BY DOMINIC WIGHTMAN
During the last year we have seen the peoples of various lands cock a snook at ruling elites. In Britain we voted for Brexit and wiped the smiles off the Europhile establishment, who were sure we ordinary working people would not dare upset the Brussels apple cart. The look of shock on the face of Guy Verhofstadt was almost worth David Cameron risking the referendum in the first place. Then, of course, our American cousins voted in The Donald. We will see over the next few years if the MAGA revolt was worth it, but the post-election tears of liberal commentators and social justice warriors have certainly merited increased popcorn consumption and their continued whining is a pleasure for conservatives like me to behold.
The thing is, neither Brexit nor Trump will dramatically alter how we live.
I’d bet on the same newspapers and the same liberal Leviathan the BBC in a decade’s time, Tesco’s will still be full of food, train strikes will still be happening on account of disruptive unions, Gary Lineker will still be making facetious entries into the world of politics and the same ale will still be poured at my local pub as it has been for the past four centuries. I expect America to change more under Trump as he sweeps away the Alinskyites, drains the Washington swamp and hopefully freezes Muslim Brotherhood activities but for everyday Americans Walgreens will still play those same annoying tunes, expressways will still suffer from those oblivious drivers who sit on the speed limit in the fast lane, patisserie will still be dominated by foul-smelling cinnamon and beery nights out will still require that Jägerbomb spark to really get going. Hardly hugely significant revolutions in either Britain or America then, in terms of how Brits and Americans will live.
It’s the country I love third in the world, Venezuela, that I use as a yardstick for democratic revolutionary populism. While Trump was bombing the Syrian airbase last week, in Venezuela their President, Nicolas Maduro, locked out the national assembly. His thugs simply came along when its members were asleep elsewhere and locked the doors, taking the final step to dictatorship. Only after some pleading from Latin American neighbours and the Catholic Church did Maduro relent and return the keys to elected officials.
This last week Maduro’s security forces killed five anti Government protesters including two college kids and a 14 year old boy.
I aspire most to see radical political change in Venezuela because even small change means so much there given where they have slumped to from. Many Venezuelans remember the pre-Socialist days of plenty. Now they rifle bins for food, families are split apart, Maduro’s political opponents, like my pal Leopoldo Lopez, are in jail for no good reason and life is really very hard indeed for the majority of Venezuelans, especially those living in the cities.
Which is why I am writing this article. Because this week there was a glimmer of resistance in Venezuela that brought me and other supporters of the Venezuelan Resistance real pleasure and genuine hope.
On Tuesday, Maduro was visiting Ciudad Bolivar in the south-east of Venezuela. He attended some rehearsed and ridiculous military show (what remains of the Venezuelan army is ramshackle and tends to dress now like FARC or the IRA). Maduro forgot that the military show and the paid crowd were stage-managed and showed himself so deluded that he started to wave at the unpaid crowds who had gathered to greet him – thinking they were his supporters too, as if all the Venezuelan people were somehow on his side.
As the crowd rushed forward at his motorcade and pelted him with stones and eggs. It took a direct hit before he even realised what was happening and reality began to bite.
Should I be celebrating such acts of violence?
The cost of a pack of eggs to the citizens of Ciudad Bolivar is 10,000 bolivares. Most just don’t have that kind of money. That is far more than most citizens can afford to waste on a chance hit on Maduro. These are the same citizens whose relatives are dying in hospitals where there are no drugs left. The same citizens who are plagued daily by Maduro’s paid gangs and numerous delinquents who run riot amidst a corrupt police force and failing jails. The same citizens who have lost loved ones in the sickening violence that socialism has brought to their beautiful, resource-wealthy land.
Hell yes, I should be celebrating this act of popular revolt against the Socialist Tyrant Maduro and his dwindling band of drug-running Chavistas even if those who could not afford eggs opted for stones to smash these fools’ delusions of authority and dislike of democratic mandates. Albeit with mere eggs and stones these decent people fight a just war. We all hope corrupt and incompetent Maduro and his Chavista bandits will be on that plane to Honduras soon or strung up in front of the Palacio de Miraflores in Caracas.
To me, the throwing of eggs at Maduro cuts through more than a Brexit or Trump. It’s people power crying for freedom where freedom does not yet exist. It’s the stirrings of sacrifice. Its value is the value for freedom we too often take for granted – our price for freedom in Britain and America can be found at Arlington or Caen marked by lines of white crosses. Venezuelans’ egg throwing will turn to civil war sooner or later – surely – and I hope the democracy lovers will win through.
Here’s the video on Venezuelan State TV which of course gets cut out:
And here’s the missing section where Maduro takes one on the bonse: