Posts Tagged ‘Venezuela’


Our newest title, Venezuelan Anarchism: The History of a Movement, by Rodolfo Montes de Oca, is now available. It should be of major interest to those interested in anarchist history and also to those interested in the history of Venezuela. Both Venezuelan Anarchism and our previous Venezuela title, Venezuela: Revolution as Spectacle, by Rafael Uzcátegui, provide essential background information for anyone who wants to understand the current political situation in that tortured land. Daniel Baret, author of Los sediciosos despertares de la Anarquia (Anarchy’s Seditious Awakenings) has this to say of the book:

“Rodolfo Montes de Oca has unearthed an unknown history. He shows the arc of Venezuelan anarchism from its most distant antecedents to the contemporary. It’s an ambitious examination that can only be compared to Frank Fernández’s Cuban Anarchism: The History of a Movement.”

We just sent the files to the printer for advance review copies of our September title, Death Wins All Wars, Daniel Holland’s memoir of draft resistance, organizing, and protest during the Viet Nam war.

R.M. Ryan, the author of There’s a Man with a Gun Over There, says this of the book: “Daniel Holland’s memoir of his days as a draft resister in the late 1960s offers a step-by-step account of ordinary bravery in the face of unconscionable lies by the US government. Men like Holland faced prison sentences as the price of their resistance. Filled with an improbable combination of sweetness, good humor, and fear, Holland’s story reads like a letter from the front lines of the anti-war movement.”

Paul Krassner, legendary Yippee activist and editor of The Realist, has this to say: “The absurdity of today’s political and ideological world demands Resistance. The way Daniel Holland responded to the absurdity of the Sixties may well provide a guidepost. Travel with him now to the past and see what the future may bring.”

We’re currently at work on our other Fall book, Chris Mato Nunpa’s The Great Evil: Christianity, the Bible, and the Native American Genocide. This book pulls back the veils on a nearly unknown and shocking chapter in American history. We’ll be sending off the files for advance copies within the month, and we’ll release the book in September. This will be the last book we’ll release this year. (Once that book is out, health permitting, I hope to begin regularly posting here once again in the usual areas: politics, religion, atheism, music, humor, sci-fi book reviews, and anything else that seems of interest.)

Next year, we’ll release T.C. Weber’s Zero Day Rising, the final book in T.C.’s well crafted political sci-fi/near-future thriller “Sleep State Interrupt” trilogy, plus, just possibly the as-yet-untitled sequel to one of our other sci-fi titles, Zeke Teflon’s Free Radicals: A Novel of Utopia and Dystopia, and a nonfiction book, 24 Reasons to Abandon Christianity, a greatly expanded version of my e-book 20 Reasons to Abandon Christianity. (Free html version of 20 Reasons here.)

* * *

 


Salom Mesa Espinoza

“I come from the social subsoil, and my ideas embrace political struggle. . . . to procure a revolutionary order, to leave behind justice for my equals; but the results of the political struggle in which I’ve been an actor haven’t served these ends, but on the contrary it’s served to turn me into an animal, to debase me, to corrupt and degrade the sons of the people. And as an honest man — which I’ve always wanted people to see me as — I had to break with that which life itself showed to be evil. In may case, conventional [electoral] politics.

“The legal [political] parties in which I participated were generous with me. The first, Acción Democrática, made me councilor for the Federal District and later a deputy to the Congress, and for it I spilled my blood. The second Movimiento Electoral del Pueblo, made me a deputy for the Federal District three consecutive times, and the final time nominated me and secured my election while I was imprisoned. It conducted a vigorous and and valiant campaign for my freedom, and its president doctor Luís B. Prieto harshly criticized the government and vehemently demanded my release. I’m profoundly grateful to the MEP and Doctor Prieto, and I won’t forget that.

“But for me social struggle makes sense [only] if it tends in the direction of human emancipation; and forty-four years of party militancy, surrounded in the vast majority by good people, has convinced me that we’ll never reach emancipation through political action, that the sons of the people, like me, should have nothing to do with [electoral] politics nor with government. Our mission is that of destroying the ruling political and social order so as to later construct a just order.”

–Salom Mesa Espinoza, La vida me lo dijo, elogio a la anarquía (rough translation: Life told me this, elegy to anarchy)

(quoted by Rodolfo Montes de Oca in Venezuelan Anarchism: The History of a Movement, which will go to press later this month)

* * *

Venezuelan Anarchism front cover

 


(Note: I’m doing this translation on the fly — just sitting here reading and typing away. Don’t expect a great translation: I’m wiped and am posting this without revising it. For those interested and who can read Spanish, the original is included at the end of this translation.)

