Global Politics

Politics divide Venezuelan students

For decades, the Central University has graduated the country's best and brightest and political debate has been a tradition. That tradition has gotten a workout in recent years and Chavez has galvanized supporters and critics at the university. this student says the government has tried to force their socialist principals on the students because the university is autonomous, and people have been rejecting that. Anti-Chavez students played a key role in defeating Chavez's constitutional amendments last December; those students demonstrated and mobilized opposition to him. The tension is still palpable at the university today. this history student is solidly pro-Chavez and he says there is a clear clash in the country right now. others say it's still possible to have non-violent political debate and this professor thinks that's a strong part of university and civil life. But debates around the referendum in December did turn violent as the two factions faced off. Both sides said they later regretted the violence, but the tension remains. Students have long been seen as a political barometer in Venezuela. With new elections approaching, the president and his supporters are actively courting students.

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