Today marks the two month start since the protests became national, and there have been demonstrations throughout Venezuela to mark the event.
In Caracas, demonstrators are meeting at different points, and then marching to Plaza Venezuela. There have been some confrontations with the National Guard along the way:
National Guard somewhere around Plaza Venezuela:
Diosdado Cabello said today that the opposition was “shameless” for asking for amnesty for protesters who have been detained during the demonstrations of the last months, along with the jailed opposition elected figures. Diosdado was speaking at an event before members of the Bolivar-Chavez Battle Units. Diosdado said:
They [the opposition] ask for an amnesty law. You have to be shameless to ask, in the middle of the situation, for an amnesty law, when we’ve had more than 40 killed. You have to be shameless to ask for amnesty for the people who burned a pre-school with 89 kids inside. Who in the opposition condemned that event? No one, because deep down what they’re interested in is that people die because that way [public opinion] will turn against Nicolas Maduro and the Bolivarian revolution.
They underestimate us. They think we are dumb and that they’re smart. But they’re so smart that they can’t even stand up before the nation and present their project. They don’t do it because their project is neoliberalism, the entrega [“delivery” or “surrender”] of wealth, privatization, the abandonment of the people (…) let them keep underestimating us, we will keep wining every time we face off.
We, the sons of Chavez, will keep telling them things to their face today, tomorrow, and always because we are not here to betray the people (…) we will be the voice of the people, we are here because the people want and because the country needs it. You [the opposition] will never again govern because Miraflores belongs to the people.
A couple of things on what Diosdado said: the amnesty law would not include people who have been charged with violent acts during the demonstrations. It would cover political prisoners and citizens who’ve been detained simply for being at a demonstration or on their way to/back from a demonstration. Henry Allup went over this during his talk at the meeting on Thursday. He said that if you’re at a demonstration and you’re committing a violent act, you’re guilty of whatever violent act you’re committing and you should face justice. The issue here revolves around people who’ve been detained for protesting, which is of course not a crime in itself.
Also, the opposition has been pretty clear (most recently during the talk on Thursday) in its condemnation of violence. I’m not sure what Diosdado is looking for, but his reasoning seems to be off. I don’t see how violent protesters would somehow turn public opinion against the government. Violence during the protests has the opposite effect, actually: it legitimises the government assertions that the movement is inherently violent and that it needs to be suppressed.