“A La Calle” is the opening night film for this year’s Annual Human Rights Watch Film Festival Canada running from February 18th-22. Violation of human rights is never a pretty story but combine it with the economic collapse of a nation that includes food and medicine shortages the picture is uglier. In this case it is Venezuelan dictator Nicolás Maduro bringing a country to economic and political ruin.
Wherever the film takes you it might be thankfulness that such massive and widespread violations of human rights are not present in Canada.
After stripping the National Assembly of its powers and imprisoning prominent opposition leader Leopoldo López for 14 years Venezuelans take to the streets in protest to be attacked and injured or killed, tear gassed and hit with water cannons. Maduro has been implicated by the UN Human Rights Council for crimes against humanity putting him in a special club of dictators desperately hanging on to vestiges of power. I get the sense that the masses of Venezuelans will win the right to democracy and access to foods and medicines but more struggles will be needed.
As oil prices collapsed in 2017 so in fact did the economy of Venezuela. GDP fell by 45% whereas in the Great Depression in the United States GDP fell by 30%.
You can quickly surmise how egotistical Madura is when the National Assembly votes saw the opposition winning 2/3 of the votes and Maduro appears on national television chastising Venezuelans for making a mistake by voting against themselves. For Maduro treats opposition like a personal revolution against him. Between April and July of 2017 in response to civil unrest there were 124 deaths and 5,400 arrests.
Over 50 countries recognise Juan Guaidó as the true leader of Venezuela.
Unfortunately the long and sad history of violation of civil rights in South America is carried forward by Maduro.
There is no cost to view the film anywhere in Canada but you must reserve tickets through Hot Docs Ted Rogers Cinema website.
The film is 100 minutes in Spanish with English subtitles. It is directed by Maxx Caicedo and Nelson G. Navarrete.