Tag Archives: students

… no hay quinto malo.

Recopilación realizada por Guaritoto González

Ahora prima la voluntad sobre las esperanzas y las creencias…
Henry Casalta Contreras

¿Cómo puedo saber si soy “Pueblo” o no? Ronald Rivas Casallas

El pueblo no puede ser reducido a su mínima expresión,
Fiscal General Luisa Ortega Díaz.

Aristúblo gordo: la Revolución hace “milagros” Mary Carmen Vieira

Defendernos del defensor. Claudia González Avendaño

En que mundo vive Tarek William Saab? Pachy Sarmiento-Bull

No sólo es que Chávez ya no vive, sino que muere un poquito más todos los días. Hernan Jabes

Dicen que se oyen cacerolazos de ultratumba. ¿Dónde? En el CDLM. Fernando Nunez-Noda

Bergolio, ¿La política o el vedetismo? Aclárate. Patricia Roncayolo

Al Papa le preocupa ser manipulado políticamente. Que los venezolanos sean asesinados parece ser secundario en el Vaticano. Sin embargo, a la hora de la foto, Francisco siempre sale a la izquierda de Dios Padre. Luis Yslas Prado

El TSJ hizo pública este jueves otra sentencia que legitima el apartheid y confirma que el Metro de Caracas dejó de ser un servicio público para ser propiedad del PSUV. Naky Soto Parra

Los verdaderos “duros” están detrás de Luisa Ortega. Nicolás pisó el peine de la ANC y se lo van a raspar.
Salvación del chavismo. Adriana Morreo

No intento convencer a nadie sobre motivos de la fiscal, pero sí creo prudente llamar a reflexión y cautela. Jaime Castañé

Cilia Flores debe andar detrás de algunos que reeligieron a Ortega Díaz con el clásico macán del “Yo se los dije”.
Elizabeth Fuentes

Cuántos muertos de aquí a allá? Cuántos el día del Referéndum inventado? Buscar legitimidad cuando estamos en legítima defensa? Son Idiotas! Cesar Oropeza

El chavismo siempre, siempre, ha tenido cinco puntos cardinales: Norte, Sur, Este, Oeste y La Habana… Gonzalo Tovar

Ser un dictador tiene sus ventajas… Puedes, por ejemplo, inventarte un punto cardinal extra y asumir campantemente y en cadena nacional que son cinco… Como la 5ta república, como la 5ta paila (vaya algunas ideas para Misión Verdad)
Si alguien te corrige, puedes inventarte que son diez… porque nada como un chistecito de macho gaitero para echarle tierrita a tu ignorancia y a tus cagadas. Ana Chin A Loy

Bonuscrack

… los cinco puntos cardinales! Freddy Guevara

UN PAÍS POR PEDACITOS y con hambre!

Recopilación realizada por: Guaritoto González
Mayo 25, 2016

*…porque la PAZ no es un decreto de excepción ni de conmoción interna. La paz es la PAZ. Cristina Müller

*”Venezuela es punta de lanza en el respeto a los derechos humanos” cita textual… Miguel Noya

*”El mejor Dialogo Nacional es el electoral” … leído por ahí. Paul Atreides Rodríguez

*Estamos claros que si no vamos a revocatorio, no vamos a ir a elecciones mas nunca? Ah, bueno, ok! Lupe Maes

*Vamos a dialogar! Vamos a traer una gente de afuera para que sea mediador en este compartir. Les pagamos todos sus gastos, les damos unas buenas papas, los paseamos, un hotelacho 5 estrellas y unas putas. Perdón… Las putas somos nosotros. Y mal pagadas. Anacaona Gutiérrez

*El diálogo es para acordar. Ya los venezolanos acordamos y nos dimos la Constitución del 99. No hay nada que conversar. Rita Salerno Sánchez

*¿Ruptura del orden constitucional? Ello ocurrió en 1999 y muy pocos lo denunciaron. Llevamos 17 años desde el funeral del Estado de Derecho. José Román Duque

*Hay que llamar a cada país que piensa votar a favor de Maduro en la OEA y preguntarle si aguantaría la migración masiva de venezolanos. Luis Carlos Díaz Vázquez

*“Yo creo que la única conmoción aquí es el mal desempeño del Presidente, ayer lo escuche y sentí lástima por él, por su gran capacidad de nombrarme constantemente en sus cadenas y refiriéndose a mí como un error en la historia, le digo que los errores en la historia se pueden corregir pero los errores de la naturaleza no” Ramos Allup, citado por Saúl Santiago

*Maduro dice que el ‪‎6D‬ “se distrajeron”. Lo que queda claro es que sigue sin prestar la menor atención. Nacho Suárez

*Nicolás dice: La mujer venezolana me consiente. Tengo 4 horas en una cola, qué venga para consentirlo. Claudia González Avendaño

*Cuando Maduro se muera, van a tener que echar gas lacrimógeno para que la gente llore. (Visto en un meme) Fran Monroy Moret

*Una persona mediáticamente insoportable, grosera, arrogante, incoherente, altanera… No, no hablo de Chávez, hablo de Trump. Catire Torres

*esta vaina es tan mala que ni Chávez se merece que lo llamen Chavismo. esto es peor y se llama [MADURISMO] Kiki Pertiñez Heidenreich

