“Over the last month, I’ve seen pictures and videos about the demonstrations in Venezuela. I am really impressed by the young people, from students to professionals to parents with small children.
Just saw the story of Juan Requesens, a student who is the middle of the uprising in Caracas.
Juan is 24 and the focus of a recent story by The Washington Post:
“After nearly a month of anti-government protests and street clashes, the one figure who may be capable of guiding Venezuela out of its crisis is a bearded, disheveled 24-year-old who lives with his parents.
Juan Requesens, a student leader, has leapt in recent weeks from campus politics to the swirling center of Venezuela’s worst unrest in a decade. A talent for public speaking has driven his rise, but perhaps just as appealing is that he is not one of the well-established opposition politicians Venezuelans already know.
In the past week, President Nicolás Maduro has repeatedly invited him to “peace” talks, but Requesens refuses, insisting that Maduro free jailed protesters and meet other preconditions first. Venezuela’s interior minister is publicly pressuring Requesens to go to the western state of Tachira, where the protests first erupted and barricades are blocking deliveries of food, to get students there to stand down.
Even opposition politicians have begun deferring to Requesens, saying they, too, will not meet with Maduro until the students go first.”
What drives young people like Juan? After all, Juan was born in the early days of Chavizmo. He does not remember the pre-Chavez days. He has spent his entire life living in the Venezuela that Chavez’ policies created.
Why the disconnect with Chavez or Maduro? Why are the children of the revolution turning against the revolution?
The answer is freedom and the economic shortages now a daily grind all over the nation.
Check out the faces of demonstrators in Caracas. You will see lots of young people like Juan! It makes me optimistic that the young are not buying the class warfare and crony capitalism that Chavez left Venezuela with.”