What is really happening in Venezuela? London meeting with Ewan Robertson

Over 70 people gathered at the Bolivar Hall in London on March 31 to hear Ewan Robertson from Venezuelanalysis.com speak about the current anti-government protests in Venezuela.

 Ewan Robertson
Ewan Robertson went into detail about the origin and character of the opposition protests. He had just arrived in London from Mérida, a city in the Andean region of Venezuela which has been one of the focus of the recent protests. He explained how, after having the opposition lost three major elections between October 2012 and December 2013, the government made openings to the "moderate" sector of the opposition. However, a more radical wing, lead by Leopoldo López and Maria Corina Machado launched a campaign of street demonstrations called "La Salida" (the Exit) to remove the democratically elected government of president Maduro. 

Robertson explained how the campaign of violent guarimbas or street barricades and road blocks started already in January in Merida and Tachira. Protests then escalated in San Cristobal, Tachira, with an assault on the governor's residence on February 6th. 

Roberston gave a detailed explanation of the now 38 people who have died as a result of these protests. Contrary to the impression given by the mass media, he reported that a big majority of those deaths were people killed by the opposition barricades themselves or shot dead when trying to remove them. The authorities have taken harsh measures in the small number of cases in which police officers have been involved in causing the death of protesters. 

You can hear the full audio of his very interesting speech here:


Also speaking was Jorge Martin who replied to the most common lies and misconceptions one can get in the mass media. He explained how there are 2.3 million university students in Venezuela (a massive expansion of free higher education enrolment, from about 800,000 in 1998, which is one of the conquests of the Bolivarian revolution) and only a very small minority of those, mainly from private and old style universities have been involved in the protests. He also said that protest have taken place in the middle class and upper class areas, while the poor and working class areas have remained unaffected. Martin also pointed out that in his opinion any attempt to conciliate and make concessions to the opposition would in fact backfire, as it would undermine the basis of support for the revolution. This is the audio of his intervention:

There was also a lively question and answer session with many interesting contributions from the audience. Several Colombians present spoke passionately about human rights abuses in their country (which go largely unreported in the mass media) and about how the Venezuelan revolution was an inspiration to them. 

Ewan Robertson very aplty replied to the questions dealing with a wide range of issues: You can hear him here:


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