Friday, May 9, 2014

Venezuela: Hundreds detained, police officer killed, and students brutalized

Massive Maduro Regime Crackdown on Student Movement in Venezuela continues escalation of violence and death

Students of the Central University of Venezuela (UCV) protest mass detentions on May 9
Government that applauded occupy camps in Spain and other countries, represses in Venezuela those who use this form of peaceful struggle - Provea human rights organization, May 8, 2014 over twitter

What happened in Venezuela on May 8, 2014 in pictures

Raid on freedom camp in Chacao, Venezuela on May 8 before dawn
Security forces arrived in the early morning hours of  May 8, 2014 and began detaining scores of students protesters in small tent cities in plazas all across Venezuela and destroying their freedom camps.

Some of the youth detained in Chacao, Venezuela on May 8, 2014
A tweet appeared of students detained in Chacao being taken away in a bus defiantly holding up their fists with the caption: "Our sisters while detained in Plaza Bolívar Chacao! No tears, smile in face of abuse DIGNITY"

Plaza Bolivar in Chacao at 5:35am on May 8, 2014 after camps destruction
The above picture was tweeted with the message: "Sunrise and this is the Plaza Bolivar in Chacao.  All wrecked, food, medicine, clothing, books 8M 5:35am." This scene was replayed across Venezuela wherever there was a Plaza peacefully occupied by students. Hundreds of kids were arrested.

Poster: "No matter if the camp is dismantled, They can NEVER dismantle our Spirit of Freedom!"
 If the Maduro regime and their Cuban handlers thought this would crush the student movement they thought wrong. Signs of defiance and protest emerged almost immediately and as news of the mass detentions spread more protests began and new confrontations. The message from the students was crystal clear: "USM students take to streets in protest after arbitrary arrests U Mess with one u mess with all!"

Students took to the streets to protest the latest act of repression
May 8, 2014 maybe looked upon as the day that Maduro's Cuban handlers miscalculated, in a manner similar to the March 18, 2003 crackdown in Cuba when 100 activists were rounded up and 75 sentenced in show trials up to 28 years in prison. All were identified by Amnesty International as prisoners of conscience. Over the course of the next eight years through protests inside Cuba and international lobbying, save Orlando Zapata Tamayo, who died on hunger strike on February 23, 2010 a majority was exiled and the last dozen released back into Cuba to stay. Today's crackdown coincided with a Senate hearing on the human rights situation in Venezuela and may contribute to the imposition of sanctions on bad actors in the Maduro regime. Either bad timing or desperation on the dictatorship's part.

Students out protesting in solidarity with jailed colleagues

The difference here is that its not a hundred but hundreds. The regime places the number of detained students over the past 24 hours at 243. Other sources range from 643 to over 800. Human rights defenders in Venezuela are compiling lists of detainees across the country and will have a more precise count shortly.

Protesters say that 643 students detained not 243 on posters

In the afternoon a 27 year old member of the Bolivarian national police was shot in the head and killed. His name was Jorge Colina. Still early hours into the investigation into his death but their is an eery similarity to the killing of student demonstrators.

Jorge Colina shot in the head while in clashes with students on May 8, 2014

Marianne Moros was disfigured today while engaging in peaceful protest and tweeted this picture along with  the following text: "Bolivarian National Police shot slugs at my face from less than 2 ft away, in Altamira plaza on May 8, 2014 at 11:00am."

Marianne Moros shot in the face by BNP on May 8
If the student movement is to succeed in transforming Venezuela and ending the Maduro regime and ushering in a period of democracy, justice and prosperity then its best odds are maintaining strict nonviolent discipline and a coherent strategy. Meanwhile people of goodwill in the international community must remain vigilant. The violence continues in Venezuela and the bulk of it is being perpetrated by the Maduro regime.

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