Monday, February 27, 2006

A day to remember and reflect 

Today, February 27th, 2006 is the 17th anniversary of the massacre known as the Caracazo. On this date in 1989 the government of Carlos Andres Perez sent the army into the streets to put down, with bullets, the huge popular protests against his stringent economic package which involved increasing fuel and transport prices. With "shoot to kill" orders the army did manage to stop the rioting but at a price of hundreds, or even thousands, of civilians killed. To this day no one knows for sure how many died.

This vicious massacre forever changed politics and in many ways can be said to have paved the way for Chavez's rise to the presidency. To me it is rather ironic that some in the opposition complain about Chavez's government somehow being militaristic yet the only government which had the army actually gun people down in the street was the opposition hero, Carlos Andres Perez. I guess the fact that he only gave the orders and didn't actually pull a trigger makes him inoccent in their eyes. Maybe in their eyes, but not in historys eyes and not in the eyes of the great majority of Venezuelans who will indeed remember the significance of this day even in the middle of their holiday.


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