[News] Venezuela's Political Killings: A Sign of the Repression to Come?

Anti-Imperialist News news at freedomarchives.org
Mon Apr 4 17:11:15 EDT 2016

*Venezuela's Political Killings: A Sign of the Repression to Come?*

By Ryan Mallett-Outtrim – Venezuelanalysis.com , April 4th 2016

A mayor gunned down in a drive by shooting just meters from his own 
doorstep. A legislator shot by paramilitaries in plain sight outside a 
bodega. A solidarity activist butchered in a home invasion. Two police 
run over by militants in a stolen bus. These are just the latest in a 
wave of killings in Venezuela. The motives behind most of these killings 
remain unclear, though it's hard to not be disturbed by what appears to 
be a growing wave of political violence gripping the country. In 
response, Venezuela's right-wing, the mass media and even most human 
rights groups are all following a well worn script that seeks to 
downplay these killings, or at least deflect attention away from the 
context behind the violence. For example, Human Rights Watch's latest 
report on Venezuela is basically just a call for Venezuela's supreme 
court to be stacked with supporters of the right-wing political 
coalition, the MUD. Another of their recent reports focused on claims 
imprisoned that right-wing political figure Leopoldo Lopez didn't 
receive a fair trial. Their third most recent report (at the time of 
writing) was another complaint about the Maduro administration's human 
rights record, including false claims that “security forces violently 
cracked down on largely peaceful protests” in 2014. As I saw myself at 
the time, those suppressed “largely peaceful protests” included gangs of 
armed right-wing militants throwing Molotovs at hospitals, sniping at 
civilians from rooftops and setting up barricades to hold neighbourhoods 
hostage. Then and now, Venezuela is increasingly becoming a dangerous 
place for leftists.

Indeed, all the recent victims were either leftists, or police seeking 
to contain violent right-wing demonstrations. The latest victim was 
Marco Tulio Carrillo, the socialist mayor of a municipality in Trujillo 
state. Other victims include Haitian-Venezuelan solidarity activist 
Fritz Saint Louis, Tupamaro legislator Cesar Vera, and two police 
officers in Tachira state.

These killings take on a new dimension when contextualised: the 
right-wing MUD is preparing to oust Maduro, and wrestle control of all 
branches of the state from the left.

If they achieve this, the worst case scenario would be a return to the 
repression of the 20th Century, when leftists were all too often the 
targets of neoliberal regimes. Today's right-wing has repeatedly shown 
it not only has no interest in disavowing violence, but is willing to 
turn on the Venezuelan people for their own political gain. From the 
2002 coup to the violence of 2014, there has always been a sector of the 
right-wing that has never been afraid to use terror against ordinary 
Venezuelans. If it takes complete power, perhaps the MUD will learn to 
speak out against violence such as the recent killings, or perhaps not. 
After all, much of the MUD is generally slow to condemn violence against 
leftists, if they do so at all. So if they take complete power, will the 
right reign in their excesses, or rule with terror?
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