* * *

by Rafael Uzcategui

The rhetoric of Chavismo [refers to the personality cult of Hugo Chávez and his followers, especially now-dictator Nicolás Maduro], replete with the standard pet phrases of the Latin American left, created for many years expectations among those who searched for a more humane and just alternative [to the capitalist hell of U.S. subservience and exploitation].

Despite the degradation of the army to the Chavista state, and the obvious evidence of the general impoverishment of the population and the regimentation of daily life of Venezuelans, the phantasm [of “Bolivarian” revolution] hasn’t yet totally evaporated.

The unsuspecting, innocents, and political operatives of all stripes, but without the drive they had in the days of the Supreme Commander, continue to defend the regime of Nicolás Maduro repeating the empty phrases “economic war” and citing the Constituent Assembly [the illegal body created by Maduro to supplant the elected congress].

Every time we have to explain the Venezuelan situation outside of our borders, we need to overcome the echos of authoritarian propaganda [sanctifying Chávez and Maduro]. To neutralize the views of those who live in other lands, but who consider themselves better informed than those of us living here, I’ll cite personal histories, personal histories of those of us living here in Venezuela.

I’ll begin with the story of Juan Pedro Lares.

Juan Pedro is a young man of 23, who on the 30th of June, the date of the election for Maduro’s [illegal] constituent assembly, was arrested in his home in the municipality of Campo Elías in the state of Mérida by SEBIN [Servicio Boliviariano de Inteligencia Nacional — the state intelligence service]. They were looking for his father, Omar Lares, the town’s mayor. Most of the family fled through the rear, but uniformed cops arrested Juan Pedro.

There was no arrest warrant for him and he was committing no crime — the two reasons under the law that would permit arrest. But they arrested him anyway.

Meanwhile, his father fled to Colombia to avoid being arrested in the wave of repression directed against [opposition] mayors. And his mother Ramona went to Caracas to try to find out what happened to Juan Pablo.

Despite going several times to the Helicoide prison, the authorities denied repeatedly that he was there. He was.

Both Juan Pedro and his mother Ramona are Colombian citizens, and thanks to the Colombian embassy she was able to visit him in Helicoide, the headquarter of SEBIN, four times over the coming months.

The illegal detention, the violation of due process, and the negation of the rights due any prisoner — visits by family and access to attorneys — weren’t the only violations of Juan Pedro’s rights. He was never brought before a judge during the first 48 hours to be informed of the charges brought against him. He was never brought before a judge during the first six months of his captivity.

We repeat: No state attorney has accused the young man of committing a crime. Therefore, his detention consists of, nothing more and nothing less, a kidnapping by the state. In this manner, the Maduro government, with the complicity of the human rights figures [within it, apparently — I don’t know enough about the matter to extrapolate from the context]  Tarek William Saab and Alfredo Ruiz to blackmail Juan Pedro’s father to return from exile and be imprisoned.

What do you call the type of government that would do such a thing?

The case of Juan Pedro discredits ever more the international mouthpieces of Chavismo [presently, Madurismo]. If the governments of Macri (Argentina) or Piñera (Chile) had violated due process and incarcerated someone for political purposes, there would be a regional campaign against this on social networks. But no.

The case of Juan Pedro Lares is not unique.

We’ll continue, while we still have a voice, to continue to paint such portraits of infamy.

* * *

El discurso del chavismo, repleto de lugares comunes y las muletillas de la izquierda latinoamericana, generó durante mucho tiempo expectativas entre quienes buscaban una alternativa, más humana y justa, para la humanidad. A pesar de la degradación del ejercicio de poder bolivariano y todas las evidencias sobre el empobrecimiento general de la población y la estatización de la vida cotidiana de los venezolanos, dicho espejismo no se ha evaporado del todo. Incautos, ingenios y operadores políticos de todo pelaje, con menos empuje que en los días en vida del Comandante Supremo, siguen defendiendo la gestión de Nicolás Maduro, repitiendo los desiertos de la “guerra económica” y la Constituyente.

