Opposition politicians around the country awoke today to find threatening messages painted on the walls of their homes and communities this morning in several cities across the country.
The messages were simple, and sometimes named the politician who was being targeted. Many of them were signed by “colectivo” or some variation of that word. In Venezuela, “colectivos” or “colectivos armados” are pro-government civilian groups that threaten and attack opposition supporters. They play an important role in the Maduro regime’s arsenal of repression, and have been responsible for dozens of protester deaths since 2014.
According to La Patilla, fifteen National Assembly deputies found threatening messages on or around their homes this morning.
National Assembly deputy Beatriz Martinez awoke to find this written on a wall in her community:
We’re coming for you deputy
Juan Freites, the regional coordinator for the Vente Venezuela (VV) party in Vargas state, found this written on one of the walls of his home:
We’re coming for you Freites
National Assembly deputy Milagros Eulate found a similar message in her building complex in Catia la Mar, Vargas state:
We’re coming for you
Eulalia “The Colectivos [from] Eulalia”
The distinct shape of the “a”, “m”, the use of the phrase “x ti” (in Spanish, the letter X as used in multiplication is pronounced “por”, which makes the phrase “for you”), and the accent over the “i” suggest that the messages left at the homes of Freites and Eulate were written by the same person.
Luis Florido, a National Assembly deputy for Lara state, found this on his home:
We’re coming for you Luis Florido
Sergio Vergara, a legislator from Tachira state, found this message on his home:
We found you
We have you
We’re coming for [Al3?] you
Williams Davila serves at the National Assembly for Merida state. This was written on the wall of his home:
Williams we are coming for you, we are watching you
Deputy Larissa Gonzalez from Merida state had this written on her home:
We are coming for you
FLD [likely the name of the group that wrote this message]
We’re coming for you
Threats in Line with Colectivo Activities
The threatening messages fall in line with the activities of colectivos armados, which have long played a key role in the Maduro regime’s repressive apparatus.
Colectivos are arguably better known for their activities at protests, where they sometimes attack protesters, sometimes with fatal results.
Just this past week, Erika Guevara-Rosas, the American Director at Amnesty International, said the following about the colectivos:
The security forces under the command of Nicolás Maduro and the armed civilian groups that support him insist on repressing the protests by people demanding a way out of the serious political and human rights crisis that has plagued the country for several years.
In 2017, Human Rights Watch published a report detailing some of the human rights violations committed by the Maduro regime against its detractors. Part of that report states:
Security forces and armed pro-government groups, called “colectivos” in Venezuela, have caused dozens of deaths and hundreds of injuries. In many cases, they have shot water cannons, teargas, and pellets at close range, in ways apparently intended to inflict painful injuries.
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