*-se habla del ‘post chavismo’ pero qué es?
-el chavismo sin dinero. Yolanda Pantin

*”Las murallas del socialismo del siglo XXI se están cuarteando…” Víctor Maldonado citado por Marian Lanz

*Más allá de lo esperpéntico, hoy vimos, atónitos, la transformación de la FAN en un ejército irregular amenazando a la población civil.
Erik Del Bufalo

*Cuando veo los ensayos de guerra, pido a Dios que nunca suceda, porque si en paz estamos así, no quiero ni imaginar en conflicto.
Laureano Márquez

*Hambre de todo alimento. Claudia Chacón

*TESTIMONIO: en mi fila en el cajero y sin duda en esa espera, uno jurunga a la gente sobre la situación y una señora muy grata me dijo “En estos últimos tres días sólo le he podido dar un huevo salcochado con fideo a mis dos hijas y yo sin poder comer aún. Al fin un familiar me prestó un dinerito y ahora veré qué consigo para comprar” Sólo diré, desgarrador. Ernesto Marcano Requena

*La caja de cerveza en 12 mil BsF!!! Los vikingos sabrán lo que es estar sobrio y el ratón revolucionario continuará? Alejandro Solo

*Mientras Pérez Abad grita por un lado que Polar conspira bajando producción, por otro lado el gobierno sube un montón de precios a la calladita. Rodolfo A. Rico

*Mientras tanto 12 apagones por día me ayudan a mantenernos en vela por las casi 15 noches sin dormir, para mantener una vigilancia vecinal y no ser la víctima numero 11 de estas dos semanas en mi Urbanización “privada” de 22 casas…
P.D: Ya le compro a los bachaqueros “mis vecinos panas” Jibél Rojas

*Me dijo una chama: “desde que tengo uso de razón, está a punto de explotar el peo. Y no explota!” Cesar Oropeza

BonusCrack
Una vez, cuando era pasante en un periódico local en la sección de tribuna popular, una mujer vino porque Corpoelec le había cortado la electricidad luego de siete años sin pagar. “Debieron advertirme, por lo menos”, me dijo. A veces me pregunto si esto es nuestra factura por dar por sentado tantas cosas. José Eduardo González Vargas

Who is the destructive and degenerate?

By César Yegres B.

InfoVnzla.com- June 1, 2014

A few days ago, the Head of State of a rich Caribbean nation met with “university leaders” who identify themselves with his government. At that meeting, the president, who must be an example of righteousness and morality, called the opposition student movement in his country with such terms as “destructive” and “degenerate”.

The vocabulary to describe this young students, who think differently from him and are just protesting to defend their rights, was so poor, that I had to look in the dictionary the meaning of both words to learn if they have another one else that I don’t know.

According to the dictionary, “destructive” is an adjective meaning “that destroys or has power to destroy”. While “degenerate”, also an adjective, is “that of a person with an abnormal mental condition or moral depravity”.

After reading both meanings several questions arose. Who has destroyed the economy of a country in a year in government? Who has destroyed the currency in less than a year (500% devaluation)? Who has destroyed many families through so many human rights violations committed against defenseless citizens? Who has destroyed tourism in that nation with a billion-dollar debt with the airlines? Who has destroyed the productive system to the extent that its citizens have to line up for hours to buy milk, sugar, flour, cooking oil, etc.? Who has destroyed the electrical system, once a Latin American and world example of efficiency? Who has destroyed and continues to destroy every day the hopes of millions of people in that country?

I know that there are so many more questions about who’s responsible for the destruction of that country, but I also wonder who’s the degenerate that has ordered the imprisonment of minors in highly dangerous prisons? Who is the degenerate who has ordered the authorities to shoot against the people? Who is the degenerate that has allowed physical assaults on women, the elderly and children during the protest? Who is the degenerate that has allowed the murders of many demonstrators and so many others who have died, not just protesting, but at the hands of delinquency and that remains unpunished?

Again, I left out many questions. However, when I try to find the answer to these that I just wrote is not the student movement, with which I can feel identified with, that comes to my mind. Instead, the only person who destroyed, not only because he had the power and the authority to do so, but also for his dubious mental and moral condition, was the president of this rich-yet-poor Caribbean nation for the last fifteen years, and his retinue of servants, whose moral and mental condition has enough evidence to be questioned, as well as the depraved ambition that is corroding them.

 

By César Yegres B. for #infovnzla

Photo: Reuters

@infoVnzl

 

 

Torture in Revolution

By Francisco Olivares

El Universal- Published April 20th, 2014

One of the most dramatic situations suffered by those detained in the protests over the last two months, has been the “physical and mental suffering” that most of them have undergone with “cruel, inhumane and degrading treatment that fits the definition of torture “. This is highlighted in a report by the Centre for Human Rights of the Andrés Bello Catholic University (UCAB).

The UCAB conducted in-depth interviews on a group of 30 detainees, 27 of whom were students. The interviews were carried out between February 24th and March 7th in Caracas and in another region of the Miranda State. The questionnaire that was used follows the international standards for human rights violation.

Although the interviews were conducted on 30 of the more than 2000 detained, stories from all over the country where there have been protests indicate that it is a common practice.

