Adonis Diaries

Archive for February 2014

Black beret studded with a Red Tornado symbol

Joud Makhoul posted this Arabic poem on FB. I took a few liberty in the translation. Read the Arabic version in the note.
“Tonight:

The determined fighter crouched by a tree on the hill of  Zara

He painted his dark eyes with Khol

And embellished his head with a black beret studded with a Red Tornado symbol,

Red Tornado symbol on his rifle, his arm, his backpack

He looked up to contemplate the black flag centered with a Red Tornado

And waited for the signal of his commander.

His next objective is to reach the next tree on the next hill

A deep chasm separates the two hills

And the black devils were in waiting for anything that move to shoot at.

The fighter crossed to the next tree and engaged the black devil snipers.

A few drops of blood oozed from his body

The black devils were wiped out

And the flag was planted firmly by the conquered tree.

A soft breeze awakened a red flower, covering the fighter by the tree.

His thunderous growl engulfed the hills around

“Let Syria live. Long live Syria”

(Ta7ya Souria)

هذا المساء:
جلس القرفصاء في ظل شجرة على كتف زارة
رفع رأسه ليكحل عينيه براية سوداء تتوسطها زوبعه حمراء
مرفوعة فوق هامته على خشبة مغروسة في كتفه
تلمس الزوبعه المرسومة على مقبض بندقيته بحنو
لقّم وتحفز وانتظر اشارة القائد
مهمته الوصول الى الشجرة الثانية على كتف الزارة الثاني
بين الشجرتين هوة سحيقة مملوءة بشياطين
ينتظرون ايه نسمة حياة ليقنصوها
كان امر القائد
ليس مسموحا لك ان تسقط قبل الشجرة
انطلق كالهدير
زمجر كالرعد
ومض كالبرق
وعندما غرس الراية في الشجرة التالية
كانت الارض تلفظ الشياطين
من الحفر السوداء التي كانت مرابضهم
فأضحت قبورهم
سالت بضع قطرات من ثقوب في جسده
صاح بقائده لم ولن اسقط
وبجانب الشجرة
مدت شقيقة نعمان رأسها
واستظلت الشجرة
وهبت نسائم حياه
تعانق راية خفاقة
وسمغ زئيره في الوادي ينادي
لتحيا سورية بلادي
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Rainforest day pictures

by ginamastrianni (selected one of the top posts this Feb. 20, 2014)

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Nuanced Feminist Discussion in Venezuela?

If you’re paying attention to international news, you may have noticed that there’s something happening in Venezuela.

And depending on what news sources you’re reading, you might be hearing extremely different things. What you’ll have trouble hearing, though, is a nuanced perspective that doesn’t either dismiss or glorify my homeland’s socialist government.

So I guess I’m gonna try to write it.

VERÓNICA BAYETTI FLORES published this Feb. 20, 2014

Toward a nuanced, feminist discussion on Venezuela

To be honest, I’m quite hesitant to talk Venezuelan politics publicly.

I’ve found people’s reactions to be extremely polarized, and the subject matter too deeply personal for me to easily brush off. But the last week has been so brutal, and the coverage so extremely lacking, that it feels imperative to put fear aside and share the little piece I have to contribute.

I’m particularly interested in leftist movements’ ability to hold leftist governments accountable when their actions are oppressive, in our ability to have a nuanced conversation about the ways the folks we prop up as heroes fail us.

And I’m interested in talking about how, even in the face of complete failure on major issues of gender equity and justice, leftist projects can remain darlings in the eyes of our social movements.

Venezuelan woman holding flag in front of riot police

Photo credit: Washington Post

Last week, Venezuelans have come out to protest en masse in cities across the country.

Depending on where you’re getting your information, people are protesting because:

1.  they’re wealthy brats who are mad that they’re no longer able to get the official exchange rate for their foreign vacations, or

2. they’re protesting an extremely unstable economy, a lack of basic goods like staple foods and toilet paper, and endemic violence.

The truth is, well, both. The fact is, wealthier Venezuelans are mad.

Over the last 15 years, since the election of Hugo Chavez, wealth has undergone a massive redistribution – no question a positive thing in an extremely uneven and disparate economic landscape – and the Venezuelan rich have been pretty upset about it.

The wealthy kinda liked all their money. During this time, there is absolutely no question that the material conditions of poor Venezuelans improved vastly.

