Residents from Caracas’ Las Quintas neighbourhood in the Cota 905 area of the city claim that officers from the CICPC, the country’s investigative police force, assaulted residents yesterday starting at around noon and burned down eight homes.
Zeinaida Contreras, a resident of the area, told Noticiero Digital:
They don’t have respect for the elderly. They beat pregnant women, and there were even children there.
Contreras also said that police officers “come whenever they want” and abuse citizens.
Although it’s not clear what prompted the raid, a National Bolivarian Police officer died in a shootout in Las Quintas on Wednesday. The shootout also involved officers from the CICPC, and left six suspects dead.
The murdered officer was Jose Gregorio Garcia. He was the second-in-command at the National Bolivarian Police’s General Directorate Against Organized Crime unit.
Maduro Meets Lavrov; Will Meet Granger
Still in New York City to attend the United Nations General Assembly, Maduro is set to meet Guyanese President David Granger today. UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon will mediate the meeting. The topic of the meeting will be the ongoing tension over the Essequibo region.
Granger has stood firm by his country’s stance on the Essequibo region leading up to the meeting. Earlier today, Granger said that the issue over the Essequibo “has already been resolved”, and that negotiations with Venezuela are therefore “useless”. Referencing the 1899 tribunal decision that granted what was then British Guyana the Essequibo region, Granger said:
We can’t re-open a case that was resolved through international arbitration, and we’ve never been willing to do so.
Regarding the meeting with Maduro, Granger also said:
I’m not interesting in posing for pictures. I’m interested in Venezuela withdrawing its claim.
Earlier today, Maduro met with Russian Foreign Affairs Minister Sergei Lavrov. The meeting resulted with the signing of a bilateral agreement against the militarization of space.
Rodriguez: Colombian Signature Drive Not a Ploy for Deportations
PSUV campaign head and mayor of the Libertador municipality Jorge Rodriguez has been announcing signature drives throughout the country under the “Colombianos por la Paz” [Colombians for Peace]. The movement is supposed to give Colombian citizens in Venezuela who support the government’s handling of the border issue an opportunity to voice their support with their signatures.
Rodriguez announced last night that the initiative, which began last weekend in eight states, has now been expanded to include seven more. Rodriguez said that so far, Colombianos por la Paz has collected 116,191 signatures.
In the same press conference, Rodriguez addressed concerns that the signature drive is a ploy to create an up-to-date database of Colombians for the purposes of deportation:
Right-wing parties in the east of Greater Caracas and in Zulia state, of course, have attempted to create the false impression that this registry was set up to deport our Colombian brothers and sisters. How can we deport them, if their homeland [Venezuela] has given them shelter?
On the contrary, this is the beginning, the birth of a powerful movement. This is what the Venezuelan right-wing and the Colombian oligarchy feel: the creation of a powerful Bolivarian movement of Venezuelans and Colombians for peace.
The International Organization for Migration estimates that since August 19, over 1,600 Colombians have been deported from Venezuela, and another 17,000 have left the country willingly out of fear of harassment from Venezuelan authorities.
The closure of the border with Colombia has also had a tremendous economic impact on the border regions. The Chamber for Colombia-Venezuelan Integration announced yesterday that in August, trade between the two countries dropped by $100 million.
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