The testimonies collected by the UCAB, as well as other media and human rights organizations, highlight “the existence of repression patterns and of the control of public order, contrary to the proportional use of force and the basic guarantees of any individual subjected to any form of detainment, as well as the basic standards to prevent torture and other cruel, inhumane and degrading punishment” said the report.

Punches and aggressions

According to the UN Convention Against Torture, torture is defined as: “any intentionally inflicted action on a person that causes severe pain or suffering, be it physical or mental, for the purpose of obtaining from him/her – or a third party – information or a confession, to punish him/her for an act that the person has committed, or to intimidate or pressure that person or others, when such pain or suffering is inflicted by a public officer, or another person exercising public functions, by their own instigation, or with their consent”.

The type of physical abuse that was most frequently reported among the respondents was being punched and kicked. A third of these actions took place while they were being transported after detainment and especially in the prisons of the GNB (Bolivarian National Guard) and CICPC (Centre for Criminal Research). It is important to highlight that most detainees were isolated for at least 48 hours before they could contact a family member. The reported aggressions were also performed with the butt of weapons, as Joaquín Sumalla recounts: “I was beaten by 5 or 6 officers; I was hit seven times in the head with the butt of the guns”.

Although not included in the report, there have been numerous cases of this type of violence reported across the country. The most widely spread was the aggression received by Marvinia Jimenez, who was attacked by an officer with the helmet. Jorge Luis León Valencia´s glasses were smashed in his eyes and he was run over by a motorcycle. Edberg Cantillo, arrested on February 28th, was run over by a motorcycle and then beaten by many with batons in the back and head until he was unconscious. On the way to the 52nd Precinct of the GNB, they awoke him with electric shocks and then completed their actions by beating him with helmets.

Kneeling without food

Once in detention, some reported having spent the night out in the open without ingesting any food or water. Out of the respondents, 11 indicated that they were forced to kneel on a sewer drain grill for long periods of time. Such was the case of Angel González who reported that he was left kneeling on a grill for five hours, even though he suffers from an injury on of his knees. If they turned around or moved they were beaten up. Other female officers stepped on the fingers of those detained with their high heels.

Several detainees reported the use of chemicals on them, such as pepper spray and fuel. The story of Damián Martín gives faith of this. Martín was captured by the CICPC and tells how they sprayed pepper spray in his face and was beaten with helmets on the way to the police office in Parque Carabobo. Once he arrived, the officers made a line and each one took turns to hit him and yell at him “you damn oppositionist!” “You think you are so fucking brave, you little shit!” One of them kicked him in the stomach and left him almost unconscious. Then they put him in a room and a tall, burly officer punched him in the face and then another did the same. He ended up vomiting due to the gas and punches, while being mocked by the officers.

Gasoline and kerosene

Other cases reported the use of substances such as gasoline, kerosene and gunpowder to incriminate them. Nelson Gil states that the officers selected a group to incriminate for the burning of a patrol. “We were taken one by one to a room”. There, an officer held him while another one sprayed his hands with gasoline and ordered him to clean them on his pants. Marco Coello was made to kneel; his hands were sprinkled with gunpowder and later they did a ballistics test on him. Coello was arrested on February 12th and is still behind bars.

Luis Boada was forced to kneel with his face covered, they poured gasoline all over his body and threatened to burn him.

Techniques that leave no trace

Torture techniques that live no trace have also been used. Marco Coello reports that while on his knees, he was presented with a statement already written up by the officers and was told to “sign this statement that says you are responsible for the burning of the patrols”. When he refused to sign the statement they threatened to hit him again. Because he refused, they took him handcuffed to a dark room and wrapped his body in foam. They beat him up with bats, golf clubs and a fire extinguisher. He was also given three electric shocks and kicked. All these actions were done by seven officers. The testimony is in the report of the UCAB.

The report highlights that many of the physical consequences of the pain, as well as bruises and wounds, remained visible during the interviews, even though they were held more than 10 days after the tortures occurred, which for the authors of the report evidences the infliction of physical suffering meant to cause pain or grief; whether their purpose was to obtain information, to intimidate or to pressure the detainees.

Psychological abuse

Among the 30 detainees interviewed by the experts from the UCAB, it was found that seven of them were threatened with sexual abuse, four of them were male and three female, one of which was a minor.

The journalist Andrea Jiménez was threatened with rape, mutilation of her limbs, death and that they would take her to the INOF (Female prison) were she would be raped anyway. Lisset Francis was not only threatened to be shot, but her captors also made threats of sexual harassment by referring to her as “fresh meat”. The minor, whose name is confidential, was threatened with rape and being killed. The minor was not allowed to have any contact with her lawyers until a few hours before the hearing.

Some were forced to hear the punches and the screaming coming from adjacent rooms where other people were being tortured. Pierluigi Di Silvestre was arrested with his three children, and forced to witness how officers from the GNB beat up his children.

