CARACAS TODAY, SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 4 : GRAN MARCHA EN APOYO DE LA REFORMA CONSTITUCIONAL!
By Les Blough, Editor
Nov 4, 2007, 12:28
This morning, over a million people poured into Caracas for the Gran Marcha En Apoyo de la Reforma Constucional! (The Great March in support of Constitutional Reform). The march began at 10 am and its numbers are only exceeded by the powerful, high spirited support of “El Pueblo” for the reforms. As far as the eye can see, they are garbed in red, many waving the majestic Venezuelan flag, dancing, marching and singing, punctuated with high wire actors, juggling and other street performers.
Large contingents carry signs with the numbers and texts of their favorite reforms to the constitution which they have held dear since they adopted it by referendum in 1999. Throughout the crowd large banners and signs with the word “ SI !! ” can be seen, signifying the people’s support for the reforms. This is the greatest mass-outpouring of support for Chavez and the policies of his administration since the December 3, 2006 elections when he won the presidential election once again in an landslide.
As President Chavez joins the march on Avenida Bolivar, standing atop a truck traveling through the crowds the people are going wild, jumping up and down, cheering and screaming support of a head of state who is respected worldwide for his union with the people of Venezuela, Latin America and the world.
This massive support stands in contrast with the students organized by the minority opposition and funded by Washington over the last few weeks. Those protests were carried out by a.few students in comparison with the flood of people we see here today. Those protests were also marred by student violence and destruction of property in the face of an incredibly patience, well-trained police and National Guard who exercised tremendous restraint. Last Friday, in front of the National Assembly these students literally attacked police who stood on the back of a military vehicle. They hit a number of police with steel barricades, knocking them off the back of a flatbed truck and still, the police did not respond with arrests or any physical violence. I could not help but think what would happen if the police were attacked by anti-war protestors in the United States.
Today’s demonstration of support for the government by the people has been a totally peaceful march through the city with no signs of violence. However, signs of opposition media manipulations are ever present and can be expected in the future. On live coverage by VTV, TVES and ANTV of President Chavez’ speech today the amazing breadth and length of the audience can be clearly seen. On the other hand, when one switches the channel to Globovision, nearly empty streets are shown while broadcasting the voice of Chavez. These petty antics may please the minority opposition and set up their December 2 arguments that the vote for reforms has been rigged, just as they did in the 2006 presidential elections. But the vast majority are fully aware based upon their learning and past experiences with the lies of the opposition.
Overwhelming support from the National Federation of Venezuelan Students brings a powerful answer to the few students who protested violently last week and received wide coverage by Globovision and other private media here and in the West. Hundreds of thousands of students are in the street today to show the country and the world that the majority of University students in Venezuela stand with the government and for the Constitutional Reforms.
The silence of the crowd is only interrupted by outbreaks of applause and cheers as they punctuate their President’s words of affirmation, solidarity and commitment of his administration to all Venezulanos. There are no words to capture the events of this day. But we can rest assured that the people of Venezuela are empowered like no other people on earth in what is truly a democratic society.