Sunday, May 18, 2014

Amnesty International calls for urgent action to end torture of protesters

Document - Further information: Venezuela: More protesters detained, at risk of torture

Further information on UA: 119/14 Index: AMR 53/014/2014 Venezuela Date: 15 May 2014
URGENT ACTION
MORE protesters detained, AT risk of TORTURE
 
On 14 May security forces in Caracas detained at least 100 people involved in ongoing anti-government demonstrations. They are at risk of torture or other ill-treatment and their right to due process is at risk.

According to reports, on 14 May, at least 100 people including some minors, were detained by Venezuelan National Guard in Chacao municipality, east of the capital Caracas, with excessive use of force. Some of them have been released after few hours, including all the minors. They were detained while taking part in a student demonstration organised to protest against the detention of 243 people between 7 and 8 May. Student demonstration was held in front of the UNDP’s office.

National Guards attacked media workers who were covering the protest. According to press reports, four photographers were beaten and three journalist assaulted, some of them present injuries by rubber pellets. The Ministry of Tourism, adjacent to the UNDP’s offices was reportedly attacked with stones and Molotov cocktails during the demonstration. A member of the National Guard was injured when he was accidently hit by one of the buses that was carrying some of the detainees into custody.

In the context of the ongoing protests in Venezuela, Amnesty International has received dozens of complaints about torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment of detainees by members of the security forces, at the time of detention, during transfer and at detention centres. The detainees’ safety and right to due process are at grave risk.
 
Please write immediately in Spanish or your own language:
Acknowledging that the state has a duty to act, in a lawful and proportionate manner, to maintain public order; and reminding the authorities that they must respect human rights, must not use excessive force, and must ensure that the right to freedom of expression, association and assembly are respected;

Calling on the authorities to make public the whereabouts of all detainees, and ensure they are protected from torture and other ill-treatment, are given immediate access to their lawyers, families, and any medical attention they may require;

Calling on them to either charge those detained with a recognisable offence or release them; to respect the right of all those charged with an offence to due process and urging the authorities to refrain from making statements that undermine the presumption of innocence;

Calling on them to guarantee the protection of journalists and human right defenders and ensure that they can carry out their work without fear of reprisals, given their essential role in monitoring and reporting on the protests and possible abuses.
 
PLEASE SEND APPEALS BEFORE 26 JUNE 2014 TO:

Vice-president
Sr. Jorge Arreaza
Vicepresidencia de la Republica
Av. Urdaneta, Esquina de Carmelitas, Caracas, Venezuela
Twitter: @jaarreaza
Salutation: Señor Vicepresidente/
Dear Vice-president 
 
Minister of Justice and Interior
Gral. Miguel Rodríguez Torres
Ministerio del Poder Popular para Relaciones Interiores, Justicia y Paz
Av. Urdaneta, Edificio Interior y Justicia Caracas, Venezuela
Fax: +58 212 506 1685
Email: asistenciadirecta3@gmail.com
Salutation: Señor Ministro/
Dear Minister 
 
And copies to:
Amnistía Internacional Venezuela Av la Salle, Torre Phelps, piso 17, Oficina 17A
Plaza Venezuela Los Caobos, Caracas 1050 Venezuela
Fax: +58 212 793 1318 ext. 116
Email: info@aiven.org
 
Also send copies to diplomatic representatives accredited to your country. Please insert local diplomatic addresses below:
Name Address 1 Address 2 Address 3 Fax Fax number Email Email address Salutation Salutation
Please check with your section office if sending appeals after the above date.

URGENT ACTION
MORE protesters detained, AT risk of TORTURE

Additional Information

Between 7 and 8 May security forces in the Chacao and Baruta Municipalities of Caracas, the capital, detained 243 people in four makeshift camps built as part of anti-government demonstrations that have been ongoing throughout the country since February 2014. All but 12 people have already been conditionally released, including all the minors.

Since the beginning of February 2014, Venezuela has been shaken by mass protests for and against the government in various parts of the country. The unrest has already resulted in the death of over 41 people, including at least six members of the security forces. More than 650 people have been injured and over 2,000 have been detained. Most people arrested have been conditionally released pending investigations, but they face charges that could lead to years in prison.