Cada vez que hemos tenido que explicar la situación venezolana fuera de sus fronteras, tenemos que vencer los ecos de la propaganda del autoritarismo. Para neutralizar auditorios que a pesar de no vivir en el país creen estar mejor informados que tú, he recurrido a la estrategia de contar historias que, dramáticamente, hablen por sí solas. Cuando he querido neutralizar las intervenciones de quienes desean refutar que entre nosotros existe una dictadura, empiezo mi intervención relatando la historia de Juan Pedro Lares.

Juan Pedro es un adolescente de 23 años que el pasado 30 de julio, fecha de las elecciones a la Asamblea Constituyente madurista, fue detenido en su domicilio ubicado en el Municipio Campo Elías del estado Mérida. Un comando del SEBIN y la policía fueron a buscar a su padre, Omar Lares, que en ese momento ejercía el cargo de Alcalde de Ejido. La familia huye por el patio trasero, pero Juan Pedro queda atrás y es capturado por los uniformados. No había ninguna orden de aprehensión en su contra y no estaba cometiendo en ese momento delito alguno, los dos causales, que según la ley, permiten la privación de libertad. Inmediatamente fue trasladado a Caracas. Mientras su padre huía a Colombia, para evitar ser parte de los alcaldes detenidos ilegalmente, su madre Ramona comienza la peregrinación en la capital para conocer el paradero de su hijo. A pesar de haber ido varias veces a El Helicoide, las autoridades negaban que se encontrara ahí. Tanto Ramona como Juan Pedro tienen nacionalidad colombiana, por lo que fue por intermediación de la Cancillería que, semanas después, corroboraron que se encontraba en la sede del Sebin y le permitieron una primera visita, que hasta el día de hoy sólo suman 4. La detención ilegal y la negación de los derechos de cualquier preso (ser visitado por abogados y familiares de manera periódica) no son la única violación del debido proceso. La más escandalosa es que durante los 6 meses que Juan Pedro ha estado recluido en El Helicoide en ningún momento, ni en las 48 horas que dice la ley ni después, ha sido trasladado a tribunales para que un juez sea formalmente informado de los delitos que se le imputan. Repetimos: Ningún fiscal ha acusado al joven de haber cometido acto fuera de la ley, por lo que su detención constituye, nada más y nada menos, que un secuestro por parte del Estado. De esta manera el gobierno madurista, con la complicidad de los próceres de los DDHH Tarek William Saab y Alfredo Ruiz, intenta obligar a Omar Lares a entregarse. ¿Cómo se llama un gobierno que actúa de esta manera?

El relato sobre el caso Juan Pedro Lares enmudece a los, cada vez menos, altavoces internacionales del chavismo. Si el gobierno de Macri o de Piñera, por decir dos nombres, violara el debido proceso de una sola persona encarcelada por razones políticas, tendríamos a la progresía regional haciendo movilizaciones y campañas por redes sociales. Pero el caso Lares no es el único. Debemos continuar, mientras tengamos voz, relatando sus historias para continuar dibujando el rostro de la ignominia. @fanzinero (Publicado en Tal Cual)


(We received this from our Venezuelan comrades connected with El Libertario. It begins with a note from our compañeros/as announcing a series of pieces on the current rebellion and repression — arrests, beatings, and torture — of anarchist and other protesters by the “revolutionary” Maduro regime, and expressing thanks to those who spread this information.)

Beginning on April 4, 2017, a popular rebellion has been developing against the dictatorship of Nicolás Maduro. We’ll shortly be sending out a series of interviews with compañeros/as who have been detained and tortured for protesting. We appreciate the translation and dissemination of these interviews in other languages.

Anarchist Detained and Beaten in Cagua in the state of Aragua


In April, one of our comrades in Cagia was arrested in Cagua for participating in community defense against the attacks from the Bolivarian National Guard and the Araguan Police (PoliAragua). In order to safeguard his physical well-being, we’ll use the name Libertarian Fighter here.

We spoke with him after he came out of detention. At present he’s well physically and in good spirits. In this interview he talks about his month-long detention and what position anarchists should take on the popular rebellion.

To Begin with, what led to your detention?

They arrested me on Monday April 24 around 8:00 pm. We were ambushed by the Araguan police. The demonstration began with complete calm. It was a sit-in, in which the people had been blocking an intersection since 6:00 am. The GNB and PoliAragua had been there since quite early watching to see if we were making a disturbance. They moved on us around 6:00 pm after we moved from the intersection to the entrance of Cagua. Suddenly a GNB truck arrived and anti-riot police spewed out of it. That was when they started to threaten us and fire tear gas shells at us. We didn’t back down, and confronted them.

