The crowd struck the victim with sharp objects in different parts of his body, leaving him for dead on the street.
Danny Jose Subero, a retired lieutenant of the Bolivarian National Guard was beaten to death Saturday in the Venezuelan state of Lara by opposition forces during the funeral of Manuel Sosa, a student who died from a gunshot wound during an anti-government protest in Valle Hondo.
According to witnesses, Subero was nearby taking selfies when a group of people accused him of being an infiltrator, proceeding to strike him with sharp objects in different parts of his body, leaving him for dead on the street. He was taken to Barquisimeto Hospital by police but arrived with no vital signs. Doctors reported that he had shots in different parts of his body, according to La Prensa.
His motorcycle, along with other belongings, were set ablaze on another street and completely destroyed.
Venezuela’s Ombudsman Tarek William Saab condemned the murder, which he described as a lynching. On Twitter, he explained that the official was “savagely beaten by a murderous mob in the urbanization Valle Hondo, who tortured him in the meantime and then shot 2 bullets.” He also described the incident as a hate crime, calling the crowd “criminal lynchers.”
The Public Prosecutor’s Office commissioned a state prosecutor to investigate the death of the 34-year-old Subero.
Puebla, Mexico, May 26, 2017 (venezuelanalysis.com) – Venezuelan grassroots movements are gearing up for a weekend of popular assemblies to nominate candidates for the upcoming Constituent Assembly elections.
The assemblies were called by President Nicolas Maduro on Thursday, who said “the time has come to nominate the leaders of the country”.
“This Saturday and Sunday, I want women, labourers, workers, campesinos, entrepreneurs, people with disabilities, the youth, students, [and] all social and political forces to participate in their nomination assemblies for the National Constituent Assembly [ANC],” Maduro announced via state media.
These assemblies over the weekend won’t choose candidates. Instead, they’ll offer ordinary Venezuelans the opportunity to put their names forward as potential candidates in ANC elections in July. Any potential candidates will be able to begin the process of official registration next Wednesday, when Venezuela’s electoral authority, the CNE, will begin distributing registration documents.
According to CNE head Tibisay Lucena, “All people [who are running as candidates] will be able to download the … official form to collect 3 percent of the signatures [required].”
To be officially recognised as a candidate, an individual must secure the support of at least 3 percent of voters in their municipality. This, however, only applies to candidates for territorial delegate positions.
These territorial delegates will represent Venezuela geographically at the ANC, with each delegate representing a municipality. Each state will also be represented by two delegates.
Meanwhile, sectoral candidates will also be elected based on their occupations. These sectors include workers, rural workers (campesinos) and fishermen, students, people living with disabilities, indigenous peoples, pensioners, businesspeople and spokespeople from communes and communal councils. These sectors will also be sub-divided into smaller sectors representing specific areas of society.
Each candidate for these positions will need at least 3 percent of signatures from their sectoral area.
Once delegates are elected, the ANC itself will have the power to propose changes to Venezuela’s constitution, though any proposals will need to be put to a referendum to be enacted.
Maduro has argued constitutional reform could aid his country in overcoming its current political and economic crisis. Since Maduro announced the ANC in May, the proposal has garnered widespread support from Venezuela’s grassroots, who view the initiative as a chance to reinvigorate the country’s Bolivarian revolution.
Double standards come naturally to the OAS, especially when the balance of power is defined by people’s power or power usurped by political elites.
Pick-and-choose. It’s the modus operandi of the Organization of American States, headquartered in Washington, D.C. While the organization schedules debate on Venezuela, total silence reigns over the scandal-ridden government of Brazilian President Michel Temer.
TeleSUR English– Just when Brazil’s political crisis seemed like it couldn’t get any worse; Temer was caught red-handed on tape giving his blessings to bribes paid to: judges, prosecutors, a police task force member, and a powerful witness in the government’s corruption investigations, Eduardo Cunha, the former president of Brazil’s lower house of representatives.
But not a whisper from the OAS.
On Wednesday, Brazil’s security forces cracked down on protesters who were demanding free, democratic elections.
