Freedom of speech, true and false

Compare and contrast the following videos:

This was taken at today’s big anti-imperialist march in Caracas. As you can see, the screen is split four ways. This is to show the size of the crowds in four well-to-do, opposition-dominated neighborhoods.

The interviews are with students at the Andres Bello Catholic University. According to Aporrea, the university’s rector is an oppositionist with a heavy hand. These young adults have turned out to show (and tell) that they will not be intimidated, and that they are in solidarity with the revolution, the poor, and one another.

As you can see, the affair went off peacefully, without a hitch–but WITH a lot of music, dancing and a big ol’ booty-shake.

Now, what has the other side been up to?

Well, Rosario Dinamitera has something interesting for us:

Not only have those fine young oppositionists been rather violent, but their pet TV station, Globovision, has been manipulating video and soundtracks to make it look as though the police were the bad guys, if the above is any indication. The same appalling sound effects get repeated throughout this video, as if to dramatize the action and make it seem worse than it actually is.

What really resulted from all this guarimbismo? Nothing constructive. RCTV is still off the public airwaves (and will remain so). Meanwhile, the residents of the affluent, mostly opposition neighborhoods where these demonstrations went down, are denouncing the violence. A car was torched, streets were trashed, barricades of burning tires (muy toxico) were set up, rocks and bottles (some full of Absolut Molotov) flew, shots were fired, private property was damaged, and a lot of ugly destruction for naught was the sole outcome.

And this from the people who claim to respect private property? They have a lot of money, but they seem not to believe in putting it where their mouths are.

Worst of all, the private media were in it up to the eyeballs. As usual, they are complicit in what can only be described as yet another failed coup attempt.

Now, a blast (literally) from the past:

This is what student protests in the pre-Chavez 4th Republic looked like. Violence and torture by the authorities were routine. That is no longer the case–except with the “free speech” bandits who stole power on April 11, 2002. They were, not surprisingly, from the old parties and the old system. This is what the fine young guarimberos of the save-RCTV crowd want to bring back.

The funny part is, they’re breaking the law even under the old 1961 constitution (the one Chavez drove a stake through in ’99). That law gives demonstrators the right to protest peacefully, and prohibits the uses of toxics, firearms and other weapons in political demonstrations.

Who is really supporting freedom of speech here? (I’ll give you a clue–it has a lot to do with using speech responsibly and without violence.)

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