Venezuela Opposition 'Escalates' Anti-Government Protests, Remains Silent on Right-Wing Violence

President Nicolas Maduro has accused right-wing opposition leaders of being complicit in fatal violence with their silence. 

Right-wing leaders in Venezuela have called for an escalation of protests as a fresh set of marches for and against the government are set to hit the streets Monday and political tensions continue to run high after nearly two months of opposition demonstrations aimed at forcing President Nicolas Maduro out of office.

RELATED: Venezuelan Opposition Mob Beats Retired National Guard to Death

Opposition groups will march in Caracas towards the Ombudsman’s office Monday, while government supporters will head toward the Miraflores Presidential Palace under the banner of “Peace, Life and Constituent Assembly.”

Ahead of the latest round of opposing demonstrations, opposition leader and vice president of the National Assembly, Freddy Guevara, called on supporters to “get ready for an escalation,” saying anti-government groups will “significantly” increase “pressure” in the streets against Maduro.

Meanwhile, opposition leader Henrique Capriles, head of the opposition Justice First party who lost the last two presidential elections while representing the opposition MUD coalition, stoked the opposition protests — which have increasingly spilled over into violence — by accusing the government of being responsible for violence.  

“The government’s hand is behind the burned buses, the barricades, the acts of vandalism,” Capriles said, according to Venezuela’s El Universal.

A total of 51 buses were burned last week in an attack on a transport company in Puerto Ordaz. Capriles took to Twitter after the incident to blame the government, writing, “They burn, loot, destroy everything to try to detract from the legitimate protest of the people.” On the other hand, the ruling socialist party governor in the state of Bolivar, Francisco Rangel, slammed as an opposition “terrorist act” on his Twitter account.

Maduro called on the opposition Sunday to condemn such “terrorist acts,” accusing right-wing leaders of generating violence.

“The opposition, by silence, is complicit in criminal terrorism that murders innocent people in the streets,” the president said in his weekly program, arguing that it has been already made clear that the opposition is to blame for violence. “The ultra-right is held hostage by terrorist groups that they themselves created.”

RELATED: Venezuelan Women Debate Constituent Assembly Proposals

More than 60 people have been killed in incidents linked to protests since the opposition launched an ongoing wave of anti-government demonstrations at the beginning of April, according to government officials. In the latest violent incident, a former member of the National Guard was beaten to death by an opposition mob Saturday in the state of Lara in what Maduro condemned as a “hate crime … by a group of criminals, murderers, violent protesters.”

Although the dozens of people killed amid protests have died from a range of different causes — including at least 18 shot by assailants during protests, 13 killed during looting, eight killed at violent barricades, and five killed by police — right-wing leaders have painted the death toll as the result of a violent crackdown on the opposition marches by government forces.

Monday’s opposition march claims to be in memory of those “fallen” in recent weeks of protests, but leaders have failed to condemn the violence that has repeatedly broken out in the ranks of its supporters during demonstrations.

“Today May 29 begins another stage of greater constitutional pressure,” Capriles wrote on his Twitter account. “We Venezuelans want answers and solutions to the crisis!”

The opposition has rejected Maduro’s national Constituent Assembly — called to initiate a democratic process to rewrite the country’s constitution and promote dialogue as solution to the intense political deadlock. Instead, right-wing leaders have called for an “escalation” of protests against the socialist government.   

Maduro described the Constituent Assembly Sunday as a process of "revolutionary change" and a "great power" for a "new stage" in Venezuela.

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Venezuela Slams Colombia for Provocative Border Occupation

Less than two months ago, on March 31, Colombia security officials were gathered near the Simón Bolívar International Bridge in Cúcuta.

On Sunday, the Government of Venezuela expressed displeasure with what it viewed as an antagonistic stance taken by Colombian security forces, who posted near the Paraguachón region of La Guajira.

RELATED: Despite Police Attacks, Colombia's Civil Strike Continues

Armored combat vehicles occupied space only a few meters from their shared border. The Venezuelan government viewed this as a provocative move on the part of the Colombian State.