There are indications of excessive use of force by the security forces, as well as reports of violence by armed pro government groups and by anti-government protesters. Amnesty International has received dozens of complaints about torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment of detainees by members of the security forces, at the time of detention, during transfer and at detention centres. The aim of the cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment of detainees appears to have been to punish them for their participation, or alleged participation in the protests. Among the complaints received are cases of beatings by members of the security forces, who allegedly punched, kicked and hit detainees with blunt objects, such as helmets, including when detainees were being restrained on the ground at the time of detention.

The organization has also received complaints from detainees who were allegedly forced to kneel or stand for long periods at detention centres, subjected to sexual abuse or threatened with rape. Other reports indicate that some were threatened with death, and in one case, officer’s allegedly poured petrol onto a young detainee.

Detainees were not given medical examinations on arrival at detention centres and, in some cases, did not receive medical attention until they were brought before a judge, despite evident wounds from rubber pellets or bullets. The right of detainees to be examined by a doctor and receive medical treatment whenever necessary is a safeguard against torture and ill-treatment, and an integral part of the authorities’ duty to guarantee respect for the integrity and dignity of the individual.

Name: Another 105 people detained in Caracas
Gender m/f: both

Further information on UA: 119/14 Index: AMR 53/014/2014 Issue Date: 15 May 2014

http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/asset/AMR53/014/2014/en/fb437830-9444-4700-9ce4-53329b94cf20/amr530142014en.html

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. 

Background
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.






Oswaldo Payá Sardiñas's family meets with Pope Francisco

"We talked to His Holiness of the need for free and pluralistic elections in Cuba. The Pope recognized the right of Cubans to decide." - Rosa María Payá Acevedo, May 14, 2014 over twitter
 
Payá family met in private audience with Pope Francisco on May 14
His Holiness Pope Francisco received the Payá family in a private audience at his residence, Santa Marta reported the Christian Liberation Movement in a press release. The meeting with the Holy Father took place on the morning of May 14, 2014 between 9:22 and 9:45. Ofelia Acevedo, Oswaldo J. Payá, Rosa Maria Payá y Reinaldo Payá participated in the gathering. The topics discussed with the Holy Father were the deaths of Oswaldo Payá and Harold Cepero; government repression especially against members of the democratic opposition; the Cuban reality and the proposed plebiscite; and the situation of the Church in Cuba.

In their official statement on the encounter t
he Christian Liberation Movement and Payá family expressed how "deeply grateful to the Holy Father and the Holy See grace granted and understanding found." PanAm Post published an article on the encounter and below is an excerpt:
"Speaking exclusively to PanAm Post, Rosa María Payá said the pope was aware of the poverty and the deterioration of human rights on the island. 'He is looking at what is happening in Cuba and the region with concern and solidarity, and from the perspective of a pastor who is a pastor for everyone. At the same time, he cares about freedom and democracy in our country, said Payá’s daughter."
 Oswaldo Payá Sardiñas wrote in a 2005 letter to Pope Benedict XVI: "I have received information ... on the danger of being jailed or killed."
Oswaldo Payá Sardiñas meets Pope John Paul II in 2002

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Remembering Project Varela's Importance to Cuba 12 years after first signatures turned in

Today is the 12th anniversary of Project Varela an initiative based on respect for the rights of persons. - Sayli Navarro, over twitter May 10, 2014
 
Regis Iglesias, Oswaldo Payá and Tony Díaz on May 10, 2002

 It was twelve years ago today that a small contingent of Cuban activists and human rights defenders marched up to the Assembly of Popular Power in Havana, Cuba to turn in 11,020 signatures of Cuban citizens proposing an initiative for human rights reforms based in existing Cuban law that was and is called Project Varela. Over twitter today Rosa Maria Payá Acevedo wrote: "On 12th anniversary of the first delivery of Project Varela our tribute to the brave Cuban citizens who led the initiative." She also invited in another tweet to use the hashtag #ProyectoVarela today.

