On Thursday, September 1, a massive recall referendum rally is set to take place in Venezuela. The opposition is hoping hundreds of thousands will descend on Caracas to demand a referendum to decide whether socialist President Nicolas Maduro should stay in power.
In advance of the rally the Maduro regime has arrested, often without any charges or due process, opposition party leaders, including local elected officials. Media in the U.S. and Europe, while focusing on their own presidential election or Brexit referendum, have paid scant attention. The Hollywood stars who produced movies about the Bush era detention of terrorism suspects like the 2007 movie Rendition have remained silent. On the day before the protest, Agence France Press and Business India and other Asian media were the only news organizations covering the upcoming march.
Smolansky himself is being charged by Maduro loyalists with attempting to organize armed insurrection. Writing for the opposition website Caracas Chronicles, journalist Daniel Cadena Jordan reported today "Hours earlier, Táchira State governor José Vielma Mora had accused our mayor, David Smolansky, of arming radicals in his state to plot the violent overthrow of the government. Well, I actually am one of Smolansky’s 'shock troops' and the only weapon I was given was a stack of flyers and a walking route. The government’s going all out to intimidate and demobilize our base ahead of tomorrow’s protests."