Photo: Román Camacho
This Wednesday, May 1st, Venezuelans took to the streets again. Between my house and the Chiquinquirá church, I experienced two robbery attempts. In the first, the criminal said that “any escuálido who wants to go through here has to pay.” Rather fascist, I say, but in hyperinflation, there’s no money to pay. “Here, give me what you have,” said my second assailant, and I took off my blue hat so he could see my post-chemo hair, and asked him if he had time for my story about how it’s like to live with breast cancer in Venezuela. Both attempts took place so close to the National Police (PNB) contingents that repressed us later, that I thought they were worth highlighting: criminals do what they want while citizens are repressed for protesting.
— Venepress (@venepress) May 1, 2019
— Venepress (@venepress) May 1, 2019
They murdered Jurubith
Last night, Jurubith Rausseo (27) was confirmed dead as she underwent surgery for a bullet wound she took in the head while protesting in Altamira. She left two orphan children.
Se conoció que fue impactada por un proyectil calibre .38 y trasladaba a la Clínica El Ávila, donde murió durante una operación.
Dejó huérfanos a dos niños. pic.twitter.com/wG5bZA2TLU
— HispanoPost (@hispanopost) May 2, 2019
Yesterday’s repression was overwhelming, a revenge against citizens, carried out by the National Guard, the PNB and the paramilitaries known as colectivos. According to military expert Rocío San Miguel, Nicolás personally led these operations, which started early in several cities, preventing even the possibility of rallies.
Maduro ha dirigido personalmente las operaciones de aplastamiento de la población hoy #1deMayo
Cmdte de Destacamento de Orden Público de la GNB o efectivo de la PNB que no acate órdenes va preso. Activados fiscales militares a tal fin
Se repite patrón de atrocidades 2014-2017
— Rocío San Miguel (@rociosanmiguel) May 1, 2019
They repressed citizens, attacked press workers; assailed citizens who were inside churches and residential buildings; they used firearms, rubber pellets and tear gas. There were arbitrary detentions, they blocked the internet, but also, national TV and radio ignored both the protest and the repression, establishing disinformation as a norm. Jubirith was the 55th protester murdered by the regime thus far in 2019.
Streaming services have now been disrupted in #Venezuela for an hour, starting as Guaido delivered a public speech. Data shows the same services were restored last night allowing internet users to watch adversary Maduro's speech #1May #KeepitOn ⬇️https://t.co/UEhvvyjVdA pic.twitter.com/ILmskiCCxG
— NetBlocks.org (@netblocks) May 1, 2019
— Roman Camacho (@RCamachoVzla) May 1, 2019
Lawmaker Manuela Bolívar denounced the brutal repression by regime security bodies, reporting 397 protest points all over the country. At 10:00 p.m., the Venezuelan Observatory of Social Conflict reported repression in 14 states, with 130 people wounded across the country by bullets, pellets and tear gas.
#1May Balance hasta las 5:35 pm
— Observatorio de Conflictos (@OVCSocial) May 1, 2019
Additionally, there were power cuts in 13 states. The National Union of Press Workers reported ten workers were attacked while covering yesterday’s protests, with five journalists wounded with pellets. At night, Lilian Tintori shared a video about her house raided and robbed by agents of the State Secret Police (SEBIN).
#EFEURGENTE @EFEnoticias accede al interior de la casa del dirigente opositor venezolano @leopoldolopez, donde se ha producido un allanamiento y robo en las últimas horas En declaraciones a EFE, su esposa @liliantintori responsabiliza a las autoridades de #Venezuela del suceso pic.twitter.com/sc5OdEqZFm
— EFE Noticias (@EFEnoticias) May 2, 2019
Record of absurdity
Journalist Román Camacho managed to record a video showing how PNB officers acted like criminals and stole a motorcycle attacking the driver and then shooting him with pellets.
— Roman Camacho (@RCamachoVzla) May 2, 2019
The eight officers who confronted alleged colectivos this Tuesday in Chacao where ordered by their superior at the Miranda Police to hand over their weapons. They will also have to face an investigation carried out by the Police Action Control Inspectorate. Tachira State lawmaker Franklyn Duarte denounced with a video how two GNB rolled over an elderly lady with their motorcycles and then fired against her relatives when they complained.
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#1Mayo GNB ARROLLÓ A UNA SEÑORA Y ARREMETIÓ CONTRA GENTE INDEFENSA EN TUCAPÉ . . Dos GNB a bordo de una motocicleta atropellaron a una señora en Tucapé, municipio Cárdenas del Táchira, cuando ella solo caminaba por la calle sin que ocurriera ninguna alteración de orden público a su alrededor, así lo denunció el diputado Franklyn Duarte. . Al recibir el reclamo de los familiares, los funcionarios arremetieron contra la gente indefensa y dispararon hacia adentro de la vivienda. . El vídeo fue difundido por el diputado Franklyn Duarte, quién responsabilizó a los generales Ochoa y Noroño, de lo ocurrido. Vídeo: @franklynduarte_ #FogónInformativo #NoticiasEnCaliente
Let’s talk human rights
PROVEA said that the appointment of Gustavo González López again as SEBIN director seriously jeopardizes human rights in the country, due to his “extensive history of violations in OLP operations and his responsibility for the death of councilman Fernando Albán.”
