[News] Right-Wing Terrorism in Venezuela

Anti-Imperialist News news at freedomarchives.org
Wed May 31 13:05:38 EDT 2017


venezuelanalysis.com <https://venezuelanalysis.com/analysis/13163>


  Right-Wing Terrorism in Venezuela

By William Camacaro & Frederick B. Mills – COHA , May 30th 2017
------------------------------------------------------------------------

One May 20th, the 21 year old vendor from the shanty town of Petare, 
Orlando José Figueras 
<http://www.trtworld.com/americas/anti-maduro-protestors-set-man-on-fire-in-venezuela-361961>, 
was beaten, stabbed, doused with gasoline and set on fire by opposition 
militants in the middle class neighborhood of Altamira during an 
anti-government demonstration reportedly because they took him for a 
Chavista or a thief. This atrocity has sent tremors throughout the 
popular barrios and raised the profile of terrorism from the right in 
Venezuela. The horrific scene was captured on video 
<https://venezuelanalysis.com/news/13141> and by professional 
photographer, Marco Bello 
<http://www.reuters.com/article/us-venezuela-politics-image-idUSKBN18I2HF>, 
and described in testimonies of the victim 
<https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u7E_JFS62to&feature=youtu.be>and 
his parents <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-k_HgQNCKcA>. Other 
demonstrators at the scene reportedly urged the attackers not to kill 
Figueras as he pleaded for his life.  What happened to Figueras, who has 
lived to tell his story, is impossible to ignore, and it casts light on 
the hatred and savagery of some radical and extremist supporters of the 
opposition in Venezuela.

This hostility did not emerge overnight. An intensifying rhetoric aimed 
at vilifying and stigmatizing  all Chavistas, often mixed with racism 
and bigotry, has motivated a growing number of hate crimes 
<http://misionverdad.com/la-guerra-en-Venezuela/crimenes-de-odio-agresiones-y-asesinatos-de-chavistas> and 
assaults as well as the destruction of symbols of Chavismo. This 
destruction is manifest in recent vandalizing of government buildings 
<http://www.noticias24.com/venezuela/noticia/332045/atacan-sedes-de-barrio-adentro-y-mercal-en-los-teques/>; 
the Hospital Materno Infantil Hugo Chávez 
<https://actualidad.rt.com/actualidad/236480-venezuela-bandas-armadas-atacan-hospital> (Hugo 
Chavez Maternity Hospital); a fleet of buses 
<https://informe21.com/actualidad/quemaron-51-autobuses-de-transbolivar-en-ciudad-guayana-este-22may-fotos>, 
and the humble house of a Chavista artisan 
<http://www.laiguana.tv/articulos/56791-el-paramo-quemar-casa-chavista> in 
the state of Merida. There have even been a number of cases recently 
where Chavistas, their family members, and perceived sympathizers have 
been harassed by opposition supporters in the U.S 
<https://www.ensartaos.com.ve/es/2017/05/18/policia-de-nueva-york-arresta-venezolano-que-ataco-mision-en-la-onu>., 
Italy <http://www.lechuguinos.com/oliver-stone-opositores-agreden/>, 
Spain 
<http://www.hispantv.com/noticias/venezuela/341307/violentos-opositores-agreden-chavista-partidario-maduro>, 
and Australia 
<https://actualidad.rt.com/actualidad/238746-australia-detienen-venezolanos-intentaron-agredir>.

Since some of the anti-government violence and road blocks occur in 
opposition governed municipalities, in too many cases with impunity, 
eight mayors 
<http://www.eluniversal.com/noticias/politica/tsj-ordena-ocho-alcaldes-desautorizar-protestas-sus-municipios_654155> have 
been served notice by Venezuela’s Supreme Court to restore order in 
accord with their legal obligations. There is also growing pressure on a 
reluctant Attorney General 
<http://misionverdad.com/la-guerra-en-venezuela/a-que-no-se-refirio-la-fiscal-luisa-ortega-diaz>, 
Luisa Ortega Díaz, whose allegiance 
<https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=fvqDaJbpY4M&ebc=ANyPxKqakUPXlh2vQveDz5sdW5NV4GVFuZe9VA7jdHcvSVWBUVcKmjVeO4Lg2mKhzgL5jNAlBsLeGzu1VZ4QHGLfFIiQwsJ7mw> to 
the government appears to be wavering, to vigorously investigate, and 
where appropriate prosecute, all of these crimes.

