The execution of Oscar Perez: Venezuela’s Black Mirror moment

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Nina Rancel in Caracas Chronicles:

Venezuela’s Black Mirror Moment: #DeathTo Óscar Pérez

There was something disturbingly Black Mirror about the events of yesterday, when a group of rebels were murdered after trying to surrender to the authorities.

It was a #DeathTo moment. In the last episode of the last season, Detective Parke and her team investigate a series of mysterious cases of people getting death threats that are fulfilled after a few days. Turns out, all the victims were targeted in a new Twitter craze, Game of Consequences. People tweeted #DeathTo, and then mentioned folks they thought had done something awful.

Death by hashtag.

That’s what yesterday felt like.

I like good TV. I’m an actress who’s really cocky about being able to tell the difference between a good performance and a poor one, and still I was quick to dismiss what Óscar Pérez was doing. Back in July 2017, when he first rebelled, I retweeted the flying comb meme, I said we should pay more attention to what was happening in the Parliament instead of Rambo Endógeno. I even tweeted “As long as Óscar Pérez doesn’t become the Hugo Chávez of 2020, it’s cool.”

I thought we were witnessing a Cuban plan, a smokescreen. I hate it when they call anyone a “supreme leader”, Leopoldo had just left Ramo Verde and I was paranoid. Also, I hate pretty much everyone who’s perceived as a messianic figure. I’m so ashamed of myself now.

But I’m more ashamed of my compatriots and I’m gonna ride my high horse. What my fellow Venezuelans did yesterday on social media makes me want to go like, #DeathTo @ALL OF YOU. I know, I’m not any better. Allow us, those of us who claim to be compassionate and more civil, to judge the fuck out of you, damned teclado warriors.

We saw his extrajudicial execution online, Black Mirror style.

In the operativo to capture him, grupos que operan al fucking margen de la fucking ley, colectivos, were involved, empowered and encouraged. Urban paramilitaries, in official capacity, killed Venezuelans under direct orders from the government. And, no, what he did has no resemblance to what el Comandante did in 1992. No civilians died when Óscar Pérez went rogue, hundreds of people did when Chávez decided the democratic way was beneath him. When Chávez surrendered, nobody killed him. Chávez was allowed to talk to the press, the only person who interviewed Pérez was Fernando del Rincón, the only window he had before this was his social media. Chávez had un indulto, our political prisoners don’t even get sunlight. When Chávez launched his coup d’etat, Venezuela was a democracy. This is now a dictatorship installed by Chávez, so don’t even. Chica para que porfa y gracias.

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