Activists on their way to the Assembly of Popular Power with petitions
 On May 9, 2014 Regis Iglesias Ramírez, spokesperson for the Christian Liberation Movement based in Spain, posted a video that outlines the extreme nature of the governing regime in Cuba, and the challenges faced by the Cuban democratic resistance in their nonviolent stand for human rights and democratic reforms titled "The people sooner or later will have to impose their determination":
.



Project Varela was an important step in the auto-liberation of the tens of thousands of Cuban citizens who signed it and that is its most important legacy. However, two other of the many important things that it generated are that:
1) Following decades of successfully muzzling the voices of most Cubans and maintaining a propaganda offensive domestically and internationally that gave the impression of near unanimity with the regime's political project was finally broken. Tens of thousands of Cubans risking everything had said they wanted change.

2) Cuba's dissident movement portrayed as fragmented and ineffectual had managed to do what no other dissident movement had been able to do outside of Poland and that was to create a mass mobilization around clearly defined objectives within the existing constitution under Articles 88 g and 63 that placed the dictatorship on the defensive.
Fidel Castro's response was not only a wave of terror and repression but also of misinformation claiming in an interview with Barbara Walters that "Yes they [Cubans] have the right to petition, but not to change the Constitution." Oswaldo Payá Sardiñas on October 13, 2002 in a formal and public response to Fidel Castro clarified the objectives of Project Varela:
Besides the right to carryout the petition, the current Constitution in Cuba reflects the rights for which Project Varela seeks assurances in law.We publicly clarify to Mr. Fidel Castro that Project Varela does not request a change in the Constitution, but rather carrying out changes in the laws so that such rights that are in the Constitution are complied with and that the decision be taken by the sovereign people consulted in a Referendum.
On March 18, 2003 a large number of Project Varela petition organizers were arrested and sentenced in summary trials to long prison terms. Prior to that in June of 2002 the Castro brothers steamrolled through their own mandatory petition drive making the Cuban Constitution unchangeable with regards to its communist nature.
Oswaldo Payá Sardiñas reviewing petitions
Twelve years later, now in exile in Miami after long years in prison, Tony Díaz Sánchez observes over facebook that: "The only bad thing that Project Varela has is that 12 years after its legal filing, it is totally valid."
Project Varela Activists back in the day
 Eduardo Cardet, member of the Coordinating Council of the Christian Liberation Movement (MCL) in Cuba in an interview with ACI Press that: "There are many people who are still signing it. That is why it remains still valid today because it adjusts to the Cuban reality where nothing has changed."
The regime in Cuba has not changed but Project Varela marks a clear before and after in the will of the Cuban people to express their desires for legal reforms to ensure that human rights are respected at great personal risk to themselves.

Long live Project Varela! Justice for Oswaldo and Harold. The time for the referendum is now.

Amnesty International: Venezuela: Protesters detained, at risk of ill-treatment

Urgent Action from Amnesty International
Carlin Rodriguez, age 19 shot in the jaw by police during nonviolent protest

Document - Venezuela: Protesters detained, at risk of ill-treatment

UA: 119/14 Index: AMR 53/013/2014 Venezuela Date: 9 May 2014
URGENT ACTION
protesters detained, at risk of ill-treatment
Security forces in Caracas detained 243 people involved in ongoing anti-government demonstrations between 7 and 8 May. The whereabouts of those who have not yet been released remain unknown. They are at risk of torture or other ill-treatment.

Between 7 and 8 May security forces in the Chacao and Baruta Municipalities of Caracas, the capital, detained 243 people in four makeshift camps built as part of anti-government demonstrations that have been ongoing throughout the country since February 2014. Some of these 243 people have already been released, including some minors.

The relatives of those detained have expressed concern at the reports of excessive use of force by security forces in their operation to dismantle the four makeshift camps built by protesters. The relatives have also stated they have been unable to establish the exact whereabouts of their family members following the detention.

