The Foro Penal Venezolano (FPV), a Venezuelan NGO that does work in the legal field, announced today that there are currently 445 political prisoners in Venezuelan jails. The figure came from Gonzalo Himibo, one of the directors of the FPV.
Today’s numbers follow a statement from another FPV director, Alfredo Romero, who said on Monday that 1,147 Venezuelans are currently in jail for protesting against the Maduro regime since April 1. That number includes both individuals who have already been sentenced to prison as well as those who are still awaiting trial in detention.
Until July 8, there have been 3,666 arrests of people who were protesting. 467 have been processed through military tribunals, and 1,147 are still behind bars.
Jose Luis Zapatero Visits Leopoldo Lopez
Former Spanish prime minister Jose Luis Zapatero visited Voluntad Popular (VP) leader Leopoldo Lopez at his home in Caracas today, following Lopez’s transfer into house arrest this past Saturday.
Lopez was nearly three years into a 14-year prison sentence for his alleged role in the 2014 anti-government protests when he was suddenly transferred to house arrest over the weekend. The news of Lopez’s transfer broke out of Spain first, suggesting that Zapatero–who has for years been attempting to act as a mediator between the PSUV and the opposition–played a role in the move.
El Nacional reports that aside from receiving Zapatero today at his home, Lopez also spoke via telephone with Spanish prime minister Mariana Rajoy and the secretary general of the Organization of American States, Luis Alamagro.
Teacher Killed During Protest in Lara
A 55-year-old teacher named Janeth Angulo Parra was shot dead during a protest in El Tocuyo, Lara state during the overnight hours, making her the 93rd person killed during the unrest that has shaken the country since April 1.
According to witnesses, Angulo was not participating in the protest. Rather, she had approached a group of protesters who had built a barricade on a road to attempt to convince them to go home. At that time, National Guard soldiers arrived on the scene and started firing at the demonstrators. Angulo was shot in the head.
El Impulso, a newspaper out of Lara state, says that it could not confirmed whether Angulo was shot with a bullet or another projectile, like a ball bearing.
Survey Sheds Light on Fractures Within Chavismo
The results of a survey conducted by the Universidad Catolica Andres Bello released yesterday show that only 13% of Venezuelans consider themselves maduristas, the Venezuelan term for a person who supports the politics of Maduro. At the same time, the survey found that 29% of Venezuelans support the country’s political system, laying bare a fracture within chavismo.
When taken together, the while nearly a third of Venezuelans support the broader chavista political movement, less than half of them actually support Maduro as the leader of that project.
The survey also found reason to be concerned about the broader political health of the country, since 21% of respondents claimed to prefer authoritarian systems of government, while 64% did not identify with any political party in Venezuela.
On the perceptions of National Bolivarian Armed Forces, the same survey found that only 41% of respondents said that they trusted the institution. That figure is down from 61% in 2007.
PSUV Governor to Opposition: “Grab Your Rifles”
Francisco Arias Cardenas, the PSUV governor of Zulia state, called out opposition supporter during heated press conference yesterday, daring them to “grab your rifles” and fight the PSUV for power.
Cardenas made the comment while expressing his frustration at the ongoing anti-government protests that have been shaking the country since April 1. Cardenas took particular issue with the fact that many protests claim to be exercising their constitutional right to rebel against tyranny as established in article 350 of the national constitution.
The people need for all of us to be honest. “Well, we’re rebelling”. If you’re rebelling, then grab your rifles and come take over, but don’t destroy citizens [sic]… Grab your files and let’s fight it out with rifles, then, but don’t do any more harm to the people.
It is not unusual for high-ranking PSUV officials to use inflammatory rhetoric that explicitly references civil war. Most recently, Maduro himself said that if the PSUV were to lose power in Venezuela via elections, they would “take up arms” against the new government in order to regain power.
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