MassielPachecoWe’ve been meaning to write about the sad case of Massiel Pacheco for a while, but … así estarán las cosas … things are so bad that the case has gotten lost in the shuffle of news coming out of Venezuela.

Massiel Pacheco is a working class food vendor in Caracas’ Parque del Este. A few weeks ago, upon arriving to her food stall to begin her shift, she found a bag containing what seemed like homemade explosives.

After consulting with her co-workers, she decided to go to the authorities and alert them of what she had found. She ended up behind bars and charged with terrorism. She now languishes in Los Teques’ female prison awaiting trial, the only person charged with terrorism since the protest movement began.

El Nacional’s Laura Castillo wrote an extensive profile of the sad Massiel affair, including interviews with her relatives. The money quote:

Leaving the bag anywhere was not an option: they could go off in a place teeming with people. Without being able to hand them over to the authorities, she left them close to where she was. At 2 pm, a commission from the National Guard came and, after a struggle, took Pacheco away in a motorcycle. They also carried the explosives in the motorcycle, according to eyewitnesses. “If they are so dangerous, why would they take them in a motorcycle?” wonders Liendo whom, along with other food salesmen, was subpoenaed tomorrow.

According to eyewitnesses, the two militia members [that Pacheco approached initially] never called a bomb expert, nor did they guard the evidence. None of the two have come back to the park.

Santiago (Massiel’s young son) has not been able to visit her in prison, even though she is still nursing him. “I am sleeping with him ever since Massiel left. He wakes up in the morning wanting to nurse, and when he sees it’s me he gets very angry,” says Massiel’s 62-year old grandmother. “Since his mother was taken, he has become very aggressive.” Santiago, withouth knowing it yet, will also have to wait.


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  1. Heartbreaking and so unbelievable. According to El Nacional’s article, Foro Penal is in charge of her defense. It would be really interesting to have more details about this case, particularly, with the class-gender undertones it has. The deprivation of her son’s right to breastfeed, for instance, is just an obvious example of the outrageous nature of the case…

  2. Heartbreaking indeed. There surely is some higher-up that just feels that someone ought to be made an example of, and that’s who they chose.

  3. So tragic – thank you Caracas Chronicles for sharing. Prayers and strength to her and her family. Is there anyway to appeal to the church or a ‘friendly’ embassy ( e.g., Brazil, Bolivia) on her behalf?

  4. Was she not an avid sympathizer of the red regime? Well at the end of the day she has helped prop the regime and now the regime pays her back the only way a cleptocratic, autocracy can. It is a sad story one the poor hapless victim helped pen. Of course this does not mean one should not do all we can to lend a helping hand. One must hope and prey once liberated she would reconsider her allegiances.Both she and the country deserves better.

    • The revolution devours it’s own; getting its own to see that fact is critical for the future. Free all the political prisoners, not just the famous ones!

  5. It is not clear to me what her political sympathies are and I wonder if they should anyway preclude us from showing support for her case. Moreover, hoping/expecting that this experience changes her position–assuming she is a government sympathizer– is very close to the kind of blackmail the government itself forces the beneficiaries of its policies into. The axiom ‘we support your case if you change your politics’ is very similar to Héctor Rodríguez’s ‘we won’t lift you out of poverty for you to become a middle-class escualido’.

  6. Cases like this one prove that the chavism is nothing more than a disgusting, sickening, hate-filled fiasco, an excuse for the worst criminals of this country to let loose their base instincts on the rest of the people.
    That is the only explanation I can find to such cruelty like in this case.

  7. Who gives a crap about Massiel?
    She’s a chavista,wich means she is pro-discrimination and doesnt care about at least half the people in the country. So yes,let her taste patria, and let her son taste it too, its what her mommy wanted for him after all.


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