These progresses, along with the charisma, guts, and equal parts biting and hilarious political commentary of the late Hugo Chavez have made Venezuela’s leftist project – now led by Chavez’s far less charismatic successor, Nicolás Maduro – the darling of leftist movements worldwide.

This has also made Venezuela a major target of unwarranted and undemocratic political intervention by the United States, part of a long history of political intervention in South American left governments.

But at this point, it’s not just wealthy Venezuelans who are upset with the government.

The fact is, this socialism, maybe more like state capitalism, hasn’t been all rainbows and glitter.

The economy is devastated, and 2013 ended with an official inflation rate of 58%, and Venezuelans are turning increasingly to the black market with at rates at least 5 or six times that. Think about that for a second. What folks were getting paid in January of last year?

Now it’s worth 60%-300% less. If they happened to have managed to save any money, well, that was a bad move, as it’s worth a whole lot less now.

This is a national phenomenon, affecting everyone, and actually affecting mostly poor folks – a lot of wealthier folks with jobs at multinational corporations have managed to start getting paid in dollars, so it’s a sweet deal for them.

This reality is also part of the context of the protests.

Feminist projects have enjoyed mixed success in Venezuela.

While there certainly have been some very important gains, this government has left Venezuelan feminists with a lot to be desired.

Despite the fact that, much like everywhere else, a lack of access to safe and legal options for terminating a pregnancy affects primarily low-income women, abortion remains illegal.

Throughout the last 15 years there has been no major effort to legalize this very common medical procedure, and in fact it has hardly ever been mentioned. I’ve spent a good amount of time with the transcripts of every single Aló Presidente, scouring them for mentions of abortion and coming up short.

Nor has there been any mention, much less action, on the terrifyingly high rates of murders of trans women.

Protections for queer folks are nearly nonexistent, and let’s not forget that in the midst of his presidential campaign, Nicolás Maduro called his political opponent Henrique Capriles a fag, calling into question his ability to lead for his lack of a wife.

And during last week’s protests, Nicolás Maduro’s government has been extremely oppressive. Venezuela’s government-controlled media has been curiously silent about the protests, which are happening nationwide and are turning out thousands of Venezuelans.

The only channel that was covering the marches was pulled off the air. Twitter confirmed that Venezuelan users’ images were being blocked, and there are reports of tactical internet shutdowns and slowdowns by the state telecommunications company, creating virtual blackouts.

The police and national guard have been reacting violently, and at least four people have died. And the leader and instigator of the protests, Leopoldo Lopez, has been arrested and charged with terrorism.

Now, I share very few politics with Leopoldo Lopez, as well as a good number of the protesters. But I will never defend state violence, censorship, and political repression, and I am frankly shocked at how ready some of the folks in my radical community are to dilute their politics when it is in service of a leftist government.

I wish I could express similar shock at the left’s ability to defend a government for whom feminism is not even a remote priority; I’ve long abandoned that fantasy.

What the media doesn’t understand about Venezuela is that it isn’t black and white.

Yes, the right – who just cannot deal with the fact that this government has been democratically elected over and over – organized these protests, and yes they want Nicolás Maduro out by any means necessary.

Yes, the cops are being oppressive and violent, the state censoring crucial information. Yes, the economy is devastated, and everyone’s mad – let’s not forget that the last election was won very narrowly, so about half of the country is pretty sick of the direction of the current government.

And that’s not counting the folks who are sick of the current government but voted for it anyway, seeing as they’ve been the only government in recent memory to even remotely care about Venezuela’s poor.

The people of Venezuela are upset for many reasons, and they are marching together, but with very different politics. People everywhere have very complex relationships to politics, their leadership, their countries, and yet this is something the media routinely denies Venezuelans.

While the right wing spews claims of dictatorship and Maduro is busy screaming about the upcoming U.S.-backed coup – which, to be very fair, almost certainly happened in 2002, and it is entirely possible that the U.S. remains invested in the country’s destabilization – the people are marching for access to food, for some sense of economic stability.

People are marching for their survival. Lots of them are angry bourgeois; a lot of them also are folks who can’t afford to send maids to stand in line for four hours to get basic staples on their table, folks who have spotty access to electricity and water.

Don’t ever get it twisted: the economic instability and violence that Venezuela has been riddled with most distinctly affect Venezuela’s poor.

And there are still A LOT of Venezuelans who remain poor, even after improved conditions, even after a new bureaucratic elite has risen.