In the context of the ongoing protests in Venezuela, Amnesty International has received dozens of complaints about torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment of detainees by members of the security forces, at the time of detention, during transfer and at detention centres. The detainees’ safety and right to due process are at grave risk.
Please write immediately in Spanish or your own language:
Calling on the authorities to make public the whereabouts of all detainees, and ensure they are protected from torture and other ill-treatment, are given immediate access to their lawyers, families, and any medical attention they may require;

Calling on them to either charge those detained with a recognisable offence or release them; to respect the right of all those charged with an offence to due process and urging the authorities to refrain from making statements that undermine the presumption of innocence;
Acknowledging that the state has a duty to maintain public order, and reminding the authorities that they must respect human rights, must not use excessive force, and must ensure that the right to freedom of expression, association and assembly are respected.
PLEASE SEND APPEALS BEFORE 20 JUNE 2014 TO:

Minister of Justice and Interior
Gral. Miguel Rodríguez Torres
Ministerio del Poder Popular para Relaciones Interiores, Justicia y Paz
Av. Urdaneta, Edificio Interior y Justicia Caracas, Venezuela
Fax: +58 212 506 1685
Email: asistenciadirecta3@gmail.com
Salutation: Señor Ministro/
Dear Minister

Attorney General of the Republic
Dra. Luisa Ortega Díaz
Edificio Sede Principal del Ministerio Público, Esquinas de Misericordia a Pele El Ojo Avenida México
Caracas, Venezuela
Email: ministeriopublico@mp.gob.ve
Fax: +58 212 578 3239
 Salutation: Dra. Fiscal / Dear Prosecutor

And copies to:
Amnistía Internacional Venezuela Av la Salle, Torre Phelps, piso 17, Oficina 17A
Plaza Venezuela, Los Caobos, Caracas 1050 Venezuela
Fax: +58 212 793 1318 ext. 116
Email: info@aiven.org


URGENT ACTION
protesters detained, at risk of ill-treatment

ADditional Information

Since the beginning of February 2014, Venezuela has been shaken by mass protests for and against the government in various parts of the country. The unrest has already resulted in the death of over 41 people, including at least six members of the security forces. More than 650 people have been injured and over 2,000 have been detained. Most people arrested have been conditionally released pending investigations but they face charges that could lead to years in prison.

There are indications of excessive use of force by the security forces, as well as reports of violence by armed pro government groups and by anti-government protesters. Amnesty International has received dozens of complaints about torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment of detainees by members of the security forces, at the time of detention, during transfer and at detention centres. The aim of the cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment of detainees appears to have been to punish them for their participation, or alleged participation in the protests. Among the complaints received are cases of beatings by members of the security forces, who allegedly punched, kicked and hit detainees with blunt objects, such as helmets, including when detainees were being restrained on the ground at the time of detention.

The organization has also received complaints from detainees who were allegedly forced to kneel or stand for long periods at detention centres, subjected to sexual abuse or threatened with rape. Other reports indicate that some were threatened with death, and in one case, officer’s allegedly poured petrol onto a young detainee.

Detainees were not given medical examinations on arrival at detention centres and, in some cases, did not receive medical attention until they were brought before a judge, despite evident wounds from rubber pellets or bullets. The right of detainees to be examined by a doctor and receive medical treatment whenever necessary is a safeguard against torture and ill-treatment, and an integral part of the authorities’ duty to guarantee respect for the integrity and dignity of the individual.

Name: 243 people detained in Caracas
Gender m/f: both

UA: 119/14 Index: AMR 53/013/2014 Issue Date: 9 May 2014

Taken from this link

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.

Defiance: Opposition leader and prisoner of conscience Leopoldo Lopez's hearing suspended

"Freedom is indivisible and only fighting for it together can we conquer it. Freedom when it starts to disappear when it is most needed, and in Venezuela the lack of freedoms is a reality that affects millions of Venezuelans every day." -Leopoldo Lopez, May 1, 2014 Message to Workers


Over Leopoldo Lopez's twitter today the following message from this nonviolent opposition leader and prisoner of conscience was made public:
"Leopoldo arrived at courthouse. Hearing suspended by them. Now they are moving him back to Ramo Verde. Leopoldo before being transferred back to Ramo Verde was able to say a few words: "Today unjust justice hid itself. What does it fear? The truth? They know I should go free. I hope that will not delay Freedom of Simonovis. He should leave now! It is justice, he is not in good health."