#01May Nombramiento de Guatavo González López como director nuevamente del Sebin es de alto riesgo para los derechos humanos en #Venezuela. Tiene un amplio prontuario de violaciones en los operativos OLP y responsabilidad muerte de Fernando Albán @mbachelet @CIDH pic.twitter.com/5jRtCydUaM
— PROVEA (@_Provea) May 1, 2019
González López returns after the removal and arrest of Manuel Cristofer Figuera, who allegedly ordered the release of Leopoldo López and supported the April 30th uprising. The UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, as well as the UN Secretary General, Amnesty International, the Australian government and the International Contact Group created by the European Union expressed their concern for the excessive use of force against protesters in Venezuela. They called for restoring press freedom and the release of all political prisoners.
Estamos extremamente preocupados por las informaciones acerca del uso excesivo de la fuerza por fuerzas de seguridad contra manifestantes en #Venezuela. Hacemos llamamiento a todas las partes para que muestren máxima moderación y renuncien a la violencia: https://t.co/bOIW7kFOf4
— UN Human Rights (@UNHumanRights) May 1, 2019
We won’t back down
Caretaker President Juan Guaidó was in two rallying points in Caracas. Both were repressed before and after his presence. “The only way there can be a coup d’état here is that they arrest me,” said Guaidó and explained that civilian and peaceful rebellion started on Tuesday, with the support of the Armed Forces. He announced gradual strikes as build up for a general strike and restated his call for soldiers to join Operation Freedom, saying that street protests will continue until Venezuela’s freedom is attained. “We won’t let them bring us down to our knees ever again. A smile under dictatorship is rebellion (…) We’ll remain on the streets, strong, purposeful, all over Venezuela. On the path to a general strike proposed by workers themselves. We won’t back down.”
No raise, no substance
For the first time in the chavista era, no wage raise was announced on May 1st. Nicolás, concerned only about himself, didn’t speak about the legitimacy of the extraordinary Official Gazette allegedly published on April 25th; he announced nothing that could improve workers’ living standards. Only noise: defeats, conspiracies, treasons, deceit, crap. He demanded maximum loyalty and called for a national dialogue and action campaign to listen to people’s proposals. He also called PSUV to another campaign, but of self-revision and correction, because “the bolivarian project has stagnated, it has moved backwards.” Lastly, he asked the people for ideas to face the economic “blockade” and claimed that they must keep “defeating intrigue and severely punish treason,” crucial tasks to stop hyperinflation, recover production and attract fresh investment.
State Secretary Mike Pompeo said that the U.S. government is ready, if necessary, to military intervene in Venezuela, but underscored that the goal is to achieve a peaceful transition in the country. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov told Pompeo that more aggressive measures in Venezuela would have serious consequences. Elliott Abrams, Special Envoy for Venezuela, said that high ranking regime officials with whom they were negotiating Nicolás’s ouster have turned off their phones, adding that from now on, Nicolás must know that he doesn’t have the support he thought he had.
#1May ATENCIÓN | @Elliottabrams habla de la existencia de un DOCUMENTO que habrían firmado las figuras clave del entorno de Nicolás Maduro que mencionó @AmbJohnBolton que habrían negociado la transición y pactado con @jguaido pic.twitter.com/ynPvNkuDP0
— CATERINA VALENTINO (@CATERINAV) May 1, 2019
U.S. Vice-President Mike Pence was “encouraged” by protests in Venezuela and promised that Washington will continue backing Juan Guaidó until there’s a change in power. Admiral Craig Faller, chief of the U.S. Armed Forces’ Southern Command, disregarded an imminent military intervention in Venezuela and said that a democratic transition “is already underway.”
- The OAS held an extraordinary session to assess Venezuela’s situation.
- Julio Borges spoke about his meeting with Peter Ptassek, German ambassador in Colombia, and the request for his government to take the lead in Europe and impose more severe sanctions against Nicolás’s clique, their figureheads and the Cuban dictatorship.
Sostuvimos un encuentro con el Ministro de Relaciones Exteriores de Alemania en Colombia, @HeikoMaas, le pedimos que su gobierno lidere a Europa e imponga sanciones, aún más severas, contra la cúpula de Maduro, sus testaferros y la dictadura Cubana. pic.twitter.com/8ZO06iLzAD
— Julio Borges (@JulioBorges) May 1, 2019
- The Foreign Minister of the Czech Republic called the Venezuelan Army to heed the will of citizens and support the peaceful democratic transition.
- The Appeals Court of the District of Columbia ruled that only Juan Guaidó can exercise Venezuela’s legal representation in U.S. soil, disregarding the appeal filed by Nicolás Maduro.
— Agence France-Presse (@AFPespanol) May 1, 2019
- Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro announced that he’ll approve $57 million to assist Venezuelan immigrants.
Justice Marisela Godoy said that she left the Supreme Tribunal’s Plenary Chamber because the decision wouldn’t be discussed. Maikel Moreno (mentioned by the U.S. for participating in a plan for transition) was expected to issue a statement, but he didn’t. Reports say that the justices loyal to Nicolás approved the preliminary hearing on merits against National Assembly Vice-President Edgar Zambrano.