Poor folks who are, despite much lip service from the government about the contributions of indigenous folks and Afro-Venezuelans, disproportionately darker-skinned, indigenous, and Afro-descended. These ills affect Venezuelans in ways that are distinctly gendered.

And the hesitancy of the American left to deal with these abuses, with the mixed legacy of Venezuela’s socialism, is stunning. While I understand the impulse to defend a project which the U.S.’s imperialist and anti-socialist agenda has routinely undermined, we’ve got to do better than this.

I’ve seen much of this with my own eyes and through the eyes of my family. I’ve seen the massive housing developments for the previously precariously-housed. I’ve seen my family politically divided – initially very much along predictable class lines, though increasingly most abandoning their hope for this government.

I’ve seen them access free health care, and I’ve seen what it has meant for them to live in a system where their pay shrinks every day while costs go up. I’ve heard friends and family tell me about the time(s) they’ve had a gun to their head, and I’ve been caught in the middle of a robbery involving snipers.

My cousin was shot at a couple weeks ago. It’s a very distinct kind of pain to see your country crumble from afar, to watch your political dreams slowly degraded and corrupted. And it is a very distinct kind of pain to not be able to access information that reflects the nuanced realities of how it is happening.

So, fears about manarchist backlash aside – you have no idea how white men love to explain me about my country! – I put out my thoughts in the hopes that folks searching for something like this will have something to find.

(How nuanced is feminism in this picture? Taken in Tunisia (North Africa), a State in the “Arab World” where women have the most of genders equal rights?)

لو كان الله يريد النساء بذلك الشكل لما خلق لها وجها و ذراعين. إنّه مرض و خلل في التفكير و الشعور. كم كرهت تلك المناظر! لماذا لا يدفنوا أنفسهم في كهوف مظلمة و يريحونا من جهلهم؟؟؟<br /><br />
AMAL
Kind if God wanted to create women this way, why would he adds faces and arms to the female genders?
Note 2:

1bfea3e7449eff65a94e2e55a8b7acda-bpfull

Verónica is a leftist who would appreciate a little less glorifying and a little more critical thought.

Youth Unemployment in Middle East and North Africa: How terrible is that trend?

The Middle East and North Africa (MENA region) face significant challenges when it comes to youth unemployment. A World Economic Forum report from 2012 notes, “Unemployment in the MENA region is the highest in the world…and largely a youth phenomenon.”

The Middle East and North Africa are not alone in terms of a serious lack of opportunity for many young people.

In the second quarter of 2012, the economically troubled European Union had a youth unemployment rate of 22.6%, as opposed to the OECD-wide average of 16.2 percent.

For example, Portugal had 38.7% youth unemployment, and Spain and Greece had staggering rates of 52.4 percent and 54.2%, respectively.

By contrast, the United States had 16.3 percent youth unemployment and Germany’s youth employment was an enviable 8.2 percent.

 posted on June 14, 2013

INSIGHT: Youth Unemployment in Middle East, North Africa

I’ve previously highlighted troubling trends in youth employment, including the problem of students whose lack of soft skills ( like apprenticeships?) preclude them from employment.

Employers’ dissatisfaction with the education levels of the workforce in GCC countries, and young Tunisians’ disillusionment with the opportunities available in their country and accompanying desire to emigrate.

To match Feature TUNISIA-UNEMPLOYMENT/

While some have raised issues with the way that these eye-popping European numbers are calculated (suggesting that the real rate is more like half of the headline numbers – but that’s still very high), there is little doubt that many youth – particularly in the MENA region and the struggling European economies – are losing out on economic opportunities, and consequently, hindering their lifetime earning potential.

“How should countries tackle youth unemployment? It’s an immense challenge, requiring solutions that will, at their best, involve private, public, and non-profit sectors.” – Isobel Coleman, Council on Foreign Relations

How should countries tackle youth unemployment? It’s an immense challenge, requiring solutions that will, at their best, involve private, public, and non-profit sectors.

Germany and Spain’s labor ministers should be praised for their pragmatism in brokering a deal that will give apprenticeships in Germany to some 5,000 unemployed Spanish young people yearly – a move that is also a win for Germany, which needs additional qualified employees as its labor pool shrinks.

take 7 INSIGHT: Youth Unemployment in Middle East, North Africa

Graph by author. Data are from ILO’s Global Employment Trends for Youth 2013 report. Regional data are from ILO’s 2012 preliminary estimates; U.S. and E.U. data are from the OECD’s second quarter 2012 data.

