Wuilly Arteaga’s brother, Humberto Arteaga, announced today that his brother is being tortured inside a National Bolivarian Guard prison in Caracas. Humberto said that his brother’s captors have burned and beaten him over the past two weeks since he was detained.
Wuilly captured the hearts and minds of Venezuelans by showing up to protesters carrying his violin, which he would play during demonstrations as tear gas and rubber pellets whizzed by. Wuilly was seriously injured at a protest on July 24 after being shot in the face with a rubber bullet. The 23-year-old was arrested by National Guard soldiers at a protest in Caracas on July 28.
The head of the Foro Penal Venezolano (FPV), Alfredo Romero, is personally heading Wuilly’s defense. At around the time of his arrest, Romero said that Wuilly had had his violin smashed against his head, which caused him to lose hearing in one of his ears. Romero has also revealed that the men holding Wuilly have burned his hair.
Aside from being widely recognized at Caracas-area protests for his insistence on wielding his violin as a weapon against the Maduro regime, Wuilly made international headlines on May 24 when he was captured on video weeping in desolation after regime forces destroyed his violin during a demonstration in Caracas.
The news of the destruction of Wuilly’s violin led to an international campaign to give the young man a new instrument. Days later, he received a new violin signed by Shakira.
Wuilly is currently being held in a National Guard prison in El Paraiso, Caracas.
CNE Moves Regional Elections Up to October with Ease
The Consejo Nacional Electoral (CNE) agreed yesterday afternoon to abide by the Constituent Assembly’s decision to move the regional elections to October, officially bringing the date of the vote up from December. The CNE’s decision was made by the head of the organization, Tibisay Lucena.
Lucena also announced the process of registering as a candidate for the elections would take place today and tomorrow, and that the election ballots will be finalized and presented by the end of the week.
Preempting the possibility that the CNE might come under criticism for giving itself only two months to plan an election for hundreds of positions spread across two levels of government, Lucena said:
These are the deadlines that we think are necessary, and that must be met so that we may be able to reschedule the electoral schedule for governorships.
Despite the fact that constitutional term limits mandate that the regional elections involve the positions of governor, mayor and state legislator, Lucena also said that the October election would not involve state legislatures. It is not clear at this time if Venezuelans will be allowed to vote for their mayors in October, but Constituent Assembly member and Carabobo state governor Francisco Ameliach suggested yesterday that mayoral elections should take palace “in the first months of 2018”.
Jorge Rodriguez: Constituent Assembly Election Brought an End To Violence in Venezuela
Jorge Rodriguez, a high-ranking PSUV official who is currently the mayor of the Libertador municipality in Caracas and headed the party’s Constituent Assembly electoral campaign, said in a television interview today that the July 30 vote means that the opposition “has no other option” but to continue to work with the Maduro regime.
Speaking on the Jose Vicente Hoy television show, Rodriguez also boasted that “more than one million opposition supporters” voted in the July 30 Constituent Assembly election. Rodriguez did not reveal how or why the Consejo Nacional Electoral knows the political orientation of those who voted on July 30.
Rodriguez said that the July 30 vote has given the regime an opportunity to bring peace to the country. He explained:
In Venezuela, elections result in peace and the casting out of violent agents in the Venezuelan opposition.
The July 30 Constituent Assembly vote is widely understood to have been a fraud. Aside from weeks of public statements from PSUV officials–including Maduro himself–threatening public employees and citizens into voting, the company that provided the voting machines for the event has revealed that the CNE simply manufactured the election’s results.
Looking ahead to the October election for governors, Rodriguez said that he was confident that high-profile PSUV candidates would fare well in the proceedings. Rodriguez said:
We have candidates that represent youth, strength, the will to work and to bring change to the serious things that are happening in places like Miranda [state]. I’m sure that [National Assembly deputy] Hector Rodriguez will re-conquer Miranda state, that [former Minister of the Interior] Carmen Melendez will be victorious in Lara state, that [former VP] Aristobulo Isturiz will win again in Anzoategui state, as will the rest of our fatherland’s candidates.
As of the writing of this update, the CNE has yet to publish the final results of the July 30 election.
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