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Venezuelan Exiles in Miami Turn to Public Shaming of Maduro Supporters - The New York Times
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jat
2017-06-07 23:53:34 UTC
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MIAMI — As the sun blazed down on nearly 100 protesters in downtown
Miami last week, José Antonio Colina, a leader among Venezuelan exiles,
stood in front of the group’s latest target, a high-rise, and led the
crowd in chants of indignation: “Goldman Sachs, bloody money! Goldman
Sachs, bloody money!”

“Goldman Sachs profits from the killing of Venezuelans,” shouted Mr.
Colina, a reference to the company’s recent purchase of $2.8 billion in
deeply discounted Venezuelan bonds. “They are pumping oxygen into the
dictatorship.”

Miami, home to more than 100,000 Venezuelans, has become the nerve
center of a wide-ranging protest movement that seeks the ouster of
President Nicolás Maduro of Venezuela. Under Mr. Maduro, the deeply
unpopular successor to the populist and socialist Hugo Chávez, Venezuela
has been torn by violence, mass protests, unemployment and shortages of
food, medicine and gas. As a result, tens of thousands of Venezuelans
have left for the United States in the past few years, many of them
moving to Doral, a Miami suburb known as Dorazuela.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/06/07/us/venezuelans-miami-maduro.html?emc=edit_tnt_20170607&nlid=51692652&tntemail0=y&_r=0
--
/jat
Knowledge will set you free
El conocimiento te hará libre
PL
2017-06-08 11:07:42 UTC
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On 6/8/2017 1:53 AM, jat wrote:
Part of the story as usual.
The full text:


Venezuelan Exiles in Miami Turn to Public Shaming of Maduro Supporters
By LIZETTE ALVAREZJUNE 7, 2017

Jose Antonio Colina, a leader among Venezuelan exiles, led chants in
protest of Goldman Sachs on Thursday in Miami. Credit Scott McIntyre for
The New York Times

MIAMI — As the sun blazed down on nearly 100 protesters in downtown
Miami last week, José Antonio Colina, a leader among Venezuelan exiles,
stood in front of the group’s latest target, a high-rise, and led the
crowd in chants of indignation: “Goldman Sachs, bloody money! Goldman
Sachs, bloody money!”

“Goldman Sachs profits from the killing of Venezuelans,” shouted Mr.
Colina, a reference to the company’s recent purchase of $2.8 billion in
deeply discounted Venezuelan bonds. “They are pumping oxygen into the
dictatorship.”

Miami, home to more than 100,000 Venezuelans, has become the nerve
center of a wide-ranging protest movement that seeks the ouster of
President Nicolás Maduro of Venezuela. Under Mr. Maduro, the deeply
unpopular successor to the populist and socialist Hugo Chávez, Venezuela
has been torn by violence, mass protests, unemployment and shortages of
food, medicine and gas. As a result, tens of thousands of Venezuelans
have left for the United States in the past few years, many of them
moving to Doral, a Miami suburb known as Dorazuela.

But opponents of the Venezuelan regime are not the only ones moving
here. For several years now, Venezuelans aligned with Chavismo — Mr.
Chávez’s brand of revolution — and the Maduro government are buying
expensive houses, vacationing, investing or fashioning comfortable new
lives here. This has infuriated Venezuela’s exiles, who accuse them of
plundering their homeland and then escaping to better lives in the
United States, a country they have long demonized. The exiles call these
so-called Chavistas the “boliburgueses” — the Bolivarian bourgeoisie —
or just “bolichicos.”
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As the number of Chavistas here continues to grow, exiles have moved
beyond just traditional demonstrations, like the one on Thursday against
Goldman Sachs, to a form of public shaming: more intimate, face-to-face
denunciations. The protests are meant to out the Chavistas leading a
cushy existence here, make their daily lives more uncomfortable or drive
them out of the country altogether. Once word gets out through social
media, news quickly spreads among exiles here and people back in Venezuela.

These more personal acts carry great emotional impact but can also
generate substantial criticism because they are often held outside
private houses or even inside establishments where Chavistas are
confronted tu-a-tu, or person to person.

The more personal a protest, the more visceral it becomes for both
sides. Last month, a former minister in the Chávez government, Eugenio
Vasquez, was having breakfast with his partner at Don Pan, a popular
Venezuelan bakery in Doral, when a customer recognized him. The customer
approached Mr. Vasquez and started to denounce him. Soon, others in the
bakery joined in, a moment captured on video, as most of the protests are.