Not a peep from the OAS.
Also on Wednesday, Brazil’s military police were ordered to remove rural workers located on the Santa Lucia farm in the municipality of Pau D’Arco in the state of Para. The operation resulted in the deaths of 10 campesinos.
And still, the OAS utters not a word.
Ecuador managed to include in the daily agenda of the OAS, a discussion about the ongoing and worsening crisis in Brazil. However, the majority of countries considered such disturbances to be of a sovereign, internal matter, unbefitting of debate by the OAS Permanent Council.
“We repudiate misplaced interpretations of the functioning of our democratic institutions,” argued Brazilian ambassador Jose Luiz Machado. Unable to hide his frustration at the mere suggestion of debating Brazil’s crisis, Luiz Machado continued, “there’s no alteration or risk to the constitutional order.”
Several other delegations, including Argentina, Mexico, and Paraguay, shared Luiz Machado’s indignation.
Chile’s representative, Juan Barria, stated that Brazil’s crisis “is an absolutely internal issue.” Meanwhile, Argentina’s representative, Juan Jose Arcuri, asserted that the “issue should not have been considered.”
Just an odd mistake? Or convenient?
Whatever the case, the OAS hasn’t shied away from using its pulpit to convene a meeting of foreign ministers to discuss the Venezuelan protests, with 19 votes in favor, 10 against, one abstention and one absence.
Hours after the vote, Venezuelan Foreign Minister Delcy Rodriguez announced that the country will begin the process of exiting the OAS. She asserted that the organization had plans to criminalize the Venezuelan government and destabilize constitutional democracy in order to facilitate foreign intervention.
On April 27, Venezuela presented a formal letter pulling out of the OAS. At the time Rodriguez asserted, “We will defend the self-determination of our people.”
While Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro has called for a constituent assembly and the country’s electoral board has called for regional elections in December, Temer has taken no democratic measures to help quell the growing unrest in Brazil.
Having come to office through what many considered a parliamentary coup, Temer’s claim to fame has been proposing undemocratic pension cuts, austerity measures, reforms that minimized workers’ rights, and getting caught, red-handed on tape, approving bribes.
The latest Parana Institute Research poll indicates that 87 percent of Brazilians favor the immediate removal of Temer.
Double standards come naturally to the OAS, especially when the balance of power is defined by people’s power or power usurped by a handful of political elites, right-wing media, and the big-business class. The U.S.-dominated organization seems to have no use for people’s power.
Caracas, May 24, 2017 (venezuelanalysis.com) – Venezuela’s National Electoral Council (CNE) has set December 10 as the date for gubernatorial elections, after they were controversially postponed in 2016.
Speaking at a press conference Tuesday, CNE President Tibisay Lucena stated that the electoral body was close to concluding a six-month long registration process to validate Venezuelan political parties, meaning that election dates could finally be announced.
She also confirmed that elections to choose delegates to the National Constituent Assembly (ANC) announced by President Nicolas Maduro on May Day will take place “at the end of July”.
Making reference to the deadly protests that have rocked the country since the beginning of April and which have cost 63 lives to date, Lucena affirmed that the CNE would act “with special care to guarantee the rights of all citizens at a crucial moment for the country”.
“It is important to highlight that this is a hopeful opportunity for those of us who want tranquility and progress in Venezuela. This constituent assembly… should put forward a necessary social and political agreement to be able to live together with respect,” said the CNE head.
“We believe that the whole nation wants to overcome this terrible, violent episode as soon as possible, which harasses and wounds the will of Venezuelans to live in harmony,” she added.
Despite having demanded regional elections as part of a set of ultimatums presented to the government since their supporters took to the streets at the beginning of April, the Venezuelan opposition has rejected the CNE’s announcement of the election dates.
Just hours after Lucena’s press conference, the president of the opposition-held National Assembly, Julio Borges, slammed the CNE announcement as a “trick”. He confirmed that the opposition would continue to boycott the National Constituent Assembly and had activated a “new phase of struggle” against the process.
