|At the end of March, members of the Venezuelan opposition made preparations to activate a strategy in the streets that was intended to be more intense than that of The Exit (La Salida) of 2014, which left a total of 43 people killed and more than 800 wounded. Both had the same goal: the overthrow of the constitutional President, Nicolas Maduro.
One of the players behind the new seditious plan was Freddy Guevara, leader of the of the extreme right party, Popular Will (Voluntad Popular - VP) and directly linked with the now defunct Democratic Unity Roundtable (MUD) and with members of the “shock troops” that were activated for four months in order to create a climate of ungovernability.
To stimulate the spiral of violence, the then member of the National Assembly (AN) – a body with no legal standing as it is still in contempt of decisions handed down by the Venezuelan Supreme Tribunal - appealed to social networks to send messages designed to stoke confrontation between Venezuelans. There were 4,439 violence acts perpetrated over four months, according to an assessment by the Commission for Truth, Justice, Peace and Public Tranquility (Covejuspaz).
"The sense of each action must be to demonstrate and show that we are right and then continue with many more”, stated Guevara at the beginning of the street actions, which claimed their first victim on April 6, when Jairo Ortiz, 19, was shot dead in Carrizal in the State of Miranda, by a policeman who did not belonged to units of public order and who is now facing criminal responsibility for this crime.
Ortiz, who was not participating in violent acts, died when approaching barricades across the road set up by the “shock troops”. This practice was replicated in other municipalities in the states of Miranda, Lara, Aragua, Merida and Zulia, among other entities, and it became more intense with complete road blocks and sit-downs promoted by Guevara himself.
These calls to violence claimed other victims such as Manuel Villalobos, who died while trying to dodge a roadblock in Maracaibo, Zulia State on July 11; likewise Víctor Betancourt, run over and killed in Cumana on June 28.
In total, 121 people were killed and 1958 injured by these seditious actions that Guevara instigated alongside other actors such as Henrique Capriles and Miguel Pizarro.
Youth, Authority and other victims
Guevara had direct links with members of the shock troops and hit squads, composed of young people, children and teenagers armed with unconventional weapons and paid to attack citizens and challenge the State Security Corps.
There are audiovisual recordings of the instructions that Guevara gave these groups before demonstrations called for by the MUD. The aim was to give prominence to opposition leaders, according to the importance and purposes that Guevara gave to these street actions and marches. The idea was to paralyze the country, put the authorities in a dilemma and give a show of strength.
After these mobilizations, subsequent violence caused the death of adolescents and young people used in these actions. One victim was Neomar Lander, aged 17, who died by the improper use of a home-made mortar that exploded in his chest and which was going to be used to attack police officers in Calle Elise, in Chacao, Miranda state..
Crime is also a reflection of other targets of this insurrectional spiral: the Security Forces. According to the Truth Commission, 829 officials were injured or wounded while maintaining public order - 73 of them by firearms.
"They weren’t sticks and stones. They were firearms that were used against the Security Forces,” explained Larry Devoe, Member of the Commission during the special session of the National Constituent Assembly (ANC) held on Monday November 6 and during which it was agreed to lift parliamentary immunity from Guevara. This weekend he turned up at the Chilean Embassy in Caracas, where he was welcomed as a guest.
Guevara, who will be tried in ordinary courts for using children in a criminal conspiracy, criminal association and public incitement to hatred, dismissed the decision of the ANC and through social networks - the same channel he used to repeatedly call for insurrectional violence - acknowledged that he called for sedition: "Yes I called the people to take to the street and believe in civil disobedience. I called for it once and I would do it again!”
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Translated from Spanish and Edited by Arturo Rosales – Axis of Logic
© Translation copyright 2017 by AxisofLogic.com
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