You couldn’t see the street because of all the tear gas they had fired. Then things became more violent. They began not only launching tear gas at us, but brought in motorcycle cops. We saw them drag off, on the other side of a bridge over a canal, a woman by the hair.

I crossed the canal and found myself facing a wall of police. There was no way out, and instead of surrendering I launched myself against them, arms crossed in front of me [presumably to ward off blows to the head], and took off running.

I was escaping when they found me, grabbed me, and began beating me as I tried to defend myself. They threw me down, and when I rose, I struck them as I could until I could no longer fight.

One of them then said, “We’re going to throw you from the bridge, asshole.”

They took my i.d. and cell phone and forced me to sit on the sidewalk until a policewoman arrived. She spoke by radio and then told them to handcuff me and take me where she directed.

They let the other detained demonstrators go then. I was the only one they hauled off.

Then more detained demonstrators arrived, two of them badly beaten, one so badly that he couldn’t eat for three days after because of facial injuries.

They then took us to the command post without notifying our relatives, but someone saw them do it .

They gave us a few more blows, and then hauled us off.

We arrived at the central command post, where they led us through a passageway where other cops insulted us and struck us. They took us to an office where they didn’t even give us water, and advised us that we couldn’t have anything before throwing us in a cell three meters long by one-and-a-half meters wide (7 feet X 3.5 feet). There were sixteen people in all in that jail.

They let some of us go that night. Some were public officials’ relatives, others were minors. In the end, 12 were left. The following day they took me and several others to the palace of justice and from there to the other command base where sentence was pronounced.

We remained there another day, and after that took us to the CICPC where they wrote us up. There I heard the charges against us: terrorism, aggravated assault, carrying firearms, resisting arrest, and public disturbance. They produced planted evidence of six liters of gasolune, each liter in a molotov cocktail, rocks, and teargas bombs. They claimed that we had used these to attack a police patrol and to wound several policemen.

But a CICPC investigator I overheard, among those who were going to charging us, said that they knew we weren’t criminals and that maybe we didn’t deserve this and they could let us go without charge. Instead they too us to the new central police command, and then the following day to the palace of justice, but the judge, and they postponed the hearing to the following day. At that point the prosecutor couldn’t provide proof and I asked that we be released on bond. The judge refused and instead and ordered us held for 45 days while the police investigated. I asked where they were going to send us.

This is the third time I’ve had problems with the police. The jails are hell. I talked with the other guys being detained and they said it would be best if we were held at the site where we were originally taken, but they took us to another. When we arrived there, we were greeted by the same cop who had kicked in the face of one of the kids I was arrested with. The cop said, “Look who we have here, the same damn negro who we’re gonna put against a wall today.”

But the commander arrived and said they couldn’t keep u there, and they took us to another police station. When we arrived there they told us they would put us in with others being held on political charges. It was a small cell and barely held the 22 of us. I hadn’t slept since being detained, and I managed a few seconds sleep on my feet, as during all the days I’d been held I hadn’t slept at all. I was super tired.

The following day they opened the cell door and took out the elderly people being held, and so we were finally able to get a little sleep. Finally in the afternoon they opened the cell door and told us that if they found enough locks they might be able to transfer us to another jail where we could get some sleep.

They made a call asking for more locks, and in the evening they took us to a different [larger] cell, and I was finally able to lie down to sleep, until it started to rain in the early morning hours and I awoke to find water all over everything. But I was so tired I went back to sleep sopping wet while lying in a puddle.

Over time, prisoners were being released on bail, so the police had room to make sport with other prisoners. Forty-eight days had passed, when one night a cop arrived at 11:00 pm and said that they were calling Alayon, a prison in Maracay. We asked if they were going to transfer us. He said no, and made a cell phone call, telling us, “You’re lucky I’m here, you vermin from the street. Look at yourselves. I’m going to do you the favor of getting your release papers, because at this hour no clerks will deliver them.

He went and found them, and they allowed us to call our families so they could come and get us. That’s how things ended on a Friday near to midnight.

How was the time you spent behind bars?

Our familes brought us food in the morning, mid-day, and night. We only had problems with one of the guards; he was always “losing” the food, clothes, toilet paper or other things sent to us, or the sunshade for visits on Saturdays.

For bathing, they brought in tubs twice a week and opened up the taps. We didn’t have a bathroom as such. We had to piss in a channel that ran through the patio, and had to shit into bags, so there were mice and cockroaches all over us at night.

