On April 14, 2013, the Cuban regime stole the presidential election in Venezuela and gave the victory to their Colombian man, Nicolás Maduro. People took to streets all over the country but were gunned down. The candidate who really won the election, Henrique Capriles, caved in and called the protests off. At this point the democratic resistance started organizing, and at the 5-month mark of the election fraud, September 14, Operación Libertad Venezuela called for a Day of Rage. The party of Capriles secretly sabotaged the protest, forbidding their members to participate in any way. When this was revealed in public people got very angry, and started realizing that the opposition was working in cohorts with the regime.
This led to a series of grassroots protests in November with thousands of people all over the country. Capriles had sold the municipal election in December as a “referendum” on Maduro, but of course the opposition lost, since the election fraud issue had not been dealt with. This was the final nail in the coffin for his credibility. In January, the tragic murder of a Miss Venezuela, Monica Spear, fueled an outrage over the rampant murder rate, the highest in the world. Shortly afterwards, an attack on a student at a campus sparked a student revolt in Táchira.
With Capriles out of the picture, other opposition politicians took over and called for a non-violent rebellion in order to recover democracy. Those behind the October and November protests joined in, and all sectors together took to the streets. These protests are grass roots. Nobody controls them. The number of people supporting them keeps growing all the time. I know of some who were chavistas when it started, and who are now on the barricades since weeks. They have joined when they saw how the regime responded to peaceful marches with gunfire; how they tortured their sons and daughters; and when they were attacked in their homes while not having anything to do with the protests.
Let me take Valencia February 12 to 13 as an example. On Feb 12 a peaceful march was ambushed by regime thugs, with the military leaving them at their destiny. Miss Tourism 2013 of the state was shot dead, a bullet hit her head. The next day the same people were demonstrating peacefully in front of a shopping center, and some walked up to the military and asked them to please not shoot at them. The response of the military was to do just that, start shooting at them. They even shot at people in their apartments who were filming what was going on, destroyed vehicles etc. Something unexpected happened when street criminals, people from the poorest areas (the only ones armed apart from the regime) opened fire against the military to defend the unarmed civilians. That has later happened on other occasions in Valencia, and in several other cities as well. What the street criminals see are not militaries shooting at civilians; what they see is Cubans shooting at Venezuelans. There are tens of thousands of Cuban soldiers in Venezuelan military uniform and they form the core of the oppression.
The regime uses military equipment such a this tank with a 90 mm cannon. They also deploy thousands of thugs who have been armed and paid by the regime to spread terror, and they are responsible for many of the murders. Furthermore, the regime deploys tens of thousands of Cuban soldiers who, in violation of international law, operate in Venezuelan military uniform. To do so once hostilities have started – which they obviously have – is a war crime.