Beaten & torched: Protester describes violence at Venezuela riots

A government supporter set on fire during opposition riots in Venezuela’s capital, Caracas, is in a coma suffering from severe burns and stab wounds, his doctor told RT. Another man was also injured by rioters who were apparently trying to kill him.

Opposition supporters clash with riot security forces in Caracas, Venezuela, May 18, 2017. © Carlos Garcia Rawlins

Gruesome footage of a man named Orlando Figuera, 21, was broadcast on state television this weekend. It shows dozens of people at an anti-government demonstration in Caracas surrounding the man, dousing him with gasoline, and setting him on fire in Plaza Altamira in the east of city.

“He received six wounds in the torso with burns over 54 percent of his body surface, both second and third degree,” Alexis Parra Soler, a doctor treating Figuera, told RT.

Horrifying images from the scene show Figuera running while nearly naked with flames on his back. “A person was set on fire, beaten up, stabbed... They nearly lynched him, just because he shouted out that he was a ‘Chavista,’” said Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, referring to supporters of the United Socialist Party of Venezuela established by late leader Hugo Chavez.

Speaking on state TV, Maduro described the torching as “a hate crime and a crime against humanity.” The 21-year-old victim, who sustained heavy injuries, severe burns, and stab wounds, was taken to intense care.

Another victim named Carlos Ramirez was also hunted down by rioters who were apparently trying to kill him. “I told them I’m not a Chavista, but they said of course I am, so I had to die” Ramirez told RT at a hospital.

“They started to hit me, and after I collapsed to the ground, they threw a Molotov cocktail at me,” the man said.

Venezuelan Information Minister Ernesto Villegas reacted by tweeting: “Growing insanity. A human being is set on fire at a ‘peaceful demonstration’ by the opposition in Caracas.”

At least 50 people have been killed, including bystanders and members of the security forces, during several weeks of anti-government rallies, according to Reuters. 

Lynchings have also become common, as opposition rallies quickly turn violent. Venezuelan Interior Minister Nestor Reverol described the rioters’ actions as “acts of terrorism,” while suggesting that the provocateurs have links to organized crime.

“[The riots] show how the terrorist right maintains close relationships with criminals to commit these acts,” he said on Twitter.

In turn, the opposition accuses Maduro of being a “dictator” and wrecking the nation’s economy. They are demanding that he step down as president. Riots have been breaking out as Venezuela’s economy has slid into a deep crisis. Recently, the International Monetary Fund warned that the country’s currency was rapidly losing value, with monetary inflation at 720 percent, the worst in the world, according to the Financial Times

In response, Maduro has lashed out at the US and its Venezuelan sympathizers, who he says are exploiting economic hardship to bring unrest and violence into the country. “Enough meddling ... Go home, Donald Trump. Get out of Venezuela,” Maduro said in a speech broadcasted on TV, as cited by Reuters. “Get your dirty hands out of here,” he urged.

“The extreme positions of a government just starting off only confirmed the discriminatory, racist, xenophobic, and genocidal nature of US elites against humanity and its own people, which has now been heightened by this new administration, which asserts white Anglo-Saxon supremacy,” the statement read, as cited by Reuters.

  • Published in World

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."

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.

  • Published in World

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.

  • Published in World

World Rallies to Face Media Campaigns vs. Venezuela

Caracas, Feb 22 (Prensa Latina) The International Committee for Peace, Justice and Dignity has convened a worldwide mobilization in support of the Bolivarian Revolution in Venezuela, facing the constant attacks orchestrated by the right and media at its service.

The Committee rejects in a statement released yesterday the actions promoted from Washington against Venezuela and joins the call made by President Nicolas Maduro to invoke the relations of respect framed in equality and dialogue.

The committee, in turn, called for an international mobilization on March 1st, 2nd and 3rd, with parallel actions around the world in support of Venezuela, and urged to work from now on networks and social movements spreading the truth and the communiques issued by the Bolivarian government.

The Committee also convened to carry out a world message action through Twitter on March 2nd- and carry out peaceful demonstrations in front of the U.S. embassies in the world on March 3rd, in favor of the revolutionary process in the South American country.

Venezuela is not alone!, the statement said. 'The Bolivarian Revolution of Venezuela, great and generous with all our peoples, needs today the unconditional support of the international solidarity.'

The activities scheduled by the International Committee for Peace, Justice and Dignity will be held some few days before the fourth anniversary of the death of the Venezuelan leader, Commander Hugo Chavez Frias, on March 5th.

  • Published in World

Venezuela's President Insists on Dialogue to Secure Peace

Venezuela's Government insists on the political dialogue as the best tool for peace, despite the denial of the right wing sector to seat at the discussion table, President Nicolas Maduro said.