How do you see the protests in Aragua?

The protests in Maracay are true street battles, even though the people are suppressed at times through, I suppose, fear or fatigue. But they haven’t stopped. It’s just that some times are more incendiary than others. In Cagua, things were happening for a time, but they’re quiet now. I think we should take to the streets without asking the stage managers of the [right wing] “opposition.” The people don’t come out without asking one of them first. The day I was detained, I got involved in a discussion with one of them and I said that we were out in the streets for the people, not for some political opportunists. He frowned and then gave me a pat on the back. After letting him know what I thought, I got back out into the demonstration.

What do you think of the young people in the resistance and what they’re demonstrating?

The young people in the resistance, especially those on the front lines of the protests, aren’t with the political bands. They just want better living conditions, even thought they don’t seem to be able to articulate it. They want out from under the present government, but don’t seem to know what they want after that. Clearly, there are others who have political consciousness, but that’s yet to come to the rest, [and it’s necessary that it does] to avoid other authoritarians to come.

What brought you to participate in the popular rebellion?

I came out to protest because of the fact that everything, wherever you look, is being destroyed in this [Bolivarian] process.  Things we’ve already forgotten, like the water we bathe in should be clean, not mixed with polluted water. We get sick and there’s no medicine. Things are dangerous in the streets, day by day we’re threatened on all sides, by those who would kill us for our phones or for having nothing they could rob from us. Friends of mine have been killed by criminals; they shot one of my friends in the face. My family has left the country. People have to deal with this crap every single day as they go out to get food, or go to school, or buy medicine [if they can find it], or rent a place to live. But you can’t afford everything, not on normal wages. You always have to have a second income, and even if you can find work, much of it is very exploitative. Do you still want to know my reasons?

Well then, is it worth the trouble?

I think protesting is worthwhile. It’s necessary to show that we’re discontented, even though more people will die. I don’t want the government to remain in power and I’d give my life to see them fall, to provide a better future for my family, my friends, for the good people who remain and shouldn’t have to put up with all this.

What do you think of the silence of the anarchists?

I think that in this life, no matter if you know a lot about anarchism, if you don’t do something to change things, even a little, you shouldn’t call yourself an anarchist. If you only whine on the Internet about the “oppressive system” and don’t do anything, it’s better to just shut up.

How do you see the Constituent Assembly?

I believe that the constituent assembly is one of the craziest things they can do, even though there’s no limit to their craziness. The constituent assembly is very dangerous, because it will remove all limits on their [Maduro’s] power. We should try to stop it, because it could be the end of everything.

Finally, what can you say to anarchists and other politically minded people?

To all my comrades in struggle, I want to say thank you for coming out every day and risking everything. You’re very valiant. But they’re lacking the organization to ensure a good outcome. Organize, struggle, spread [ideas and projects]. Don’t let them destroy us. Do something to change this reality. An embrace for all of you who’ve come out to show your faces.  Take care of yourselves.

Those who have fear of confronting the state’s oppressors, at least help those who are. Everything is needed: water, food, medicine, protective gear, whatever you can give. Don’t let the flame go out. Keep the struggle going so that we can enjoy a new dawn. Make it happen.

 


(We received this a few days ago from our Venezuelan comrades connected with El Libertario. It begins with a note from our compañeros/as announcing a series of pieces on the current rebellion and repression — arrests, beatings, and torture — of anarchist and other protesters by the “leftist” Maduro regime, and expressing thanks to those who spread this information.

The images interspersed below showing the aftermath of the beatings are pretty large. Please scroll past them to continue reading the interview.)

Beginning on April 4, 2017, a popular rebellion has been developing against the dictatorship of Nicolás Maduro. We’ll shortly be sending out a series of interviews with compañeros/as who have been detained and tortured for protesting. We appreciate the translation and dissemination of these interviews in other languages.

Anonymous Rebel: “Organize in whatever way you want, with whomever you want, but don’t be complicit.”

In the first days of July, in the city of Maracaibo in the state of Zulia, an anarchist comrade was arrested by the Bolivarian [federal] National Police (PNB) with the complicity of officials attached to the public transportation system of that city. In order to protect him from physical retaliation, we’re using the pseudonym “Anonymous
Rebel” here.

We spoke with him after he was released from the detention site. He’s currently well, but he was beaten during both his arrest and imprisonment and is under an order to present himself to the police once a week. In good spirits, he spoke with us about how the popular rebellion is progressing.

