A 20-year-old man named Miguel Medina died earlier today from injuries sustained during a protest in Zulia state on April 26. On that day, Medina was shot while looking for his brother in a crowd of anti-regime protesters. El Nacional reports that there are conflicting witness reports on who shot Medina, with some claiming that it was Zulia state police while others say that it was a pro-regime militia known in Venezuela as a colectivo armado.
Medina had been hospitalized since that day, and succumbed to his injuries this morning.
In Carabobo state, a man named Hecder Lugo Perez died at the Valles de San Diego clinic after being shot in the head during a protest in that state yesterday. El Nacional reports that Lugo was shot with either a bullet or a marble.
Four other protesters were injured during the same confrontation with National Guard soldiers that claimed Lugo’s life. The confrontation took place in the Tulipan area of San Diego, a city near Valencia.
The video below shows the moment that protesters recovered Hecder from the spot on which he fell. At the start of the video, some protesters throw their hands up in the air and plead with the National Guard to stop shooting them so that they can recover the fallen man:
Medina and Lugo’s deaths raise the official death toll from the last month of unrest to 40.
Residents of San Antonio Hold Vigil for Protest Dead
The residents of San Antonio de Los Altos in Miranda state held a vigil tonight for the approximately 41 Venezuelans who have died during the last month of unrest in the country. Demonstrators carried flashlights, candles and a large Venezuelan flag as they marched down a local road in memory of the dead.
Below, images of the event:
Protesters in Zulia Tear Down, Smash Chavez Statue
Protesters in the city of La Villa del Rosario in Zulia state tore down and smashed a statue of Hugo Chavez that was located in a park. The protesters also sprayed gasoline on the remnants of the statue and set it on fire.
The display of rejection against the leader of the Bolivarian Revolution followed an entire day of protests in the city.
The video below captured the moment when the protesters tore the statue down:
In the video below, the protesters smash the statue on the street:
NA President Julio Bores Meets With U.S. Officials in Washington
National Assembly president Julio Borges met today with high-ranking members of the Trump administration in Washington, D.C. as part of a mission to ramp up international pressure on the Maduro regime and its primary players. Borges met with Vice President Mike Pence andNational Security Adviser General H.R. McMaster at the White House.
Venezuela has become a problem for the entire region, and we are asking all of Latin America to help us find democratic solutions.
… will face Venezuelan justice for his outrageously treasonous [behaviour] and his criminal actions against the peace and stability of Venezuela.
Padrino Lopez: Army “Does Not Repress”
Minister of Defense Vladimir Padrino Lopez said today that Venezuelans security forces, including the National Guard, are the victims of a “merciless attack” by the nation’s enemies that is attempting to smear the name of the Venezuelan government.
Padrino Lopez said that the states’ security forces were not in the business of repression: rather, they were simply working to maintain order in the country. Padrino Lopez said:
The security forces have acted to control public order. That cannot be called repression. I insist that this is the case, but there are many people who are poisoned by a wild hatred, and they have made a large portion of society sick.
Padrino Lopez’s comments came on the same day that a video released to social media showed a platoon of soldiers in an undisclosed military base in Venezuela marching to a song about beheading guarimberos, a term used by the regime to describe opposition protesters. Below, the video:
In Spanish: “… para atravesar la maldita utraderecha… Quisiera tener / un puñal de acero / para degollar a un maldito guarimbero”
In English: “… to stab the damn ultra-right wing… I’d like to have / a knife / to behead a damn guarimbero“
The term guarimbero means, “one who participates in guarimbas“. A guarimba is a street barricade made with tree branches, car tires and rubble, and a guarimbero is someone who builds a guarimba.
Capriles: 85 Army Officers Arrested for Voicing Discontent with Repression
Miranda state governor and leading opposition figure Henrique Capriles announced early today that 85 National Bolivarian Armed Forces officers have been arrested for speaking out against the ongoing violent repression of Venezuelans protesting the Maduro regime. Capriles also said that the officers were being held in an undisclosed location, raising further concern for the safety of the officers.
Capriles made the announcement by saying:
There is a group of officers, at least 85 of them, who have been detained… they’ve been detained only because they expressed their discontent [with the regime’s repression] and for totally disagreeing with the actions of the National Bolivarian Guard and the National Bolivarian Police.
Without providing any further details, Capriles also suggested that there was another group of yet-to-be-arrested officers who had raised concerns about the violent repression of protests with the Minister of the Interior, Justice and Peace Nestor Reverol, who is in charge of Venezuela’s internal order.
Capriles said that he became aware of the arrests after he was contacted by the families of some of the officers who have been detained, and that these families asked him to take this information to the public.
Venezuela’s relationship with its own armed forces is a complicated one. Article 328 of the Constitution states that the “National Armed Forces” are an institution “with no political orientation”, while article 330 prohibits army members from “participating in acts of political advertising, militancy or proselytizing”. However, Maduro has made it a central pillar of his tenure as head of the PSUV to turn the Venezuelan military into a decidedly chavista organization.
Yibram Saab Vows To Continue Fight on Opposition Side
The son of People’s Defender Tarek William Saab, Yibram Saab, continues to speak out against his father after publishing a video on YouTube last week criticizing his father’s apparent unwillingness to step up for the rights of Venezuelans.
However, it appears that Yibram may have grown weary of the attention that the video was garnered him. He posted the following message on Twitter earlier today:
To all those who want me to continue to speak out, I will continue to do so ON THE STREETS, not on my social media [profiles].
Yibram was virtually unknown to most Venezuelans before he released his scathing video last week. The video attracted a little over a million views in less than 24 hours.
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