According to a statement from the authorities, this is not the first seemingly aggressive action by the Colombians. Less than two months ago, on March 31, Colombia security officials were gathered near the Simón Bolívar International Bridge in Cúcuta.

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The statement also pointed out that, recently, top Colombia officials have made false declarations that migrants from Venezuela to Colombia are committing acts of large-scale violence. "The provocation aims to divert attention from the political and social crisis in the Valle del Cauca, Buenaventura," the statement explained.

The Venezuelan government has warned the international community about the threat to the peace accords signed in 2016. The officials fingered their neighbor's actions as an aim to undermine international peace initiative that contributed to ending a war that had ravaged the region for decades.

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US Imposes New Unilateral Sanctions on Venezuela, Tightening Economic Noose

Senator Marco Rubio lambasted the eight judges for aiding and abetting Venezuela's democratically-elected president.

The U.S. Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control imposed sanctions on eight current or former members of the Venezuela's Supreme Court Thursday, in its ongoing attacks on the Bolivarian nation.

RELATED: Comparing Venezuela’s Media with Our Own

Senator Marco Rubio stood on the Senate floor Thursday and lambasted the eight judges for aiding and abetting Venezuela's democratically-elected President Nicolas Maduro for supposedly “murdering” protesters amid weeks of opposition-spurred violent demonstrations. The Republican senator from Florida also accused the government of carrying out a “coup.”

The Supreme Court justices added to the sanctions blacklist were Supreme Court President Maikel Moreno, Calixto Ortega, Arcadio Delgado, Federico Fuenmayor, Carmen Zuleta, Lourdes Suarez Anderson, and Juan Jose Mendoza. Rubio emphasized that these officials should be “punished for what they've done."

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On April 1, Venezuela’s Supreme Court reversed an earlier ruling that verified its responsibilities to resolve matters generally under the purview of the National Assembly, which has been declared in contempt for more than one year after confirming three lawmakers whose election was overturned due to fraud claims. The decision, widely misrepresented in international media, stoked already high-running tensions in the country and was used by opposition forces as a pretext for the violent street demonstrations that have been taking place for seven weeks.

Maikel Moreno, the head of the legislative body, has stressed in the past the impartiality of the Supreme Court, noting that Venezuelan state bodies like the National Assembly are free to execute their duties as they see fit, provided that these activities don't openly disregard the country's constitutional order.

The Treasury Department's sanctions cited various rulings by the top Venezuelan legislative body, including the approval of the national budget and Maduro's appointment of alleged “government sympathizers” that the U.S. demands face approval by the National Assembly.

RELATED: US Has Budgeted $49M for Venezuelan Right-Wing Since 2009

"The Supreme Court of Justice will never have conflicts with any other public power," Maikel said in April. "We are the arbitrator."

Since taking control of the assembly in December 2015, the majority opposition has largely focused parliamentary activities on removing Maduro from office.

On the same day as Colombian President Manuel Santos met with President Donald Trump, four U.S. Senators offered Santos military aid to repel a possible conflict with Venezuela, according to El Tiempo.

Rubio was one of the senators who said that Colombia's armed forces need to be strengthened in case the crisis in Venezuela worsens. Ultra-right Republican Senator Lindsey Graham asked Santos what kind of weaponry he thought would be necessary, while Senators John McCain and Bob Corker said that military aid had been discussed with the Colombian head of state.

Unlike the last batch of sanctions, the current round of sanctions on top officials doesn't focus on spurious “drug trafficking” allegations.

Venezuela has seen U.S.-backed opposition protests for the past seven weeks that have claimed the lives of over 40 people while injuring hundreds.

Since 2009, the U.S. State Department has allocated at least US$49 million to oust the anti-imperialist Bolivarian government. The U.S. has identified Venezuela as its main adversary in the Western Hemisphere, according to a strategic document from 2007 leaked by whistle-blowing former CIA operative Edward Snowden.