Human Rights Watch has made the case that Leopoldo's detention is a judicial aberration, unfounded and the he should be free stating in their report:

López has been held in pretrial detention on a military base for more than two months despite the government’s failure to produce credible evidence that he committed any crime.
Below Human Rights Watch classifies the detention as a "judicial aberration" on May 5, 2014.

Repression Backlash: Push back on Rights Defender Rodrigo Diamanti's Arbitrary Arrest

"Sooner or later the international community will have to pronounce itself on the tragedy that we live." - Rodrigo Diamanti, over twitter March 23, 2014
Jailed human rights defender Rodrigo Diamanti on freedom of expression
Rodrigo Diamanti , president of the human rights organization, A World Without A Gag ( Un Mundo Sin Mordaza) arbitrarily detained yesterday remains in custody. Meanwhile the social networks and news outlets have extensively covered this arbitrary detention of an internationally recognized human rights defender that has served to place a focus on abuses in Venezuela. Below is Rodrigo in a press conference in September of 2013.


Repression: Nonviolent protester beaten by police hospitalized with internal injuries and handcuffed

Update on the plight of student at Catholic University in Tachira with internal injuries from police assault earlier this week.
Student protester Angelly Pernia badly beaten & cuffed to hospital bed
Angelly Pernia, a student at the Catholic University of Tachira was brutally beaten by Tachira police earlier this week and is suffering from internal bleeding and kidney damage as a result. Her father is also a political prisoner. The Venezuelan human rights organization, Provea, has cataloged her arrest as an arbitrary detention.  
  
Angelly is in delicate health, product of the beating by Venezuelan officials, and remains handcuffed to her hospital bed. In the video below she denounces being treated like a criminal and that she has been threatened. She fears for her safety.

Repression Backlash: Antonio Banderas says freedoms in Venezuela "are being steamrolled"

"Venezuelans, fight for your freedom and do not be enslaved" - Antonio Banderas, May 8, 2014

Supports protesters in Venezuela and restoring freedoms
Jared Leto and Kevin Spacey have both spoken out in support of Venezuelan democrats. Now another figure joins the ranks. Someone who had been perceived as a Chavez supporter. In November of 2013 the Spanish actor Antonio Banderas in an interview in CNN spoke of Chavez  breaking the corporate grip on power in Venezuela. Today in an interview with Berto Ortiz in Peru the Spanish actor spoke of the situation in Venezuela ( 10:00 - 12:09 ) distancing himself from the Chavez regime describing it as a populism: 
"more as a danger than as a solution because I continue believing in a real democracy..." I think the freedoms of Venezuelans are being steamrolled its what I really think. ..."the Government is curtailing freedom of expression." When asked what message he wanted to give to Venezuelans he said: "Venezuelans, fight for your freedom and do not be enslaved"
Full interview  with Berto Ortiz below:
 

Thursday, May 8, 2014

In Venezuela the resistance continues amid increasing solidarity and repression

"In cases of torture and cruel treatment equally guilty who executes as the one who silences. Who orders as the one who obeys." - Tamara Suju, human rights defender in Venezuela

