abuses, of intolerance, of government-promoted hatred, half the population of any given country is just going to play dead, lay inert and allow for the total anhilation of their wellbeing to happen without a challenge. Venezuela 2014 is not Cuba 1959, but more like South Africa's Apartheid, alas the country is a long way away from an entente like the one F.W. de Klerk entered into with Nelson Mandela.
And we have been here before. Those who are appraising the situation from a historical viewpoint will know that there was once a caudillo that stoke the fire of resentment and hatred to great success, so much so that it nearly ended Simon Bolivar's liberation campaign, and kickstarted a period that plunged Venezuela into a 100-year internal conflict. As Venezuelans of all stripes got tired of killing each other, a peaceful period followed, but that also seems to be coming to an end. For there's a cadre of criminals in power who have way too much to lose, whose very lives could be at risk, and they are most definitely not going to surrender power. For all their hollow rhetoric, everyone knows where they come from, what sort of politics they play, but, more importantly, how did they act when they were vying for power. They are creatures born in a coup d'etat, in an illegal and criminal attempt to wrest control from a democratically elected government. Once in power they systematically hollowed the institutional fabric of Venezuela. They armed criminal gangs, when not directly partnering with them. They stole elections and private property. They voided the Constitution of all meaning, and silenced nearly all their critics, when not condemning them for life on trumped charges. They abandoned all pretenses of accountability and burned the rule of law in the revolutionary pyre. They reversed development, aligned the country with the most backward and failed communist experiment in the Americas and are nearly done now in the Zimbabwisation of Venezuela. But they are still powerful, in fact, they are the only power in town. They control all the guns, all the money, all the media, and all the "institutions". And they are not alone. Their foreign criminal partners have a large stake in the State.
We will see more censorship of not-embedded media, more arbitrary arrests and violations to due process. We will see more repression, more gangs of motorizados, police and armed vigilantes shooting innocent people with absolute impunity. We'll see Maduro suspending Constitutional guarantees, such as the right to assemble and the right to protest. That's what the student movement and non-compliant, soon-to-be-arrested opposition leaders are facing. They have a daunting task ahead of them, and I dread to think that the only thing coming will be more, and more deaths in Venezuela.