#22F

    English

    Hundreds of thousands of Venezuelans will take to the streets today. The Maduro regime has failed spectacularly in its attempt to 'convince' the world that widespread protests that have rocked our country since Feb. 4 are the product of U.S. intervention, fascism and other such totally unsubstantiated nonsense. I remember having written a while ago that if the Cuban dictators could not impede the free flow of information in the prison island, Maduro stood no chance of succeeding at it. Despite the local media blackout, social media has roundly defeated all chavista attempts at censorship. But as the saying goes "it ain't over till the fat lady sings." And today, could just be the day, when the cries for help, peace, prosperity and democracy of millions of Venezuelans are channeled into a new freedom anthem. Today we shall hear a collective singing, and those of us fortunate enough to be heeding the call from the safe distance must assist in whichever way we can, be it by calling local media to raise the Venezuelan issue, talking to our representatives in Congress / government, and helping spread the news.

    After a week of impromptu meetings at all levels in Washington, during which I pulled quite the cheeky trick of taking a selfie with The Dalai Lama after asking for help for Venezuela, I can say that there's tremendous interest by every single person I met to help solve our problems. That solutions passes, naturally, through Maduro, whose regime has done nothing, emphasis here, to placate the brutality of National Guards and paramilitary thugs against student protests. Maduro has to be called into account here. Venezuela is signatory to a number of international treaties enshrining basic human, civil and political rights principles. Those treaties are binding. Venezuela signed and ratified them in full exercise of its sovereignty, on its own volition, without pressure, coercion or imposition from any country. Those rights are also part of our Constitution, the one written by chavismo. At this hour, when many policy makers and officials around the world ponder what to do, it is worth reminding them that basic rights continue to be inalienable. Non negotiable. There's no room here for political and economic considerations, or ideological revisionism. It is not a right or left issue, nor a conservative or liberal one. This is a right or wrong issue. It just could not be more basic, and Maduro needs to be taken to account. As head of State, he is directly responsible for the deaths and suffering caused in the last few days. Sending untrained, armed-to-the-teeth brutes, and thuggish regime sympathizers to deal with peaceful protests is just unacceptable, I am convinced that every true democrat knows that.

    As our glorious student movement stays out in the street, to be joined today by hundreds of thousands, I would like to ask for your attention. Today is a significant day in the road to recover a semblance of democracy in Venezuela. Maduro, ill advised and desperate as he is, could well be in a double-down-let's-wrap-this-thing-today mood. It is crucial, to those working the diplomatic lines today, to make him and his faction understand that a retreat with safety guarantees is always more appealing than jail. Ditto with Diosdado Cabello and his lot. They fear, naturally, the cost of not having power and the immunity that provides, and so amnesty must be part of the bargain. They are cornered and they know it, but let cool heads prevail at this time. Venezuela does not deserve another death, nor another day of mismanagement in the name of an utterly failed model.

    Thanks in advance from a grateful Venezuelan.

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