In recent years, a powerful student movement has erupted in Chile against right-wing neoliberal attacks on education, and fighting for a fundamentally different, pro-people education system. The mass movement has developed in the face of often brutal state repression.
In recent days, the international media has sought to portray often violent protests and riots by right-wing students in Venezuela -- which have left at least three people dead and involved attacks on government buildings and journalists -- as "pro-democracy" protests also facing state repression. This campaign has featured fake images to demonise Venezuela's democratically elected, progressive government (which has dramatically increased access to education for the poor majority).
In a February 15 statement below, the University of Chile Student Federation (Fech), which represents students on Chile's largest university, condemns the right-wing violence in Venezuela as part of a coup attempt against the left-wing government, and rejected any connection between the struggle of Chile's students for social justice and greater democracy and these actions in defence of Venezuela's old, privileged elite. It has been translated by Federico Fuentes.
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In light of recent events that have occurred in the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, the University of Chile Federation of Students (Fech), declares:
The Chilean student movement campaigns specifically in defense of public education, and more generally for justice and dignity for human beings.
In this sense, we reject all attempts at destabilisation, the hoarding of food and coup plotting that seeks to subvert the sovereign will of the Venezuelan people and close off the revolutionary path they have chosen.
We do not feel represented by the actions of some Venezuelan students who have placed themselves on the side of defending the old order, and opposed to the change that the people support.
We deeply regret the deaths of three people, both pro- and anti-government supporters, over the past few days; we believe this should be dealt with due process so that justice is done. We hope the Venezuelan people come out of this process strengthened so that these grave events are not repeated.
We also reject the distortion of diverse events in this brother country, including the manipulation of images and information in order to create a climate in favor of intervention. We call on the national and international media to put an end to these practices that will only worsen the situation and undermine the legitimacy of the journalistic profession.
We call on political and social actors to come out in this regards, and not allow this attempted coup in a brother country to come to fruition.
We will be present today, Saturday February 15, at the Venezuelan embassy, to demonstrate our support for the Venezuelan people in the face of these attempts at destabilization by the right wing opposition.