Despite the political polarization that has gripped Venezuela, hatred 
and violence does not garner broad support in this Bolivarian Republic. 
According to an April 2017 Hinterlaces poll 
<https://es.scribd.com/document/346935915/Monitor-Pais-al-17-Abril-2017-Protestas-Violentas#from_embed>, 
80% of Venezuelans are “in disagreement” with the violent demonstrations 
and /guarimbas/ [street disturbances] as instruments of protest. Most 
Venezuelans want peace and support talks between the opposition and the 
government.

/Generalizing about either the opposition or Chavismo will inevitably 
distort the complex political landscape in Venezuela./ The opposition to 
the Maduro administration includes a diversity of political 
orientations, from extreme right to social democrat and many of the 
opposition parties come under the umbrella of the United Democratic 
Roundtable (MUD). There are also a number of dissident groups on the 
left, including ones that consider themselves Chavista, but unlike the 
MUD, none of those groups are appealing for U.S. intervention to advance 
their agendas.

Most anti-government demonstrators are expressing their dissent 
peacefully and have legitimate concerns and demands. Many in the 
opposition argue that the government is undemocratic and corrupt, and 
that the security forces repress lawful protest. The Maduro 
administration argues that it is fighting corruption; that there is a 
U.S. backed coup underway in Venezuela; and that security forces are 
dealing not only with lawful demonstrations, but also with various 
levels of anti-government violence, including hate crimes, sabotage, 
barricades, destruction of property, sniper fire, and armed attacks on 
police and Bolivarian National Guard (GNB), some of which have been 
lethal. In the midst of these challenges, Chavistas are still able to 
mobilize <https://venezuelanalysis.com/analysis/13143>sizable 
/peaceful/ demonstrations, such as the ones on Venezuelan Independence 
Day 
<http://www.telesurtv.net/multimedia/Pueblo-revolucionario-y-derecha-marchan-en-historica-jornada-en-la-ciudad-de-Caracas-20170419-0034.html> (April 
19), and on May 1 
<https://duckduckgo.com/?q=1+mayo+movilizacion+venezuela+telesur&ia=videos&iax=1&iai=G8GniQWSBM4>, 
to defend national sovereignty and the Bolivarian project.

Some of those in the front lines of anti-government street disturbances 
are minors 
<http://www.telesurtv.net/news/Venezuela-denuncia-en-Unicef-el-uso-de-ninos-en-protestas-20170525-0072.htm>, 
equipped with expensive gas masks and helmets, shields, and at times, 
Molotov cocktails and homemade weapons. In some middle class 
municipalities governed by MUD politicians, there is growing impatience 
among residents 
<https://www.caracaschronicles.com/2017/05/23/overcoming-guarimba-instinct/> for 
having to suffer the indignity of being ruled by masked children and 
youth, while oftentimes police look the other way. In such communities 
these one time “heroes of the resistance” have worn out their welcome. 
The government has described these children 
<http://misionverdad.com/la-guerra-en-venezuela/de-escudos-humanos-a-pichones-de-terroristas-el-uso-de-ninos-en-las-guarimbas> as 
victims and delivered a report to UNICEF 
<http://www.panorama.com.ve/politicayeconomia/Venezuela-denuncia-ante-Unicef-uso-de-ninos-en-acciones-violentas-de-oposicion-20170525-0137.html>on 
May 25th documenting violations of the laws that protect children 
<http://policiadearagua.gob.ve/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/LOPNNA.pdf> from 
exploitation.

