Artists create peaceful political protest in Venezuela

World Today

Venezuelans opposed to the government of President Nicolas Maduro have been staging daily protests for months.  At least 75 people have been killed in demonstrations since April.  But artists in Caracas have come up with a more peaceful way to show their opposition.

CGTN’s Juan Carlos Lamas has details.

On “Manifiesta Street,” protesters express their defiance without fear they’ll be hit with water cannon, tear gas or rubber bullets.

Manifiesta is Spanish for ‘manifesto’-a public declaration.  The artists behind the project say there’s more than one way to protest.

“This is a nonviolent, creative way to protest, in order to avoid confrontation and more deaths,” Maythe Arrieta, the director of the Manifiesta Street exhibition said.  “In this way, people from different backgrounds can appreciate our fight for a longer period of time.”

More than 45 photographers, artists and sculptors have tried to capture the spirit of the clashes that have become part of everyday life here.

“From people who sing, to those who draw, there are people like me who turn their talent into a form of protest,” artist Mariela Ramirez said.

The exhibition in public squares is a bid to reach more people. Through music and visual art, artists and onlookers can protest without risk of injury.

“I have three children and I cannot go to the marches, but it is wonderful that I can be here today to participate and to echo what we are all living in this country,” spectator Vanessa Henriquez said.

At the heart of this conflict: accusations by the Venezuelan opposition that the government alone is to blame for rising crime rates, skyrocketing inflation and extreme shortages of food and medicine.

President Maduro said he’s the victim of a U.S.-backed right-wing conspiracy, claiming the U.S. is targeting Venezuela in an economic war.

These opposing points of view continue to make the streets of Caracas a flash point. It’s here where ideologies clash with the realities of ordinary life in the form of runaway inflation and severe shortages of food and medicine. Whether through art or violence, the opposition said it will keep fighting until the government meets their demands for free elections, humanitarian aid and the release of political prisoners.