As a way of intimidation and to blackmail the detainees from reporting the violation of their rights, they received threats such as “We could do something to you in the future”; “Don´t say anything, I have the keys to your house and I know where you live”; “Be careful on the streets, we will be following you.”
Original Source: Olivares, Francisco. “Torturas en Revolución”. ElUniversal.com. April 20th, 2014. El Universal. April 26th, 2014.

http://m.eluniversal.com/nacional-y-politica/140420/torturas-en-revolucion

Main photograph: EFE / MIGUEL GUTIÉRREZ

Translated by #infoVnzla

@infoVnzl

A new attack to the Architecture and Urbanism Faculty (FAU) at the Venezuelan Central University (UCV)

Which shadows shall we overcome? 

By Hernán Zambrano

Crónicas del Asterión. March 20th 2014

On Wednesday 19th March 2014 our worst fears became a reality: violence and death came to spit in our faces and invade our eyes. Death came to remind us that we were at its mercy and will; it came to crush us. Death came because it wanted to arbitrarily and hopelessly subjugate our voices, just because it could.

Today at approximately 1.15pm the FAU Students’ Union convened with one objective: to discuss how to include and recognise the voices and opinions of those students who do not feel represented by the call for a general strike which is being promoted by the student movement. The student assembly ran smoothly and peacefully but at around 4.45pm when the debate was coming to a close and I was about to leave the meeting I spotted six individuals, which I could not identify as FAU students, stepping into one of the faculty’s lifts. Although it seemed peculiar at the time, as I knew there were no scheduled lectures in that particular building that afternoon, I did not pay to much attention. However, I soon discovered the students had also noticed the strangers’ presence in the building and for that reason they had decided to take control and block all of the ground floor accesses as well as the doors to the only (out of four) operational lift in the building.

I also realised at that point that I was the only tutor left among the 60 or 70 students still remaining after the assembly. There were also two watchmen with us, and the couple who run the cafeteria. I felt bound, therefore, to stay and keep an eye on the remaining students. I did not know what else I could do.

We could see that the people who had boarded the lift had reach the eighth floor of the building, where the deanery was located, so we moved towards the watchmen’s front desk where the cctv cameras are located to monitor the activity of the individuals on the eighth floor. There we could clearly see the group of men vandalising the mural that a few days before the students had created for the whole city to see, which read: SECURITY, FREEDOM, JUSTICE, RESPECT AND PEACE.

When the students saw the destruction of their mural they became increasingly incensed. The majority of the students attempted to remain calm and united but soon fear and rage spread among them.

At that point I approached the two watchmen and asked them if they had already contacted the university’s security headquarters but they replied that it was unlikely anyone else would show up and then I realised we were completely on our own. A few seconds later a student ran down the stairs screaming and announced that one of the invading men, who was already on the first floor, was armed. At that point the students began to block the stairs and the lift doors even further. I called a colleague to request backup and I also tried getting in touch with Juan Requesens, the president of the Student’s Union. I also contacted the Faculty’s dean and the university secretary via Twitter. I warned them about the situation and asked for help from the university security services. Just then, I received a message via Twitter letting me know that there was a group of professors on the first floor. They had been there all afternoon attending a postgraduate lecture in an attempt to maintain some sort of academic “normality” after the events of the last few days. I continued, now with even more urgency, to call for help.

The strangers arrived to the landing near the ground floor. I asked one of them through the hollow bricks in the wall to please identify himself. He answered that he was a university student and wondered why we had barricade them there. Some of the students also began to question them on why had they defaced their mural. The strangers argued that they did not agree with the slogans and so felt they had the right to take them down. I seem to remember I heard them say they were “Chavistas” and they did not accept “fascist” displays in the university grounds.

I began to plead with the students to please let the strangers leave, but I was unable to pacify them. One of the student leaders was also trying to calm down the rest of the students but only some were listening to him, while another group of students insisted that the wrongdoers repair the mural before they were allowed to leave the premises.

Soon after, the group of professors who’d been working on the first floor managed to make their way down in the lift. They were visibly nervous but managed to join those of us who were trying to intercede with the students to allow the aggressors to leave the building. The students finally consented to our pleas and allowed the invaders to break through the barricade. By now only about half the students who were there from the beginning of the afternoon were left.

At this point two or three men in motorcycles arrived at the scene. The men who had been trapped on the stairs had called people outside of the school faculty. The time was 5:59pm.

The horror

Just at that moment a group of hooded men came crashing in screaming and scattered in all directions. Some of them came running towards me.

The majority of the students ran to the back of the corridors on the ground floor where they became trapped. I froze on the main hall. I did not know what to do. I saw one of the aggressors throwing something to the back of the corridor where the students were; two other men carried guns. All of them carried metal bars or wooden sticks lined with something that I was unable to identify. They threatened the cafeteria attendants while one of the armed men came towards me. He cornered me and pushed me against a column and then asked me if I was a teacher there. I managed to babble a “yes” and lowered my gaze to the ground. I began to feel intense pressure in the head (I feared an episode of high blood pressure). He left me alone and turned towards a younger colleague who stood beside us. He pushed and hit him while accusing him of being one of the instigators of the barricade on the stairs and accused him of attempting to kidnap his friends. He seized his mobile phone and hit him again. I could tell though that they were not interested in us, the teachers, they had come to hunt students. Other hooded men chased and cornered the students; they dragged them across the floor while other men hit them with the wooden sticks. I heard some loud bangs. I heard screams and painful wailing. The aggressors had started firing their guns and I feared for the students’ lives and safety. I managed to make my way towards the edge of the main hall and I leaned against the wall afraid that at any moment the aggressor would come back and place a gun against my head and that would be the end of my life.