“We will not fall into this trap, we think that today’s announcement is to distract and divide us,” he said.
“The Supreme Court, Maduro and Lucena keep promoting the violence, we will stay in the streets until our objectives are achieved,” he added.
Meanwhile, from a pro-government march in Caracas on Tuesday, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro announced ten points that will orientate the constituent process as it moves ahead.
The information – which is the most in-depth to have been made public since the initiative to re-write the country’s Constitution was first announced – was divulged by the president on the back of several meetings with the Presidential Constituent Commission, which is tasked with overseeing the process.
According to statements from Maduro, the ANC will be made up of an still unknown number of sectoral delegates, 364 territorial delegates, and an additional 8 indigenous representatives, who will be elected according to indigenous norms and customs.
The president explained that one constituent delegate will be elected by a majority vote in each municipality across the country regardless of population size, while two constituent delegates will be elected in each of Venezuela’s 23 states and the Capital District of Caracas via proportional representation.
“This means that the Capital District of Caracas will have 7 constituent delegates, the state of Anzoategui will have 22 constituent delegates as a state, Apure 8, Aragua 19, Barinas 13, Bolívar 12, Carabobo 15, Cojedes 10, Falcón 26, Guárico 16, Lara 10, Mérida 24, Miranda 22, Monagas 14, Nueva Esparta 12, Portuguesa 15, Sucre 16, Táchira 30, Trujillo 21, Yaracuy 15, Zulia 22, Amazonas 8, Delta Amacuro 5 and Vargas 2,” explained Maduro.
Venezuelans may put themselves forward as a territorial candidate or be nominated by a group of voters, however they must have the support of 3% of the electoral roll in their corresponding municipality.
Meanwhile sectoral delegates will be elected from amongst constituencies of workers, rural workers (campesinos) and fishermen, students, people living with disabilities, indigenous peoples, pensioners, businesspeople, and spokespeople from communes and communal councils.
The “workers” sectoral category will be broken down into sub-sections which include oil, mining, basic industries, business, education, health, sport, transport, construction, culture, intellectuals, press, science, technology and public administration.
According to Maduro, the CNE will be responsible for coordinating with official institutions, trade unions, and professional guilds in order to cross-check their employee records with electoral lists. The electoral body will also make contact with private and public universities, as well as with state educational missions, to obtain records for the country’s student sector.
One national delegate will be elected for every 83,000 voters on the electoral list for each sectoral constituency, with the exception of the commune and communal council delegates who will be chosen via “communal leadership in their own states”.
Candidates will be nominated by their corresponding sectors and must also have support from at least 3% of registered voters in their professional field.
Additionally, the president announced that the ANC will be single-chambered and elected government officials, active army personnel, judges, ministers, and CNE rectors, amongst others, will be prohibited from standing.
Once the delegates are elected, the ANC will be convened within a period of 72 hours, stated Maduro.
The surprise initiative to convoke the Constituent Assembly was announced by President Maduro on May 1 as a political solution to the past seven weeks of violent protest and to the ongoing confrontation between the opposition-controlled National Assembly and the executive branch of government.
The right-wing opposition withdrew from Vatican-mediated talks with the government last year and has since refused to enter into further dialogue despite the escalating violence.
Katrina Kozarek is a US documentalist, currently working with the news website Venezueanalysis. Kozarek has resided in Venezuela since 2004 and is a militant of the National Asociation of Free and Community Media (ANMCLA) with the communal television station of the Comuna Ataroa, LaraTVeC and audiovisual collective “Voces Urgentes.” She is also a member of the popular feminist movement “Mujeres Por La Vida”
Ryan Mallett-Outtrim is an Australian journalist with the progressive news website Venezuelanalysis. He has also worked with other Venezuelan news outlets including the cable news channel teleSUR and national newspaper Correo del Orinoco.
Part of the “Revolution in the Age of Trump – day of education for activists” organised by Socialist Alliance.
