Sunday, May 18, 2014

Medical student missing since Wednesday found dead in Venezuela

“It is not only what we do, but also what we do not do, for which we are accountable.” - Molière

22 year old medical student found dead May 18 in Venezuela
 A cry for help over twitter
Today, received a message over twitter requesting assistance in getting the word out on the plight of 22 year old Yaremi Silva, a medical student, who went missing last Wednesday (May 14, 2014).  Numerous twitter posts and some media accounts claim that she had been aggressively detained by Venezuelan government forces during protests and was found dead on Saturday, May 17, 2014. The claim is accompanied along with a photo of a young women being detained but not clear if it is her. Additionally, this has yet to be confirmed, and conflicts with accounts from friends and relatives in the press.

What has been confirmed
According to various news sources Yaremi was found dead Saturday afternoon in the vicinity of the university where she was studying in San Juan de Los Morros. Silva was a student at the National Experimental University Romulo Gallegos (Unerg). Sources involved in the investigation place her time of death at 48 hours prior to the discovery of her remains.

A college student living in a residence. She was a native of Anzoategui. A police source said Silva was shot twice in the head, once in the forehead and once on the right side of her face. The report details that she was last seen alive by friends on Wednesday at 8 pm. She told them she would meet with another friend and then never returned to answer her mobile phone. 

Since February 12, 2014 arbitrary detentions, torture, and the rising death toll of students extra-judicially killed by agents of the Venezuelan government has been a troubling trend that this blog has reported on including a pattern of student protesters shot in the head. The militarization of the country continues under the Maduro regime to target student demonstrators and violence is escalating. At the same time 92 of every 100 murders go unsolved in Venezuela because it is not a government priority and government officials for years have operated in complete impunity.

The initial incident that sparked the protests began in Táchira on February 4, 2014 when a student at the University of Los Andes in the Botanical Garden of the University was the victim of an attempted rape. Students protested that "insecurity had taken over the campus." The protest was repressed and a number of students arrested and physically mistreated by the authorities. The news of the abuse by government officials sparked additional protestsThe underlying reason that sparked the protests, insecurity, continues to claim new victims. The Maduro regime is so out of touch with this reality that it claimed in December of 2013 that crime rates had fallen. The United Nations released a report four months later in April 2014 placing Venezuela as the country with the world's second highest murder rate in the world after Honduras.

Found dead: Yaremi Silva, a medical student, missing since Wednesday

Disinformation and Distraction
Social media have been ablaze with indignation and directly linking her death to the Bolivarian National Guard (BNG). The news that she was detained by them on Wednesday has not been substantiated. Nevertheless, one thing remains true whether by omission or commission Yaremi Silva is another victim of the Maduro regime and its misplaced priorities.

It may be that the claim that Yaremi was detained on Wednesday by the Bolivarian National Guard is an elaborate lie with a strategic objective to shift attention way from the failure of the Maduro regime to protect its citizens to a debate over the accuracy of social media. Its the kind of tactic that Cuban intelligence service is expert at: the art of distraction and half truths mixed with lies.

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