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Venezuela’s opposition seeks chaos, not election to depose Maduro – Constituent Assembly director

Venezuela’s major opposition is not interested in taking part in free general elections, but instead, seeks ways to create chaos and violently oust President Nicholas Maduro from office, the head of the commission for the newly introduced Constituent Assembly told RT.

“They are not interested in taking part in the elections when the situation is politically, economically and socially stable. Now they are not planning to run for elections at all, but initially they wanted the election to take place amid economic and social chaos in the country, thus they could have won by creating a mess in our society,” Elías José Jaua Milano, who was appointed president of the commission for the National Constituent Assembly, said in an interview with RT Spanish.

 

“This is their goal. They are not striving for elections taking place in normal conditions so that our people could freely express their political will,” Jaua Milano noted.

Protests have gripped the country since March 29, after the Supreme Court ruled to take over the duties of the National Assembly, a ruling many saw as undemocratic. Although the Supreme Court repealed the decree three days later, it was not enough to assuage anti-government protesters.

The opposition has demanded the government hold fresh general elections as soon as possible, while the government believes that holding a constitutional convention instead, is the only proper way to national reconciliation.

“We believe that President Nicholas Maduro must complete his legal [presidential] which expires in January 2019, and the presidential elections should be held in 2018,” the head of Constituent Assembly said.

After a month of violent street protests which has claimed the lives of at least 39 people, so far, Maduro invoked article 347 of the Bolivarian Constitution, which allows for the convening of a national constituent assembly with the aim of “transforming the state.”

Maduro also urged for a national dialogue. He has asked the Constituent Assembly to cooperate with all representatives of the opposition – many of whom themselves disagree with the actions and methods chosen by the senior opposition members representing the elite, according to Jaua Milano. The idea of all-inclusive talks have been supported by a number of Latin American nations as well as the Vatican.

“Nicholas Maduro decided to seek advice from the sovereign people’s government so that the legally elected members of the assembly could establish grounds that would allow for an elementary understanding and mutual respect between the parties to the conflict,” Jaua Milano explained to RT.

As public disorder in Venezuela enters its second month, some members of the Venezuelan opposition has refused to participate in the National Constituent Assembly convened in order to hear the voice of the people, and if necessary, amend the constitution.

Critics of Maduro say that his intention to negotiate with the opposition is in fact an attempt to delay regional and municipal elections slated for this year.

Maduro’s government, in turn, accuses the opposition of refusing to engage in talks but instead looking to oust him by any means necessary.

“They are rejecting taking part in a dialogue and in the elections because they actually don’t want to resolve this conflict through elections. They are trying to depose President Nicholas Maduro,” Jaua Milano said.

The Venezuelan people, including those opposing the government, are against violence, but opposition figures are deliberately pushing for an escalation of the conflict, Jaua Milano believes.

“Venezuela’s top opposition officials are acting on the instruction of most radical parts of the US government… and are carrying out the White House’s request to start a kin-on-kin war in Venezuela,” he said.

Speaking of the underlying reasons for such actions, Jaua Milano said the United States is trying to “punish people who dared to be independent” since Washington “can’t let true democracies to exist.”

“Those from the United States who are trying to ignite this conflict should have…more carefully analyzed the scale that the civil war in Venezuela could achieve,” Jaua Milano said, warning that such a war could set the entire region on fire.

 
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The head of the Constituent Assembly stressed that authorities are not resorting to lethal weapons and are not responsible for the mounting death toll in the ongoing protests.

“In Venezuela, representatives of law enforcement agencies are not allowed to shoot at protesters. And although [the protesters] have already resorted to the use of firearms, the commanders of special forces still have orders to use only water cannons and tear gas,” Jaua Milano told RT.

“The death of people during the riots was often caused by the actions of the rioters themselves. They either walked into the crosshairs of the opposition snipers or found themselves in chaotic situations that led to their death.”

The goal of the opposition is to present the government as an oppressor that violates human rights, and to depict a failed state by encouraging chaos that leads to casualties, Jaua Milano said.