Saturday, May 20, 2017, Green Left Weekly
As violent anti-government protests continue in Venezuela, supporters of the right-wing opposition have begun targeting Venezuelan government officials and their families in Australia. The actions are part of a string of recent attacks abroad on government representatives by Venezuelan opponents of President Nicolas Maduro.
On May 17, two Venezuelans were removed by police from the Latin America Down Under mining expo held in Perth, before they were able to confront Venezuelan vice minister for mining Victor Cano.
Cano was part of a Venezuelan delegation that was invited to attend the conference involving government and mining company representatives from Australia and Latin America.
Arnaldo Valdemar Vivas Perez and Andrea Aurrecoechea Diaz allegedly paid $1900 to register for the conference and forged documents claiming to be representatives of Sunrise Resources.
Opposition leader Julio Borges had previously sent a letter to conference organisers calling on them to revoke their invitation.
This followed the posting of a YouTube video on May 7 in which three Venezuelans surrounded and harassed Lucia Rodriguez, the daughter of Caracas mayor and United Socialist Party of Venezuela leader Jorge Rodriguez, as she was walking along Bondi beach in Sydney.
Jorge Rodriguez, who said his daughter is in Australia to study, denounced the attack the following day.
He said the incident was a premeditated attack and noted that the main instigator, Deborah Goldberg Solomovic, was a long-term friend of the wife of opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez.
Lopez, a leader of the ultra-right party Popular Will, is currently in prison for his role in violent protests in 2014 that led to more than 40 people being killed.
Opponents of the Venezuelan government are now petitioning the Australian government to revoke Lucia’s student visa.
Venezuelanalysis reported on May 12 that far-right protesters had surrounded the Venezuelan embassy in Spain the day before.
“The protesters have been accused of chanting ‘Franco, Franco!’ while protesting outside an embassy event on violence in Venezuela. A close supporter of Adolf Hitler, Francisco Franco ruled Spain as a military dictator for over three decades until his death in 1975.”
A man was apprehended by New York police on May 17 after causing a disturbance in Venezuela’s UN mission offices and allegedly stealing an official UN pass card.
Similar protests by right-wing Venezuelans targeting Venezuelan embassies and consulates in other countries have taken place since the outbreak of unrest in the country in early April.
These actions have been opposed by more moderate sections of the opposition.
Caracas, May 22, 2017 (venezuelanalysis.com) – Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro condemned the latest round of opposition violence Saturday that saw one youth set ablaze by protesters.
Speaking on his weekly Sunday television program, the head of state denounced as a “hate crime” a brutal attack on a man accused of being a “Chavista infiltrator” at an anti-government demonstration in the affluent eastern Caracas neighborhood of Altamira.
“They doused him with gasoline, they burned him alive. What does [Organization of American States General Secretary] Luis Almagro say? What does [Colombian President] Juan Manuel Santos – who every day opines about Venezuela – have to say? What does Donald Trump say?” he stated.
In graphic video footage circulated on social media, Orlando Jose Figuera (21) is shown being beaten to the ground by a mob of over 40 predominately masked demonstrators who subsequently set him on fire.
According to the president, Figuera suffered first and second degree burns on 54 percent of his body as well six knife wounds in his stomach. He is currently undergoing treatment in El Llanito hospital. A local district attorney has been assigned to the case.
The incident occurred during another day of anti-government protest that saw opposition supporters attempt to march on the Ministry of the Interior in downtown Caracas, despite lacking a permit for the route.
The march was preceded by a speech by Miranda Governor and former opposition presidential candidate Henrique Capriles in which he called Maduro the “the biggest motherfucker in the country”.
“We will remain firm until this corrupt narco-dictatorship leaves Venezuela, until we have the change we want… If we have to risk our skin, we will risk it!” he told the crowds.
Although the march began peacefully, the mobilization later devolved into violent clashes as demonstrators tried to penetrate police lines around the western Caracas municipality of El Libertador.
The weekend’s violence extended to other parts of the South American nation.
On Saturday evening, 23-year-old university student by the name of Edy Alejandro Teran Aguilar was shot dead during a protest in the western state of Trujillo.
