Rachna Shah
Aug 4, 2017

Opposition Leaders

4 comments

On the Venezuelan Constituent Assembly's first day, a prominent opposition leader has been placed under house arrest recently (http://www.cnn.com/2017/08/04/americas/venezuela-assembly-first-day/index.html). Nonetheless, demonstrations and protests are occurring throughout Venezuela against the perceived corruption and fraud. What do you believe is the role of opposition leaders in the movement?

Kya Chanlevitz
Aug 5, 2017

Opposition leaders act as the figureheads of the movement. Their faces are the ones you see on the frontlines of any protest or march and are the ones calling for action, therefore symbolizing the revolution, which is why they are targeted more than the people behind the scenes. It's for this reason why so many revolutionaries and civil rights leaders are assassinated (MLK, Malcom X, Gandhi, etc.), in the hopes that by getting rid of them, the movement can be stamped out.

Rachna Shah
Aug 5, 2017

That's definitely true. Do you believe that placing opposition leaders under house arrest can have the same effect? Nowadays, it seems as though more and more leaders and dissidents are placed under house arrest rather than being assassinated or even arrested.

Kya Chanlevitz
Aug 5, 2017

I never thought about that, actually. I think that even if a leader gets assassinated, it doesn't necessarily mean the end of a movement, as there will always be someone else to step up into the role, so I'd assume the same could apply to someone who is put under house arrest. The main difference is with house arrest, the direct purpose is to keep the opposition leader isolated from the movement, and off television screens, whereas killing them only serves to stoke the fire instead of putting it out like intentioned. It could also be the case, however, that instead of just replacing the leader who is arrested, the people supporting the cause will also campaign to free the leader (i.e. Nelson Mandela).

Rachna Shah
Aug 6, 2017

That's a good point that you bring up! Do you believe that there enough people supporting the Venezuelan cause to free the opposition leaders currently under house arrest?

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