Lunch Break: Indoctrination in Caracas, Vandalism at Bogota

Students march and address an army that doesn't quite know how to treat civilians; The U.S. Treasury Department does further moves to protect Citgo; People in Colombia demonstrate and vandalism shows up in the hemisphere again.

Photo: Efecto Cocuyo, retrieved.
  • Two subway stations were closed and the police and GNB officers were deployed on Thursday 21st, as an answer to the “first march to walk out of the UCV in five years,” in the words of a student leader, an eloquent fact about repression under Maduro. Beneath a cloudy sky and followed by soldiers, hundreds of students marched to Paseo Los Ilustres, by Bimbolandia, getting intercepted on the way to Los Próceres: a commission would be allowed to present their document (which asked the Army to uphold the Constitution and contribute to a political transition.) With the commission, only pro-regime media was allowed. Why? Because the officer receiving the document had a speech prepared, telling the students to celebrate that “civilian personnel” could approach soldiers, since “this doesn’t happen” in democracies. He’s right, in other countries citizens aren’t anyone’s personnel, and officers serve their country, not a political cause. The officer said they’re hungry too, there’s poverty and terrible conditions in Venezuela, but attributed them to the “economic blockade,” proving that perhaps in the academy they don’t teach respect to human rights. 
  • Meanwhile, Maduro had his very own “civic-military” event on TV. Troops and chavista movements met in Plaza Venezuela (roll call and meal included,) and they marched to Paseo Los Próceres without surveillance or restrictions. All takes showed civilians outnumbered by officers. Maduro talked about scholarships and land for the universities and said to opposition students: “While the day comes when you overthrow me, let me help you.” There were protests in other parts of the country, too. 
  • In Colombia, where a national strike was planned, tens of thousands of people were part of the protest called for unions and workers, students and social sectors. The “national strike” was peaceful, but in Bogotá, Cali, Medellín, Tunja, Popayán and Valledupar there was vandalism, looting and turmoil. At least 35 TransMilenio stations were destroyed, garbage cans were burned, surveillance cameras and stores were damaged, and an attack to the Capitolio Nacional was attempted. Demonstrators damaged Palacio Liévano—headquarters to the Bogotá Mayor’s Office—and stole dozens of bicycles from the parking lot in Suba terminal. There are curfews in Cali, Jamundí and Facatativá. 
  • President Sebastián Piñera admitted that Chilean security forces broke the protocols of use of force and said that justice will determine if human rights were violated, while Amnesty International condemned the police “deliberately” punishing protesters. 
  • 55.2% of Venezuelan migrants in Ecuador have been victims of discrimination, says the most recent IMO report. According to the report, 90.5% Venezuelans in Ecuador got there legally, only 6.8% has some kind of working contract, and 84.7% makes less than minimum wage.
  • Daniel Ortega and Rosario Murillo have unleashed religious persecution in Nicaragua, as a response to the Catholic church’s criticism of human rights violations. Nicaragua has been under one of the worst human rights crisis in Latin America for over a year, and the UN’s Secretary General finally expressed his concern. 
  • The U.S. said that former Bolivian president Evo Morales shouldn’t run in the upcoming elections. Mike Pompeo promised support for the transition government, while Evo announced a Commission for Truth to prove he won the elections. Entel Bolivia took Telesur for movements on their grid. Last night, interim president Jeanine Añez took a turn in the right direction, stating her cabinet is willing to dialogue and demanded international organizations and the Church to join them in the peacekeeping efforts. 
  • Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro launched an “Alliance for Brazil,” a new conservative party under the Evangelical electorate flag, after he left the party under which he ran and was elected a year ago, Bolsonaro’s ninth party in three decades.
  • Venezuela is the Latin American country with the worst rights to property and one of the worst in the world for this subject: 127 out of 129 countries in the International Property Rights Index 2019, only over Haiti and Yemen.
  • The Spanish Prosecutor’s Office supports the extradition to the U.S. of former vice-minister of Electricity, Javier Alvarado Ochoa, under investigation in Texas for money laundering and Pdvsa bribes.
  • The U.S. Treasury Department said that people suing Venezuela won’t be able to execute rulings or decrees to seize debt unless they receive a special authorization from Washington. The measure further protects Citgo. 
  • A roof is now fertile ground and became Venezuela’s first open classroom for protecting the environment, a space to learn about climate change. It’s the roof of the post-graduate studies building of Universidad Católica Andrés Bello, and it’ll be formally inaugurated during the Feria del Libro del Oeste de Caracas, whose motto this year is “Ideas and literature for a sustainable world.” Now you know, from November 25th-30th, the event will offer over 70 activities dedicated to history, music, art, sustainable development, literature, this version of our country and diversity.

Naky Soto

Naky gets called Naibet at home and at the bank. She coordinates training programs for an NGO. She collects moments and turns them into words. She has more stories than freckles.