[News] Head of Venezuela’s Barricades Arrested

Anti-Imperialist News news at freedomarchives.org
Thu May 1 11:03:14 EDT 2014

  Head of Venezuela’s Barricades Arrested


By Ryan Mallett-Outtrim

Merida, 30^th April 2014 (Venezuelanalysis.com) – A key organiser of the 
Venezuelan opposition’s barricade groups, and a suspect in the shooting 
of a prominent revolutionary figure have been arrested in separate 
incidents, according to authorities.

President Nicolas Maduro stated that weapons had been seized during the 
first arrest, and accused the unnamed organiser dubbed /El Aviado/” (the 
Aviator) of “seeking an armed insurrection against Venezuelan democracy”.

“48 hours ago we captured one of the brains of the barricader 
insurrection ... [that aimed to] overthrow the government during the 
months of February, March and April,” Maduro stated yesterday.

The president indicated that the organiser is cooperating with 
authorities. “[/El Aviador] /is talking, and is saying everything,” he 

“He was paying the snipers who killed National Guards (GNB)...and 
wounded I don’t know how many hundreds of Venezuelans, “he said.

At least 41 people have been killed and hundreds wounded in political 
violence since opposition barricades spread to around six of Venezuela’s 
major cities in February.

“They wanted to create a civil war. But here, there was no civil war, 
there was no coup nor will there be a coup,” Maduro stated.

In a separate announcement, interior minister Miguel Rodriguez Torres 
stated that a different unidentified individual has been arrested in 
connection to the shooting and death of the president of the municipal 
council of Caracas’s Libertador municipality, Eliecer Otaiza. The body 
of the prominent /Chavista/ figure and former intelligence chief was 
found riddled with bullets on Saturday on the outskirts of Caracas 

According to Rodriguez, Otaiza was murdered under “very strange 
circumstances” after his vehicle was stopped by an armed group.

“[The vehicle] was approached by several armed individuals, they stopped 
the vehicle, beat him savagely and then abandoned it”.

Otaiza attempted to fight his assailants, but was shot four times, 
according to Rodriguez. He also stated that police believe they may have 
already identified the other assailants.

The minister stated Otaiza had been “executed”, but didn’t give any 
indication of a possible motive. However, yesterday Maduro said that 
opponents of the government could be behind the killing.

“Let's not forget the context of the last few months,” Maduro stated. 
“There's no such thing as a casual coincidence,” he said.

A funeral service was held for Otaiza earlier today.

*More Arrests*

A further ten people have been charged in relation to opposition 
protests over the weekend, a lawyer for the prison monitor /Foro Penal/ 
has stated, according to Ultimas Noticias 

Members of the group face charges including incitement and conspiracy, 
according to the head of the Foundation for Due Process, Jackeline de 
Guevara. One individual also faces charges related to the possession of 
explosives, according to Guevara.

The arrestees were among more than 20 people who were detained by 
authorities in Caracas on Saturday, amid fresh clashes between security 
forces and violent anti-government groups.

According to Rodriguez, clashes began when small groups attempted to 
erect barricades in some parts of Caracas, after thousands of opposition 
supporters marched peacefully through the city. Security forces 
reportedly used tear gas to disperse the violent groups, which fought 
back with molotov cocktails.

One group also attacked GNB troops. According to Rodriguez, some of the 
detainees were captured after they tried to escape authorities through 
private housing.

“They [anti-government groups] would climb into houses, invading the 
privacy of people, their homes; but the same people in the neighbourhood 
facilitated the capture of these terrorists,” he said.

The minister stated that some locals “grabbed these people and gave them 
to the National Guard”.

Eight minors were among the detainees. Rodriguez accused opposition 
groups of “manipulating” the juveniles into being “used as mules to go 
unnoticed by the police”.

“In their backpacks, instead of carrying notebooks, they were carrying 
petrol bombs, nails, improvised caltrops, and explosives used by the 
terrorists,” Rodriguez stated.

“Parents must be alert, they should know that social networks are 
calling children to commit violent acts,” he stated.

According to authorities, all minors detained on Saturday have since 
been released. On Tuesday, Attorney General Luisa Ortega Diaz stated 
that no minors are currently being held by Venezuelan authorities.

“There are teens who were arrested on suspicion of committing crimes, 
and we are investigating these crimes, but the minors have been 
released. No juvenile is being detained,” Ortega stated.

The attorney general also stated that her office has received 145 
allegations of human rights abuses against security forces. The latest 
response by the government to accusations of human rights violations has 
been the arrest of new suspects in connection to the death of student 
protester Geraldine Moreno.

Moreno was allegedly shot dead by GNB personnel 
<http://venezuelanalysis.com/news/10401> in February. Three arrest 
warrants have been issued in connection to the shooting, Ortega stated.

The attorney general pledged to ensure all potential cases of human 
rights abuses are investigated, but warned protesters that the 
government will continue to take action against violent groups.

“The state has had to act against [violent demonstrations] that threaten 
stability, and are against life and peace,” Ortega stated.

Throughout the week security forces have continued to dismantle 
barricades in hotspots nationwide, including in the capital and the 
Andean states.

Authorities have begun large scale operations to remove barricades in 
the east of Caracas, while the barricade hotbed of Merida city has 
already been mostly cleared of barricades. Last week hundreds of 
volunteers joined security forces in a citywide offensive 
<http://venezuelanalysis.com/news/10643> to clear Merida’s main roads of 
fortified barricades. Today soldiers continued to patrol some parts of 
the city, and the street cleaning operation is still underway.

However, authorities in Tachira state have warned that anti-government 
groups are continuing hit-and-run attacks, after nine public buses were 
torched in the state on Tuesday, according to General Vladimir Padrino. 
A vehicle belonging to the GNB was also torched in Baruta, Caracas on 
Tuesday, according to government sources.

Rodriguez said that authorities will “continue working permanently” to 
counter political violence.

“There is a small radical group, a minority, still trying to create 
chaos [and] violence. But today, we tell Venezuelans ... that we have 
absolutely defeated these groups,” he stated.

“The only option is to take the path of peace, coexistence,” Rodriguez 

However, the wife of detained far right-wing figure Leopoldo Lopez has 
issued new calls for protests. The opposition’s demonstrations have 
waned in recent weeks, with smaller turnouts than in February. However, 
Lilian Tintori stated that “political change is coming”.

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