Estudiantes / Omar Luis Colmenares


The kids began to leave their university classrooms like growing rivers to join up with a libertarian torrent, and this greatly distresses the pursuers, some of them paid to do that, such as ministers and police officers, and others in their capacity as volunteers, such as those well-dressed journalists from the state-run TV channel who seem to have an extraordinary ability for uncovering conspiracies.

The kids aren’t afraid and that’s why they don’t back down at the sight of that dark image of tanks parading on the highways and avenues of Venezuelan cities, so typical of military governments, but which the revolutionary journalists, who constantly recall their own heroic actions and the tear gas they swallowed during their years as students, justify without any scruples.

The ad honorem accusers who with innocent voices refer to the kids protesting as hyenas, who mock those crying in front of cameras because they were left without a job, and who predict the protesters are hoping for deaths in order to discredit the government, these people should know the students are organizing themselves to defend democracy, and not to destabilize, as they announce when they refer to kids who write the word “freedom” on a car window as criminals.

Because that’s the slogan: “Freedom!” That’s the motivation and they’re assuming it with all the responsibility it entails. The university kids are worried about the things that are happening and they aren’t going to stand there with arms crossed. But, careful, they’re not going to let themselves be manipulated by any sector. They’re conscious of the fact that they have to assume the fight bravely, but above all peacefully. They know perfectly well that the government is an expert at creating provocations and traps.

Their leaders are very young but with a maturity that’s surprising. They assume freedom of speech as a human right that must be defended unceasingly, and they’re quite clear about the fact that this goes much further than defending RCTV. They’re satisfied with the response they’ve received from their classmates and with the coherence and coordination they’ve been able to achieve among the universities.

In the marches, they go with their heads held high. They don’t cover their faces like those who, surreptitiously and protected by official discourse, spray hateful graffiti slogans. They go happily as only people their age can be happy, taking care of any elders who join them, while couples give each other furtive kisses when occasion allows.

“Students are the seed,” said Violeta Parra, and this truth infuriates those in power. Especially because deep down, those functionaries who despise them in a cowardly manner and who try to discredit them know that regardless of how many threats, no matter how much repression the government unleashes, the fight for freedom will always have students as a vanguard and they won’t be quiet anymore. Undoubtedly, we have to repeat with the singer: “I like the students!”

{ Omar Luis Colmenares, Tal Cual, 30 May 2007 }

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