"Gentlemen, he who is here will go out tomorrow to find a better future." - Bassil Alejandro Dacosta, age 24 , over Facebook on February 11, 2014.
|Robert Redman and Bassil Alejandro Dacosta|
In memory of the students murdered by the Maduro regime I will be initiating a fast beginning at 7:00pm on February 11, 2015 and ending 24 hours later. At the same time will be following events in Venezuela and praying for Bassil Alejandro Dacosta and Robert Redman both shot in the head, hours apart, by regime agents on February 12, 2014. The body count would continues to rise, along with acts of torture and arbitrary detentions by government authorities and paramilitaries in their service.
How it all began
One year ago today the repression was escalating against Venezuela's students. Members of Venezuelan civil society issued an SOS to the international community warning of the criminalization of nonviolent protest. They reported that in localities of Táchira and Mérida there were prisoners and wounded.
The initial incident that sparked the student 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 protests. The 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 and it continues to rise.
Student leader Juan Requesens laid out on February 10, 2014 in a letter to the government the conditions for a dialogue with the government which focused on two areas: 1) release of students who had engaged in protests as is their constitutional rights and 2) For the government to stop accusing them of being "coup plotters" and "terrorists" for holding nonviolent demonstrations. These conditions were rejected by the Maduro regime.
On February 12, 2014 hundreds of thousands of students took to the streets across Venezuela and were met with deadly force by regime agents but despite this the protests continued.
The freedom of expression continues to deteriorate in Venezuela and members of the nonviolent opposition, such as democratic opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez, continue to be arbitrarily detained under a judicial process that is no longer impartial.