Government officials in Venezuela reported the arrests of six 
paramilitaries from Colombia 
<http://www.eltiempo.com/mundo/latinoamerica/paramilitares-colombianos-detenidos-en-venezuela-89160> in 
the state of Tachira last week, who are allegedly contracted by radical 
right-wing opponents of the government. These claims deserve some 
serious investigation by an independent body rather than being 
derisively dismissed as unworthy of consideration. This is critically 
important because these ultra right-wing elements arguably aim at 
terrorizing the general population, exacerbating the economic crisis, 
and ultimately creating sufficient chaos in Venezuela so as to 
legitimate a so called “humanitarian” 
<https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fKW9DEgehs4> intervention by the United 
States. If this is the case, the Venezuelan people ought to be 
commended, even at this late date, for not releasing the dogs of war on 
a large scale. Venezuelans want peace.

Venezuela Analysis <https://venezuelanalysis.com/news/13141> (VA) keeps 
track, on a daily basis <https://venezuelanalysis.com/analysis/13081>, 
of the causes of recent deaths in Venezuela.  In a recent summary, VA 
reports:

“The latest killing brings the death toll in seven weeks of 
anti-government protests to at least 55 
<https://venezuelanalysis.com/analysis/13081>, including eight confirmed 
deaths at the hands of authorities and eighteen people killed by 
opposition violence. The Public Prosecution has confirmed that at 
least 972 
<http://www.mp.gob.ve/c/document_library/get_file?uuid=e8595d5a-f5b3-44dc-b6bf-02b6f593f26f&groupId=10136> people 
have been injured in the unrest to date.

The protests have likewise seen widespread attacks on public and private 
property, including 115 businesses looted nationwide, reports Últimas 
Noticias 
<http://www.ultimasnoticias.com.ve/noticias/destacados/informe-39-personas-no-relacionadas-protestas-murieron-abril-mayo-2017/>.

In the latest incident of public property destruction, Bolivar state 
Governor Francisco Rangel Gomez has confirmed that 54 public-operated 
TransBolivar buses were set on fire early Monday morning, leaving 51 of 
the units totally destroyed.” (Lucas Koerner, May 22, 2017; see update 
<https://venezuelanalysis.com/analysis/13081>)

All such violence and killings, incontestably,  ought to draw 
indignation. A number of police and GNB 
<https://venezuelanalysis.com/news/13151> personnel have been arrested 
and charged with crimes by Venezuelan authorities for violations of 
human rights, including homicide. These abuses are widely reported as 
should /all/ violations of human rights, including those caused by 
opposition political violence.

With regard to the MUD’s bid to enter popular barrios to recruit for 
their cause, The MUD is not likely to get significant traction.  Despite 
the severe economic crisis, which has been exacerbated by an economic 
war 
<http://www.15yultimo.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/THE-VISIBLE-HAND-OF-THE-MARKET.-ECONOMIC-WARFARE-IN-VENEZUELA.-PASQUALINA-CURCIO-C.pdf> reminiscent 
of the tactics used to bring down Salvador Allende 
<https://duckduckgo.com/?q=battle+chile+youtube&ia=videos&iax=1&iai=GGJbrn_42jA>, 
Chavistas and most social movements have not jumped on the MUD train and 
have defended their neighborhoods 
<http://www.telesurtv.net/english/opinion/Why-Are-There-No-Riots-in-the-Barrios-of-Venezuela-20170511-0014.html> from 
the entrance of opposition militants. The image of Figueras on fire; the 
assassination of the young Chavista legislator Robert Serra 
<http://www.coha.org/aftermath-of-the-assassinations-of-robert-serra-and-maria-herrera/> and 
his wife (October 2014); and the historic memory of the Caracazo 
<https://venezuelanalysis.com/analysis/11868> (February 1989) are all 
vivid reminders of the fate that could await Chavistas under a MUD 
“transition” <https://www.aporrea.org/ddhh/n309041.html>.