Non-profits are also pursuing interesting innovations with respect to tackling youth unemployment. LivelyHoods in Kenya, for instance, trains young people from Kenyan slums to sell useful products in their communities (e.g. solar lamps); the training includes vital business skills like customer service and financial literacy. In the Middle East and North Africa, Education for Employment connects young people to employers and also trains young people on finding jobs and on the soft skills that employers value. The organization has had particularly impressive results in high-unemployment Tunisia, where it began working in 2012: it has since graduated more than 540 Tunisians from its training programs and found employment for all of those in its job placement training program. The challenge, of course, is scaling up these initiatives.

Programs like these are particularly important because high levels of youth unemployment – in addition to limiting young people’s life prospects – stand to affect political trends, especially in countries that are transitioning to democratic rule. In a forthcoming book that I co-edited, Pathways to Freedom: Political and Economic Lessons From Democratic Transitions, one important takeaway is the critical role that inclusive economic development plays in sustaining democratic transitions. Libya’s plan to put billions of dollars towards funds that small and medium-sized businesses can access – in an explicit effort to create jobs – could help promote democratization there, especially if implemented in a transparent manner.

This post was originally published on blogs.cfr.org.

The views expressed in this Insight are the author’s own and are not endorsed by Middle East Voices or Voice of America. If you’d like to share your opinion on this post, you may use our democratic commenting system below. If you are a Middle East expert or analyst associated with an established academic institution, think tank or non-governmental organization, we invite you to contribute your perspectives on events and issues about or relevant to the region. Please email us through our Contact page with a short proposal for an Insight post or send us a link to an existing post already published on your institutional blog.

 INSIGHT: Youth Unemployment in Middle East, North Africa

Isobel Coleman

Isobel Coleman is senior fellow and director of the Civil Society, Markets, and Democracy Initiative as well as director of the Women and Foreign Policy Program at the Council on Foreign Relations. On Twitter, she can be followed at Isobel_Coleman.

Read more at Middle East Voices: http://middleeastvoices.voanews.com/2013/06/insight-youth-unemployment-in-middle-east-north-africa-86923/#ixzz2uKynpEjP

Freedom or Liberty? Time to dissect an operational framework for the notion of Freedom

Do you understand what is meant by Freedom? How do you apply your “freedom”. What are the restrictions attached to your acts of freedom?

If Liberty has a statewide political connotation of independence and autonomy (already a terrible headache in the UN), the notion of Freedom is far more confusing and subject to political maneuvering in the dialogues and discussions.

The problem in the English language is the restriction on the usage of the term Liberty, such as Liberation or being liberated (any other ways?)

For example “We are not freed from the shackles. Someone else liberated us from the shackles of slavery and bondage, by a political decision and not on our free will”

For example, you read oxymoron terms like “Free Trade, Free Market, Free Expression, Free Sex…”  What is free in these expressions? And how they are that free?

If we replaced these expressions with “Libre trade, libre market, libre sex, libre opinions...” the citizens will acquire useful political terminologies and political education. These terms connote political decisions among communities and the treaties are spelled out in details.

For example, “libre from addiction” would relate to a specific addiction since mankind behaves intrinsically within a network (a web) of habits and customs.

Also, “libre sex” means a politically tolerant society and is different from free sex that has a monetary connotation attached to it. Sure, there are first time free sex, but the second time is never that free, but highly expensive in many ways.

Until the English language is liberated and the politicians liberate the term Freedom from their political maneuvering and taking Freedom hostage in their discourse and speeches, we have to contend in navigating the meander of Freedom.

Setting up an operational framework for this general and confusing “value” of Freedom is an endeavor to giving flesh and new blood to the mishandled expression of “Freedom for the people

A clear taxonomy for the definition of Freedom is tightly linked on how we define the other “set of value systems” that are connected to the term of freedom and are interrelated in the various fields of applications such as in economy, finance, politics, individual rights, human rights, and range of opportunities…

There is two main divergences for comprehending freedom: Individual freedom and “Community Freedom

If we take the “western” position that freedom is an individual right, we must raise the question: “How would you define freedom for each one of the 7 billion people and increasing? All these people with various customs, traditions and idiosyncrasies?

7 billion struggling within fast changing social environments, fast communication means, interacting quickly and observing the reality of what’s happening outside their close communities and the limitations offered within their social systems?

This is a daunting task that must be confronted piece meal, one problem at a time.

