Fauxccupy: The Selling and Buying of the Venezuelan Opposition

EDITOR’S NOTE: Latino Rebels contributor Roberto Lovato visited Venezuela last week and wrote the following opinion piece. As of this morning, according to reports, the death toll resulting from the protests in Venezuela is at 25. The most recent violent events have occurred in San Cristóbal, near the Venezuela/Colombia border.


CARACAS—Reports and imagery coming out of Venezuela in the past weeks would lead the casual observer to conclude that the country’s youthful opposition are “peaceful protesters” following a long line of global youth activism seen during the Arab Spring, the Occupy movement or in other parts of Latin America. Such a conclusion would be false, as the news from Venezuela’s protests contains journalistic practices that are very questionable and on an unprecedented scale.

Consider, for example, how both sides have killed people. The corporate media (both in English and in Spanish) have failed to cover the eight (or more) pro-Chavista victims of student and other opposition violence. No one is investigating claims that the majority of the killings were committed by the opposition. The radical erasure of pro-Chavista victims is astonishing. The following image, for instance, allegedly shows Venezuelan opposition students setting up barbed wire that beheaded an innocent cyclist, 29 year-old Elvis Rafael Durán de La Rosa, whose death eluded most global media.


Another example used in the carefully curated Venezuela media reports pertains to the images of rock-bearing youth wearing Guy Fawkes masks, a popular symbol of anti-capitalist movements, thanks to a Hollywood movie and, more recently, the Occupy protests.

Last week, I conducted interviews with opposition members, including dozens of opposition youth. Amost all of the youth were middle- to upper-class university students living in middle-class to ultra-elite neighborhoods of Caracas, the wealthiest in the Americas. Asked it they identified with  “anarchists,” “Marxists”  or any of the other oppositional ideologies that have historically and which still define most opposition movements in the region, these students uniformly responded in the negative, with some even throwing in a “para nada!” or other Spanish equivalents of “hell no!”

Some interviewed even told me they identified with military men like El Generalísimo Marcos Pérez Jiménez, a much reviled former dictator. They also identified with Venezuela’s opposition, led by three elites —Henrique Capriles, María Corina Machado and Leopoldo Lopez— all of whom have direct familial ties to either the owners or top executives of the most important corporate conglomerates in Venezuela and the entire continent.

So ask the following question: If the Venezuelan opposition is led by millionaires in a poor country and if instead of fighting multi-million dollar US policy initiatives (as do most Latin American opposition movements) the Venezuelan opposition is receiving million$ from US policy, how do we account for all those images of students wearing a symbol associated with and used by leftist movements?

The answer is threefold. One is that the mask-wearing is part of the very sophisticated media training the students (and the opposition) received from OTPOR/CANVAS and other consultants bought with millions of US dollars. Second, students engaging in violent acts or those who fear retribution need cover. Finally, there is the logic of the market—people buying the masks because they’re cool and because someone saw a chance to make a buck, which is what I mostly documented in the photos I took last week.



(Photos: Roberto Lovato)

Without closely analyzing the imagery and careful curation of the Venezuelan opposition, one would conclude that this opposition is just like Che Guevara or Occupy or the Arab Spring. And with Venezuelan student opposition leaders like Yon Goicochea receiving the $500,000 Milton Friedman prize and other funding from private sources as well as from the U.S. government, there’s much more behind the Guy Fawkes masks in Venezuela than meets the media eye. And we may be witnessing the birth of something altogether new and radically different in the insurgent continent of América: Fauxccupy.


Roberto Lovato is a writer and dissonant dude. You can read more at his blog. You can also follow him on Twitter @robvato.

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marvin rami says:

Roberto, in your article you’re acting like everyone else, encouraging the pro-slavery of the masses to
the State Corporation. What is wrong with being ‘upper-middle-class? (although I don’t believe they all are upper-middle class) Your insinuation denotes an encouragement to leading a class war, fomenting the war
of the poor against the rich, like if it’s wrong to be rich or if the poor are
poor because of the rich. Do not forget that for Socialism to exist, there must
be rich (people) from whom to take the wealth. But then, what would happen when
the rich is no longer rich or doesn’t have anything to take from? Where are the
State monopolizers going to take wealth from to give it to the poor (who
consume and do not produce wealth)? Also, do not forget that the real freedom
exist when you own property and have the liberty to sell it, and that does not
exist when the almighty State is the owner of everything, and the people are
placed in the position of mere “users,” which is the case in a
centralized, Socialist and controlled society.
believe that is what these so called ‘middle-upper class’ protesters that you
mention are fighting against is the lost of their freedom by the so called 21st
Century Socialism.
gave to man the Earth to exploit its resources and have abundance from it, not a
ration (imposed by a State Corporation – the government) and decide how much
Man should have and what he cannot have and control is earnings.
course, this last frase can only apply in your brain if you have changed God
for the godless State created by Karl Marx and believe that we are inventory or
human resources to the State, instead of the Masters of the public servants
(government officials) and children of God – the people. 

The poor has every right to stop being poor and be rich, because our Mother Earth is ours and she has enough for everyone to be rich. And one last thing, the vast majority are now poor because the almighty State has usurped its roll as wealth keeper of the people’s wealth to become the people’s oppressor and the legal thief that has declared itself owner of everything, including owner of the people. The weapons the government buys is to use them against us in case we want to change the system of exploitation. Both capitalist and socialist governments are managed and created by the elite bankers.

You should not be helping divide us, Roberto.

Marvin R.

birdog says:

Oh my god!  People are selling masks for a couple bolivars!  Let’s demonize an entire movement of young protesters who are risking their lives against a dictator-lite government because it doesn’t look exactly like ours.  It gets harder and harder to support Occupy when members refuse to see nuance.