[News] Venezuelan Opposition Mayor Jailed and Another Arrested as More Die in Violent Disturbances

Anti-Imperialist News news at freedomarchives.org
Fri Mar 21 11:53:53 EDT 2014

  Venezuelan Opposition Mayor Jailed and Another Arrested as More Die in
  Violent Disturbances


By Ewan Robertson

Mérida, 20^th March 2014 (Venezuelanalysis.com) -- One opposition mayor 
has been arrested and another jailed in relation to the street violence 
that has been occurring in their municipalities.

Last night the mayor of the San Diego municipality in Valencia city, 
Enzo Scarano, was jailed for ten and a half months and relieved of his 
duties as mayor.

Following an eight hour hearing, the sentence was ordered by the 
Venezuelan Supreme Court (TSJ) due to the mayor's failure to comply with 
a Supreme Court ruling ordering him to take down street barricades in 
the area under his jurisdiction. The local police chief was also jailed 
for the same reason.

The barricades have been erected by militant opposition activists in 
several of Venezuela's cities in an attempt to restrict the normal 
functioning of urban life and force the government's resignation. 
Authorities have argued that the barricades are unconstitutional, and 
point to a range of negative effects they have on public health, as well 
as the violence they generate.

Meanwhile the opposition mayor of San Cristobal, the capital of the 
Andean state of Tachira, was arrested by intelligence police in Caracas 
yesterday. The order for his arrest was emitted by a court in Tachira.

The mayor, Daniel Ceballos, had been previously accused of supporting 
and financing street barricades and other violent actions in the city. 
Outside of Caracas, San Cristobal has been one of the cities worst hit 
by the violent unrest.

Along with allegedly ignoring a Supreme Court ruling to act to dismantle 
barricades in his municipality, Ceballos is to be investigated for 
charges of rebellion and conspiracy.

According to a report in Venezuelan newspaper Últimas Noticias, both 
Scarano and Ceballos are being held in the Ramo Verde prison near 
Caracas. Contacts report them to be "physically fine" and that the men 
have spoken with their families.

Interior Affairs and Justice Minister, Miguel Rodriguez Torres, said 
yesterday that Ceballos' arrest was an "act of justice". He argued that 
Ceballos was, "A mayor who didn't just stop fulfilling his obligations 
under the law and the constitution, but also supported all of the 
irrational violence that was unleashed in the city of San Cristobal".

The opposition's Democratic Unity (MUD) coalition responded to the 
arrest by accusing the government of "continuing political persecution 
and arresting or---calling it by what it is---kidnapping the mayor of 
San Cristobal Daniel Ceballos".

The judicial moves come as the pro-government majority in the National 
Assembly requested that the Attorney General and Supreme Court launch an 
investigation into the alleged role of right-wing parliamentarian Maria 
Corinna Machado in the recent violence.

Unrest began in early February after hard-line opposition leaders 
Leopoldo Lopez and Maria Corinna Machado called on supporters to "light 
up the streets of Venezuela with struggle" as part of a strategy called 
"the exit". Peaceful opposition protests also occurred, drawing 
attention to problems of insecurity, persistent shortages, and high 

At least two more people have died in the on-going political violence in 
recent days.

On Tuesday night a municipal services worker, Francisco Rosendo Marín, 
was shot in the head while reportedly clearing a barricade from a street 
in Caracas. The pro-government mayor of Liberator municipality in 
Caracas, Jorge Rodriguez, said the act was caused by "terrorists" who 
would be "found".

There also are claims on social networks that the death was caused by an 
armed group on motorbikes.

Meanwhile, a National Guard (GNB) officer was shot and killed yesterday 
while his unit defended a university campus from attack by an alleged 
far-right group.

The GNB were posted to the campus of the National Experimental 
University of the Armed Forces (UNEFA) in San Cristobal, Tachira, after 
violent groups largely destroyed the facility on Tuesday.

According to the faculty's dean, the groups forced their way into the 
building and destroyed the library, offices, tech labs, computers, and 
university buses. "They destroyed everything, the damage was total, they 
left us with nothing," said Dean Vilmer Moron to state news agency AVN.

Authorities report that three people have been arrested in connection 
with the attack.

However, National Guard officer Jhon Castillo was shot dead during a 
fresh attack on the building yesterday. Police authorities have launched 
an investigation, and President Nicolas Maduro has condemned the incident.

"My condolences to [Castillo's] family and all of the FANB [armed 
forces] who are in the street defending the rights and peace of the 
people. I swear to you we will do justice," Maduro wrote.

On Wednesday morning Attorney General Luisa Ortega Diaz reported that 
according to authorities 31 people had died and 461 had been injured in 
the unrest.

Of the fatalities, 25 were civilians of different political affiliations 
and 6 were security or public officials. 318 of those wounded are 
civilians and 143 are from security forces.

Meanwhile of 1,854 people arrested since the unrest began, 121 are still 
being held in custody and 1,529 are on bail while their cases are 
investigated. Eight people have been sentenced for crimes related to the 
violence so far.

"We will do justice. It doesn't matter who has committed the crime, they 
will be sentenced and punished. The majority of the people demand peace, 
and there's a group that doesn't want this, which must be isolated," she 
argued during her weekly radio show.

Freedom Archives 522 Valencia Street San Francisco, CA 94110 415 
863.9977 www.freedomarchives.org
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