In order to avoid the bad connotation attached to individual freedom such as “Give me my space: I want to do what I like to do…” the concept of responsibility was closely linked to Freedom.

First, you have to practice tolerance with respect to the other people living in your community before you expand your space for freedom

Tolerance was included as the linkage between freedom and responsibility. It is the community job to educate its members on what is expected to tolerate and how to work out the pragmatic differences in value systems.

“A field separates the ideas of right and wrongdoings. I meet there” Rumi

It is also the community responsibility to open channel of communications with neighboring communities and compare their corresponding educational system for absorbing daily confrontations.

For example, if a western State or the wider EU block enact laws that have to be applied to all its members, this is tantamount to forming “cultural blocks” within the larger community. A procedure that hinders the step by step process of  “nurturing tolerance assimilation“.

The multiple problems within a “Republic” State take roots by imposing a unique State “law framework” on communities that are not coherent due to historical and cultural discrepancies.

Any imposition of “forced tolerance” without the adequate financial means, economic opportunities and political determination to bridge the gap among communities will be faced with violent reactions of the “have’ and “have not” full rights within a society.

Another alternative is to work within “community Freedom” systems, with far lesser interrelations and a better framework of a consensus idiosyncratic life-style and world view to apply the concept of freedom.

The lazy way is to split the world systems into a preconceived mentality and confront one system against another. For example, the western culture, the Eastern culture, the Far-Eastern, the Middle-Eastern, the African or the Latino cultures.

That is the current approach of civilization clashes, of opposing value systems, pretty convenient to the colonial powers.

The still strong colonial domination blocks serious hurtful political concessions in order to come to term with a fast evolving world, each community vying for a corner under the sun.

Before stretching the concept of freedom to include all people, it is advisable that every State works out its value system, iron it out, implement it within the world framework.

This means to keep an opened and a flexible revolving door to understand other value systems for later connectivity), and observe, eyes wide open, the repercussions and consequences on the other societies.

Note: Margin for freedom https://adonis49.wordpress.com/2009/02/24/son-of-man-margin-for-freedom/

“Gocho”?  ¿Qué es un “Gocho”? Any relation to Venezuela’s Maduro?

Gocho” is a term used to refer to people born in Táchira, Venezuela.

Their cultural differences and phonetic accents are noticeable among inhabitants of other states, just as a Texan would stand out in the middle of New York.

Táchira is one of the 23 states of Venezuela, located in the western part of the country, bordering Colombia.

Due to its location beyond the Venezuelan Andes, it has remained somewhat inaccessible until the start of the 20th century, and as a result, developed cultural differences from the rest of Venezuela.

“Gocho” is used as a term of endearment among Tachirans, but carries a distinctly negative connotation in almost all other states of Venezuela, implying that Gochos are clumsy, naive, and easily fooled – i.e. “Country Bumpkins”.

“Gochos ruled Venezuela since the beginning of the XX century to 1958 when dictator Marcos Perez Jimenez ran away because he didn’t agree to attack the soldiers and cadets involved in the coup d’etat (by the way, he’s considered the best president in the modern history of Venezuela despite his crimes)” (H/t Marcos Gonzalez).

What is a “Gocho”, and why are they laughing at Maduro? / ¿Qué es un “Gocho”, y por qué se están riendo Maduro?

…and the award for “Best Use Of Fake Testicles In Political Protest” goes to… *drumroll* *opens envelope* – this Gocha girl who has more balls than Maduro’s soldiers!

“Soy Gocha y tengo de sobra lo que a algunos de ustedes les falta” – “I am a Gocha, and I have plenty of what some of you are missing”. Image h/t @Rpolicial, explanation h/t @Pirouette_G3.

Gocha with balls

Angry Birds, Gocho-style. Original image h/t @lucho3008, captions mine.

Angry Birds, Gocho Style

“Los Gochos somos tan arrechos, q pusimos a los militares a barrer nuestra calles…!” –

“The Gochos are so badass, we even get the military to clean up our streets!”. H/t @Pirouette_G3.

Los Gochos somos tan arrechos, q pusimos a los militares a barrer nuestra calles...!

Los Gochos somos tan arrechos, q pusimos a los militares a barrer nuestra calles…!

Iron Man, Gocho Version… Loki: “Tengo tanquetas” – “I have tanks” … Tony Stark: “Tenemos Gochos” – “We have Gochos”.

