As some of you may be aware, a force in Venezuelan politics passed away the other day. Lina Ron, 51, died suddenly of a heart attack. Her bleached blond hair, bright red lipstick and Fidel Castro-style army cap were her trademarks, and they were often seen in the streets of Caracas, as well as on the news.
Lina was a popular and controversial street-level organizer who rebelled not only against capitalism, but against conventional politics itself. She was briefly a parliamentary candidate in the MVR (precursor to the PSUV, Chavecito’s party) before leaving electoral politics and returning to her street-fighting roots. Sometimes her direct-action politics collided with the more orderly and pacifist PSUV way of doing things–such as the time when she and her UPV supporters carried out a tear-gas attack on the headquarters of putschist TV station Globovisión. That impulsive error in judgment got her a personal and public reprimand from Chavecito, right on the air.
But if Lina was at odds with the PSUV and its chosen methods, she did not depart from its essential message. And in the end, Chavecito himself turned out to give her funeral oration:
Lina vive, la lucha sigue.