For Thursday, June 16, 2016. Translated by Javier Liendo.
A beautiful snowfall covered el Collado del Condor in Mérida this Wednesday. Meanwhile, in the city itself, rain didn’t prevent people from protesting for food, nor policemen from “controlling” them. Pictures spread through social media, with colectivos presumably giving out food in Lagunillas, where it was confirmed this Wednesday that 17-year-old Eduar Guillén Araque was murdered with a shot to the head while he protested. Lagunillas also had to suffer the abuses of policemen dressed as civilians, a situation that violates Human Rights.
Human Rights violations
A skill that the government’s training every day. They excel in breaking their own records of depravity; that’s why they violently took over two universities this Wednesday: Caracas’s Universidad Central and Anzoátegui’s Santa María. Engineering student Miguel López got shot in the head when he resisted to a robbery in one of the UCV’s corridors. The security guards managed to catch the criminal and Miguel was taken to the Clínico Universitario, but his fellow students decided to protest, demanding measures against crime. The students chanted: “We get robbed, we get killed and nobody says a thing”, but the National Guard didn’t like that, so they decided to attack them with tear gas and pellets.
Santa María students protested for food shortages. National Guard officers dispersed the protest with tear gas and forcefully entered the university, shooting pellets even through the windows, also threatening journalists who were covering the events. Students still sent voice messages with their witness accounts, tweeted and took pictures about what they were seeing. Censorship has evident limits that those in power can’t deal with.
How to multiply violence?
Nicolás must be very angry by the obvious failure of the strategy to exclude signatures for the referendum. Most people going to CNE offices are chamos wanting to register in the Electoral Record. In his cadena for this Wednesday, he ratified the barbarity he announced this Tuesday: the Operation for People’s Liberation (OLP), designed to fight against organized criminal gangs, will be launched against protests for food, reducing the despair caused by hunger to two concepts as vulgar as him: “bachaquero violence” and “bachaquero crime.” This will only increase Human Rights violations in protests. Nicolás is entirely responsible for the rising violence and conflict in the country. Five people murdered while protesting for food is terrible. His poor excuse of a dialogue is worthless: on social networks, reality trumps propaganda.
In an infographic titled “This is how Looting Tactical Commandos operate,” the government has decided to criminalize information-sharing citizens. It explains four roles: agitators, instigators, organizers and… documenters! The caption reads: “they document the event through cellphone cameras to feed information to the organizers (brains) who then distribute it over the several networks and outlets.” A government oblivious to the fact that, even under state of emergency, it must respect the people’s right to life, to due process and to information, would of course criminalize freedom of press and information. Documenting events with pictures and videos isn’t a crime according to any of our laws. It is our duty to share information responsibly.
Santos Luzardo’s wound
The tomb of renowned writer and politician Rómulo Gallegos, located in the Southern General Cemetery, was robbed. His granddaughter Theotiste Gallegos condemned the act on her Facebook profile: “They took the marble that covered [the tomb], they took his remains along with those of my grandmother Theotiste. They robbed me of part of my history, and they robbed each Venezuelan of a part of theirs (…) they profaned our dignity, they robbed us of our decency.”
Jorge Rodríguez, the signature verifier, denied the profanation. But Gallego’s granddaughter uploaded pictures of the open tombs and hours later, Gallego’s daughter, Sonia de Palomino, also denied the profanation. But the bold minister of Culture, Freddy Nañez, shared a picture of the “untouched” tomb on Twitter, only missing a sign reading: Caution! Fresh concrete!, saying that they’d agreed to go to the Prosecutor’s Office to start the appropriate investigations, while also admitting that the tomb was vandalized. Genius.
Nicolás’ Constitutional Chamber
To continue the constitutional controversy, the TSJ admitted Nicolás’s lawsuit against the National Assembly, agreeing on a protective measure because the AN usurps the Executive Branch’s inherent authority and attributions. They also remark that several of Parliament’s decisions appear to request international institutions to intervene in Venezuela’s internal affairs. The AN’s Board is ordered to refrain from attempting to decide on foreign matters and advancing actions that exceed their authority. The decision also accused Parliament of planning a coup d’etat “with a false semblance of legitimacy, causing the people severe collateral damage which the Executive Branch has promptly countered.” Nicolás’s Chamber also suspended Parliament’s decisions for May 10th and May 31st.
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