According to a statement by Venezuela’s Public Prosecution, the incident occurred when “presumably various armed persons arrived on the scene and opened fire”. An 18-year-old man and a 50-year-old women were also wounded in the altercation.
Local opposition Mayor Jose Karkom, for his part, has blamed the death on “regime paramilitaries”, though he did not offer any evidence to bolster the accusation.
The third district attorney for Trujillo, José Luis Molina, has been dispatched to investigate the case.
The latest killing brings the death toll in seven weeks of anti-government protests to at least 55, including eight confirmed deaths at the hands of authorities and eighteen people killed by opposition violence. The Public Prosecution has confirmed that at least 972 people have been injured in the unrest to date.
The protests have likewise seen widespread attacks on public and private property, including 115 businesses looted nationwide, reports Últimas Noticias.
In the latest incident of public property destruction, Bolivar state Governor Francisco Rangel Gomez has confirmed that 54 public-operated TransBolivar buses were set on fire early Monday morning, leaving 51 of the units totally destroyed.
Fifty-four public buses were torched in Ciudad Guyana early Monday morning. (@TransBolivar).
The Venezuelan government has previously estimated that the opposition protests have caused the country at least US $140 million in damages.
The government of Venezuela also said that there were more policemen wounded by bullets than people dead during the protests.
The majority of the 40 people who have died amid ongoing anti-government protests in Venezuela in recent weeks were not participating in the demonstrations, according to the Ministry of Communication and Information
“The overwhelming majority of people who have lost their lives, until today, were non-demonstrators. The overwhelming majority were not participating in demonstrations, neither peaceful nor violent,” said Minister Ernesto Villegas Poljak.
Villegas said an investigation is underway to provide precise information about the citizens who have died since the beginning of April, when opposing anti-government and pro-government marches began to take to the streets in near-daily protests.
“Each life counts the same as the other. It hurts us equally the life of any human being and it would hurt us if it had been a single person or the 40,” Villegas said.
The minister said that the preliminary investigation has found that there have that there are more officers of the Bolivarian National Guard wounded by gunshots than the total number of fatal victims.
During the same period, there have been around 1,600 demonstrations in the country of all sizes, large and small, and from those about 500 actions have been violent.
The official said he rejected the information that international media has published about the Venezuelan government that has focused on the state crackdown on opposition protests and denied state repression.
Villegas expressed regretted that there were cases where people died from police gunfire, like the case of Jairo Ortiz. According to the official, Ortiz was walking by close to his house and was hit by a bullet from an officer’s gun.
“That officer is currently in custody and paying the consequences of his actions, for violating the Constitution, for violating the law and for violating the express orders of President Nicolas Maduro to strictly respect human rights,” said Villegas
Puebla, Mexico, May 13, 2017 (venezuelanalysis.com) – Thousands of Venezuelans took to the streets of Caracas this week to rally in support of the country’s commune movement.
Socialist revolutionaries from across the country joined the march, calling on the government of President Nicolas Maduro to endorse a proposal to provide constitutional recognition of communes. Currently, the commune movement has broad legal recognition, but isn’t included in the country’s constitution. However, commune supporters are optimistic that could soon change, with Maduro recently calling for constitutional reform.
“The commune is the essence of the people,” said Frank Corrales from the Guerrero JiraJara Socialist Commune.
Speaking to Venezuelanalysis during a rally on Tuesday, Corrales said, “We know what we really need [and] … it is in us to truly prepare, from the grassroots, the transformation of this state into a truly communal state.”
“We have to keep transforming the state, into a socialist state, where the largest possible amount of happiness is brought to all of the people. The commune or nothing!” he said.
Venezuela currently has around 1500 communes and 45,000 communal councils nationwide, with members numbering in the hundreds of thousands. Supporters say these communes are organised through direct democracy, with the backing of the Maduro administration.
