Archive for September 5th, 2012

VENEZUELAN FACEBOOK WARRIORS: “Optimism rises for Venezuelan bloggers” by Virginia Lampke

September 5, 2012

Faithful reader and internet friend Virginia asked me to allow her to contribute her thoughts to my blog. Enjoy!

I started blogging on the social networks, along with hundreds of other bloggers, sparked from my heartache for my homeland, Venezuela.  At less than 40 days until one of the most important elections of Venezuela’s history; I pause to reflect on all of the people, who every day thru the aid of platforms like Facebook, have helped fight the communist regime of Hugo Chavez.

Throughout the past years, we have released videos, articles, and posters that document the failure of the Chavez regime.   In the past thirteen years that Chavez has ruled as a dictatorial tyrant, he has turned Venezuela into a country with one of the worst crime rates in South America. Venezuela has also witnessed one of the highest inflation rates in Latin America, a huge external debt, a rampant housing deficit, and other socio-economic problems which include high unemployment, poor public services, and food shortages. But, despite the adversity, we have held true to our struggle for freedom of expression which is on the verge of being extinguished in Venezuela.

Just as social networks contributed largely to the Arab Spring movement, our blogging contributions have been equally important to opposing the Chavez regime.  This was witnessed in the success of the opposition primary elections in February 2012. The winning candidate, a young lawyer Henrique Capriles Radonski, received 62.2% of the vote.  The campaign for the presidency of Venezuela began on July 1 2012. A relentless Capriles Radonski has already toured more than 200 towns in less than 2 months of campaigning.   Each rally has brought together thousands of Venezuelans in favor of his pragmatic proposals.  Based on the outpouring of support for Capriles, there is no doubt that the Venezuelan people are looking for a change.  Our efforts thru Facebook have definitely impacted and have helped to ignite the courage of the Venezuelans and to create a matrix of positive public opinion against the dictator.

I feel, without a doubt, that most people, who have been active contributors on the social networks, have personally affected the fight to end the Chavez regime. We all, through our never ending blogging for the freedom of our Venezuelan people, have helped to turn the tides toward a more just and democratic government.

Some of our blogging community is living out of our native country Venezuela, but we are united by our spirit of freedom and democracy.   This spirit is being reborn and carried forward by the heart of our candidate Henrique Capriles, and also by the hands of our Facebook bloggers.

We have personally tried to make known the reasons why Hugo Chavez is a threat to the Venezuelan people and to world peace.  We have talked untiringly on such issues as Chavez’s alleged relations with The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), the closure of the Venezuelan Consulate in Miami due to the alleged plan of a cyber-attack to the U.S., the shipment of Diesel to Syria’s Assad government, the building of drones with Iran’s help, and the German newspaper report that alleges Iran was building a mid-range missile launch site on the Paraguana Peninsula in Venezuela.

We are aware, that there is fear for a considerable part of the Venezuelan population, of losing some of their government welfare benefits obtained by the social programs called “Missions”.  Capriles has stated that he will continue to improve these projects because they constitute an “achievement of the people”. There is also a fear in the public sector by pro-Chavez supporters that if Capriles wins the election, they may lose their jobs.  Capriles, being sensitive to this fear, has further re-assured the public by saying that he will not lay off anyone due to their political allegiance.

It is remarkable that Capriles has never lost an election.  This was witnessed when he ran for various offices in Venezuela such as congressman, mayor, and governor.  His success in being elected as president of Venezuela is expected by all.  This especially holds true for those who have created a fraternity and a force through their social networks and in sharing their dreams and ideals of democracy and freedom for our homeland.

In closing, I feel that our social networking thru platforms like Facebook, have helped to ignite the passion of the Venezuelan population. The neighborhoods, once controlled by the Chavez propaganda machine, are becoming more and more supportive of Capriles.  We expect a historical turn out by the voting populous at the October 7, 2012 election and a triumphant victory by Henrique Capriles.  If it is necessary, we will defend our historical vote by any diplomatic and peaceful means necessary in order to see that justice and liberty prevail. In the meantime, we urge all of the political bloggers, to continue to be steadfast in their crusade against the tyrannical Chavez regime and to keep the opposition candle burning.

Virginia Lampke is a political blogger and human rights activist.  She is a native of Maracaibo, Venezuela, and subsequently became a United States Citizen residing in Seattle, Washington.  She continues her crusade to raise awareness of the socio-economic inequalities and political oppression in her native Venezuela.