Newsletter N°119, Political Prisoners in Venezuela

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Venezuela: 50th day of protests brings central Caracas to a standstill

AGENCIES I theguardian.com
May 20, 2017

Masses of protesters with white shirts, homemade gas masks and flags draped around their shoulders shut down a main road in the Venezuelan capital, Caracas, in a continuation of near-daily street protests.

Soldiers closed access to the centre of the city and officials closed at least 10 metro stations in anticipation of Saturday’s protest, which was part of demonstrations across the country by hundreds of thousands of people. The protests marked 50 days of protests against the government of President Nicolás Maduro, with unrest gaining momentum despite a rising death toll and chaotic scenes of night-time looting.

State security forces have consistently prevented protesters from reaching the city centre, home to the presidential palace, supreme court and electoral authority. Read more

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US imposes sanctions on Venezuela Supreme Court

JOSHUA GOODMAN AND CHRISTINE ARMARIO AP I
washingtonpost.com
May 18, 2017

The U.S. has slapped new sanctions on eight members of Venezuela’s Supreme Court, accusing them of abusing power and damaging their nation’s democratic fabric as the Trump administration raises concerns that socialist President Nicolas Maduro is moving toward one-party, authoritarian rule.

Those blacklisted by the Treasury Department include Maikel Moreno, the president of the government-packed Supreme Court, as well as all seven justices who signed a ruling in late March stripping the opposition-controlled congress of its last remaining powers.

The ruling was later partially reversed amid a backlash of international criticism, but it sparked a protest movement that has continued for nearly two months and on Thursday claimed another victim, bringing the death toll to 45. Read more

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The Trump administration takes encouraging steps against Venezuela’s corrupt regime

EDITORIAL BOARD I washingtonpost.com
May 22, 2017

HUNDREDS OF thousands of Venezuelans thronged the streets of Caracas and other cities Saturday in the 50th consecutive day of protests against the regime of Nicolás Maduro, which has plunged Venezuela into chaos and threatens to convert it into a Cuban-style dictatorship. Though polls show that some 70 percent of the population support the protesters’ demand for free elections, Mr. Maduro and the corrupt clique around him are hanging on by the brute force of tear gas, water cannons, mass arrests and shootings by snipers. Forty-nine people had died as of Monday.

The opposition says it will continue the protests until the regime gives in, and it appears to have the popular support to do so. But Venezuelans are also desperately hoping for help from outside actors, including the United States. To its credit, the Trump administration is responding — breaking with a long-standing and self-defeating U.S. policy of avoiding confrontation with the movement founded by Hugo Chávez.Read more

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Venezuelan Dictatorship Injures and Arrests Thousands after 7 Weeks of Protests

KARINA MARIN I panampost.com
May 22, 2017

The death toll and causality count have been mounting at alarming speed in Venezuela, as protests continue past the 50-day mark, and dictator Nicolás Maduro intensifies attempts to repress public outcry against the political and economic crisis his adminsitration has created.

The country’s opposition leader, Henrique Capriles Radonski, who serves as Governor of the state of Miranda, recently reported protests statistics, claiming there have been more than 2,000 detainees, 13,000 injured, 40 members of congress beaten and 48 people killed in more than 51 days of demonstrations.

Some of these statistics, he said, came from the Public Ministry as well as NGOs.

Capriles also said the number of detainees may been even higher than the reported 2,632, nearly half of whom have been deprived of their freedoms. Read more

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Meet Venezuela’s “Resistance:” An Army of Heroes Willing to Sacrifice their Lives for Democracy

SABRINA MARTIN I panampost.com
May 23, 2017

Venezuela’s opposition has a new army fighting on its side.

Thousands of young demonstrators, calling themselves “The Resistance” have been on the streets fighting for democracy the last 50 days, willing to do “whatever it takes” to win the fight again President Nicolás Maduro’s dictatorship.

Helmets, makeshift shields, and with shirts wrapped around their faces like bandanas, these young groups throw Molotov cocktails and fireworks at law enforcement trying to repress the opposition, which has claimed the lives of at least 52 Venezuelans.

Many of them are reportedly minors from all economic backgrounds, though most are between 20 and 25 years old, and passionate about fighting for democracy in Venezuela. At many opposition marches, they number as many as 700.Read more

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Man Set on Fire During Venezuela Protests

REUTERS I nytimes.com
May 22, 2017

Photographer Marco Bello has covered many violent scenes during seven weeks of anti-government protests in Venezuela, but he witnessed a particularly shocking incident at the weekend when a crowd set a man on fire.

Tens of thousands of demonstrators opposed to President Nicolas Maduro’s socialist government had been marching down a highway, and when security forces blocked their way, the rally descended into clashes around east Caracas.

«I spotted a man running in front of me as a group of protesters, most of them hooded and with makeshift shields, were chasing him,» said Bello, 47. Read more

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In secret recording, Venezuelan general pushes for snipers to control demonstrators

ANTONIO MARIA DELGADO AND SONIA OSORIO I
miamiherald.com
May 18, 2017

Claiming to be primed for civil war, a Venezuelan general issued orders to prepare for the future use of snipers against anti-government protesters, according to a secret recording of a regional command meeting held three weeks ago at a military base in the northwestern Venezuelan city of Barquisimeto.On the recording, obtained from a Washington source that has provided el Nuevo Herald with information on Venezuela for previous stories, the generals discuss the legality and risks of using snipers during the massive demonstrations taking place almost daily against President Nicolás Maduro. Read more

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