Over 100 billion online searches are conducted across the globe each month, but one video was the topic of a great number of searches in Venezuela in mid-September.
The 60-second film shows a girl with a cell phone. She’s texting her father to say that her mother is sick and that there’s no medicine. She opens the barren refrigerator and texts her dad again, informing him that she will be away from the house for a while because she’ll have to wait in the long line outside the supermarket. The video then cuts to her dad, a Venezuelan soldier, suited up in full riot gear, ordered into the street to fight a group of anti-government protesters. The girl’s final text appears on screen. It reads, “Dad, please remember that the people you are being told to repress are going through the same as us. This cannot last, and you know it.”
This politically-charged video went viral after being published on social media. Shortly after, the three Venezuelan activists who made the film were arrested by Venezuela’s intelligence services on charges of inciting rebellion. They are being held at a military base as police search for a fourth participant, who allegedly worked on the film’s costume design.
According to human rights organization Venezuelan Penal Forum, there are currently as many as 96 political prisoners being held in the country. Government critics cite this string of arrests as a clear sign that the government is growing increasingly authoritarian.
The Venezuelan government’s opposition is struggling to organize a recall referendum on the unpopular President Maduro. However, the electoral board recently ruled that a referendum will not occur until next year. This is disappointing news for the 88% of Venezuelan voters who say that they would vote to remove Maduro in a referendum.