Loki: "Tengo tanquetas" - "I have tanks" ... Tony Stark: "Tenemos Gochos" - "We have Gochos".

Chuck Norris can rest easy – Venezuela is in good hands. “Chuck! Venezuela needs your help! – What for??? If you have Gochos!!!”. Image & translation h/t FB: ViktorOm.

Chuck! Venezuela needs your help! - What for??? If you have Gochos!!!

Policeman: “Play dead! The Gochos are coming! :(“. H/t Gladys Hoyeck via @Mmorin_Informa. Thanks to commenter Mari for clarifying the meaning!

"Hazte el muerto...vienen los gochos 😥"

“Hazte el muerto… vienen los gochos 😥”

Nicolas Maduro gets desperate and sends in helicopters to detect protests and barricade crews – Gochos respond by making “Heliport” markings on roadways.

It may seem like a threatening gesture (“land here, see what happens”), but combined with other slogans –

“Venezuela Ya Desperto (Venezuela Is Awakened)” and “Tachira Se Respeta (Tachira Respected)”

It’s more of an appeal to the chopper pilots’ consciences. The Maduro Mustache (TM) is a nice touch. H/t @geraldinehl.

Helipad, Gocho Style

Helipad, Gocho Style

View of the same helipad from the apartment building:

Gocho Heliport - from the building

Another message to helicopter pilots – “Tachira No Se Rinde” – “Tachira Does Not Surrender”:

Tachira No Se Rinde

Tachira No Se Rinde / Tachira Will Not Surrender

Another message “welcomes” the G2 (Cuban Intelligence Directorate) operatives to Tachira. The joke here is that Maduro keeps pretending that he’s not importing thugs from Cuba – but the Gochos know better! Image h/t @VzlaSinMordaza.

Bienvenidos A Tachira, G2 Cubano // Welcome to Tachira, Cuban G2

Bienvenidos A Tachira, G2 Cubano // Welcome to Tachira, Cuban G2

Maduro sends in tanks – Gochos steal them and use them to block streets. Recycling – Al Gore would be SO proud!

Gochos steal a tank

“Venezuela would be better if these Venezolanos (major part of the country) were more like these Venezolanos (pointing to Tachira). In Tachira beats the true heart of Venezuela”:

Venezuela would be better if these

Practicality. “If we’re all going to hang out here, and we’ve got fires going, hey, might as well make something good to eat.”

Where else in the world are you going to see a street blockade – with a STEW POT in the center? Only In Tachira (TM)… I’ve been told that Gochos love their “hervido“, this seems to be proof positive:

Stew pot

Regular people use broken-down pallets & assorted boards to build barricades – Gochos cut down entire trees:

Gochos cut down trees

The “oversizing” trend isn’t limited to arboreals. Here, a couple of dozen Gochos drag a humongous rock toward a blockade position.

I’d love to watch the GNB try to clear THAT obstacle!

TEAMWORK!

TEAMWORK!

Tachira, Venezuela

During the recent unrest (sparked by the violent repression of a peaceful student demonstration in Caracas on February 12, 2014), the Gochos have distinguished themselves by not only offering the greatest levels of resistance to the government thugs, but apparently relishing the challenge and having a great time.

A picture is worth 1000 words, so I’ll just let the images do the talking…

"If you take this away, I will try again, I'm Gocho"

“If you take me away, I will put again, I’m Gocho”

A street blockade in Tachira reads: “Si me quitas / me pongo otra vez / soy gocho” – “If you take me away, I will put this again, I’m [a] Gocho”.

Well, that’s the literal translation. A commenter points out that “when they say “If you take me away, I’ll put myself back”, they are referring to the gochos presidents in the past, since government’s motto is “No volverán” (“They will not come back” – to rule the country)”. Image h/t @NotaSinCensura.

If you take this away, I will start again, I'm Gocho 2

Another shot of the same blockade, h/t @JohanJurado.

En Tachiro Estamos

“In Tachira, we’re waiting for the Navy down by the Torbes river… we look like we’re shaking (with fear)… HAHAHAHAHAHA”.
Image h/t @AnonsVenezuela, translation h/t @lugoadvertising.

UPDATE: The joke here is that the Torbes River is very shallow and full of rocks, so even a small boat would be unable to navigate it, much less the Navy. Also, Rio Torbes is very representative of San Cristobal because of its red color – Gochos are very proud of their river! [Thanks to Marcos Gonzalez for the explanation!]

