This evening, a number of journalists reported having been given access to Oscar Perez’s death certificate at the Bello Monte morgue in Caracas where his body is being held. One of them, Elyangelica Lopez, shared an image on her Twitter account that appears to show the document. Aside from containing some of Perez’s personal details, the document contains a section listing his cause of death.
Another journalist, Yanitza Leon, reported that all along with Perez, five of his companions were also killed by a bullet to the head. The only one who was not–Daniel Soto–was killed by a bullet to the neck.
The news come as fears that the Maduro regime will attempt to cremate the bodies despite the wishes of the relatives continue to mount.
During the raid, Perez released 16 videos in which he repeatedly stated his willingness to surrender peacefully to the authorities. The videos began to turn frantic when they showed a bloodied Perez saying that the authorities would not accept their surrender, and that they had instead been sent to kill them. The video sparked the theory that Perez and his companions were the victims of extrajudicial killings by a vindictive regime.
The document purported to be Oscar Perez’s death certificate can be seen below:
Under Section C (“Details of Death”), the row titled “Cause” reads:
Severe cranioencephalic trauma injury due to firearm fired at the head
In an image leaked on Monday afternoon, Perez’s dead body has what might be a bullet entry wound in the centre of his forehead. Due to the low quality of the image, this conclusion could not be reached conclusively without corroborating evidence.
Lugo Brothers’ Parents Speak to Media of “Terror” At Hand of Authorities
The parents of Abraham and Jairo Lugo–two of Oscar Perez’s slain companions–spoke tonight to reporters outside of the Bello Monte morgue in Caracas.
The father of the family said that while morgue officials had told him that his children had been killed “by a single bullet”, he saw that in fact they were riddled with bullet injuries. When asked of rumours that Lisbeth Ramirez–another one of Perez’s slain companions–was pregnant at the time of her killing, the father said that she had told him that she was late on her period, suggesting that the rumours may have been true.
The father also expressed becoming victim to “terror” from regime officials who are harassing him and his family, going as far as to break into their home. He said that as a result, he is considering fleeing the country and asking for political asylum.
Below, the father’s comments along with my translation:
Father: … the have lots of bullet impacts.
Reporter: But, according to the death certificate, is there a specific one… [second reporter: … that caused their death?]
Father: It says that it was due to a single bullet impact. But, no, they’ve got lots.
Reporter: How many is “lots”, approximately?
Father: Well, I saw lots but I didn’t count them.
Repoter: Were Jairo and Abraham your only children?
Father: No, I have other children. I… I’m afraid because… and I’m asking that–but with this situation, I think that because the government has control over every institution, there isn’t a lot of protection for us. I’m thinking about asking for asylum and leaving the country, because with this situation–and our house, they’ve got it–we’re not living there right now because they get in with master keys, the DGCIM [Military Intelligence Service], they get in there and take our things. It’s a terrifying situation.
Reporter: Have you been harassed after all of this, sir?
Father: Yes. They’re persecuting and harassing us. I have to female children and one male. That’s terrifying. My wife, and I–they’re harassing us.
Reporter: Do you know if Lisbeth Ramirez was pregnant?
Father: Well, since we’re family–I’m her father-in-law–she told us on the phone that she was late for her period. So…
Reporter: That’s a presumption–it hasn’t been confirmed?
Father: Well, when someone in your family makes a comment like that you just accept it. We didn’t go out and get an expert opinion. So now, can you imagine that? If they want to cremate them, then whatever is on the certificate, that’s all…
National Assembly deputy Delsa Solorzano told reporters today that she met behind closed doors with members of the victims of the El Junquito massacre to hear about the threats that they have received, suggestion that the Lugo family is not the only one that has been targeted.
Solorzano heads a parliamentary commission set up to investigate the events of January 15.
The Lugo brothers’ mother also spoke to reporters. Below, her comments and my translation:
Mother: Please, open your eyes. [Unintelligible]. We cannot carry on with this situation. That’s what they said. They’re not terrorists. None of the young people involved in this movement was a terrorist. They were patriots, men of principles and values, that’s what they all were. So please, let’s not talk about terrorists. Let’s not talk about terrorists when we know who the real terrorists are.
Regime Suggests Presidential Elections In Second Half of 2018
Minister of Communication Jorge Rodriguez announced today that the Maduro regime intends to have Venezuelans take to the poll to elect their president some time in the second half of 2018. Rodriguez explained that the time frame had been agreed to by both the PSUV and the MUD opposition bloc during the talks that the two sides have been engaged in since December in the Dominican Republic.
El Nacional reports that, tentatively, the election would take place following the making of changes at the Consejo Nacional Electoral (CNE), the country’s electoral body. The PSUV and the MUD have been debating, among other suggestions, replacing the CNE’s five rectors with two appointed by the PSUV, two appointed by the MUD, and one appointed in consensus.
It is important to point out that only the Consejo Nacional Electoral (National Electoral Council) (CNE) can set election dates or provide information on the schedule of electoral processes. According to the Constitution, the CNE must be an independent and impartial body, but the Maduro regime has succeeded in turning it into an appendage of the PSUV.
HRW Publishes 2018 World Report, Paints Grim Picture of Venezuela
Human Rights Watch released its 2018 World Report today, a document that summarizes human rights issues around the world and looks ahead to the coming year.
The document’s chapter on Venezuela contains an excellent overview of some of the issues affecting the country today, from government abuses to corruption to political persecution and food shortages.
The document can be found here.
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