|Killed during protests in Venezuela February - March 2014|
Students protesters have been arbitrarily detained, tortured, shot and killed. Now the Maduro regime is claiming that the opposition are fascists and responsible for the fatalities. They have imprisoned opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez, imprisoned opposition mayors and are threatening to imprison María Corina Machado for calling for nonviolent protests and criticizing the government. Alleging that they are responsible for the violence.
Unfortunately, observers of the regime in Cuba find these tactics all too familiar. The Castro dictatorship has killed thousands and committed acts of state terrorism such as using MiGs to shoot down civilian aircraft in international airspace with air to air missiles on February 24, 1996 and attempted to manufacture evidence to turn the victims, engaged in search and rescue in the Florida Straits for rafters into terrorists. Castro failed in controlling the narrative in the Brothers to the Rescue because one of the three planes made it back with recordings and witnesses. Nevertheless the spies that provided that infiltrated the organization and contributed to the murders were declared heroes by Fidel Castro and the Cuban propaganda machinery.
|Murdered by Castro Regime on February 24, 1996|
|Murdered by Castro Regime on July 13, 1994|
Prisoners of conscience such as Orlando Zapata Tamayo are repeatedly tortured and driven into hunger strikes as a recourse to defend their dignity, sadistic guards take their water away contributing to their deaths.
Tourists and students not involved in anything political have been killed by government agents in Cuba and the shooters have never been identified or brought to justice. In Cuba when a hungry child is shot and killed by a retired state security officer for trying to steal fruit from a tree it is only news in dissident and exile blogs.
The latest example of regime rewriting history is with the Oswaldo Payá Sardiñas and Harold Cepero Escalante July 22, 2012 killings and the subsequent show trial of Angel Carromero where the Payá family was barred from attending.
The victims continue to be slandered and libeled not only while alive but after they have been killed and families who speak out in defense of their loved ones are also targeted by state security and the propaganda organs slandered and attacked. This serves as an example for many others to remain silent in order not to suffer the same fate.
measured language when addressing an international audience. On March 19, 2014 Maduro tweeted: Our Victory will be Peace consolidated with Justice, the Fascists will pay for their crimes against our People and our Country!!! The original tweets copied and linked together are reproduced above. This practice predates the February 12, 2014 protests. For example on December 7, 2013 Maduro tweeted: "Let us continue to stand together to fight speculators that price gouge and rob those who work now backed by fascist gangs Let us continue Winning!" The president of the National Assembly Diosdado Cabello tweeted on March 19, 2014: "The fascist murderer capriles shows himself, threatens war for the arrest of the terrorist Daniel Ceballos, hatred defines them both." They speak of peace abroad but demonize their opponents at home. This is not a recipe for one who is seeking genuine peace.
One should not forget that the Capriles referred to by Cabello is the candidate who narrowly lost to Maduro in a national election with irregularities and did not contest the election to avoid the violence being threatened by the Chavistas at the time. Capriles called off a peaceful march out of fear that Chavistas would infiltrate and carry out violent acts.
|Armed infiltrator ID'd by students and turned over to authorities|
Now, as their Cuban counterparts are so adept at doing, the Maduro regime is contesting the responsibility for the rising body count and charging the opposition with terrorism and violence. At the same time the opposition has mobilized tens of thousands of demonstrators in mass nonviolent demonstrations in which it has been Maduro that has unleashed the military, the national guard and para-paramilitaries to terrorize the large crowds and brake up the demonstrations. Opposition leaders such as Leopoldo Lopez and the opposition members have peacefully turned themselves over to the authorities knowing that the judiciary is no longer independent, but an arm of the executive, and that they cannot expect justice. Nevertheless, they have maintained their nonviolent posture because they know it is their best chance to achieve victory over the government that has behaved in an increasingly despotic fashion.
The Venezuelan opposition has rightfully focused its attention on the Castro regime's presence in Venezuela and their tactics of repression and control, but should also look at another ally of the Maduro regime, the Iranians who used terror to quell student protests in 2009 using snipers.
Here is a partial list of people shot in the head during the protests in Venezuela since February 12, 2014:
|Bassil Alejandro Dacosta|
|Robert Redman, circled wearing a cap|
|Génesis Carmona (on the right holding poster)|
Bus driver Wilfredo Rey, 31, died on March 21, 2014 after being shot in the head during a confrontation between demonstrators and hooded gunmen in the western city of San Cristobal in Tachira. He was not involved in the protests. Married, father of three small children. He was 32 years old.
was shot in the head on the night of April 1, 2014 during a protest on Jóvito Villalba Avenue, in front of the Rattan Plaza commercial center. He has been operated on and is currently hospitalized. He is 27 years old.
Out of the eight shot in the head, five were young people openly in opposition to the Maduro government and protesting when they were shot. The other three were not participating in the protests but were in the vicinity and happened to fit the profile: two were young and gainfully employed and the third a university student. Is it just a coincidence? Who benefits from targeting young protesters and creating a climate of terror where people fear to go out and exercise their right to peaceful protest? Is it just a coincidence that an ally of the Maduro regime, Iran, used a similar tactic against student demonstrators in the Green Movement in 2009?