I witnessed how they dragged one of the students towards the entrance of the main library. I didn’t dare move and became ashamed of my cowardice. I just kept slowly moving towards the exit of the building with my back against the wall. The teargas had now started filling the hall. I kept moving through the dense cloud of gas. I could barely see or breathe. I just kept thinking at any moment they would spot me and hit me again, or shoot me, or grab me by the neck. Finally I made it to the western corridor, which connects our faculty with the engineering building. I stopped momentarily, I felt miserable and ashamed for not having interceded to help the students. Next to me was my younger colleague. We started walking again, trying to escape without running and we witnessed how a few hooded men guarding the corridors seized one of the leaders from the Students’ Union. The student raised his arms and I feared the worst for him but they only commandeered his bag and then let him go. Petrified, the three of us kept walking towards the deanery of the School of Engineering. It didn’t matter what the people we passed along the way were actually doing, it looked to us as if everyone was part of the armed gang attacking our faculty.

We finally reached the university exit leading to Las Tres Gracias, and from there we made it across to the subway station. The time was 6.17pm. We met several other students and a few other people form the university there. We felt relieved to see one another and at the same time worried because we didn’t know the fate of the rest of our colleagues. Just then, the gang of motorcycle men arrived from within the university and once again panic and fear took over. We ran down the stairs heading underground to the interior of the subway station. In the mayhem that ensued one of the students lost her balance and fell; she had to be assisted by some of her friends. We finally reached the subway platform and waited for the train to arrive. Once inside, many of them could not contain their tears. The passengers on the train looked at us in disbelief; a person could be heard saying to her companion “It’s the Tweeter thing, it’s making them all go crazy”. Hearing that, I felt my soul shatter with sadness.

By the time we arrived to Plaza Venezuela station I could not help but feel that everyone around me was a threat. As soon as I could I called my wife to let her know I was fine and uninjured although I felt utterly humiliated and frightened. The time now was 6:30pm and the short distance of two blocks from the station to my home felt like the longest stretch I had ever covered in my whole life.

It wasn’t until I had crossed the main entrance door to the building where I live that I felt I could breathe again.

When I saw my wife and son waiting for me I knew God had blessed me and guided me back home to their arms.

The role of the director of the Architecture Faculty

The aggressors that had initially invaded the Faculty had substituted the word SECURITY for the word CHAVEZ, which in their haste they did not even finish. A little after these individuals had left the Faculty they came back with reinforcements, approximately 20 or 30 people altogether. Some of them rode motorcycles and carried firearms. The aggressors persecuted and cornered the students on the ground floor of the Architecture and Urbanism Faculty of Central University of Venezuela. The perpetrators proceeded to strip,threaten and attack the students aggressively. They also stole their belongings.

The criminal gang’s actions resulted in 12 injured students, eight of whom were admitted to the University Hospital and the other four were taken to the Science Clinic in Los Chaguaramos district. The injured students suffered multiple bruising to the head, cuts, fractured noses, and other multiple injuries as a result of being battered with wooden sticks and metal bars.

The Dean and the Director of the Architecture Faculty remained with the students at the hospital until all of them had been discharged. Two of the injured students remain under medical supervision; one of them suffered a fractured forearm and the other a broken nose.

The University Principal visited the injured students admitted to the Science Clinic in Los Chaguaramos district and has declared a suspension of all university activities until further notice.

The Dean of the Architecture Faculty also suspended activities until further notice.

My thoughts on what happened that day

As part of the activities during our strike we invited Erick del Búfalo, a professor from Simon Bolivar University, to present his seminal dissertation lecture on the subject of “Fascism”; the same lecture that had taken place earlier in the week at the bookstore Lugar Común in Caracas.

His lecture was enlightening, full of humour and learning, very well balanced and extremely well thought provoking. There are two lessons I can now highlight from what he tried to explain about fascism: first, fascism is exercised by a State that identifies as enemies those who do not recognise and accept it with absolute veneration. Second, a majority dictatorship is an ochlocracy and that has nothing to do with real democracy, which involves the utmost respect for universal human rights.

The architecture students’ assembly was a very beautiful and valuable effort to implement true democracy. Wishing to recognize, respect and value the voices of those who disagree with the purpose and mechanisms of the Student Movement; searching for responsible schemes that cover a spectrum of ideas, and seeking conciliation among all members of the university community.

The events subsequent to the assembly only demonstrated to me how fear and rage can alienate and place us all in conflict with each other. Our reactions that afternoon took us to the edge of collective madness. The attack by armed and violent gangs on the Architecture Faculty is just another incident to add to the long list of aggressions against the university and Venezuelan society in general, that have come about as a result of our “government” (regime) promoting and supporting paramilitary groups, who are indoctrinated in the cult of aggression towards a section of the population and who justify their actions in the name of the “defence of the revolution”.

What we lived through yesterday was only a fraction of what is being experienced – more broadly and more seriously – by the citizens of San Cristobal, Merida, Valencia, Maracay, Ciudad Guayana, Altamira, Chacao, Los Ruices, Montalban, and many other localities, in recent weeks. It is in a way a pale reflection of the fear that Venezuelans up in the barrios (shantytowns) experience on a daily basis.