Angelly Pernia badly beaten, suffering internal injuries jailed
Student badly beaten by police suffering internal bleeding and kidney damage 
Angelly Pernia, a student at the Catholic University of Tachira was brutally beaten by Tachira police and according to a law student whose twitter handle is MargioryA  is suffering from internal bleeding and kidney damage. In a handwritten letter circulating through twitter and later transcribed and scanned the following excerpt is taken about her health status and circumstances of her arrest:
"My health is weak I am beaten and bruised all over my body. Thanks to these blows I can not pee I can not walk upright my belly hurts like never before and also have a kidney infection due to severe cystitis. I want this letter to be made public to the world to know that in this country there is NO JUSTICE that although the Judge and Prosecutor could see me vomit, not be able to stand and declare with excruciating pain they found a precautionary measure very little preferring a detention measure..."
Human Rights Defender Detained in Venezuela
Rodrigo Diamanti , president of the human rights organization, A World Without A Gag ( Un Mundo Sin Mordaza), who denounced on May 2, 2014 the raid the previous day on his office was today detained in Venezuela. 
Rodrigo Diamanti holds up sign: "We are thirsty for justice"
Students to March in Protest of Assaults and Burning of University on May 8
Students announced on Wednesday May 7 at a press conference a march for this Thursday May 8 at 9:00am from Fermín Toro University  (UFT) to the Governorate. In their address students said they required the Government of Lara State Authority to investigate police repression exerted in the protest on Tuesday May 7 and their inaction as armed groups inveighed against the UFT on Monday May 5, 2014. Around 80 individuals entered this University and burned 30 percent of the facility, including the library, where 20 thousand graduate theses were filed, the cafeteria and computer labs. This event led to the repudiation of regional and national academic community and generated the call to this mobilization.
Students announce march in defense of University autonomy on May 8
 Solidarity video "I am Leopoldo" and preliminary hearing for Leopoldo Lopez on May 8
Tonight Leopoldo López Mendoza's wife, Lillian, over her husband's account tweeted a video made in solidarity for him that demonstrates that he is not alone. In a second tweet she informed that  "Tomorrow Leopoldo's preliminary hearing will be held. I'll be reporting what happens." Lillian asked to to RT and help to get the word out. Earlier today a group of students chained themselves to the Palace of Justice and among their demands were the release of 135 youth arrested for protesting in the streets, 78 of them are minors. They demanded an end to the persecution and torture of students.



Yesterday came across this new song dedicated to the student movement by the singer and song writer Yordano di Marzo titled Manifiesto.




The international media would have you believe that the protests in Venezuela are dying down but the rising repression and mass protests continue along with signs of solidarity in the culture and the causes for the protests persist. The students continue in the street in response and in defiance to government repression.

May 1, 2014 rally of the democratic resistance in Caracas, Venezuela
Students continue to be brutally assaulted by pro-government paramilitaries on university campuses and even their university buildings are being looted and burned down by agents of the Maduro regime. This regime's actions demonstrate its weakness and desperation. According to journalist Enver Conde Ferrer 18 universities in Venezuela have been attacked since February 4, 2014 with damage ranging from fires to destruction.

Pro-govt assailants beat a student at Central University of Venezuela on May1. AP

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

The Human Rights Situation in Venezuela: Video Testimony

Venezuelan Penal Forum: Whats happening in Venezuela? Violations of Human Rights.


Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International have both released worrying reports about the human rights situation in Venezuela. Amnesty International also has an online petition circulating addressed to Maduro. The above video is provided by a Venezuelan human rights organization the Venezuelan Penal Forum. Be prepared, some of the footage is disturbing.


Maduro regime agents loot and burn down university building: A New regime strategy in Venezuela?

  "We will take the streets against a government that represses & imprisons students." - Juan Requesens, student leader responding to government violence in Venezuela on May 6, 2014  

Fermin Toro University burned and looted by pro-government collectives last night

 First the Maduro regime in Venezuela arrested and harassed students who protested against insecurity on campus and when that failed to silence protests the Venezuelan government graduated to shooting, killing and torturing unarmed student protesters.

Youth detained in Venezuela for taking part in protests
 Disturbing pattern emerging of shooting unarmed demonstrators, or unarmed people in the vicinity of protests that fall into the age demographic of possible students, in the head. Out of the eight victims shot in the head only Filippo Sevillano, president of the Student Center at the University of Margarita (Unimar) survived and is still in a delicate situation and recovering. In addition to being shot in the head Filippo was also subjected to a campaign of slander by elected officials trying to place the blame on him for being shot in the head.

All unarmed and shot in the head in the vicinity of student protests by regime agents
The Maduro dictatorship again escalated sending Venezuelan state security (Sebin) to raid the homes of students and take them away to detention.

Regime officials searching for students
When that failed to end the protests this dictatorship took the next step which has been to send their agents to burn down university buildings. The infamous collectives (colectivos) looted Fermin Toro University stealing computers and televisions before setting the school building on fire on Monday night.


