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23 Feb, 2019 18:07

‘Straight out of the Otpor playbook’: Venezuelan opposition gears up to fight soldiers with roses

‘Straight out of the Otpor playbook’: Venezuelan opposition gears up to fight soldiers with roses

The anti-government opposition in Venezuela seems to be lining up a made-for-TV moment, shipping in boxes of flowers to protesters, presumably intended for soldiers guarding the country’s Colombian border.

Venezuela’s border with Colombia is the scene of an escalating row over foreign aid shipments. Opposition leader Juan Guaido has promised to bring US-supplied aid into the country from Colombia, while President Nicolas Maduro has locked down and deployed troops to the frontier, calling US aid “crumbs,” and a precursor to military invasion.

After spontaneous clashes between demonstrators and Venezuelan troops earlier on Saturday, the opposition on the Colombian side appears to be trying a different tactic: love bombing.

Journalist Dan Cohen reported seeing truckloads of roses approaching the border on the Colombian side, where they will be handed out to protesters marching across the bridge to Venezuela.

“Straight out of the Gene Sharp/Otpor playbook,” noted independent journalist Max Blumenthal, referencing Sharp, author of several texts on media-friendly, non-violent revolution, and Otpor!, an American-sponsored anti-government protest group active in Serbia around the turn of the century.

Optics are important, and a coup attempt is an ugly thing. Perhaps a staged recreation of the iconic ‘Flower Power’ photograph is just what Guaido and his backers in Washington need.


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