Venezuelan Military Blocks Press from Covering Las Tejerías Tragedy

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Photo: Daniel Hernández

On Saturday, October 8th, there was a landslide in Las Tejerías, Aragua, after several days of heavy rains, which, alongside the lack of maintenance on structures, pipes and rivers, caused a landslide and floods that destroyed streets, homes and killed 36 people so far—56 people have been reported missing. Over 20,000 homes were affected and 765 were destroyed, crops were lost, and stores and three schools were ruined. Maduro decreed three days of national mourning and went to Las Tejerías yesterday with his vice president. His tour of the town was broadcast as if he were in an active campaign. He then admitted that he knew the soil was saturated ten days ago, which means they knew the risk of a landslide yet they didn’t evacuate the inhabitants. 

The government refuses to invest in early alert programs for this kind of situation and their “constant monitoring” isn’t public information. This adds another dimension to the tragedy: there is no available data to project the scale of the damage—no updated demographic information since it’s been decades since the last national census. There’s also no geomorphological study available on the soil or vulnerable areas. 

Aragua governor Karina Carpio criticized how videos on the situation have been spreading on social media, arguing that they cause anguish. GNB officers blocked the press from entering the area and the Minister of Interior, Remigio Ceballos, assured that unauthorized vehicles or people won’t get in unless they have the “right credentials” from the Ministry of information. He asked journalists to “not interfere” and suggested they get their information from state media. He threatened to bring those who challenge this order to the authorities, even though he violates the citizens’ right to information, the journalists’ right to work, and freedom of expression. 

Cáritas Venezuela reported that 120 municipalities were affected by the rains. 

  • Governor Manuel Rosales reported that there are 150,000 hectares affected in the four municipalities at the south of Maracaibo Lake and 50,000 more in the Chama River. 
  • Eleven municipalities and around 2,900 people in Sucre were affected by landslides and floods. The roads between Sucre and Monagas and Sucre and Anzoátegui have also been affected. 
  • Almost 1,800 inhabitants in Ciudad Bolívar were affected by the flood of the Cañafístola River.
  • People living in the Caracas-La Guaira highway area reported water is making the highway cave near the Maracaibo Unido barrio. 
  • The Coalition for Human Rights and Democracy denounced that the order to move engineer  Guillermo Zárraga to the hearing for his trial never arrived.  Journalist Roland Carreño wasn’t moved either because the court wasn’t working. 
  • Conatel opened a procedure against Promar TV, operating in Lara State, for a mistake made when they ID’d Maduro as the “interim president”.  
  • The report “Ser Mujer en Venezuela: diagnóstico comunitario y propuestas para la acción humanitaria” (Being a woman in Venezuela: communitary diagnosis and proposals for humanitarian action), revealed that one in four Venezuelans can’t afford feminine hygiene products. Until March 2022, 33% of Venezuelan children, teenagers, and women didn’t receive the medical attention they needed for their chronic problems and 28% didn’t receive medical attention for their acute problems. This study was conducted by an alliance between Funcamama, Unión Afirmativa, Prepara Familia, Cepaz, Uniandes and Acción Solidaria.
  • Funvisis registered two earthquakes in Zulia, 3.7 and 2.6 magnitudes, respectively.
  • At least 14 people died and eight are missing after Julia impacted Central America. 
  • Russia avenged the explosion that partially destroyed the Kerch bridge on Saturday by bombarding Kyiv and 11 other cities yesterday. Fourteen people died and 97 were injured.

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.