“Fuera, fuera” — get out — they shouted. “Rata,” one person said, using
the Spanish word for rat. “Ladrón” — thief — another person said. With
emotions roiling, Mr. Vasquez and his partner stood up and quietly left
the bakery.

These kinds of encounters with Chavistas and Maduro supporters — some
occurring by chance, others by design — are not limited to Florida. They
occur all over the world, particularly in Spain, another hotbed of
anti-Chavismo activism.

Recently, outraged opponents of the Venezuelan government trailed
Spain’s Venezuelan ambassador down the sidewalk clanging pots and pans;
they threw garbage at a senior diplomat; and at a bakery counter in
Madrid, they shouted “asesino,” assassin, at a general manager of a
Venezuelan corporation, pointing out that while he was enjoying bread
and sweets, people in Venezuela were dying of hunger. On Bondi Beach in
Australia, two women shouted down the daughter of the mayor of Caracas
as she ambled down a boardwalk, asking her in Spanish, “Tienes miedo?” —
are you scared?

Public shaming can employ other tactics, as well. The most famous is the
escrache, a more organized, collective naming-and-shaming that typically
unfolds in front of someone’s house or small business. It was first
popularized by Argentines who sought to denounce the perpetrators of
Argentina’s “dirty war,” a conflict in the 1970s and ’80s in which
30,000 dissidents and subversives “disappeared.” The victims became
known as “los desaparecidos,” and their relatives fought back with
escraches after the officials were granted amnesty for their crimes.

Spain used the tactic effectively in 2013, during the country’s economic
recession, when people were routinely evicted or displaced from their
homes. To pressure politicians to change the eviction law, Spanish
protesters would share their grievances about the law’s pernicious
effect, said Cristina Flesher, a professor at the University of Aberdeen
who has written books and papers on escraches.
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“It takes a lot of different forms, but really it’s a collective bearing
of witness rather than a single instance of an outraged person on the
street,” she said. “The key is to maintain the moral high ground.”

In Miami, protesters have held several escraches in the past year at the
houses or businesses of Venezuelans they call “enchufados,” or people
who are “plugged into” the government. Many of them are organized and
vetted by Mr. Colina and his group, Politically Persecuted Venezuelans
in Exile. Mr. Colina, a former Venezuelan military officer, fled the
country for Miami in 2003 after being accused by the Chávez government
of planting bombs in Caracas. The United States decided not to extradite
Mr. Colina.

When exiles learned that a former deputy in the Venezuelan government,
Iroshima Jennifer Bravo, had moved to Miami and opened a spa in Doral
last year, they checked property records and then held an escrache in
front of the spa. Ms. Bravo closed the business.

“We do these escraches so that word gets back to Venezuela,” said Jani
Mendez, 45, who has taken part in eight of them. “They are hypocrites.”

Last month, exiles in Orlando stood outside the home of a former admiral
of the Venezuelan Navy. With a megaphone, a spokesman for the group made
sure that the man’s neighbors in the luxury development knew exactly who
he was and what he had done.

“In this house lives Aniasi Turchio,” the spokesman said. “This is the
type of person who has told the people of Venezuela, who are hungry, who
don’t have medicine, who are eating out of garbage cans, that socialism
is good and that the imperialists are hurting the country, and look at
how they live.”

But Dr. Flesher said escraches can also backfire unless protesters are
organized, rule-oriented and sure of the wrongs the Chavistas have
committed. In Miami, protesters recently held an escrache in front of
the Weston house of a former Venezuelan judge, who was accused of
collaborating with the Venezuelan government. In fact, the judge, until
her resignation, had earned praise for her integrity and was responsible
for freeing Henrique Capriles, Venezuela’s opposition leader. Her only
offense is living in Weston with a former vice minister in the Chávez
government.

“I never made decisions influenced by politics,” Dayva Soto, the judge,
posted on Twitter after the episode. “And I resigned to warn others that
the independences of Venezuela’s judges were at risk.”

Venezuelan exiles later acknowledged it was an error to focus on the
judge rather than on her husband.

“In terms of effectiveness, it’s all about credibility,” Dr. Flesher
said. “The minute you stray from things that are verifiable, you open
yourself up to attack.”


https://www.nytimes.com/2017/06/07/us/venezuelans-miami-maduro.html?emc=edit_tnt_20170607&nlid=51692652&tntemail0=y&_r=1
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