Can you comment on how you were arrested and if you were tortured?

In the area where I live, the people have been protesting, and I’ve always been participating in these peaceful protests with everyday people such as medics, hairdressers, people distributing free food, everyone from kids to old people.

Everything was going fine until a group of about 30 people, some in the uniform of the Metro [public transit system], poured out of the Metro station to intimidate us. They shot at us and hurled rocks at us, and we went running, with them coming after us, accompanied by the Bolivarian National Police, throwing rocks at houses, apartment buildings, and vehicles.

My arrest was a set-up because [we had stopped] to tell a regional policeman that we weren’t shooting and that it was those who had come out of the metro with rocks in one hand and a pistol in the other.

The aftermath of a beating by Nicolás Maduro’s police

Then to our surprise, we were attacked from behind by the PNB, in what quickly took on the appearance of a battlefield, with tear gas all over the place. We ran, but the PNB on motorcycles tried to corner me two or three times, until they finally got me and arrested me for carrying a bag. They got me down on the ground and battered me with their shields. [Translator’s note: This appears to be a standard tactic with the PNB. They beat their victims to the ground and then slam down the bottoms of their heavy plastic shields on their bodies.] Then, giving us some kicks, they threw me and some other people into a paddywagon.

Later my compañera and another arrested woman arrived, and they took us to the command post of the Guardia at 7:00 pm, where they produced planted evidence to incriminate us: Molotov cocktails, a bag with sharp wire spikes protruding, and the helmets she and I had been wearing. They let my compañera go in the early morning hours, the other woman later in the morning, and they detained me [and other male protesters].

They never read us our rights, and it was until days later that they allowed me a call, which I didn’t make myself, but rather a guard  called my family telling them to bring me clothing while I was detained.

Were you in a cell with other detainees? How were the conditions?

They didn’t put us in a cell, because the jail in that command post was full. There were 40 other people there on various charges besides the protesters, so they put us on the patio and handcuffed us. At 5:00 am they woke us so we could shower. I should mention that I didn’t sleep the entire night, because of the anxiety and helplessness I felt. Five minutes to shower on a patio where there was only a hole in the ground in which to piss and shit.

At this time, an anti-mutiny squad arrived, and four of them, while we were showering, began striking us on our legs, butts, and backs, saying, “These damn anti-Chavistas, we should leave them in a ditch. I don’t know why they brought them here.”

There were two kids of 14 and another aged 17, who they also beat, one of whom, one of the 14-year-olds, when he was arrested they threw to the ground, along with other protestors, and threw the powder or crystals from their tear gas bombs directly on them and then threw water so that the chemicals would penetrate, causing allergic reactions and skin damage.

During the five days I was detained, which I passed under the sun on the patio, they only allowed us to use the toilet facilities [the hole in the ground] twice a day no matter when we ate. Our families could bring us food, but I learned after I was released that the guards had stolen one lunch and dinner my family brought for me.

Here I should thank the Centro de Atención Manos Solidarias along with the everyday people who donated to the imprisoned protesters. I had enough food, but the detainees whose families didn’t supply any benefited greatly from the aid of this social center. We were very grateful for the aid.

How did your detention affect your family and other loved ones?

My mother is 65 years old and disabled, and is in delicate health, but she was strong and was there every day. I thought a lot about her health, but my compañera is the best, and took good care of her. It’s in these moments when one realizes who your true friends and comrades are. Many of the neighborhood people supported us, some monetarily, and some with food and transport. We’re very grateful for their solidarity!

How is life in Maracaibo?

Maracaibo is a difficult city [in which to live], perhaps because the heat makes us so irritable. There’s a very noticeable discontent. The quality of life grows worse with every passing day, as everyone notices. The stereotype of the Maracaiboan is of someone paunchy, but there are [now] many skinny people who are going without necessities.

People have been protesting here since 2015. There is no apathy [in the political sense].

Why do you protest? What impels you to participate in this militant form of popular mobilization?

I’ve been protesting for several years, always anonymously. I don’t like being out front, and I don’t want any praise for doing it; I do it because I’m fed up with the situation, tired of dealing with screwed-up situation after screwed-up situation just to make enough money to buy food day after day. I’m tired of living in a militarist country where we pay taxes to feed those who treat us so badly.