“This is a war in which dramatic pictures attracts most attention: Nudists, standing in front of police. People throwing themselves into the river as a result of alleged police harassment,” he said.

“This is a comprehensive strategy aimed at creating chaos in state institutions, in society, provoking clashes among the civilian population in order to prove the state’s failure and justify a foreign military invasion.”

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Florida-Venezuela: Unmasked fanatics

The Florida governor, Rick Scott, confirmed that the US does have close links with Venezuela’s extreme right.

A well-known secret has come out to light with the fierce support of multimillionaire Scott to “violent citizens” of the aforementioned country.

Johanna A. Alvarez, journalist from El Nuevo Herald, reported that he is going to attend a rally in Miami to “demand the freeing of Venezuelan opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez.”

Just over three years ago, Lopez led violent actions that caused deaths, injured people, and several material damages.

The new show is now labeled Freedom Rally and, intriguingly, it was convened at a local restaurant from the city of Doral.

According to what is announced, Scott would grant his recognition to Carlos Vecchio, coordinator in the so-called Partido Voluntad Popular (Party of People’s Will), who will receive it on behalf of Lopez.

El Nuevo Herald reported that talking about Venezuela’s situation is not new for the Florida governor, especially in Leopoldo Lopez’s case.

In late March, he had written that Venezuela was forced to release him, but he did not mention any of his crimes.

Recently, El Herald and other extreme-right media published:

During the rally in Miami, Governor Scott will grant the Freedom Award 2017 to Leopoldo Lopez, who has been world news due to “his unknown health status.”

Later, it was spread the news Lopez was very sick in jail, but it was immediately refuted by a video.

The video showed Lopez was very healthy and he claimed not to understand why he must give proof of life at that time.”

His wife, Lilian Tintori, and his mother Antonieta Mendoza, saw him on Sunday and talked to him during a familiar visit.

El Herald recalled he was sentenced to almost 14 years in 2014 for inciting to violence during the extreme-right riots that year.

It was now reported that Governor Rick Scott would lead a rally supporting Venezuelan opposition leader and those who protest against President Nicolas Maduro.

Florida’s newspaper Orlando Sentinel helped to detail better the fierce enemy of Venezuela.

The newspaper published that on December 23rd, 2014, Spanish news agency EFE revealed that Scott invested around 70 millions USD by the end of his electoral campaign in 2010.

He was, by then, backed by the Neo-Nazi party Tea Party.

It is very intriguing that EFE did not notice such fact.

It all happens when Washington is releasing the allocation of some millions USD for its sacred “Venezuelan opposition.”

So predators from the Oval Office in the White House hide their masks and decided to react without traces of morality.

Translated by Sergio A. Paneque Diaz / Cubasi Translation Staff

Exaggerated Dangers in Venezuela

Caracas, Apr 10 (Prensa Latina) Exaggerating the dangers that exist today in Venezuela seems to be part of the strategy to root the image of insecurity in order to justify a foreign intervention that will allegedly save the country's stability.

How true or false is the situation they are trying to sell to the large masses who are alarmingly observing the manipulated domestic situation, as part of a scenario that has been described as catastrophic by people like the secretary-general of the Organization of American States (OAS), Luis Almagro?

A communiqué issued by Almagro refers to 'a killed demonstrator and dozens of wounded and arrested as the initial result of repression (on Friday), aimed at suffocating the demand for free elections, the only solution for a country devastated by the political crisis and looting.'

The peaceful protest and the right to the freedom of peaceful association, he noted, are universal rights that any government, especially the democratic governments, must respect. That shows again that there is no democracy in Venezuela and that human rights are violated regularly, the OAS chief said.

None of this fits reality. First, there is freedom to demonstrate, but authorities have the right to limit the places to prevent clashes between opposite forces, according to observers.

The violent demonstrations, according to what this correspondent has observed, are promoted by groups opposed to the government that are closely linked to 'the democrats of the continent', as Almagro calls those who 'will not accept to pay with Venezuelan blood the debts of democracy, freedoms, prosperity, the Constitution and the rights that its rulers have contracted at the people's expense,' something that these advocates cause and manipulate.

