Villains against civilians

Your daily briefing for Friday, May 5, 2017. Translated by Javier Liendo

The Prosecutor’s Office reported 35 people dead and 717 wounded during protests until Thursday morning, besides 152 arrests and 18 arrest warrants pending enforcement. The update they will have to make for today will be important, because this entire tragic report excludes the State terrorism perpetrated in Carabobo between Wednesday and Thursday, with vandalism, widespread lootings and an astonishing violence, including processing civilians before military courts, as if violating their Human Rights wasn’t enough.

The PO’s report also excludes violence suffered in several residential neighborhoods, that kind of punishment imposed to those who protest, which combine paramilitary colectivos and officers ready to act (against citizens) and to neglect (in favor of paramilitaries) even vanishing from conflicted areas altogether to let chaos spread unchecked and then blame the opposition for it. Last night, the victims were neighbors of Naguanagua (Carabobo), Montaña Alta and San Antonio de los Altos (Miranda), El Paraíso (Caracas) and Bararida (Barquisimeto), all of them harassed.

And it gets worse

By referring to protesters (unarmed civilians) as terrorists, Interior Minister Néstor Reverol guarantees impunity for his officers and also a license to shoot. Securities have morphed into an occupation army, characterized by their punitive actions and by their fierce repression. As incredible as it might seem, possessing water with baking soda or masks has been criminalized, while the Executive tries to blame lootings and vandalism on opposition protests, ignoring the hunger they’ve caused, the misery they’ve reproduced, the shame that defines them. Yesterday, Reverol spoke of Armando Cañizales, the boy murdered on Wednesday, specifying that “a chromed metal sphere bearing some resemblance to rolling systems used by vehicles, called ball bearing” was extracted from the body, claiming that these spheres were being shot against officers and that, with this action, the opposition seeks to blame the government for the event in order to cause commotion. As if we weren’t already living through it.


Yesterday, several student assemblies were held in Venezuelan universities and some of them led to street protests as precious as master classes. Others faced harsh repression such as that faced by students from Universidad Central, who couldn’t even cross the Tamanaco arch in Plaza Venezuela as the National Guard and the PNB shot hundreds of tear-gas canisters. At least 15 people were wounded (including one with a head trauma) and many more choked on gas. UCV head Cecilia García Arocha tried to mediate, but it was useless.

Paid assassination?

Another student was murdered yesterday: Juan López, leader of the José Antonio Anzoátegui Technology Institute. National Assembly lawmaker José Brito reported the incident, indicating that López was returning to classes after nine months recovering from previous bullet wounds and yesterday, as the student assembly was starting, “several individuals nearby pulled out their guns, killing López (…) three other people were wounded. Security bodies know what happened, everything points to paid assassination,” said Brito.

A conditioned insurance

Pedro Yamini Escobar is the boy who was run down by GNB armored vehicle and he’s currently in intensive care at El Ávila clinic, after suffering fractures in seven ribs and his right arm, beside a lung injury. He’s sedated due to the intense pain he’s experiencing, although he’s stable and he’s been treated at that clinic. It was revealed yesterday that Pedro was one of the boys who helped Bassil Dacosta the first victim of violence in 2014 protests, but it was also revealed that Seguros Qualitas doesn’t recognize this client’s insurance rights due to the fact that he was protesting, as if protesting was a crime and not a right enshrined in the Constitution. His family’s trying to collect the funds necessary to cover expenses. Bravo, Seguros Qualitas.


Useless videos, phone calls to his party events, mandatory broadcasts to repeat the same things and even save minister Reverol some work by notifying the arrest of “four important leaders of armed gangs in Caracas,” claiming that officers seized guns, rifles and bombs from them.

Carabobo was chaos and Nicolás appeared en cadena opening the exhibition Venezuela Producción Soberana in Fuerte Tiuna, evidence of his dissociation and also people’s contempt. So much so, that the broadcast was sketchy, the camera punching him had problems to balance the light in Fuerte Tiuna and that coming from the street, or perhaps between recording time and broadcast time. Nicolás accused the opposition of being “a fringe fascist insurrectional movement with snipers,” just as the video of the boy wounded in San Diego (Carabobo) by the National Guard blazed through social media. Nicolás danced, tasted cheese and demanded an end to violence as his goons perpetrated it in several spots across the country. He unleashed all of his wrath against AN Speaker Julio Borges, whose meeting with OAS chief Luis Almagro angered him, and well, also Borges’ schedule visit today to the American Congress.


To be fair with Nicolás, all of chavismo’s statements were erratic and unfit, including Elías Jaua’s letter to the MUD (with 18 typos in five paragraphs,) convening them to discuss the constituyente. He’s hoping to meet with the diplomatic body today for the same reason, but the governments of Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico and Paraguay announced in a statement that they condemn the meltdown of our situation and the increase in violence, as well as the use of excessive force, among other things. Canada also issued a statement for the same reason, and so did OAS chief Luis Almagro and Chile’s Foreign minister Heraldo Muñoz, and additionally, Costa Rica called his ambassador to Venezuela to consultation. It’s probable that attendance today will be as meager as Delcy’s at Celac, beside all the condemnation expressed by public figures such as Gustavo Dudamel (conductor), Carlos Cruz-Diez (visual artist), Edgar Ramírez (actor), Richard Páez (former DT of La Vinotinto), Jesús Aguilar (baseball player) and even Servando Primera (singer).

Talking about condemnation, None-budsman Tarek William Saab has had a lousy time in Beirut, since his conference on Human Rights was interrupted until and people gathered in front of his hotel to protest. Cracks keep widening.

Naky Soto

Naky gets called Naibet at home and at the bank. She coordinates training programs for an NGO. She collects moments and turns them into words. She has more stories than freckles.