Newsletter N°117, Political Prisoners in Venezuela

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Venezuela’s Jailed Lopez Is Well, Urges More Protests: Wife

REUTERS I nytimes.com
May 7, 2017

Jailed opposition Venezuelan politician Leopoldo Lopez is well and is urging street demonstrators to keep up massive anti-government protests, his wife said on Sunday after her first visit with the former presidential hopeful in over a month, putting to rest rumors of his ill health.

With tensions already high after over a month of street action, many Venezuelans were shocked on Wednesday when a journalist tweeted that Lopez had been taken to hospital without vital signs.

President Nicolas Maduro’s leftist government later released a video of Lopez saying he was fine, but his wife, Lilian Tintori, said the footage was «false» and demanded to see him. The government accused the Lopez clan of whipping up a media frenzy to gain attention. Read more

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Venezuelan musicians take to the streets in anti-govt protests

AFP I afp.com
May 7, 2017

Musicians take to the streets in Caracas in protest of the dire political, social and economic situation in the country, adding to pressure on President Nicolas Maduro, whose authority is being increasingly challenged by protests and deadly unrest.

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Tens of Thousands of Women Wearing White Flood Venezuela’s Streets in Protest

JAMES O’ HARE I globalcitizen.org
May 8, 2017

In the United States, women have recently made political statements with their clothing, strategically wearing white as a throwback to the suffragette movement of the early 20th century.

As tens of thousands of women in Venezuela took to the streets on Saturday for the “women’s march against repression,” many took the symbolism a step further, stripping their white clothing to protest of President Nicolas Maduro’s government, which they claim has become a tyrannical regime. Read more

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Gas masks, wooden shields, gardening gloves: How Venezuela’s protesters are protecting themselves

MARIANA ZUÑIGA AND NICK MIROFF I
washingtonpost.com
May 9, 2017

After six hard-fought weeks in the streets, a standoff between anti-government protesters and security forces is growing scarier and more lethal.

To protect themselves, demonstrators here in the Venezuelan capital and in other cities have started outfitting themselves in homemade armor and other improvised combat gear.

Along with conventional gas masks and helmets (many of them donated), colorful wooden shields are showing up on the front lines of the battles with National Guard troops. While most of the protesters have remained nonviolent, hooded militants have tossed molotov cocktails and launched rocks with slingshots. Read more

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Military courts detain 50 Venezuela protestors: NGO

MARIA ISABEL SANCHEZ, AFP I yahoo.com
May 9, 2017

Venezuela’s opposition and rights campaigners voiced alarm Tuesday over claims that the military is holding and prosecuting scores of people detained in recent anti-government protests.

One lawyer working for those detained, Tony Marval, said 70 of them were being held in the northern state of Carabobo on the order of military courts.

The non-governmental criminal justice body Foro Penal said a further 11 were in a similar plight in Caracas and the northwestern state of Lara.

President Nicolas Maduro has yet to respond to the claim, which has raised claims of an authoritarian turn in Venezuela’s political crisis.

Government officials have not confirmed the arrests, or the military processing of civilian suspects. Read more

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Man plays violin in middle of chaotic Venezuelan protest

STEFANO POZZEBON AND NATALIE GALLON
I cnn.com
May 9, 2017

People are crowded into the streets around Caracas’ Plaza Jose Marti. Smoke billows through the air and tear gas canisters hit the pavement. It has become a familiar scene in Caracas, where protesters have been demonstrating for weeksagainst a government they believe is slowly becoming a dictatorship. But today something is different.

The sound of a sole violin pierces the air. A young man, wearing a helmet painted with his country’s flag, braces the instrument under his chin and confidently draws a bow over its strings. Read more

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Venezuela’s New Constituent Assembly Takes Page From Fascism’s Playbook

ANGELO FLORES DE ANDRADE I panampost.com
May 8, 2017

Venezuela President Nicolás Maduro summoned citizens to write a new constitution at the beginning of May, and though many questions about his proposal remain unclear, the dictator has revealed some new details about the plan for a “National Constituent Assembly.”

According to Maduro, it will consist of 500 members, 250 of whom will be appointed as representatives of various interest groups. Unions, indigenous groups, labor movements and other organizations will reportedly elect their own representatives — a move that looks similar to previous fascist, corporatist and communist regimes. Read more

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