I have my point of view about the protests I go to. We can’t talk about anarchism there and the people aren’t interested in it, the true rebels who put their bodies behind a placard. The majority that I’ve seen only want to get rid of this government, and it doesn’t matter to them what comes after. They only want to get rid of this band of the inept and corrupt. There’s a lot of solidarity in the protests; we’re all equal, brothers and sisters in the struggle.

Is it worth the trouble.

It’s always worth the trouble to fight for your rights, as it always should be; our discontent should be open and should be clear  — we can’t remain paralyzed with fear; it’s necessary to overcome it.

Do you think that after 100 days we’re experiencing a popular rebellion?

Today, July 10, 2017, I think that each day we’re coming closer to a popular rebellion, in that every day the people become less attached to MUD [the opposition coalition] and any political party. They’re fed up with MUD. Today I can say that thanks to this government there’s a rebellious youth, with experience in the street and that, whatever government we’re saddled with, they’re prepared and ready to defend our rights and liberties.

What do you think of the cliche that we shouldn’t support the protests because they benefit the right?

That’s the stupidest thing I’ve ever seen and heard. I don’t got out to play games with the MUD, who go out to protests and ask the people who resist which party they belong to. Every day people become less and less tied to the political parties.

How do you see the silence of many overseas anarchists about what’s happening in Venezuela?

In the end, I’ve felt with respect to the great majority of such “anarchists” who whine on social networks and say that they won’t come out [and say anything] because there are groups like the National Rebirth [Renacer Nacional] that are fascist, that are political manipulators. But that’s no reason to remain silent.

It’s necessary to fight for our ideals. It doesn’t matter who’s out there. We need to organize however you want, with whomever you want. But don’t be complicit! Don’t be critical of everything! Don’t be “anarcho” window dressing. Enough with indifference. When you see your brothers and sisters falling, it’s time to fight.

What should be the posture of anarchists in regard to the future?

It’s time that anarchists get in tune with history, get out on the streets to struggle against militarism, against hunger, against corruption, against the injustices they rail against in fanzines, songs, and the poetic fusillades of intellectuals. It’s time that Venezuelan anarchists take to the streets with a clear message and unite with the resistance.

Released political protesters/prisoners in Nicolás Maduro’s Venezuela

I also hope for the creation of a serious bloc of anarchists that could become the Anarchist Network, that in truth would not consist of fanzines or music of one band or another. NO. One can’t believe in true anarchist fronts or movements advancing the struggle. It’s necessary to become involved in the barrios, the community councils, in one’s community. It’s necessary for all to say that in this moment, in this totally divided country, that’s broken into two pieces, if not many more, that we ought to take advantage of this space to say who we are and for what we struggle.


(Yesterday we published the Spanish-language version of this piece detailing the beating of Venezuelan anarchist Gianni Humberto Scovino by would-be Venezuelan dictator Nicolás Maduro’s militarized national police. Here’s the translation.

As you can see from the attached video, the beating was deliberate and entirely unprovoked. Our Venezuelan comrades promise another piece on the arrest and torture of Venezuelan anarchists by the “revolutionary” Maduro regime; we’ll publish it as soon as we receive it, first in Spanish and then in English after we translate it.)

Gianni Humberto Scovino being beaten by Venezuelan police

Gianni Scovino is a young man of 33 with Asperger’s syndrome and a member of the Turtle Foundation (Fundación La Tortuga [http://www.fundacionlatortuga.org/]), a participant in the punk scene, and an anarchist media activist using materials from El Libertario [Venezuela’s primary anarchist periodical] on his Youtube channel (https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCt5E7TuSaxrHPyoXF07LlZg/videos), where he puts up videos in both Spanish and English.

On July 13, he was savagely assaulted by members of the Bolivarian National Police (Policía Nacional Bolivariana [PNB]) and the Bolivarian National Guard (Guardia Nacional Bolivariana [GNB]) in the parking lot of the Grand Central Commercial Dairy Plaza (Centro Comercial Plaza Mayor de Lecherías) in the state of Anzoátegui while he was on a recycling run for the Turtle Foundation. A video of the attack is available on Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p5e5NDx7Ues

[Translator’s note: The Chávez regime and now its successor, the Maduro regime, refer to themselves as “Bolivarian,” in an attempt to paint themselves as the successors of Simon Bolivar, the leader of the 19th-century uprising against Spanish colonialism.]

