“It’s an heroic effort worth praising,” was the phrase Nicolás used yesterday to describe the repressive streak of his forces during protests, claiming before international media that the officers disperse demonstrations with water and “a little tear-gas,” without firearms, shotguns or pellets.
Shortly after that, in the Francisco Fajardo highway in front of La Carlota air base, a soldier shot 22-year Nursing student David José Vallenilla at close range. Three pellets in the thorax. The boy died after having been taken to Clínica El Ávila.
Every video out there proves that the soldier shot David with rage several times. It wasn’t a dissuasive exercise, he didn’t aim at the legs but at the chest, every time, even when David had was already on the ground.
It’s not necessary to kill to restore public order, but Interior minister Néstor Reverol started his set of tweets reporting the alleged “recurrent siege against La Carlota air base” – he uses the word ‘siege’ as glibly as he uses ‘terrorist’ – and urged the MUD to “disband violent groups,” once again emphasizing that responsibility is individual before the law, as if security forces didn’t answer to him and superiors weren’t accountable as well.
Reverol preferred to talk about conspiracies, of blood needlessly spilled and of fascist violence, trying to delegitimize the drive behind the protest, humiliating David and justifying murder as if it was legitimate defense.
NONEbudsman Tarek William Saab did call it a terrible murder and a vile homicide, but this isn’t the worst discrepancy in this case.
The Prosecutor’s Office appointed Prosecutor 126 of the Metropolitan Area of Caracas to investigate David Vallenilla’s death, but she, along with experts from the Criminal Unit were barred from seeing the body at the Bello Monte morgue, since a military prosecutor took over the murder investigation, violating the Prosecutor’s Office authority. Criminal lawyer and criminologist Luis Izquiel said it was serious that the Military PO was taking over the case, because a homicide is an ordinary crime and it falls to the Civilian PO to address it, even if the murderer was a soldier. Barely two days ago, Luisa Ortega Díaz pointed out that the Military PO was subject to the her office, but the regime knows no boundaries.
Shooting with love
The National Guard and the PNB use lethal weapons against opposition protesters even though the Constitution expressly forbids it, and Nicolás lied despite the evidence, in another useless monologue before international media. According to him, there have been secret talks with opposition leaders, in which his government has demanded the disbandment of “armed gangs,” as if colectivos were part of the opposition.
He said he’s preparing a law against price speculation to sanction those who price goods and services based on the black-market dollar; and he claimed that his imposed Constituyente “will be elected and installed.”
He said nothing about shortages of basic products, about inflation or the dropping oil output, but he did say that he’s guaranteeing imports and auctions and that, despite protests, the country was nearing 80% of its productive activity in the first three months of 2017:
“People don’t feel that because they have a government that loves them. They don’t feel the impact because I take care of their income and wages.”
Carabobo state’s Third Court of First Instance in Civil, Commercial and Baking matters ordered lawmakers Ismael García and Carlos Berrizbeitía, as well as former lawmaker Carlos Tablante, to pay minister Carlos Osorio Bs. 900 million for alleged moral damage, slander, injury and exposure to public scorn. Each of them must pay the Bs. 300 million compensation, for having accused Osorio of embezzling $27 billion between 2013 and 2016, when Osorio was still Food minister.
Comptroller Manuel Galindo claimed that there’s no rupture of constitutional order in Venezuela and rejected the invocation of article 350 of the Constitution made by the opposition, because there must be an anti-democratic regime in order to activate it, insisting that Nicolás’ Constituyente is completely legitimate and will be “a scenario to approach constitutionality amidst the development of the anti-corruption battle.”
In contrast, Andrés Bello Catholic University head José Virtuoso submitted a judicial project before the National Assembly to work around articles 333 and 350 of the Constitution: “… a parliamentary agreement to help citizens and public servants understand what it means,” saying that the Vatican’s stance regarding the Constituyente “is the opinion held by 85% of the country; the Constituent Assembly will only worsen the crisis even more, it wouldn’t solve shortages and we’d have a much more divided society.”
The Central Bank is in talks with Japanese agency Nomura to sell notes in its portfolio in exchange for cash, just weeks after Nomura participated, together with Goldman Sachs, in the purchase of Venezuelan bonds. The current negotiations involve two notes with a nominal value of $710 million. BCV head Ricardo Sanquino denied the operation to Reuters.
But what the government can’t deny is that the Spanish police started an operation concerning alleged diversion of PDVSA money into Portugal through Portuguese bank Banco do Espirito Santo, searching several homes in Madrid and other spots of the country linked with this plot, which is being investigated by Portuguese justice.
Without any warrants or PO prosecutors, the Secret Police (SEBIN) broke into an apartment in Altamira and arrested MUD advisors Arístides Moreno and Roberto Picón.
Lawmaker Freddy Guevara denounced the situation, in which María Corina Machado was also mistreated.
Estamos a las afueras de la casa allanada en Altamira. El delito: haber sido la casa donde nos reunimos la Unidad https://t.co/YP3DJnW8Bx
— Freddy Guevara (@FreddyGuevaraC) June 23, 2017
Moreno’s apartment has served as a meeting place for opposition leaders, which Nicolás “denounced” yesterday, claiming that the meetings were allegedly meant to “call for rebellion in Venezuela.”
Minister Néstor Reverol clarified that David Vallenilla’s murderer is an Air Force sergeant, claiming that “he used an unauthorized weapon to repel” and that “he’s being subjected to all legal proceedings for the application of justice,” repeating that La Carlota military base has been attacked several times, as if stones, fireworks and molotovs were comparable to guns. The sergeant shot to kill and his entire chain of command is accountable for the crime. It’s a deadly repressive streak and no amount of complaints from “wounded” officers will mitigate the indignation in the face of so much cruelty. SEBIN’s actions in Altamira make the situation much worse.Caracas Chronicles is 100% reader-supported. Support independent Venezuelan journalism by making a donation.