The communiqué, which was issued after Almagro met on Thursday in Washington with the speaker of the Venezuelan National Assembly, the opposition leader Julio Borges, shows that the so-called soft coup against President Nicolas Maduro is being cooked in the U.S. capital, with support from local opponents.

Big media organizations have described events that do not match reality, as they are trying to depict an explosive image throughout the country.

For example, here, at the foot of Mountain Avila, there were sporadic expressions of violence in the areas of Altamira and Chacaito, known as the capital's bastions of the country's right-wing opposition and the bourgeoisie, while in other zones in the east, west and south, there is tension, but there is no violence as predicted and announced by media opposed to the government.

That atmosphere of insecurity and violence is fueled by events like this one: 'Venezuelan tennis players had to go to Miami to compete in the Davis Cup against El Salvador. Not a single game will take place in Venezuela, because the International Federation considered that it was dangerous. But no one, either the International Tennis Federation or the IND or Min-Deportes say anything', the commentator Eleazar Diaz Rangel said.

Logically, the manipulation of the situation contributes to the atmosphere of insecurity. Everything can have an interpretation here.

For example, at 08:00 hours, local time, on Sunday, a squad of soldiers wearing the olive green uniforms of the Bolivarian National Armed Force (FANB) was deployed at the steps of the Financiero Latino building, in Urdaneta and Avenida Fuerzas Armadas.

Anyone would think that it was a scenario of violence, because the headquarters of the Ombudsman is located nearby, but it was merely a preventive exercise. The danger does not exist.

It does not mean that the country is not in tension, there is tension, ordinary people are concerned about their country and the threats coming from abroad, but so far, it has not gone beyond that, unless foreign forces attack the homeland of Simon Bolivar and Hugo Chavez. Then, there will be a dangerous situation.

However, there are still voices like that of UNASUR Secretary-General Ernesto Samper, who noted that an explicit electoral program is the best way to solve the political crisis. It was said by someone who participated in the talks between the two parties and who has promoted dialogue.

Likewise, but on the opposite direction, there is howling like that by Argentine President Mauricio Macri, who speaks about 'violations of human rights' in Venezuela and calls 'to exert pressure' to cause the explosion of a bomb that can affect the entire Latin America.

In that regard, the interpretation of the dangers may change, everything depends on being at the wrong moment and at the wrong time in the sequence of a situation.

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Plans for Coup against Venezuelan Gov't Detailed

Caracas, Apr 6 (Prensa Latina) Details of a coup plot that includes street violence and attacks on military units, in order to create a scenario conducive to foreign military intervention, were unveiled here by Bolivarian leader Diosdado Cabello.

The first vice-president of the United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV), made public on the TV channel Venezolana de Televisión, recordings of conversations between leaders of the opposition right-wing, revealing the violent magnitude of the plans, to be executed in the short term. In the recorded conversations - broadcast last night in the program Con el mazo dando - the right-wing politicians Roberto Enríquez and Oswaldo Álvarez Paz, members of the Independent Electoral Political Organization Committee (COPEI) party, are heard talking about the issue.

Also compromising conversations were revealed by Eduardo Vetancourt, former official of the former National Directorate of Intelligence and Prevention Services (DISIP); Colonel Zomacal Hernández, leader of Primero Justicia (Justice First), Julio Borges, current president of the National Assembly (Parliament), and US Senator of Cuban origin Marcos Rubio, among others.

In the talks, Vetancourt - who is a fugitive from Venezuelan justice - suggests activating violent actions 'neighbor to neighbor', which includes the use of C-4 explosives and wicks, to 'remove government by force' and push a de facto one, made up of representatives of the traditional parties Democratic Action and COPEI.

It was also known, in the DISIP former official's own voice, that a riot squad was being formed, consisting of 98 men, who would be paid two million bolivars each (about 500 dollars with the informal change), who would be responsible for creating riots in a violent manner.