Gianni Humberto Scovino in hospital after being beaten by Venezuelan police

After being brutally beaten by the PNB and GNB with nightsticks and with  shields used as battering rams, he was held for 36 hours at Detachment 521 of the Command of Zone 521 of the GNB, before being transferred to a medical facility for treatment. At present he’s recovering in the Hospital of the Venezuelan Institute of Social Insurance.

Those responsible for the attack on Gianni are GNB first sergeants Osmel Zambrano Márquez and Joel José Díaz Carreño, and second sergeants Julio César Gómez Mata and José Gregorio Trébol Pinto, as well as the PNB attaché Luis Ramón Cova León and PNB officials Xavier Alexander Díaz Salazar, Elio Antonio Díaz Maigua and José Alejandro Villegas Olivero.

The violent assault suffered by Gianni is symptomatic of the constant violence in Venezuela for the last 100 days, in which, since April 1, more than 3,500 people have been detained, an incalculable number have been injured, and there have been police raids on civil and residential sites. Thus far 303 Venezuelan civilians have gone before military tribunals. And more than 100 people have been killed.

We’re making an international call to our overseas anarchist comrades for solidarity in the face of the attacks on the people of Venezuela during this uprising of the people. Silence is complicity with a dictatorship that oppresses, tortures, and jails anarchists.

Let indignation become rage against the oppressor!

With Gianni and all of the Venezuelans rising against the regime, we remain the anarchists in the popular uprising.

 

Some of the Youtube videos from Gianni Scovino:


(Our Venezuelan compañeros just sent me the following e-mail detailing the beating of Venezuelan anarchist Gianni Humberto Scovino by Maduro’s Bolivarian National Police. As you can see from the attached video, the beating was deliberate and entirely unprovoked. For now, this post is in Spanish. I’ll translate it to English and put that up tonight or tomorrow.)

Gianni Humberto Scovino being beaten by Venezuelan police

Gianni Scovino (33 años) es un joven asperger, colaborador de la Fundación La Tortuga (http://www.fundacionlatortuga.org/), participe de la escena punk y difusor de artículos sobre el anarquismo publicados en El Libertario a través de su canal S3 7 (https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCt5E7TuSaxrHPyoXF07LlZg/videos) donde suele postear videos en inglés y español.

El pasado 13 de julio de 2017 fue salvajemente agredido por funcionarios de la  Policía Nacional Bolivariana (PNB) y Guardia Nacional Bolivariana (GNB) mientras reciclaba desechos para la Fundación Tortuga en las inmediaciones del estacionamiento del Centro Comercial Plaza Mayor de Lecherías en el estado Anzoátegui. La golpiza que recibió quedo registrado en el siguiente video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p5e5NDx7Ues

Gianni Humberto Scovino in hospital after being beaten by Venezuelan police

Después de ser  golpeado por la PNB y GNB con el escudo, patada y golpes fue retenido por 36 horas en el Destacamento 521 del Comando de Zona Número 51 de la GNB antes de ser trasladado a un centro asistencial; actualmente su estado de salud está mejorando y se encuentra en el Hospital del Instituto Venezolano de los Seguros Sociales “Doctor Domingo Guzmán Lander” de Barcelona.

Los responsables de las agresiones sufridas por el compañero Gianni Scovino son los sargentos primeros de la GNB, Osmel Zambrano Márquez y Joel José Díaz Carreño, y los sargentos segundos Julio César Gómez Mata y José Gregorio Trébol Pinto. Así como el oficial agregado de la PNB,  Luis Ramón Cova León y los oficiales del mismo cuerpo de seguridad, Xavier Alexander Díaz Salazar, Elio Antonio Díaz Maigua y José Alejandro Villegas Olivero.

La violencia que sufrió Gianni Scovino es una constante desde hace 100 días en  Venezuela, la cual desde el 01 de abril van más de 3500 personas detenidas, un número incalculable de heridos, allanamientos a sectores populares y residenciales; 303 venezolanos juzgados en tribunales militares y más de 100 víctimas fatales.

Desde Venezuela, hacemos un llamado internacional a los compañeros y compañeras anarquistas a no ser indiferentes ante las agresiones que está sufriendo la población venezolana en esta Rebelión Popular, el silencio es complicidad con una dictadura que oprime, tortura y detiene a libertarios.

Que la indignación se transforme en rabia contra el opresor

¡Con Gianni y todas las venezolanos alzados!

–Anarquistas en la rebelión popular.

 

Algunos de los videos de youtube de Gianni Scovino: