In all the hoo-hah over Ukraine, Pierre, Greenwald, Ames, Carr, Wheeler, et al, the situation in Caracas gets obscured.
Even if you are in the midst of the disturbances, it may be difficult to figure what's really going on and who the players are, let alone what their motives are. As best I can understand it, the middle and upper classes see an opportunity to get what they believe is their rightful power back from the monos, salvajes y zambos (monkeys, savages, and sambos) who stole it from them 25 years ago.
They will not rest until they are victorious and have possession of the Venezuelan government once again.
And they have the financial and technical backing from United States and Colombian interests (and probably more besides) in their quest.
According to a report published by RT News last November (in Spanish), the current wave of protests and disturbances were planned last summer at a meeting which included representatives of the USAID, several Colombian NGOs, opposition Venezuelan politicians and an American "security" consultant firm. The authenticity of the plan has not been verified according to RT, and yet, so far as I know, it has not been disputed. In fact, it appears that the plan is being implemented to the extent it can be, an implementation that commenced in earnest when the opposition was unable to win at the ballot box in the December 8 municipal elections.
There is no real dispute that American agencies, interests and NGOs have been actively supporting the disturbances in Caracas and elsewhere in Venezuela, though how deep their involvement has been remains to be seen. As always in these situations, there are legitimate complaints over various aspects of the Venezuelan government and society, grievances that should be aired. The problem is that the airing of these grievances is manifested through violent street protests, rather than through the democratic means available. The protests have become so violent at times, the government has cracked down with violent means of its own leading to a vicious circle of tit for tat and ever more violence.
On the other hand, it appears that many Venezuelans do not want this to get out of hand. Consequently, despite the constant violent agitation, Venezuelans seem to be working toward a resolution that acknowledges legitimate grievances and reinforces democratic institutions, while suppressing violence to the extent possible.
In fact, a government investigation was conducted regarding violence at the Feb 12 protests and a number of those deemed responsible for attacking opposition demonstrators were arrested and are being held for trial.
President Maduro, while excoriating the opposition, has repeatedly called for "peace," and so far, the only ones protesting in the streets against the government have been middle and upper class dissidents; the poor have refused to engage in these protests, even though the economic problems the protesters have been highlighting affect the poor most of all. Of course, for the agitators the lack of participation by the poor in the protests means the classist nature of them is quite starkly revealed.
Maduro, for his part, appears to be unwilling to deal with even legitimate grievances from the protesters so long as they remain in the streets and engaged in sabotage and violent demonstrations.
It appears to be a stalemate.
Also, one part of the equation that generally isn't reported in the United States media is that there are repeated large procession in favor of Maduro and the Bolivarian Revolutionary government, processions I won't call protests or counter-protests because that is not what they seem to me to be. That they receive barely a mention in this country, while the protests and the violence that accompanies them are frequently highlighted is a factor of the American propaganda industry which of course is aligned with the Better Classes, the capitalists, and the oligarchs.
The main complaint about Maduro himself is that he is a "bus driver," and thus unfit to be el presidente. They said much worse things about Hugo Chavez, but the point about Maduro I've heard over and over is that he is neither charisma nor leadership aptitude. Strangely, he seems to be muddling through.
If my sense of the relentlessness of the current wave of regime change activities is correct, every one of the targeted governments, including Venezuela's, will fall before 2016. This will be crowed by the Obama administration as an international triumph even greater than "getting Osama bin Laden." The point being that war, invasion and occupation is the least effective means of achieving the ends of the Plutocrat class.
The Great Game is ugly business...