Neomar and All Our Fallen

With the death of 17-year old Neomar Lander at yesterday’s protest in Caracas, Venezuelans — or at least those with access to independent media — find ourselves once again mourning a life lost at the hands of this dictatorship.

Once again, the government propaganda machine wasted no time in spinning the blood of a Venezuelan into a deceitful web designed to confuse, accuse, and forestall the inevitable. One more soul’s truth has been subjected to indignity by a regime built on a false promise of dignifying all. At this point, I’m almost surprised the government hasn’t just come out and touted its abject loss of humanity as another win for the revolution. They should be so proud.

We don’t know what killed Neomar, but we know that he is dead, like the dozens of protesters over these months, and the hundreds of thousands of crime victims over these years. Victims with mothers, fathers, children, friends who will endure the pain of loss forever.

We’ll know what happened to Neomar when the official forensic report of his death is released. It really doesn’t matter, though. Because we already know who’s responsible for Neomar’s, and those countless Venezuelans’ deaths: a government that represses using lethal force as a deliberate state policy, and now clings onto violence as a means of survival.

We look forward to the day when the lives of all Venezuelans who’ve died through the government’s acts and omissions, be it due to of out-of-control crime, lack of medicines, malnutrition or repression, are properly honored. For now, while details of Neomar Lander’s death emerge, and in defiance of indignity, please take a look at Nuestros Caidos, a moving and well-researched tribute to lives lost in protests so far.

We owe all of them that much.

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