Venezuela’s opposition has a new army fighting on its side. Thousands of young demonstrators, calling themselves “The Resistance” have been on the streets fighting for democracy the last 50 days, willing to do “whatever it takes” to win the fight again President Nicolás Maduro’s dictatorship.
Helmets, makeshift shields, and with shirts wrapped around their faces like bandanas, these young groups throw Molotov cocktails and fireworks at law enforcement trying to repress the opposition, which has claimed the lives of at least 52 Venezuelans.
Many of them are reportedly minors from all economic backgrounds, though most are between 20 and 25 years old, and passionate about fighting for democracy in Venezuela. At many opposition marches, they number as many as 700.
Opposition to repression in Venezuela continues to grow, while Maduro’s regime attempts to prevent peaceful protests with tear gas and even firearms.
The movement of young people in Venezuela has faced these challenges bravely over the last 50 days, seemingly willing to confront the National Police and Bolivarian National Guard head-on. They position themselves at the front of massive protests, taking the blunt of assaults.
“The Resistance” is protected by Article 350 of the Constitution:
“The people of Venezuela, faithful to their republican tradition, to their struggle for independence, peace and freedom, will disregard any regime, legislation or authority that does not value democratic principles or which undermines human rights.”
Inspired by this article, “The Resistance” has started a wave of civil disobedience that has carried across each of the country’s states.
Every blow received by officials, every murder of a fellow protestor, has made them stronger. They prevent the press from photographing their faces, try to remain silent and do not mention their names.
“The Resistance” operates independently from the opposition, so much so that political opposition leaders sometimes come to them and ask that they not lead certain demonstrations. It’s created frustration within some factions of the opposition, as much of this youth movement cannot be controlled.
It has become difficult to know how they organize and coordinate, but their defensive tactics seem to improve each day.
As in chess, each protester has his or her own function: the first line of protection takes up shields. The second line throws tear gas back at police and the third line throws Molotov cocktails and fireworks.
All of this is visible to the rest of the thousands of Venezuelans who come out to demand democracy. They receive applause and gratitude as anonymous heroes struggling for freedom.
More and more children and young men from the street are joining “La Resistencia” every day. Barefooted boys without parents or homes decide to participate in this “war” because they have nothing to lose.
Members of the Venezuelan Armed Forces seem to be afraid — and they should be. Why else would the regime ban the importation of helmets, masks, bulletproof vests and baseball bats?