This week, protests started taking place against “Resolucion 058”, a government initiative to hold consultations with schools, students and parents in order to determine the course of Venezuelan elementary education.
The consultations will take place over a period of roughly four and a half months, and will end in July or August. The government has indicated that “… students, teachers, principals, administrators and custodial staff, parents, communal councils, fishermen [in other words, “everyone”], everyone” will be involved in the consultation process. The government argues that it’s simply trying to “democratize” education by getting as many people involved in the process as possible.
Critics argue that one of the consequences of the resolution will be that school principals will have little say in how to run schools and what curriculum their schools should follow. Most disturbingly, the resolution is framed within a political and legal framework built upon the Plan de la Patria [“Plan for the Homeland”, an outline if the PSUV’s vision for Venezuela], which includes “the inclusion of strategies for the creation of socialist and patriotic values“. The fear is that an overhaul of the Venezuelan educational system at the end of the consultations will focus on the encroachment of political thought into school curricula, which would be an affront to freedom of thought.
On Tuesday, the PSUV majority in the National Assembly voted against holding a debate on Resolution 058.
Throughout the week, there have been sporadic demonstrations throughout the country against the resolution:
Hot on the heels of the supreme court’s decision last night to undermine the Constitution and ban peaceful protests, the student movement called for a march tomorrow with the goal of reaching the Supreme Court building. The building is located in a section of Caracas which is under a “No Protests Allowed” order from its mayor, so the students will be killing to birds with one stone – defying both the PSUV mayor of the Libertador municipality and the Supreme Court.
Francisco Marquez, one of the student leaders, said:
We want… the freedom to express ourselves and say that any area of Caracas is ours (…) We will go to el centro [in Libertador]… we will go peacefully to express our rights [and] liberty.
And finally, Maduro had this to say about the ongoing dialogue his government is holding with the opposition:
There is no agreement or negotiation with the bourgeois. Whoever wants to leave the dialogue can leave and whoever wants to join the dialogue can join. No one will blackmail the government. We will never sit down to agree to absolutely anything with any [political] sector.