In their feverish attempts to overthrow the democratically elected government of President Nicolas Maduro in Venezuela, the right-wing opposition is resorting to criminal terrorism. Their criminal actions show an utter disregard for human life. Among other acts of terrorism, they are using lynching, complete with racist and classist intent.
On June 3, 2017, Orlando Figueras, 21, Afro Venezuelan, was attacked on his way to work in Caracas. He was punched, stabbed with knives, sprayed with gasoline and set on fire by masked right-wing protesters. This horrific act of racism was captured on video. Orlando, unfortunately for him, looked “Chavista”. The truth is that the victim had no political affiliation. This was, plain and simple murder by lynching.
On June 13, 2017, in Merida State, the Police Chief, Douglas Acevedo, 42, was killed by a shot in his neck from a sharpshooter protester. That same protest action left many others with bullet wounds. This speaks to a level of criminal intent during this demonstrations. Meanwhile, President Maduro has ordered the police not to use plastic bullets or any other kind of weapon.
Two young men, Henry Escalona and Wladimir Pena, were also attacked in similar manner on June 24 in Barquisimeto, Lara State. They are now in critical condition. On June 26, in Caracas, Giovanny Gonzalez, was also stabbed and burned. In all cases they were attacked for being “Chavistas.”
Some demonstrators have also been the victims of friendly fire, like a young man who was burned to death on May 3, 2017, in El Avila, after the gas tank of a police motorcycle they had captured exploded. Regardless, a rabid opposition blames the government police for all of these unfortunate and senseless deaths. They follow the lead of Cuban-American Republican Representative Ros-Lehtinen who on June 14 requested increased sanctions against Venezuela while saying that “nearly 70 people have been killed by Maduro’s thugs.” In response Secretary of State Rex Tillerson indicated that the Trump administrations is working to “change” the regime. He said, “rest assure we have active efforts underway working with others in the Organization of American States in particular.”
We, citizens and residents of the United States, reject the racist savagery of the right-wing opposition and are appalled that our own country and its government support them. We implore that all violence end immediately. Stop the lynching, respect human life and human dignity. We demand that the United States government stops intervention in Venezuela, which is resulting in this mayhem.
Venezuela Solidarity Committee
Boston, July 5, 2017