Next time, I’ll fight through my tears to write the briefing, because this messy horror of three days worth of reports is much more difficult to handle on one go. In order to keep the usual line, I must talk about something that’s already happened before reaching this tense Sunday, with Henrique Capriles’ accusations against GN commander Benavides Torres’ shamelessness, with Caracas as the center of a march today that’s expected to be huge, if anyone does actually make it into the city despite the checkpoints.
According to the official account, 24-year old Nelson Daniel Arévalo is the 74th person killed during protests. He was shot in the face while protesting in Las Trinitarias, Barquisimeto.
The National Guard cracked down on Res. Don Bosco, Valencia, wreaking havoc and performing illegal detentions, but they also hit Naguanagua (Valencia), Terrazas del Ávila (Caracas) and El Saladillo (Maracaibo), putting the total of forced arrests during protests since April 1st at 3,206.
The TSJ’s Full Chamber, in extraordinary session, nullified the preliminary hearing requested by Prosecutor General Luisa Ortega Díaz against six main justices and two alternates, through a presentation by TSJ head Maikel Moreno, who also declared the proceedings terminated.
Additionally, Pedro Carreño formally requested Maikel Moreno to declare the Prosecutor General’s actions as a “serious misconduct” and determine whether it’s appropriate to send her to court, beside his request for a medical board to evaluate Luisa’s behavior for insanity, both exceedingly coherent requests on his part.
Speaking of this case, the Moral Republican Council’s former secretary said that Tarek William Saab lied. María José Marcano denied that either the Prosecutor General or she had signed any later documents endorsing the shortlist of candidates for TSJ justices.
Chavismo bankrupted PDVSA, but they still use their trucks to transport 783.63 kg of cocaine, discovered when the vehicle crashed against a house in El Naranjo de Mene Grande (Zulia). The PNB were the first to be surprised when they inspected the scene and ratified that the issue had nothing to do with gas but, instead, with the cocaine shipment that almost reached Trujillo state.
To compensate for such a scandal, NONEbudsman Saab appeared twice, once to claim that he’ll request the CICPC to prove if the Prosecutor General’s signature is fake (what a way to react to the former secretary’s statement), and later to denounce that people carrying Primero Justicia flags threatened to burn his parents’ home because, you know, the smart thing to do is to carry some sort of political identification to make the target’s complaints more credible.
Lastly, Communications minister Ernesto Villegas denounced that chavismo-controlled accounts on Twitter were suspended, labelling it as “ethnic cleansing,” mocking Rwanda’s disgrace and every chavista militant who’d love to figure out how and when do some fewer accounts on a digital platform relate to shortages of food and medicines.
National Guard Commander Antonio Benavides Torres dedicated his conversation with Mum-Raa’s cousin, José Vicente Rangel, to boast about his component’s equipment, which allegedly makes them “the vanguard in riot control equipment,” endorsed by the United Nations and used with restraint, attributing the GN’s human rights violations to isolated incidents and claiming that they’ve gone farther than anyone in the respect of human rights. He said that their use of tear-gas never threatens protesters’ lives and resented his wounded, the assaults against military facilities: “We’ve been humiliated, attacked.” That testimony is touching, especially when you mix it with his opinion that the imposed Constituyente is “the only way to achieve peace.”
The revelation? They want to elevate bolivarian militias to constitutional rank. Meanwhile, a lot of people are talking about a possible shake-up within the Armed Forces.
The students who were walking from Barquisimeto to Caracas arrived in San Antonio. Eleven people who were arrested in Puerto Ordaz during Thursday’s protests were sent to prison. But c’mon: poor little GNs!
The Miranda state governor said last night that the authorities were planning to crack down on Coche, La Candelaria, Santa Mónica, Altamira and Los Palos Grandes earlier today, as a way to create fear in the people and avoid today’s march: “The government’s set to perform illegal searches starting at 4 a.m. this June 19th in several areas of the city… The government is trying to create terror so that people stay home,” using groups that consist of officers from various security bodies, including the PNB, the GN and Military Counterintelligence (DGCIM).
Today is the 80th day of protests against the rupture of constitutional order, right when the OAS is scheduled to hold the meeting on the Venezuelan crisis. On that matter, Capriles said that “if the international community stands with the Venezuelan people, the government will be forced to listen, to agree on a solution… We’re going to solve our problems by ourselves, but we don’t want the international community to be complicit with the regime.”
The great takeover of Caracas
Early morning assaults such as the ones Capriles denounced yesterday, with the same MO (no judicial warrants, no prosecutors, harassment, robberies and forced arrests), should in fact be one more reason to take to the streets, to abandon fear, to honor the great amount of people dead, wounded and imprisoned.
It’s not the work of heroes, but that of free individuals, of citizens who deserve to be truly free. If we don’t protest now, we won’t be able to do it later.
There are 32 rallying points for today’s march and knowing the government’s protocol, several of them will be harassed long before any significant number of people gather in them, because the orders changed and now they don’t repress protests, they’ll simply prevent them from happening.
Despite the assaults or rather because of them, we have to keep trying, we’re not alone.
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