Photo provided by the author

He was aware, due to his history studies in the University of Los Andes, of arbitrary detentions, tortures and even disappearances and murders of left-wing leaders in the governments that followed Marcos Pérez Jiménez’ dictatorship. He never thought he’d have the same fate under the current government, and would walk out alive to tell the tale.

Isaac López was born in Pueblo Nuevo, old capital of the Paraguaná peninsula, in the very heart of this quiet territory, full of stories of the independence, but beaten by national neglect. The oil boom created the Paraguaná refining complex, which brought about the State’s complete and definite disregard, giving way to prostitution, smuggling, decline in public services and the abandonment of sowing fields, to work in the oil industry.

Isaac, founder of “Tiquiba,” a cultural collective created to take theatre plays evidencing society’s reality all over Falcón, graduated from history and became a teacher, starting a campaign to rescue Pueblo Nuevo’s historical archive, raising awareness for the preservation of Paraguaná’s architectural heritage.

Cultural Collective “Tiquiba”. Photo provided by the author.

As the “revolution” began to settle in, the smiles he managed to inspire left the locals faces, replaced by political proselytism. Isaac became increasingly tenacious and critical, which earned him the spite of regional authorities.

First, he was forbidden to continue caring for Pueblo Nuevo’s historical archive, located in the Josefa Camejo Cultural Complex, where he organized singing and poetry recitals, concerts, theatre plays and discussions. The local government banned him from everywhere, until he was isolated from any financing to promote culture.

This tanned, short man, raised in a highly moral Sephardi Jewish family, was arrested in his town, on October 10, 2017.

López got ready to mediate, but the cops went in full-gorillas, starting a savage arrest ritual.

He was getting home after visiting several towns in the Falcón mountain range (a six-hour round trip every day) to find a common scene: several days without drinking water, the banking system out of order, blackouts and people protesting with whistles and cooking pots. He joined them.

The protest took him to the town’s Bolívar Square. Seeing how the moods were heating up, Isaac stepped to a corner of the square, banging his pot. Then they heard the officer giving the order to disperse the protest, pointing at him.

López got ready to mediate, but the cops went in full-gorillas, starting a savage arrest ritual. Neighbors tried to help him in vain; he was beaten and arrested without explanation.

It was 7:00 p.m. when the teacher and historian arrived to Pueblo Nuevo’s 7th Police Precinct. The beatings got worse. Between insults and threats, Isaac was beaten with a piece of wood until he couldn’t get up from the floor. Another 17 people were arrested that night. The town rallied in front of the precinct, screaming for an end to the abuse, for the detainees to be released. Among those arrested, there were four minors, including a 17-year-old girl who was slapped by the officers.

This list was provided by Isaac’s lawyer. Some of the minors were released 48 hours after their arrest.

If you speak Spanish, you can read the story in Isaac’s own words: the officers used pepper spray on them, kept them in the yard under the rain and insulted them until a cop said: “You’ll end up in Ramo Verde for burning the Mayor’s Office, coños de madre.

They were transferred at 4:00 a.m. on October 11. Isaac pictured the road taking them to some beach where his execution awaited. Piled up, they were put in perreras and that’s how they got Punto Fijo’s 2nd Police Precinct, where they were held in the dining room.

No State authority appeared to explain them why they were arrested. At 2:30 p.m., the CICPC arrived to identify and transfer them, once again, in another perrera. Upon arrival, a relative who managed to see him in bad shape (he had tachycardia) approached him with blood-pressure pills. An officer took them and tossed them on the ground. “Die of a heart attack already.”

On the third day, a prosecutor from Caracas came to see them. More than informing them about the accusation, he came with a sentence ready and approached Isaac, telling him to cooperate and talk with the younger detainees. “You’ll be accused of terrorism for burning the Mayor’s Office. Confess and the punishment will be lighter.”

Isaac and the 17 Pueblo Nuevo residents are still accused of “terrorism”, but there’s no information about the investigation and they keep reporting to court in the dark.

Isaac’s legs failed, but he gathered strength to talk to the rest. That Thursday, October 12, the round trips between courts began, while they remained in dungeons full of feces, poor lighting and ventilation. His health was a rollercoaster.

