Get more Mail & Guardian
Subscribe or Login

Venezuela’s opposition celebrates support at the Oscars

Venezuela's political opposition revelled in cautious messages of solidarity from movie stars at Sunday's Academy awards after an intense Twitter campaign calling on Hollywood's top actors to boost the profile of anti-government protests.

Critics of President Nicolas Maduro cheered comments by Jared Leto during his acceptance speech for best supporting actor, as well as tweets from Kevin Spacey and Forest Whitaker on the right to demonstrate.

"To all the dreamers out there around the world watching this tonight, in places like the Ukraine and Venezuela, I want to say 'we are here'," Leto said. "And as you struggle to make your dreams happen, to live the impossible, we're thinking of you tonight."

Parts of eastern Caracas, which includes some of the capital's most affluent neighbourhoods, broke into applause during his speech.

Unrest has killed at least 17 people since a February 12 march turned violent, with rock-throwing protesters clashing almost every day with troops lobbing tear gas.

Kevin Spacey tweets
Critics accused the government of a brutal crackdown on the protests, which Maduro has called acts of vandalism that have put lives at risk and disrupted public order in an attempt to force him from power.

"Thank you @JaredLeto we'll never stop dreaming," wrote one enthused tweeter, including the hashtags #OscarsForVenezuela and #SOSVenezuela.

Opposition supporters among Venezuela's famously avid tweeters had for days been pressing Hollywood stars to speak out during the ceremony.

Whitaker said in a Twitter message that he was "deeply saddened by the violence in #Venezuela. Everybody has the right to have their voice heard".

Spacey wrote: "Venezuela don't give up, everybody has the right to express themselves! #SOSVenezuela #PrayForVenezuela."

None directly mentioned Maduro.

'Hollywood, don't let us down'
Venezuela's popular mock news website The Bipolar Capybara, which needles both sides of the country's bitter political divide, chortled at the importance given to the messages from the Academy awards.

"What happens at the Oscars could define the future of this Republic for the next 50 years," it wrote. "Hollywood, don't let us down."

The protests so far show no signs of ousting Maduro or forcing him to resign. Opposition leaders insist they will stay in the streets until he does. – Reuters

Subscribe for R500/year

Thanks for enjoying the Mail & Guardian, we’re proud of our 36 year history, throughout which we have delivered to readers the most important, unbiased stories in South Africa. Good journalism costs, though, and right from our very first edition we’ve relied on reader subscriptions to protect our independence.

Digital subscribers get access to all of our award-winning journalism, including premium features, as well as exclusive events, newsletters, webinars and the cryptic crossword. Click here to find out how to join them and get a 57% discount in your first year.

Related stories

WELCOME TO YOUR M&G

If you’re reading this, you clearly have great taste

If you haven’t already, you can subscribe to the Mail & Guardian for less than the cost of a cup of coffee a week, and get more great reads.

Already a subscriber? Sign in here

Advertising

Subscribers only

No more cash for coal says FirstRand says

The bank’s chief risk officer says banks can’t stand on the sidelines of the climate crisis debate

Zuma’s health not relevant, says his lawyer

With legal challenges to his medical parole looming, the former president’s lawyers opted to first argue for the removal of the prosecutor

More top stories

No more cash for coal says FirstRand says

The bank’s chief risk officer says banks can’t stand on the sidelines of the climate crisis debate

Zuma’s health not relevant, says his lawyer

With legal challenges to his medical parole looming, the former president’s lawyers opted to first argue for the removal of the prosecutor

Roads decimate West Africa’s chimpanzee population

The species face mounting pressure from roads and infrastructure development in Ghana, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Ivory Coast, Liberia, Mali, Senegal and Sierra Leone

South Africa gets major investment to treat Covid-19, TB, cancer,...

President Cyril Ramaphosa welcomed the investment, noting that it ‘is a leapfrog to cutting edge technology’
Advertising

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…
×