We can now add this most recent attack to a list of over 70 concrete acts of vandalism and crime that have been perpetrated in the last 15 years against the university’s community, an institution which is part of our national heritage. These acts of vandalism that have remained unresolved by our judicial system.

In my opinion and given the level of brutality of this most recent attack it becomes increasingly obvious that this institution is unable to fulfill its proper role in our society. However, the university is the only remaining bastion that the government has not been able to conquer in their relentless attempt to seize absolute and total control of the State’s institutions.

This is the current reality that Venezuelan university students have a duty to recognise and expose to the rest of the country and the world at large: we are confronting a militarist ochlocracy, a corrupt and autocratic dictatorial regime with fascistic overtones.

This regime is an enemy of the university. Currently, this is the dark shadow that the Venezuelan Central University (UCV) and all other universities in Venezuela have the duty to overcome.

Source: Zamora, Hernán. “Otro ataque a la Facultad de Arquitectura y Urbanismo de la UCV ¿Cuál es la sombra a vencer?

Crónicas del Asterión. March 20th 2014

http://cronicasdelasterion.blogspot.com.es/2014/03/otro-ataque-la-facultad-de-arquitectura.html

Main photograph: Taken from the original source “Crónicas del Asterión”.

Translated by #infoVnzla

@infoVnzl

 

San Cristóbal, the Barricaded City of Venezuela

By Arturo Wallace

BBC Mundo, Thursday, March 6, 2014

Rocks, old furniture, damaged electrical goods, tree trunks, fallen lampposts, rubble, rubbish and even a tank.

Anything comes handy for the “gochos” – as the inhabitants of the Venezuelan state of Táchira are known – to block the streets of their capital city, San Cristóbal.

It is here that the protests against the government of President Nicolás Maduro began more than a month ago, and then extended to other regions in Venezuela.

The barricades have become a symbol of what government opponents in this Andean region call “the resistance.”

“There are more than one hundred barricades in San Cristóbal,” Mayor Daniel Ceballos told BBC Mundo. “Around 40% of the city has been compromised,” he said.

Ceballos, who belongs to the opposition party Voluntad Popular, justifies the presence of the barriers as a reaction to the attacks by security forces and Chavista motorcyclists against protesters. Initially, they were groups of students protesting against insecurity, but now it is a heterogeneous group of opponents that demand a change of government.

In order to deal with the problem, President Nicolás Maduro called for a Táchira “peace conference” to be held in San Cristóbal this Thursday.

However, for the time being, his call has made no difference whatsoever in the barricades.

II

These protests cannot be separated from past or present difficulties that people face to get their hands on basic staples.

“This situation has compounded the problems of goods shortages. There are huge queues in supermarkets, pharmacies and bakeries,” Mayor Ceballos acknowledged.

Queues start in the morning, when this city of more than 620,000 inhabitants located 33 Km away from the Colombian border – 65 Km by road – gets as close to normality as it possibly can.

In any case, it is a relative normality. Public transport has been halted for several days now and many people have to walk to the few places that remain open: grocery shops, pharmacies and some services.

The window of opportunity only lasts a few hours, and by afternoon people rush to their homes to seek protection from what could happen when night falls and the risk of violence increases.

“Generally, they attack us in the early hours of the morning,” explained Albert Medina, a 26-year old student of the Universidad Católica del Táchira, part of a group that protects the barricade that includes the old tank – an old monument located in one of the main avenues in the city, and now a symbol of the protests.

“We take turns, students and citizens, to protect the barricades and make sure there are no attacks,” says another university student called Alejandro, while he tours the barricades located in the sector known as Las Pilas in the center-eastern part of the city.

It was in this area, little over a week ago, that another student named Jimmy Vargas died after falling from the second floor of a nearby building during clashes between students and security forces.

A few blocks away from the still smoking tyres at the end of a nearby avenue I see a group of youths, some of them hooded, preparing Molotov bombs for what seems to be an inevitable night-time clash.

III

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However, night has not fallen yet, and during daytime San Cristóbal remains generally calm.

Not a single national guard can be found near the so called “guarimbas” – the name given by Venezuelans to this type of barricaded protest –, much less troops of the parachute infantry sent to Táchira by the president a couple of weeks ago to reinforce safety in the border state and protect every access route.

There is also no sign of the paramilitaries that the state governor, José Vielma Mora, said had arrived from Colombia to infiltrate protests.

Vielma Mora, however, also accuses the “guarimberos” of being responsible of “neighborhood terrorism” by keeping neighbors prisoners behind the barricades they erect.

Jonathan García, a deputy of the Regional Congress who also represents the governor’s party, the governing Partido Socialista Unido de Venezuela, agreed.

“This is all part of an insurrectional plan expressed through blockades and barricades, expressed through hooded youths, through the violent actions that thousands of families face every day when they cannot leave or go back to their homes when they want to,” said García to BBC Mundo.

“It is a violation of all the rights of Venezuelans as established in the Constitution,” he maintained.

García has no doubts that the opposition is to blame for these episodes of violence. “We are not going to give them the excuse they are looking for, to evict them forcibly as would be done anywhere else in the world,” he explained to BBC Mundo.