On Monday, October 16, the verdict came. After hearing his defense lawyer make a detailed presentation of the events (framed, so as to accuse them for burning the Mayor’s Office), the judge released half the group, among them Isaac, but with a presentation regime every 15 days. The rest remained in custody for almost 40 more days.

It’s been nearly 10 months of these events, the case was left without a judge and, in view of the money he had to spend every 15 days to travel to Punto Fijo from Mérida to comply with his sentence (spending his entire salary), Isaac decided to take the risk of not showing up anymore: “I either work to live, or I work to starve while reporting to a court without judges.”

Isaac and the 17 Pueblo Nuevo residents are still accused of “terrorism”, but there’s no information about the investigation and they keep reporting to court in the dark. Paraguaná, now drowned in fear of the repression that ensued that day, has a population intimidated by the absolutism of the “humanist revolution.”

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33 COMMENTS

  1. “…the officers used pepper spray on them, kept them in the yard under the rain and insulted them until a cop said: “You’ll end up in Ramo Verde for burning the Mayor’s Office, coños de madre.”

    And what ever happened to these “officers”?

    Clearly, their superiors have no problem with sort of behavior… they might have actually approved of it. So… it is up to the citizens to offer corrective action.

    1. The “coño de madre” cop
    2. The “insulting” officers
    3. The “apathetic” superior
    4. The mayor

    You work your way up the chain of command.

  2. Terrorists aim to destroy infrastructure, kill innocent civilians and put fear into the population.
    If they went to Venezuela they would realize that the government has already done their work for them.

  3. The Tribe? Actually there are like 12 tribes I think. Ever read “the begats” in the Bible? Very reproductive people! Lol. According to the Mormons, some of them moved to South America way back in antiquity….maybe that’s how that’s how Mario got there. (Just kidding Mario)

    • That’s a common expression, just The Tribe.

      And maybe you DIDN’T know this, but when the Jews were kicked out of Spain in the 1490s, those Jews/their descendants are all considered Sephardic Jews, regardless of where they emigrated.

      I was amazed that when my wife came to the states, one of my mother’s friends spoke fluent Spanish to her. I had no idea she was Sephardic, but more flabbergasted that the family kept Spanish through so many generations.

  4. And do not suppose this is the end.
    This is only the beginning of the reckoning

    This is only the first sip —
    The first foretaste of a bitter cup
    Which will be proffered to us year by year —

    Unless —
    by a supreme recovery of our moral health and martial vigor,
    we arise again and take our stand for freedom,
    as in the olden time.

    Winston Churchill to Parlaiment, 1938 (Old White Guy)

  5. Unfortunately, Perez Jimenez didn’t annihilate all the Communists. Perhaps we wouldn’t be living this tragedy today. At least he started some infrastructure, from UCV to the highways, hospitals, schools like no other. What came later is the cause of what’s happening now.

  6. Great report. Onave not seen a separate matter I have not read anything here about the US District Court’s ruling that the Canadian mining outfit can proceed against Citgo because PDVSA is the alter ego of the Venezuelan government. I knowthere willbe lengthy appeals but this ruling calls into question whether payment will be made on outstanding bonds collatetialized by Citgo. This could be a major turn in events. Anyone seen Quico?

    • I believe the Cristalex lawyers used the argument that ”Citgo is Venezuela”, additionally there are articles of Venezuela hydrocarbons laws that implicitly state that Venezuela owns PDVSA and CITGO, etc. The statement ”Citgo is Venezuela” is different from ”Venezuela owns Citgo”. I believe the defense of PDVSA is in appeal in an NY court with the argument ”CITGO is not Venezuela”, therefore Cristalex cannot seize CITGO assets. Cristalex instead should go after Venezuela, as all the transactions took place there. If indeed CITGO IS VENEZUELA then this open the floodgates to anyone having a recoverable promissory note or bond issued by the Venezuelan government. Then Russia must be negotiating behind the scenes to swap their debt which uses Citgo as a collateral. If I had money, I would buy that debt at a sharp discount and becoming CITGO shareholder. One USD million could well be one billion USD of the collateralized debt. Reportedly, this is like a piñata.

