This past weekend, a man named Eliecer Otaiza was murdered somewhere near Caracas. Otaiza was a municipal council member from the Libertador municipality.
Otaiza was a personal friend of Chavez, and was involved in the 1992 coup. He was wounded during the attack on Miraflores, and later tried to help break Chavez out of jail. Otaiza also served as the director of DISIP, the predecessor to SEBIN, Venezuela’s intelligence service.
The case is eliciting national attention, partly because Otaiza’s body apparently showed signs of torture, and he had been shot four times “between the chest and face”. Today, the government announced that a man was arrested yesterday in connection to the murder, and that the man had implicated others in the crime. While the motive isn’t known yet, El Nacional reported that the police believes that Otaiza might have been killed as the result of a robbery, although nothing has been ruled out yet.
True to fashion, Maduro was quick to connect the usual suspects to the murder, which is still under investigation. Yesterday, Maduro said:
I call on the people, officials, there’s no such thing as a coincidence. Let’s not lose sight of the circumstances in which the events of the past few months have taken place.
We’re not dealing with normal people. We’re not dealing with people who want to talk politics. We cannot underestimate security measures. I’ve told you a thousand times to be careful. In Venezuela, there is an armed insurgency which we have neutralized with intelligence, with preventative work.
And here is a bit of the article translated into English:
He [Maduro] explained that there are others who “are cowards, but they’re mercenaries. Part of the model, to create chaos in society, is to present things as normal”, referring to how the year started, after the holiday season, [and] referring to violent acts that shook the country.
He explained that the Colombian right wing bears part of the responsibility for what is happening, and explained that “it’s not a coincidence”, pointing out that common criminals are not necessarily responsible for the violence, such as the one that cost Otaiza’s life.
Maduro said that the homeland has numerous enemies that harass her. He explained that in the east of Caracas they captured “a brain, a financier, with his weapons and his money”, [along with] a lot of information “that compromises the right wing”, he explained.
He indicated that Otaiza “knew how to be loyal to our people. He was a soldier, then and forever. Venezuela was able to overcome illiteracy thanks to men like Otaiza. The oligarchy does not respect anything when it seeks to destroy a people. The victory of the homeland must overcome death. Otaiza will be remembered for fighting for ideas”…
Maduro offered no evidence for his conjectures, and it’s worth pointing out again that the investigation into Otaiza’s death is still ongoing.
Otaiza’s funeral took place today, and it was attended by (among others), Nicolas Maduro, Diosdado Cabello, and Luisa Ortega Diaz:
In Other News
Last night, demonstrators faced off against security forces in Barquisimeto. Demonstrators in the El Ujano neighbourhood claim that men on motorcycles started firing at buildings starting at 8:00 PM, and that they were accompanied by National Guard trucks. 13 students were injured by rubber bullets in the Universidad Fermin Toro campus, and electricity was cut off in the area.
The two videos below were taken during the disturbances around the university yesterday:
In the Bello Monte area of Caracas yesterday, a National Guard truck was torched during the course of a demonstration. The video below contains footage of the event:
Yesterday, during a demonstration against Resolution 058, protesters in San Cristobal destroyed and burned school textbooks they believe were created with the intention of politically indoctrinating school children.
Here are some pictures of the demonstration in Tachira yesterday, including the aftermath of the libricide:
You may or may not agree with the destruction of the books in question. Regardless, the event immediately reminded me of a quote by the Heinrich Heine, the 19th century writer and poet:
Where they have burned books, they will end in burning human beings.