Hate crimes, and the terrorist violence of paramilitaries and the ultra 
right, as well as the presence of so many children 
<https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WcC5lc6IJkU>in the ranks of opposition 
militants at the barricades, is not just a problem for Venezuelans; it 
could soon pose a political problem for Washington and its allies in the 
OAS, which justify their blatant interventionism in the name of human 
rights <https://usun.state.gov/remarks/7805> and democratic values. As 
Patricio Zamorano 
<http://www.coha.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/OAS-Zamorano-Mills.pdf> points 
out, Secretary Luis Almagro’s extreme partisanship on behalf of the 
Venezuelan opposition has not only (deliberately or not)  given the 
green light to hard liners within the opposition camp;  it has also 
undermined talks being promoted by Pope Francis. Almagro now has the 
infamous distinction in the region of severely damaging the 
institutional legitimacy of the OAS in order to do Washington’s bidding.

The State Department views Venezuela as an obstacle to the 
rehabilitation of United States hegemony in the region and it sees the 
OAS as an instrument for imposing its agenda. There is no mystery over 
this. In an unusual display of candor,  the State Department, in 
its Congressional Budget Justification 
<https://www.state.gov/documents/organization/271013.pdf> for FY 2018, 
states:

“The Organization of American States (OAS) promotes U.S. political and 
economic interests in the Western Hemisphere by countering the influence 
of anti-U.S. countries such as Venezuela and by promoting free and fair 
elections and building international support for the peace accord in 
Colombia and rebuilding efforts in Haiti.“ (p. 180)

The OAS ought to take issue with such a statement and insist that the 
organization should be promoting the “political and economic interests” 
of all the member states in the spirit of new regional organizations 
that have worked overtime to buttress the region against an excess of 
U.S. manipulation.

Such manipulation and meddling is obvious in the case of Venezuela. 
Obama’s executive order 
<https://obamawhitehouse.archives.gov/the-press-office/2015/03/09/fact-sheet-venezuela-executive-order> declaring 
Venezuela an “unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security 
and foreign policy of the United States”; targeted sanctions against the 
government; funding 
<http://www.telesurtv.net/english/news/US-Has-Budgeted-49M-for-Venezuelan-Right-Wing-Since-2009-20170517-0018.html> for 
opposition organizations; as well as recent meetings between opposition 
leaders 
<http://venezuela.liveuamap.com/en/2017/6-may-national-security-advisor-mcmaster-met-with-venezuela> and 
U.S. officials; have provided the opposition with the confidence to stay 
the course for nothing less than regime change /without delay/. 
  Ironically, the MUD rejects the regional elections 
<http://www.ultimasnoticias.com.ve/noticias/politica/mud-marcha-hoy-rechazo-elecciones-regionales/> scheduled 
for December 10, 2017 for which it previously had been clamoring; 
repudiates the constituent assembly process; demands the release of 
“political prisoners”; and refuses talks with the Maduro administration 
mediated by Pope Francis 
<http://www.telesurtv.net/english/news/Pope-Francis-Tells-Venezuela-Bishops-to-Support-Dialogue-and-Denounce-Violence-20170507-0023.html> and 
supported by the UN 
<http://globovision.com/article/secretario-general-de-la-onu-mantiene-contacto-con-mediadores-sobre-situacion-en-venezuela>, CARICOM 
<https://videos.telesurtv.net/video/660047/caricom-apoya-el-dialogo-en-venezuela-y-pide-la-no-injerencia/> and 
other regional partners, as well as the majority of Venezuelans.

It is urgently important to condemn not only abuses by security forces, 
but also the selective assassinations and hate crimes against Chavistas. 
  The MUD leadership’s failure so far to denounce all terrorist violence 
and to completely repudiate the use of children at the barricades, as 
well as the continued reluctance of some opposition mayors to act to 
restore public order in their municipalities, is not consistent with a 
principled stand on human rights.  Although so far anti-government 
violence is limited to a few parts of the country, attempts at plunging 
this South American nation into chaos in order to justify foreign 
intervention ought to set off alarm bells for all progressive forces.

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