“We know that the cameras are there, we know there are videos that will be used to try and sell to the world the idea that unarmed Venezuelan people are being savagely repressed by the tyrannical government of Venezuela, so that they can justify an intervention by the United States,” he added.

But he also made a caveat: “We are supporting communities that little by little have started to get rid of the barricades.”

However, according to protesters, the people that the authorities try to depict as angry neighbors are in fact armed Chavistas paid by the government to intimidate them and remove them by force.

To be honest, there seems to be a lot of sympathy for the demands of “guarimberos” among the people that have to tackle the barricades to go about their daily routines.

IV

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“I am not bothered by the barricades. I prefer to hold on for another month instead of facing four more years of dictatorship,” América Ruíz told BBC Mundo, a neighbor of Barrio Obrero, a shopping district with barricades on practically every other corner.

“Do you know what I find sad?, getting up at two or three in the morning, standing in a queue so that you can buy something in the afternoon, and when it is finally your turn they say, ‘no madam, there is no more paper, no more flour, go back home’. It’s enough to make you cry,” she complained.

Vianey Carvajal, from a poorer sector known as La Concordia, agreed.

“This is no longer just the fight of students. This is the fight to get milk, to get bread,” she told BBC Mundo.

“We don’t see this as suffering, we see it as an investment,” maintains Carvajal, one of many “gochos” who believe that Táchira’s condition as a border and mainly opposing state means that many of the problems they accuse the Chavista government of tend to be aggravated: insecurity, shortages, corruption.

“It is not an issue of life being harder or easier with the barricades. The thing is that if life were easy we wouldn’t have the barricades,” added Blanca Ontiveros, a neighbor from Las Pilas.

Back in Barrio Obrero, Jesús Delgado, a veteran shopkeeper is convinced that the majority of people feel this way.

“80% of San Cristóbal agree with what is going on here,” he assured BBC Mundo.

V

I come across them in the civic center of town, in the middle of a relatively thin celebration commemorating the first anniversary of former President Hugo Chávez’s death.

There I find Lía Rodríguez – clad in a Chávez T-shirt and clutching a cap in support of Maduro – who is fearful of speaking in her neighborhood of Las Pilas because of what the “guarimberos” might do to her.

Omar Ramírez, a student from Universidad Nacional Experimental del Táchira, has no doubts about criticizing his fellow students.

“Many students are against the barricades, these “guarimbas”, because they are also suffering the consequences,” he said.

“And many other people have been affected, because the smoke generated by these barricades is creating a public health problem. People want gas, they want food, they want their kids to go to school, they want to go to the supermarket, they want to receive medical assistance,” he added.

VI

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Back in the barricades, however, it seems many more are convinced they will continue protesting until the government changes.

Many “gochos” maintain they are even willing to march on to Caracas as their fellow Táchira native Cipriano Castro did more than a century ago as leader of the Liberal Restoration Revolution of 1899.

In fact, this area is proud of the influence it has exerted during key moments in the history of Venezuela.

Apart from Castro, the list of “gocho” presidents goes from Juan Vicente Gómez to Carlos Andrés Pérez, including former dictator Marcos Pérez Jiménez.

However, for the time being it seems it is Caracas that is heading towards this Andean region.

On Wednesday, Congresswoman María Corina Machado, one of the most visible faces of the opposition, visited Táchira to take part in a small protest that developed without any major incidents.

Also, you have the peace conference the government has called for, although most protesters do not seem to be taking the invitation very seriously.

“They have not been able to convene the political sectors,” explained Pedro Pablo Quintero, a 60-year old university lecturer who previously voted for Chávez but who now supports the protests.

He considers this to be a first small step that should not be entirely dismissed.

“We need to be patient. This is not a short-term struggle. Venezuelans who believe that these proposals will help us get rid of Maduro tomorrow are wrong,” he told BBC Mundo.

“However, a precedent is being set so that Venezuelan society and Venezuelan institutions can finally react. And there are legal mechanisms for this situation to come to an end,” he added.

Others are more impatient and that is why the authorities have no doubt in qualifying them as coup perpetrators.

Despite all this everyone seems to agree on the ubiquitous slogan “whoever gets tired, loses”, seen in many of the barricades.

And then there is the emphatic response of Omar Cárdenas, a student whom I asked how long they were willing to continue in the streets.

“We’re in this for the long haul. We’ll persevere for as long as we have to,” he maintained.

Source: Wallace, Arturo. San Cristóbal: la ciudad de las barricadas en Venezuela, BBC Mundo. 6 de marzo de 2014. BBC. 6 de marzo de 2014. http://www.bbc.co.uk/mundo/noticias/2014/03/140305_america_latina_venezuela_tachira_aa.shtml.

Main photograph: An image from San Cristobal, capital of Táchira state / AFP

Translated by #infoVnzla

@infoVnzl

Venezuelan students gather thousands of protesters

The streets of Caracas have been once again the stage of mass protests despite seven days of Carnival.

EWALD SCHARFENBERG. El País. 03- 10- 2014.

Last Sunday, tenths of thousands of people took to the streets once more to keep the pressure on the government of Venezuelan President, Nicolás Maduro.