University building torched by pro-regime collectives

Despite all of this (or because of all this) students at the Catholic University of Andrés Bello in Caracas (UCAB) again took to the street yesterday in nonviolent protests only to be again attacked by pro-government agents who first threw rocks and "other objects" and when that failed to disperse demonstrators began to shoot at the unarmed protesters.  Police observed without interfering.

Human Rights Watch has produced a report that indicates that elements in the Maduro government are engaged in the systematic violation of human rights and that unarmed nonviolent protesters have been shot and killed by government agents.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Cuban and Venezuelan solidarity in the midst of crisis: A brief and incomplete summary

"To save freedom in Venezuela is do it in Cuba. Everyone to participate in this historic event. Neither Maduro nor Castro, we want freedom!" -  Jorge Luis García Pérez Antúnez, announcing from Cuba solidarity protests in support of Venezuelan Democratic Resistance on February 20, 2014 

Activists in Cuba protesting in support of Leopoldo López and Venezuela
Cubans have suffered under the grip of a totalitarian communist dictatorship imposed by the Castro brothers since 1959. They understand better than most what the stakes are for the democratic resistance in Venezuela. On August 25, 2013, Rosa Maria Payá Acevedo of the Christian Liberation Movement in an address to the Christian Democrats of the Americas placed the Venezuelan situation in a regional context:
"The Cuban government is not legitimate, as the Venezuelan government is not and will not be because presidents of the world shake hands with the impostors in power, it will be much less because they spearhead regional organizations like the CELAC, as is the case of the Cuban dictator, to the shame of Latin America. Legitimacy is delivered by the people at the polls, in free elections, in an atmosphere of respect and safety. We all know that's not what happened in April in Venezuela and we all know that has not occurred in Cuba for more than 60 years."

Christian Liberation Movement's logo in Venezuelan colors

 Both on the island and in exile there have been actions in solidarity with people of Venezuela struggling to be free. These are but a small sample there are many more examples:
On February 16, 2014 the Christian Liberation Movement tweeted: "Castro tyranny sends thugs to Venezuela, we send them the L of Liberation" and posted the above logo with Venezuelan colors.
On February 20, 2014 members of the internal Venezuelan resistance and their Cuban counterparts released a joint declaration of coordinated actions in their respective countries at a press conference held in Miami

On February 24, 2014 members of the Cuban exile and FIU communities gathered to hold a silent vigil for four victims of the 1996 Brothers to the Rescue shootdown and the students murdered since February 12, 2014 in Venezuela.

On February 28, 2014 the Christian Liberation Movement held a teach-in on "Cuba and Venezuela: Challenges for Democracy" with a prominent member of the Venezuela opposition in attendance on what should have been Oswaldo Payá Sardiñas's 62nd birthday.  

On March 14, 2014 Cuban exiles held a mass at the Our Lady of Charity (La Ermita) praying for liberty and justice in Venezuela.

On April 2, 2014 over twitter Oscar Elías Bicet posted photos of a march by Project Emilia activists in Cuba in support of imprisoned Venezuelan opposition leader Leopoldo López Mendoza, congresswoman Maria Corina Machado, and Venezuela.

On April 8, 2014 activists from Cuba, Ukraine and Venezuela signed a joint document for freedom and democracy at the Institute for Cuban and Cuban American Studies at the University of Miami.
 Over social networks, Cubans have been retweeting the posts of Venezuelan activists engaged in nonviolent resistance in their homeland. Furthermore, Cuban exiles have joined in solidarity with protest marches in South Florida. Below Aramis Perez, of the Cuban Democratic Directorate on February 22, 2014 at a massive rally in Doral, Florida took part in the protest to demonstrate his solidarity.

The Castro and Maduro regime's want to impose totalitarianism on the people of Venezuela and maintain it on the Cuban people and are using all the means at their disposal. At the same time the free peoples of Cuba and Venezuela are joining together in a struggle to free themselves of these two tyrants using nonviolent means. 

They need your solidarity.