Once again the Government tried to pull a fast one on the students today, but they did not fall for it and they ended up marching via the route they had originally proposed. Essentially, the students proposed one route and the Government said that a group from Chavez’ party PUSV had requested to march somewhere nearby before them and they were approving an alternative route, designed by the authorities, which went via the road near the mountain.
The students balked, saying that it was their right to march and propose the route and the Government had no right to change it or not, it had to approve or not and they would not yield on that point. They also argued that they were being manipulated and discriminated against as nobody knew about the other activity. While negotiations were taking place, the terrorists shown in the pictures above dealt with the cops and National Guard who were out en force.
Eventually the students managed to win their argument and their march began according to the original plan of going to the Supreme Court via the city streets, in public view and where they wanted. Once there, a delegation of leaders from the universities represented at the march met with some of the Supreme Court Justices. They handed the Justices two injunctions, one requesting that their civil rights be protected and they not be discriminated against. They handed in a second request for an injunction, asking that the Court protect their rights to protest everywhere they want, including upcoming demonstrations in public squares in Caracas that have become Chavista enclaves, where opposition people can not go and protest without Chavista groups attacking them.
The students praised the members of the Court that met with them, emphasizing the difference in the way they were treated today, with the way the members of the Cabinet and the National Assembly have so far treated their protest. Thy said both the Cabinet and the National Assembly had disregarded them, insulted them and in general treated them with the same discriminatory and patronizing style that Hugo Chavez has promoted in the last few years. In contrast, the Supreme Court Justices had not only been receptive but agreed that there is only one Venezuela and group of Venezuelans and there should be a single Government for all. The students who spoke were quite articulate and forceful and it was nice to hear them calling for a Government for all with respect for civil liberties and no discrimination.
While all of this was going on Foreign Minister Maduro and Secretary of State Rice clashed in Panama at the OAS meeting. Maduro said the closing of RCTV was an internal matter, which conflicted with Chavez on TV last night on an obligatory nationwide broadcast having Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega sign a proclamation backing the shutdown of RCTV.
Meanwhile Chavez was losing friends quickly. Today, the Spanish Government, one of the friendliest towards Chavez, asked the Venezuelan Government to reopen RCTV, saying there is no justification for the measure and this can not be done in a democracy. There has been no response as yet from the Venezuelan Government, which is still bickering with another ally, Brazil, over a declaration by that country’s Senate on the closing of RCTV. While President Ignacio Lula Da Silva of Brazil had avoided the controversy, Chavez insults to the Brazilian Senate have now led him to answer twice to Chavez’ statements. Today Brazilian Foreign Minister Celso Amorin said that the Venezuelan Government had still tried to justify Chavez’ statements, suggesting the issue was not cleared up after the Brazilain Government called on Venezuela’s Ambassador to that country. Up to now, Lula Da Silva had been an unconditional supporter of Chavez and had tried to avoid controversy, but the recent spat now endangers Venezuela’s membership in the Mercosur trade group.