Note: I will be traveling extensively over the next several days. As a result, today’s update will not be as thorough as usual, and I may miss a daily update in the next week or so.
Cesar Pereira, a 21 year old student protester, became the 64th victim of the unrest that has shaken the country since April 1 when he died early this morning after being shot at an anti-regime demonstration in Lecheria, Anzoategui state yesterday. Pereira was a member of the Voluntad Popular (VP) opposition party.
Pereira was shot in the abdomen yesterday while protesting against the Maduro regime in the city yesterday. Initial reports indicate that Pereira may have been killed with a marble. National Guard soldiers have been known to replace the rubber pellets in their shotgun shells with marbles and ball bearings. Armando Cañizales, an 18 year old student, was killed on May 3 in Caracas after being shot with a ball bearing.
National Assembly deputy Armando Armas confirmed Pereira’s death through Twitter this morning by saying:
It is with with great pain that we must announce that our activist and friend, Cesar Pereira, died during the overnight hours. Anzoategui mourns.
The image below, tweeted by VP’s youth organization, is of Pereira:
The image below shows Periera carrying a shield bearing an image of Venezuela’s coat of arms. Home-made shields have become a common sight at protests:
Last night, residents of Lecheria held a candelight vigil in solidarity with Pereira, who was undergoing surgery at the time, and another injured protester named Oscar Fuentes:
Regime Cracks Down on International Aid for Protesters
SENIAT, Venezuela’s customs agency, has announced that it is now prohibiting the import of medical supplies and materials that might be used to aid protesters. The announcement came earlier this week from SENIAT’s head, Jose Cabello, who said:
The country’s ports of entry will not be used as a bridge to arm terrorist groups.
While the comments by Cabello–who is Diosdado Cabello’s brother–suggest that the ban covers weapons such as firearms and other lethal instruments, the ban includes items like helmets, baseball bats, baseballs, and tear gas masks. The ban also includes first aid medical supplies like burn ointments and gauze.
The anti-regime protests that have been taking place in the country since April 1 have garnered a significant amount of support from the Venezuelan expatriate community. Major population centres around the world that host large Venezuelan populations, like Miami and Madrid, have become organization hubs for the collecting of first aid and other supplies to be sent to help protesters in the country.
Survey: 79.9% Will Not Vote in Constituent Assembly Elections
A survey by the Hercon Consultores polling firm has found that an overwhelming majority of Venezuelans do not plan to vote in the July elections for representatives to sit on Maduro’s Constituent Assembly, a body that will be tasked with drafting a new national constitution.
The survey found that 8 out of 10 Venezuelans do not plan to participate in the process.
The same survey found that 75.5% of Venezuelans believe that the Constituent Assembly is merely a ploy by Maduro to formally install a Cuban-style system of government in the country.
The survey also asked respondents how they think Maduro should end his term as president of Venezuela. 78.1% answered that they believe that Maduro should resign this year, while 18.5% say that they believe that he should end his presidency once his term ends in 2018. When taken together, the figures paint a grim picture of Maduro, since the numbers suggest that 96.6% of Venezuelans do not want Maduro to serve as president of Venezuela beyond 2018.
The survey sampled 1,200 voters between May 10 and May 25, and is accurate within +/- 3.2%.
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