Francesca's story


francesca-commissari-400x250The case of Italian photographer Francesca Commissari has already been reported on this blog, but her ordeal didn’t quite stop after she was freed without charges last week.

The full story can be read in full detail in this extense but excellent report from ABC Color, a major newspaper from Asuncion, Paraguay.

Commisari tells about how she was arrested by the National Guard while she was covering the protests in Altamira Square. But her arrest on February 28th was only the beginning of a terrible experience:

All detained (including Commisari) were taken to Fuerte Tiuna, the most important military base in Venezuela… …The women were separated from the men and they were put together in a small room, which they can only leave to go to the bathroom but after being previously handcuffed. Men were handcuffed at all times and forced to sleep in the floor. Women were given a mat to sleep but it was not a big difference…

That night the prisoners didn’t even get a glass of water. On Saturday morning, they gave them an arepa and then some rice at noon. They didn’t get another meal for the rest of the day, not even water. That night at 7 p.m. they were transferred to the Justice Palace. During that time the charges against them were not explained even once. The process ended at 7 a.m. on Sunday. Francesca and the others were handcuffed during the entire court hearing.”

Even if Francesca was later cleared of all charges, her camera equipment was confiscated. Days later, she was more than surprised to find out that her camera was quickly put on sale on a popular e-commerce site.

The saddest part is that her case isn’t the only one. According to the National Press Workers’ Union (SNTP), there are 22 cases of journalists that were robbed of their equipment by the authorities.

Paraphrasing a quote from James Bond author Ian Fleming: Once is happenstance. Twice is coincidence. Twenty-two times? That’s definitely a deliberate strategy, no question about it.

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  1. The Bolivarian National Guard, whose motto is “el honor es su divisa”, stole her camera equipment and sold it on eBay?

  2. Well, they had to pay for the arepa and rice, or???? You know how expensive imported food is?With the blackmarket rate gone through the roof and scarcity plaguing the country???

    And welcome back anytime to the Varela hotels, where the party never ends (bed matress not included)!

    • She should consider herself lucky and thank the guards that they didn’t beat her up with a wooden beam or smashed her face to bits using a helmet.

  3. The joke’s on you now, ms Commissari.
    That clown said four years ago that she would happily vote for the wax doll, well, there you have it, she would vote for exactly this to happen forever.

    • Yeah, she was part of a pro-Chávez campaing years ago in which she said: “If I were Venezuelan I would love to vote dor Chávez”. Just another useful idiot like so many others. I’m actually glad that she was arrested.

      • I guess she now has a better understanding of whet the government means by Love & Peace. Wonder if she’s still pro chavizmo.

          • And thanks to those comments we have a few more chavistas that were wavering in their support for this murderous regime now holding steadfastly to it.

          • Please, Marc: get away from here! You should stick to Brazilian posts if you are Brazilian.
            Go away!

          • And doesn’t Kepler sound like El Aissami? Be aware that you have a lot more in common with the Chavistas than you probably admit.

            1: You want to censor me. Chávez vs Globovision?
            2: Since I’m a foreigner, you think that I should not write about Venezuela and should just go away from this site, some sort of venezuelan blogs for venezuelan people. Pure xenophobia. Maduro vs CNN?
            3: You don’t accept to answer me by using rational arguments. Maduro avoiding the debate by arresting LL?
            4: You call me names and dehumanize your “enemies”. Typical chavismo that I see all the time.

            It’s unbelievable how a regime can poison the minds of the most vulnerable subjects of a country. You might not believe in me, but I feel sorry for you because you are a victim. I shoud have not answered you in the way I did above.

  4. Regardless of if Ms. Commisari was or not a Chavista years ago (she sounds disappointed in the ABC Color interview), she (or anyone else) didn’t deserve that kind of treatment for something she never did and it’s wrong that she was targeted by the authorities for only being a journalist.

    • Gustavo, I agree that no one deserves this kind of treatment, however, I’m still happy that it happened to someone that I guess defended the government for they have kept a blind eye on the injustices of the last 15 years.

    • For starters : A newswoman ,covering a news ,event , even if it were of a violent or unlawful nature , has no reason to be arrested just for being in the place where the news are taking place . Secondly as Gustavo points out even if she was participating in the event , there is no room to mistreat those taken prisioner for such participation , thirdly there was no cause for her belongings to be taken from her never to be returned by government officials , .

      • Exactly Bill. I agree with you 100%, this should not happen to any reporter or anyone else for that matter. I guess what I’m trying to say is that, if the same had happened to a different reporter standing right next to her, she may not have covered the news in order to hide any wrong doing by the government.

  5. It’s sad really. The comments in this blog today are exactly why I feel we are falling in a deeper hole with a guarantee that there is no way back. We are heading directly into civil war. At the sight of human right violations, all people can think is well was she a Chavista then it’s well deserved. If we from our enlightened little keyboard can’t get over our instinct of doing harm to the other side then there is really no hope.

    By the way, the biggest human right violation in that story is not that they waited for food or that the men wee hit which are difficult to demonstrate. The big one is that they were being judged as a group, crime by association. That’s the real story here. That one would not be difficult to demonstrate in an international court when the time comes,

    • I don’t think people are saying she deserves it. They are simply pointing out the irony in that she used to be a supporter of the regime without ever experiencing the reality behind the propaganda, and now she got to experience that brutal reality first hand.

      What happened to her shouldn’t happen to anyone. It’s a crime against human rights.

  6. In my opinion she deserves is, i hate all European communist sympathizers. She supported the revolution,now she got some serious revolutionary treatment. Hope she’s awake now.

    Probably not.

    • I don’t want to sound like an asshole,but it’s not that crazy. I was watching an interview with an ex-KGB officer once, who ran away to American because he was looking at all the brainwashing and all the corruption and hated it. He said that the only thing that will truly make a communist come out of the soviet trance, is a military boot up the ass. Death,economy,hunger,crime,corruption,none of these makes a difference to these revolutions, they’re all means to an end.

  7. I would admire her courage, but then again she just keeps drinking the same socialist cool-aid. Heck she is still pro-chavista and pro-madurista.

    She could be arrested again for all I care.


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