The student movement, which since April 12th has led protests throughout the country that have claimed 18 lives, called a demonstration that started in four different points of the city – symbolizing the student’s four main demands – and then gathered in Chacaito’s Brión Square.

Although mass protests have occurred in the last several days and Sunday’s demonstration only went through middle-class neighborhoods traditionally aligned with the opposition, high attendance to the event was considered a victory for the opposition in yet another skirmish of what could be called Battle of Carnival in Venezuela.

The government, challenged by focalized riots for almost three weeks, assumed that Carnival vacations – which traditionally have been seized by Venezuelans as an opportunity to go to the beach or go hiking – would dissolve the protests and unmask the leaders organizing them.

In order to reinforce that awaited ‘freezing effect’, president Maduro announced his decision to extent the holidays three more days to include Ash Wednesday, which coincides with the first anniversary of the passing of former President Hugo Chávez.

That the students were able to fill the streets of Caracas and other cities around the country, such as Mérida and Barquisimeto, on the Sunday before a major holiday – made all the more tempting by the offer of seven days off from work – speaks volumes of the movement’s organization and political abilities.

Enfrentamientos después de las protestas. / RODRIGO ABD (AP)

Clashes after protests. / RODRIGO ABD (AP)

On the final leg of the demonstration, the president of the University Student Council of the oldest and most important public university in the country, Central University of Venezuela, Juan Requesens, assured that the students were “not tired, and [they] will never get tired: the student movement is committed to the country; that’s what motivates [them] to keep taking the streets.”

Requesens, the event’s only speaker, also used his half-hour speech to publicly answer the invitation extended by several government authorities – including President Maduro and Vice President Jorge Arreaza – to hold a round table with the protesting students.

The student leader seemed willing to attend a meeting with the Revolution’s high officers as long as some conditions are met, such as a mandatory, media-wide broadcast of the event, the adoption of an agreed agenda, and the disclosure of who will be the other attendees.

However, Requesens assured that if the government intends to make them “go to Miraflores to demobilize the people” – making reference to Venezuela’s Presidential Palace – they would not be attending.

Almost simultaneously, President Maduro addressed the nation in a televised event.

In Paseo de Los Próceres, a long track used for military parades located in southeastern Caracas, the head-of-state attempted to rekindle a holiday celebration that seemed already lost.

President Maduro congratulated himself all the same, assuring that “the Venezuelan people has triumphed, because happiness and peace have triumphed”, and that “Venezuela is at peace and its people enjoy its rivers, mountains, and beaches.”

However, social media users and tourism agencies have acknowledged that traditional vacation spots have received a fairly modest amount of visitors this year.

Protests supporting the opposition have been registered even in traditional tourist destinations like Margarita Island and Colonia Tovar – a town founded by German immigrants in the XIX century and located just outside Caracas.

Roadblocks in Colonia Tovar – in which visitors were also involved – were dispersed by police forces with tear gas.

On Sunday, groups of protesters that separated from the opposition’s main demonstration clashed with anti-riot forces in Las Mercedes, Santa Fe and Altamira, areas located in the Venezuelan capital.

In Mérida – capital of the State of the same name and an important college town – protesters were able to fend off ‘chavista’ groups from their barricades.

In San Cristóbal, in the Andean state of Táchira, protesters seemed to control many areas of the city.

The fact that tourism during Carnival fell in relation to previous years doesn’t mean that would-be tourists are joining the protests.

In fact, many Venezuelans decided to stay at home as a result of the high cost of life, food shortages, or the fear of rampant insecurity in highways and of the roadblocks set up by protesters.

Shortages of several staple products have been more harshly felt over the last few days as a big part of the already insufficient fleet of trucks used to distribute food and supplies has been used during the holidays. In other cases the supply has been interrupted by barricades or through the threat of violence – as is the case in Táchira.

The government of President Maduro has appeared hesitant regarding the way in which protests could be quenched; and seems to be more interested in controlling the way the crisis is perceived rather than actually resolving it.

On Friday, 41 people were arrested by National Guardsmen after protests were dispersed in Altamira’s Plaza Francia, an opposition stronghold.

Even though State media alerted that “8 international terrorists” were captured during the raid, it was later known that, in reality, there were only two foreigners detained, one of them being an Italian photojournalist, Francesca Comissari.

After being kept in custody for a day, she was taken to court and later released without charges.

Once released, however, the reporter denounced that her photographic equipment – confiscated by the military – was not returned to her.

On Sunday, the government also decried that a right-wing campaign was being advanced on social networking platforms to urge celebrities to comment on the Venezuelan situation during the Oscars Awards ceremony, held in Los Angeles, California.

This annual event obtains some of the highest ratings in Venezuela, a nation addicted to pageantry and celebrities.

As a precaution, Venevisión, the biggest commercial TV network in the country and part of the powerful Organización Cisneros, announced that they wouldn’t air the show – the first time in decades.

Although they argued that financial difficulties were the only reason behind this decision, since 2004, Venevisión has famously tried to avoid any kind of friction with the Venezuelan government.

Source: SHARFENBERG, EWALD.  “Los estudiantes venezolanos reúnen a miles de manifestantes”. El País. 03-03-2014. http://internacional.elpais.com/internacional/2014/03/03/actualidad/1393810047_427757.html

Translated by #infoVnzla

@infoVnzl