Saturday, July 29, 2017

All eyes on Venezuela: Maduro regime pushing to consolidate dictatorship

"There may be times when we are powerless to prevent injustice, but there must never be a time when we fail to protest." - Elie Wiesel, Nobel Lecture 1986

Venezuela today
Venezuela is a dictatorship and has been one for sometime. What is taking place now with escalating regime violence ( over 100 dead in nonviolent protests) and the centralization of power in the executive is the consolidation of the dictatorship. Democracy and the rule of law departed some time ago. The Venezuelan Education-Action Program on Human Rights [Programa Venezolano de Educación-Acción en Derechos Humanos] PROVEA over twitter on October 23, 2016 stated it plainly: "It is not a time of silence or inhibitions, but of defending the Constitution and democracy against the dictatorial and authoritarian outburst."
Venezuela's most important human rights organization, PROVEA, on October 23, 2016 declared that the Maduro government had broken with the Constitutional order and from October 20, 2016 on could be considered a full blown dictatorship. Below is PROVEA's reasoning.
The Venezuelan Education-Action Program on Human Rights (PROVEA) is an organization that has gained respectability for its 28 years of existence due to the credibility of its analyzes and denunciations. With the seriousness and responsibility that characterizes us, we share the following position to public opinion: Following the illegal suspension of the process of the realization of the recall referendum, ratifying the absence of independence of the powers in the country, the government of Nicholas Maduro should be described as a dictatorship. We are not in the presence of simple delays of the process, but of the interruption and obstruction of any electoral process as long as the government can not obtain favorable results in the polls.
 Venezuela is in agony and on the brink of completing its transition into a full blown totalitarian dictatorship. On Sunday July 30, 2017 the Maduro regime will conduct a sham vote to empower a pro-Maduro body with the power to eliminate the legislative assembly dominated by the opposition.
Violence is escalating, and Maduro's repressive forces are kidnapping elected officials who do not support the regime. In the above tweet Gabriel Lugo,  a Venezuelan human rights defender, reports: "The dictatorhip has kidnapped Mayor Alfredo A Ramos and he is being held at the headquarters of the SEBIN (Maduro's secret police) on 60th street after being detained in the Municipal Palace." Peaceful demonstrators continue to be killed by the Bolivarian National Guard and Cuban trained colectivos.

Gustavo Villamizar, 18years old, a victim of the Maduro regime
The opposition has mobilized millions in the streets of Venezuela to protest these moves by Maduro and over seven million Venezuelans voted on July 16, 2017 in a non-binding plebiscite rejecting Constituent Assembly of the Maduro regime. A general strike has been carried out and despite regime violence people are still taking to the streets in protest.

Venezuelans nonviolently resist, their rebelliousness visible throughout the country
Wuilly Moisés Arteaga is a Venezuelan singer, pianist, violinist, composer and victim of the Maduro regime who in early May 2017 grabbed the attention of the international media as he played the Venezuelan national anthem in the midst of tear gas and protests. This past Saturday he was told to be quiet and was struck in the face with a projectile by an agent of the Maduro regime, but he refused to remain silent and with his face swollen and disfigured he defied the dictatorship stating " NEITHER BUCKSHOT NOR GLASS PROJECTILES will stop us from continuing to fight until we achieve the INDEPENDENCE OF VENEZUELA. I'm going back to the Streets tomorrow."
Wuilly returned to the streets and was arbitrarily detained on Thursday, July 27, 2017. The Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation reported on July 28, 2017: "Today, Wuilly has been tortured. According to his lawyer, his hair has been burned and he has been beaten so that he cannot hear through his right ear." This is a matter of great concern because he is still healing from the injuries suffered at the hands of Maduro's repressive forces last Saturday. The Maduro regime has outlawed public protests in the lead up to the "vote" they have announced they are going to hold on Sunday.

Venezuela has been a dictatorship for a while now. Maduro and his Cuban allies are cementing the mortar that will maintain it for a long time to come. Venezuelans are right to protest while their cage is being built that if completed, like the Cuban one, can last a very long time.

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