At a television appearance, Maduro added that several initiatives have been implemented, as well as meetings between foreign observers and the opposition alliance Democratic Unity Roundtable (MUD, in Spanish).

A document came out of those encounters which is under debate to move forward in the political talks.

Maduro said the MUD should still abide by commitments it pledged to since last November.

'I'm optimistic, however, that the opposition will carry out those agreements, that's why I call on the opposition to stay on the peace process for the good of the country', the President said.

  • Published in World

Venezuela Rates Meeting on Dialogue as Excellent

Caracas, Jan 20 (Prensa Latina) Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro rated a meeting that took place here with the international partners of Unasur and the Vatican to strengthen the dialogue process in the country as excellent.

Maduro made his remarks this morning in Twitter after meeting the Secretary General of the Union of South American Nations (Unasur), Ernesto Samper, in the Palace of Miraflores, in order to continue strengthening the momentum of dialogue between the National Government and opposition sectors.

The ex-presidents José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, Leonel Fernández, Martín Torrijos, attended the meeting along with the Apostolic Nuncio, Aldo Giordano, who will be the representative of the Holy See in the talks.

Unasur issued a press release of the participants in the process restating the support and commitment to re-launch dialogues between both sectors.

In the document, they announced that they will present a plan to the Government and to the so-called Democratic Unity Board (MUD) aimed at re-launching the talks that are now facing a stage of stagnation due to the opposition's refusal to talk.

Samper said that the initiative to reactivate the dialogue contemplates the solution of different types of proposals and needs that Venezuelans have.

He added that in addition to the political part, the dialogue has to do with the solution of the social problems of Venezuelans with the different commissions.

The former Colombian president said that this process has already shown results and created spaces of confidence among political sectors, while announcing the interest of meeting with the opposition spokesmen today to convey to them the same concerns expressed to the government.

By its part, the government representative at the dialogue table, Jorge Rodríguez, ratified the support to the talks with the opposition sectors and stressed that the only possible path the government is committed to reach peace, is dialogue.

The mayor of Caracas also asked the opposition sectors to cease any violent action that generates destabilization and chaos in the nation, and to join again to the national dialogue.

  • Published in World

Venezuelan National Assembly Almost in Checkmate

Caracas, Dec 21 (Prensa Latina) The National Assembly of Venezuela (AN) is presented today as a game of chess on the verge of checkmate, according to an political expert analysis.

According to the deputy Elías Jaua Milano, of the Block of the Homeland, the organ that lost its legislative capacity has until January 5 to correct the contempt in which it sank.

Disobedience leads that institution to an inexorable break-point, warned Jaua on the eve, during a press conference held in Merida state in the Andean region of Venezuela.

Parliamentarians from the so-called Democratic Unity Table (MUD) have until January 5 to fix the problem and even some analyzes point that the AN is on the verge of dissolution.

'The MUD waters because of the absence of an ideological and coherent project for the country, which is not only the obsession of four leaders for being presidents,' stated the sociologist, during his weekly program 'Encuentro Popular', broadcast by the radio station YVKE World Radio. On January 5, deputies of the Venezuelan chamber must resolve the differences that led them to incur three disrespect to the Supreme Court of Justice (TSJ).

President Maduro recently said that 'sooner rather than later the people will have to constitutionally dissolve the AN', because that body did not know how to take advantage of the power that the Venezuelan people deposited in it when it granted a majority in 2015.

As the clock progresses, the checkmate in this game approaches to confirm that Chavism has all the tools to dissolve the AN and call for new parliamentary elections.

  • Published in World

Venezuelans Mobilized in Support of Government-Opposition Dialogue

Caracas, Nov 3 (Prensa Latina) The Venezuelan people has taken the streets of this capital today to reaffirm their support for dialogue between the government of Nicolas Maduro and the opposition, despite this sector continues its hostile policy.

The march, convened by the United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV), started in several central sites for the Miraflores Presidential Palace.

The PSUV Youth has been focused since yesterday night on areas surrounding the government building in support of the Bolivarian government and the perseverance in the exchange with the opposition to achieve stability in the country.

The camps are carrying out some recreational and educational activities, in which delegations of amateur artists have played a key role, the coordinator of JPsuv activities, Andreina Tarazon, reported.

That body urged the establishment of a roundtable discussion between youth and student sectors at all academic levels, she added.

PSUV Vice President, Diosdado Cabello, warned that the opposition has a plan to affect this mobilization. 'There are an 'Operacion Troya', they will try to get some people into the Miraflores Palace,' he said during his weekly program ' Con el mazo dando'.

The socialist legislator stated that several representatives of the opposition launched new threats and gave the government a 10-day deadline for talks that began on Sunday, October 30, to reach peace in the nation.

The legislator stated that the political consciousness of the people continues strengthening and the society is fighting to improve the country.

  • Published in World
Subscribe to this RSS feed