      • Jose
        I was curious about what creditors can and can’t seize. This was when the creditors seized the antique Argentine naval ship. Because that was a military ship, it was off limits and eventually was released back to the government.
        Commercial ventures of a sovereign state are fair game. The regime has intermingled PDVSA and the government into one entity.
        Yes, the people holding Venezuelan debt that has been in default can go after Citgo. Paying the 2020 bonds while ignoring other debt was never going to protect Citgo from creditors.
        Think of it as having a mortgage on a home that you also have equity in. The creditors are going after the equity in Citgo. I believe they will be behind the bondholders that are holding the 2020 bonds that have been guaranteed with the 50.1% of Citgo and behind Rosneft. I think I read that Rosneft had taken a stake in oil fields instead of Citgo. It is so hard to find accurate information that I’m not really sure what the status is of the 49.9% ownership.

        • John, CITGO is now owned by Venezuela at almost 100%. To tell the truth, I will need to go into the SEC filings. There are juicy assets in Texas, three refineries. I mean compared to the National Argentine Ship…

          I have lost some of my legal connections in Florida and curiosity is worst than anything else.

          I agree with what you say.

          Thanks,

      • I believe that PDVSA is set-up legally as a company with the sole contract to exploit and sell the oil found within the borders of Venezuela, the oil itself is owned by the State (yes foreign partners/investors are allowed). Whether or not this will make a difference upon appeal, (not that it made a difference in reality) I do not know but legally PDVSA/Citgo are not the same as Venezuela, at least as far as how they were set up.

    • The problem is, CITGO will have to put a certain amount of cash (quite substantial, usually half the judgement) into an escrow account while the appeal goes forward. I doubt they have two nickles to rub together at this moment.

      And I doubt their American lawyers are willing to wait it out before getting paid.

      • Hey, that’s an eye-opener.

        Are there any legal options to avoid the escrow requirement?

        Forget about the anti-Imperialist political talking points.

        • I’m no lawyer, but I did sleep in a Holiday Inn Express last night…

          Who knows these days when it comes to corporate law? I do know that when I sued a supplier 25 years ago, he lost but then said he was going to appeal. My lawyer motioned that the supplier put the amount of the verdict in an escrow account… which he didn’t have, and he would also have to pay interest upon. The judge agreed and that was the end of the appeals.

          I imagine that CITGO will have to put up some sort of bond while it appeals. Otherwise it might try to litigate it until there isn’t a dime to be squeezed.

  7. I found this article in The Universal interesting.

    “The former president of the Spanish Government José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero rejected the statements of the former president of the National Assembly (AN) and leader of the Primero Justicia party, Julio Borges, who accused him and other senior government officials of threatening him to go to the prison if he did not sign the agreement in the dialogue that took place in the Dominican Republic between the National Executive and the opposition last February”

    “What I will not accept, under any circumstances, is that someone questions my attitude of absolute nobility, disinterest and good faith in the entire conflict in Venezuela,” he emphasized.

    If we can’t question his good faith and honesty, we should be questioning his intelligence. He is either a liar or an idiot. I trust Borges over Zapatero. He is aligned with the regime and supports Chavez and Maduro. There is no way that he can be considered an impartial participant in any negotiations. His actions have attempted to give the regime legitimacy and as a result shown him to be dishonest, incapable or unintelligent.

    Borges’ statement explains why he has remained outside of Venezuela.

    • Zapatero belongs to the worst liters of humanity. Then, Borges and all the negotiators, spent incalculable amounts of greenbacks in Punta Cana drinking green label and fucking prostitutes at the expense of naive Venezuelan. They all must go to hell.

  8. “What I will not accept, under any circumstances, is that someone questions my attitude of absolute nobility, disinterest and good faith in the entire conflict in Venezuela,” he emphasized.

    Has something been lost in translation? Nobility? Did that REALLY come out of his pie-hole? Has he misplaced his crown?

    Typical nonsense otherwise. Another self-important former politician expounding upon how virtuous he is and how wrong everyone else is. (which is odd, since his virtue is incapable of keeping him in office?)

  9. I don’t want to be interpreted as defending this piece of shit Zapatero.

    In Spain this ”noble” word is also synonymous of ”honroso, estimable, como contrapuesto a deshonrado y vil”, when he is actually the most dishonest and villain of all.

    Those in current Spain government will defend Zapatero to death by the way, along with Madburro and all his acolytes.

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