To build barricades, most Venezuelans use motorcycle and car tires. But not Gochos. Oh no. They take it to a whole new level:

Burning Rubber: Gocho Level. Quema de caucho nivel Gocho.

Burning Rubber: Gocho Level. Quema de caucho nivel Gocho.

A group of Tachira opposition fighters bring a giant tractor tire to use in barricades. Original image posted with rhyming caption “quema de caucho, nivel Gocho” – ”Burning Rubber: Gocho Level”.  H/t @Alesaotesi.

Concrete blocks, rebar, and construction debris – Gochos don’t mess around when it comes to guarimbas. H/t @yorsegabriel.

Gocho Guarimba in Tachira.

Gocho Guarimba in Tachira.

Gocho barricades are used as examples to others. H/t @soylindsay.
UPDATE: It has been pointed out that this is actually in the Ukraine. However, it’s still in the spirit of the thing!

Barricade, Gocho style. Guarima, estilo de Gocho.

Barricade, Gocho style. Guarimba, estilo Gocho.

Another “Gocho Guarimba”, this one employing a crane used for building skyscrapers.
Image h/t @Percy_Michael, explanation h/t Marcos Gonzalez.

Guarimba in Las Vegas de Tariba, Tachira, Venezuela.

Guarimba in Las Vegas de Tariba, Tachira, Venezuela.

For comparison, here’s a typical street blockade:

guarimbas_index

It’s not just the streets that get blocked, either. If you’re going to close off a bridge serving one of the largest highways in the region, you might as well do it right. Another Gocho construction:

Puente Libertador between Tariba and Carabobo.

Puente Libertador between Tariba and Carabobo.

But it’s not just the construction skills and the penchant for oversized barricades that earned this group their own distinctive hashtag #GOCHOSARRECHOS (“Angry Gochos”). It’s the combination of ferocity, cavalier attitude in the face of imminent attack, and a refreshing touch of insanity… for example, while normal people hide behind barricades, Gochos bring out a couch and put on a Batman mask:

Gochos hanging out. Avenida Pueblo, San Cristobal, Tachira, Venezuela

Gochos hanging out. Avenida Pueblo, San Cristobal, Tachira, Venezuela

Image h/t @jsideregts.

…and in between repelling GNB attacks, apparently they like to watch TV:

Gocho TV.

Gocho TV.

Image posted by @choisy91 with caption “Los gochos son otro nivel” –

“The Gochos are on another level”. Marcos Gonzalez adds that the “Maduro-in-crossed-circle” image on TV is forbidden by the government (shocker!), and its usage in this context means that people want to see TV that’s not ruled by the government.

Apparently, the current exchange rate is 1 Gocho : 5 Araguans:

Trade 5 Araguans for 1 Gocho

“I’ll trade 5 Araguans for 1 Pissed-Off Gocho”. Image h/t @pettybooshwah.

And there’s plenty of Gochos to go around:

Tachira: yes, the protests are super-sized too.

Tachira: yes, the protests are super-sized too.

Massive demonstration in Tachira, with the crowd fading all the way into the horizon… Image h/t@ReporteYa, with caption “Mi TACHIRA grande! Dando ejemplo! Caraqueño te falta espíritu GOCHO!” – “My great Tachira! Giving an example! Caracas, you lack the Gocho spirit!”

Gochos aren’t very big fans of Nicolas Maduro, either:

Gocho Art

“Maduro metase su felicidad suprema por el…” – “Maduro can shove his ‘supreme happiness’ right up…”. Image h/t @Sangarccs. Thanks to commenters “Miguel” and “Vannessa” for the translation!

G-2 is the Cuban intelligence agency (the equivalent of CIA).
G-8 usually stands for the “Group of Eight” (world’s largest economies), but in Spanish, “8″ is “ocho”, so this becomes a pun: G-OCHO.
So, while the “sellouts” consort with the Cuban G-2, the Venezuelan patriots count themselves alongside the Gochos. (H/t

G-OCHOS

 Thank you all for sharing! Please feel free to post new material directly on the Facebook wall – or E-mail me at jeastborough@gmail.com! /// Este post ha batido el récord “de todos los tiempos mejores” durante 2 días seguidos!
Gracias por compartir a todos! Por favor, siéntase libre de publicar nuevo material directamente en el muro de Facebook – o escribir al correo en jeastborough@gmail.com!

adonis49

adonis49

adonis49

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