Note: I will not have reliable internet service for the next several days. Daily updates may be sparse, and I may miss a day or two.
A 24 year old medical student named Paul Moreno was killed during a protest in Maracaibo, Zulia state this afternoon after an “armored SUV” without license plates drove into a crowd of demonstrators. Paul was a Green Cross volunteer, and was participating in the protest as a medic. Moreno was a student at the Universidad del Zulia.
No further details on Moreno’s murder are currently available.
The image below shows Moreno wearing his Green Cross helmet some time in the last month and a half:
Moreno is the sixth Venezuelan to be killed from protest-related violence in the past three days.
Protests, Skirmishes Shake Venezuela for 48th Straight Day
Anti-regime protesters took to the streets of Venezuela for the 48th straight day today, continuing a streak of demonstrations unprecedented in modern Venezuelan history.
In Caracas, the day began as so many others in the last month and a half have: with opposition supporters rallying at a number of locations, mostly in the eastern part of Caracas, with the goal of later marching to the western part of the city. Today’s destination was the Ministry of the Interior, Justice and Peace.
A longstanding ban against opposition protests in western Caracas–which is where most government buildings are located, including the Presidential Palace–has given authorities license to violently repress any opposition attempt to march in the area.
Just in the Chacao municipality alone, at least 37 protesters received medical attention for injuries sustained in the repression.
At around the noon hour, protesters in Caracas began pouring onto the Francisco Fajardo highway, which runs roughly through the middle of the city from east to west. Protesters parked a tractor trailer across the highway to block traffic:
Below, an image of the mass of demonstrators on the highway just after the noon hour:
The video below shows protesters fighting with National Guard soldiers through a fence in Caracas. The fence marks the outer perimeter of the La Carlota military airfield, which is located in the centre of Caracas. The protesters are congregated on the Francisco Fajardo highway:
The video below appears to show the same event as above but from a different angle:
The video below shows skirmishes between National Guard soldiers and protesters in the El Paraiso neighbourhood:
The video below shows a timelapse of the National Guard’s repression on the Francisco Fajardo highway today. The video captured the moments between 1:50 PM and 2:43 PM:
The National Guard have been repeatedly criticized for firing tear gas canisters directly at protesters, a practice that has resulted in death. Juan Pablo Pernalete was killed on April 17 when he was struck in the chest by a tear gas canister fired at close range.
The video below, taken today, shows soldiers firing tear gas canisters directly at protesters. At around the 0:06 mark, a soldier fires a canister at the demonstrators:
Soldiers also fired tear gas at a demonstrator in a wheelchair, as the video below shows:
Unrest also continued in San Antonio de los Altos, located just south of Caracas. The city has seen violent confrontations between protesters and authorities all week. Below, a video taken near a central roundabout in the city this evening:
US Places Sanctions on Supreme Court Magistrates
The United States Department of the Treasury placed sanctions today on eight Tribunal Supremo de Justicia [Supreme Court] magistrates for their role in the dismantling of democracy in the country.
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin announced the sanctions by saying:
The Venezuelan people are suffering from a collapsing economy brought about by their government’s mismanagement and corruption. Members of the country’s Supreme Court of Justice have exacerbated the situation by consistently interfering with the legislative branch’s authority (…) By imposing these targeted sanctions, the United States is supporting the Venezuelan people in their efforts to protect and advance democratic governance in their country.
The sanctions will freeze any assets that the eight individuals have in the student states, and prohibit any American citizen from conducting business with the individuals.
Below, a list of the sanctioned magistrates:
- Maikel Jose Moreno Perez (current chief magistrate)
- Gladys Maria Gutierrez Alvarado (former chief magistrate
- Arcadio de Jesus Delgado Rosales
- Luis Fernando Damiani Bustillos
- Juan Jose Mendoza Jover
- Calixto Antonio Ortega Rios
- Lourdes Benicia Suarez Anderson
- Carmen Auxiliadora Zuleta de Merchan
All of the sanctioned magistrates, with one exception, currently sit on the court’s Constitutional Chamber, which is the most powerful legal entity in the country. The one exception is Gladys Gutierrez, who stepped down from her position earlier this year allegedly due to health reasons.She has been absent from public since.
Capriles Temporarily Detained in Airport: Passport Annulled
Miranda state governor Henrique Capriles was temporarily detained at the Simon Bolivar International Airport this morning while he attempted to board a flight to New York City. His passport was confiscated and subsequently annulled, preventing him from leaving the country.
Capriles was scheduled to attend a meeting with United Nations Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein to discuss the ongoing human rights violations by the Maduro regime.
After being released, Capriles announced the news by saying:
I’ve been told that my passport as been annulled (…) I am sorry for not being able to travel to or attend the meeting with the high commissioner for human rights, since my passport was stolen [by migration authorities].
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