By its part, Colonel Zomacal - already under arrest - confessed being the coordinator of the military participation and the one in charge to handle the C-4 explosives to generate chaos in the streets and to attack military facilities, among them Fort Tiuna and Caracas downtown area.

'We have 88 policemen,' said Zomacal, 'but we need 120 (...) because there must be a group behind the march of Maria Corina (Machado) to sack them. We want them to believe before the national and international public opinion that the people are hungry. The former soldier revealed that violent organizations infiltrated groups, followers of the Bolivarian government, and confirmed the participation of plain-clothed coup military, in an opposition march. 'Some will have to leave and others will have to die', the former colonel Zomacal emphasized.

Cabello explained that this coup plot has been articulated, for three years, by the US government, when former South Command chief John Kelly called for the possibility of a military intervention in the country.

Subversive actions were dismantled by Operation Escudo Zamorano 2017, which also seized ammunition and explosives.

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Venezuelans on Alert in Light of Coup

Caracas, Apr 5 (Prensa Latina) The people and authorities of Venezuela on Tuesday showed that they are prepared to counter the coup plans designed in a script written by several authors who want to break the country's constitutional order.

It could be said that the opposition took to the streets en masse, or rather to a small portion of the capital's streets, where Henrique Capriles, the governor of the state of Miranda who visited Washington recently to receive orders and coordinate plans, has his domain.

However, the Chavist peaceful demonstration was larger and responded to the attacks by opposition sectors, who are trying to create an atmosphere of violence 'to justify' an intervention by its foreign protectors and supporters, as denounced by the popular leader Diosdado Cabello, when he warned against recent dangers for the country.

Evidence of the macabre plot against Venezuela is evident.

According to Marcos Roitman Rosenmann, a Chilean-Spanish essayist, university professor and a Ph.D. in political sciences and sociology, the conspiracy to break Venezuela's constitutional order is under way.

After the conversations between Admiral Kurt Tidd, who at the time was the commander-in-chief of the Miami-based U.S. Southern Command, and the incumbent secretary-general of the Organization of American States (OAS), Luis Almagro, in January 2016, anything can be expected.

In that meeting, they talked about the coup plans and coordinated the action of regional bodies with one end: to undermine the legitimate power of the government of President Nicolas Maduro, Roitman pointed out.

Intelligence services, non-governmental organizations, private media corporation, radio, television, social networks, those that are involved today, must synchronize their actions to deal the final blow, the academic warned.

So far, everything goes as planned, according to the latest developments in the OAS and here in Venezuela.

The conspirators insist on inaugurating a parallel State, headed by the Parliament, in the hands of the opposition. The immediate work is to lay the foundations to make it viable. The strategy is to pressure the Judicial Power, to discredit its resolution and to force the government to take exceptional measures, so that they can justify the intervention to safeguard, curiously, the constitutional order, Roitman said in his analysis.

Of course, the U.S. Embassy in Caracas plays a key role in that labyrinth, as many conspirators go there to meet Tenny Smith, a high-ranking military officer who belongs to the defense intelligence agency, and Rita Buck Rico, who works at the political affairs section of U.S. foreign services, to receive instructions.

Meanwhile, a domestic campaign, focused on Parliament, which is in the hands of the opposition, is being prepared to request a foreign intervention, refusing to comply with its legislative function, which is to approve and develop laws. The maneuver is aimed at turning the National Assembly into the Executive Power.

However, so far, the enemies of the Revolution initiated by Commander Hugo Chavez have not counted on the civic-military unity of Venezuelans, so they will not be able to overthrow the government of Nicolas Maduro.

The plans to enforce the so-called OAS Democratic Charter have not materialized, despite the servility of some governments that have knelt to the new orchestra director in the United States, Donald Trump.

Notwithstanding, the setback in the so-called Ministry of Colonies may speed up the sedition, so the warnings made by the leader of the United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV), Cabello, against a foreign intervention and future bombings are important, because preparations for the coup are under way.

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