Fire and bullets

Your daily briefing for Tuesday, May 23, 2017. Translated by Javier Liendo.

Five people, ages ranging from 19 to 24 years old, were murdered during protests in Barinas yesterday.

The Prosecutor’s Office appointed prosecutors to investigate the deaths.

Once again, repression turned to firearms, leaving at least a hundred people wounded by bullets, rubber pellets, marbles and other blunt objects. Several stores and a police checkpoint were looted; the house of el finado’s grandmother, Barina’s CNE headquarters, the Autonomous Housing Institute, the Education Secretariat and the PSUV’s local office were burned down. 

Necessary fire

On Sunday, Nicolás showed the video of the motorizado burned in Altamira three times and demanded to know, with fake consternation, how far rioters are willing to go, what more they could possibly be capable of perpetrating.

Many areas of the country were closed early Monday, with objects blocking main roads, but with a relevant distinction from previous days: there were no people manning the barricades.

Early in the morning, Bolívar governor Francisco Rangel Gómez denounced that 51 Transbolívar buses were burned down and blamed the opposition for a “terrorist attack.”

Many inhabitants of Puerto Ordaz explained on social media that those buses were used for the Copa América (back in 2007) and were later cannibalized for parts and replacements. In any case, the parking lot where the fire “broke out” is regularly guarded by the National Guard, and it’s also close to the fire department, which didn’t put out the fire.

Planned asphyxia

National Guard, PNB and State Secret Police (SEBIN) officers broke into residential buildings in San Antonio de los Altos with tear-gas and rubber pellets to search apartments without warrants, arresting 15 people. There are many videos showing the abuses they committed, the indiscriminate use of tear-gas, the beatings against detainees, the destruction of private property and even their screams as they roamed the buildings. While armored vehicles blocked the streets, some officers took to the roofs of the buildings, destroying security systems as neighbors choked during a sadistic exercise of repression.


The PDVSA’s International Education and Development Center (CIED) in La Tahona was a sort of fort yesterday, although this didn’t prevent the burning of another bus, sadly, even though there are many pictures and videos on social media proving the presence of armed soldiers and an unidentified civilian who fires against protesters, first with a shotgun and then with a pistol, from various positions. A man in uniform also fired a rifle from the CIED’s roof.

Three people were shot, one in the ankle, in the arm and in the abdomen, respectively. All of them received medical treatment and are stable, but the person shot in the ankle is at risk of losing a foot.

For health and life

On Sunday night, a third child died in J. M. de los Ríos Children’s Hospital due to a spreading infection in the Nephrology unit. Dilfred Jiménez (16) is another victim of the humanitarian crisis the government still refuses to acknowledge. This is just one example of the many reasons why doctors, nurses and the general public came together on Monday to march for elemental rights and demand answers from the Health Ministry before this disproportionate crisis.

The march was blocked, repressed and ambushed, once more forcing protesters to flee by crossing the Guaire river. The photo sequence by Luis Robayo of AFP, is an extraordinary summary of how the National Guard treats doctors, despite the latter’s effort to make themselves be heard and the likelihood that one of them might’ve treated those guardsmen in the past.

The imposition

The only relevant aspect of Elías Jaua’s briefing on the constituent, was the claim that the new Constitution will only be put through popular elections if its creators say so. Jaua urged the General Prosecutor to act “against crimes of inciting hatred,” while Foreign Minister Delcy Rodríguez said that the Committee for Justice and Truth will hand Nicolás a report on “fascist violence” during “terrorist right-wing” protests, a pretty efficient way to prove how fair and truthful this committee is.

Additionally, Ombudsman Tarek William Saab, in his role as head of the Moral Republican Council, said that the call for a Constituyente represents a solution for the country. He should read the statement drafted by CNE authority Luis Emilio Rondón, where he says that “without the people’s participation and leadership in the constituent process, we’re witnessing yet another constitutional violation.”

Fascist, terrorist opposition

Vice-president Tareck El Aissami reported on “isolated spots of violence to force an armed strike,” claiming that they’ve captured 16 terrorists of armed cells in Altos Mirandinos so far and that they’ve confiscated $250,000 in arson-related material. He holds MUD directly accountable for the violence, although the Prosecutor’s Office keeps indicting PNB and GN officers. He reviewed the crimes committed by third parties and added that not one but two buses “with passengers inside” were burned in the CIED as well as an ambulance. He accused Capriles of being “sick with hatred that sooner or later will bring him before justice” and claimed that “the majority of the Venezuelan people will disregard these sectors (the opposition) and forget them.” Inspiring.

Violence only favors  PSUV, that’s why they use it in cold blood. Murders, illegal detentions, searches without judicial warrants, torture, cruel treatment, civilians tried by military courts and now the open use of firearms against protesters. They also launched smear campaigns, making it hard to see which of the things we saw was caused by angry civilians and which ones were caused by the government.

It’s important to remember that these are no longer clashes. They’re firing upon unarmed civilians. Firing. The word “peace” lit up in the spot where the Cruz del Ávila stands is yet another insult from a criminal government.

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.