Freedom fights from Kiev to Caracas

By SEBASTIAN BARAJAS

I woke up today feeling aware of the world, and I noticed that it has begun to spin more and more erratically while we stand at the precipice of unease with revolutions and conquest.

Fires light city squares, barricades line the streets as men with guns march steadily towards those who believe in change, citizens in Kiev and Caracas wonder what tomorrow will bring, struggling for a semblance of order and prosperity.

People of Kiev fight for reform and behind the scenes Russia and the U.S. make power plays to coax the Ukraine into their ideologies. This seems eerily reminiscent of a Cold War-like strategy that both employed through out the world to expand territory through foreign governments.

For those who don’t know think back on the U.S. involvement in Vietnam and Russia’s in Afghanistan, both examples of proxy war.

It seems like a proxy war is on the world’s horizon. Though there is difference in landscape both countries tread today.

Unlike the old Cold War, Russia hasn’t found a strong enough ideology to grasp in order to reach its former red glory. While the arms race happened back then, the Olympics in Sochi has shown the world that the country is still not up to par economically.

Some have said that Putin has a Soviet re-Union in mind and with recent developments one would be hard-pressed to agree.

Given our history with Russia, we are at a certain disadvantage in dealing with the Ukrainian situation. This dilemma mimics that of Germany during the years of its division between east and west. Some of the population is asking the U.S. for aid, while others still maintain their strong Russian ties.

Tension is rising as Viktor Yanukovych was finally toppled, but recently Russia has sent armed troops into the Crimean border to bring order, according to Putin.

“It will be legitimate and correspond to international law because we have a direct request from a legitimate president and it corresponds to our interests in protecting people who are close to us,” Putin said in a press conference.

In a video clip released by CNN, a single unarmed Ukrainian officer approaches Russian forces and was greeted with rifles and an aggressive tone as he neared.

So far Russian forces have invaded 10 military bases and have deployed warships in Crimea.

Mounting troops in that magnitude and asking the Ukrainian army to lay down their weapons, sounds much more like a large-scale offensive than anything else. Yuriy Sergeyev, Ukraine’s ambassador to the U.N. said that Russia has overrun the country with nearly 16,000 troops and though both countries claim to discourage war, tensions are extremely palpable.

Secretary of State, John Kerry, traveled to Independence Square in Kiev to observe the tragedy that befell it. The western powers threaten Russia with sanctions but they show little signs of backing down and trouble brews closer to home.

In Venezuela, Presidenté Nicolás Maduro sends scores of police to contain student protestors who are fed up with the lack of necessary commodities to live. Maduro has scorned the protestors as coup-mongers, though his opposition Leopoldo Lopez seeks only to make him step down via legal means.

Lopez is a Harvard educated ex-mayor of one of the districts of Caracas.

In a testament to his resolve, Lopez surrendered himself to the Venezuelan government on Feb. 18 on alleged murder charges by the government for those who have died protests.

“We are going through a dark period, where thieves are rewarded by the government. The Venezuelans who want peaceful change in accordance with democracy and the constitution are being imprisoned,” Lopez said during a protest.

The protestors, comprised mostly of college students, say the government is corrupt and does little reduce the gargantuan crime rate, and the economy is crumbling before them with shortages of flour and even staples such as toilet paper.

Venezuelans are silenced as Maduro has diabled the citizens use of social media. People of the country cannot upload photos or video, Maduro explained to CNN that this was due to a “connection problem” that began in northern Venezuela and affected the country.

Revolution, it is indeed a proper word.

The world is spinning and we turn with it, these countries may be in far away lands but they make me think if we will ever rise from our conformity.

Economic crisis, social discord and the proverbial Big Brother not letting us escape his glance. When will we have enough?

Pg07-Warm War illustration

Aztec Press illustration by Rachel White

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