These are turbulent times in Venezuela. The opposition has gone all-in on their soft coup attempts, whose main ingredient is violence and death in the streets. Chavismo, despite the crisis of recent years, has mobilised en masse to defend the revolution. President Maduro’s call on May 1st for a Constitutional Assembly has taken everyone by surprise. To understand this process, the risks and opportunities it brings, we have spoken with Misión Verdad, one of the most reliable sources in Venezuela.
In what context does the Bolivarian government’s call for a Constituent Assembly take place?
It comes in the background of several weeks of opposition protests, which take the form of a colour coup d’etat (not quite a colour revolution), after a controversy between state powers. This was a decision of the judicial branch, which was forced to assume some tasks and functions of the legislative body as a result of political paralysis. Then, the anti-political factions of the so-called “opposition” took advantage of it as a trigger for the beginning of the actions that have gone on to this day.
Then on May 1, Workers’ Day, President Nicolás Maduro decides to convene the Original Constituent Power (Poder Constituyente Originario). He does so under the full constitutional authority of the executive power (article 348), imposing and opening a new window which is deeply political. He does so in the context of a climate of open confrontation, which seeks to rule out any political resolution of the conflict. Through hybrid warfare mechanisms, the opposition seeks to move to new stages of violence that culminate either in regime change or in civil war.
How did the opposition react to this call?
First of all, in a disoriented fashion. This process has thrown a wrench into the gears, imposing new political realities, forcing everyone to take a position, and it has also exposed the hypocrisy of the radical elements of the opposition, since they have been calling for a Constituent Assembly for several years.
Now they refuse even to attend the meetings that the government has called. There are two aspects that stand out. First, that any formal political activity by the opposition is nothing more than a vain and opportunistic exercise to achieve “higher goals.” And second, that it has never had any interest in finding a solution, their only goal is the subordination to the powers of global financial brokerage, the empire.
This brings us, thinking of the first question as well, to the bigger picture. Since President Nicolás Maduro won the elections in 2013, he has constantly called for political dialogue in order to avoid confrontation and establish ways to solve existing problems, negotiate what can be negotiated. Even offering concessions when necessary.
With this in mind, the decision to invoke the Original Constituent Power (which, as Chávez used to say, is a continuous process) is a direct consequence of the opposition’s leadership’s will to paralyse, generate confrontation and make a mockery of the political processes.
After four years of searching for dialogue, some even involving the Vatican, these operators have ruled themselves out as valid political players. This has forced the President to hold the dialogue now with the most legitimate, valid and necessary partners to resolve the country’s situation. This is an absolutely valid legal and constitutional interpretation, and necessary in this context. The hand remains open to the opposition should they wish to join this process.
Should the opposition double down on its violent plan, do you think the government’s strategy can work?
It is difficult to predict whether or not it will work, as this is a confrontation between elements of local power (the Bolivarian government and the chavista base) and global, fluid structures with their own agenda, whose actors in the country are only vulgar Intermediaries that are even handling politics with an import/export logic.
There, in part, lies the audacity of the move, and its dangers as well. Thinking in Gramscian terms, “the optimism of will and pessimism of the intellect”, we are entering an unprecedented, unknown, and powerful scenario. On the other hand, we have these very dangerous possibilities based on precedents from other places around the world like Syria, Ukraine and Libya. All in all, these are the same methods that have been in use since late 2012.
In this context, could the new constituent process mean a deepening of the social achievements of the Revolution?
Yes, and from any perspective. Both in terms of formal/legal aspects as well as aspects of the country’s political framework. The National Constituent Assembly of 1999 and the Constitution approved at the time were limited by the structural boundaries of the 1961 Constitution, which did not contemplate any of the constitutional instruments and organic laws that for almost 20 years have been been in place with the Constitution of the Fifth Republic.
On this basis, there is much that can be done to consolidate a number of elements that already deserve to have constitutional grounds, such as the social missions or the need for the national budget to be fundamentally oriented towards social policies (the proportion is currently 71% of the budget). This would also ensure that foundations are laid for an interpretation of economic policy according to this vision, having the actors participating in this dialogue as its main protagonists.