Lina Ron, a controversial and iconic figure of the Chavez revolution is dead at 51 from a heart attack. Ron was one of those revolutionary figures that was hard to comprehend to many Venezuelans. Born in an oil industry family at the same time as Venezuela’s IVth. Republic democracy, Ron was even more “in your face” and provocative that Chavez himself. She first surfaced in 2001, leading a group that burned the US flag after the Sep. 11th. attacks.
Ron and her supporters had a total disregard for the law. She once rescued her husband from a police station where he was being held. She coordinated and participated in a number of attacks on TV station Globovision, as well as on Cardinal’s Urosa’s official home when he was still Archbishop. She always threatened with violence, not only to defend Chavez’ revolution, but to support it if it ever were to lose an election. After the last violent Globovision attack, she was ordered jailed by Chavez, only to be quietly freed a couple of months later.
She seemed like a very authentic revolutionary, but was accused of being funded by the Government to buy weapons and motorcycles. Her obviously fake blond hair was copied by admirers and seemed to some to be inconsistent with her revolutionary stance. It was copied at Carnival and in revolutionary circles. I will never forget taking a reporter around Caracas on election day and finding a large group of Ron look-alikes, with absurdly long blond wigs, dancing and signing in the middle of the street in downtown Caracas.
She was a true anarchist in a Government that uses anarchy, and used her, for its own goals, but always blames it on others. She founded a political party and only a few weeks ago said if Chavez lost the election in 2011 there would be “plomo” (lead, shooting, violence) She was a leader on her own right, even if many of us still have a hard time understanding how she came to be what she was in the Venezuela that we thought we knew.