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Venezuelan Community Members Explain Opposition Violence

Hands Off Venezuela | March 11, 2014

On Saturday, March 8, Gisella Rubilar, 47, was shot dead and two other people suffered serious gunshot wounds when they were removing an opposition roadblock which prevented safe passage to their working class and poor neighbourhood of Pie del Tiro, in the Andean capital of Merida, Venezuela. You will not have heard about it in the mass media, but this incident was part of a growing trend of opposition violence against working class and poor neighbourhoods fighting back.

It was after 9 pm on Saturday, March 8. Gisella Rubilar Figueroa came out with a group of people from the working class and poor neighbourhood of Pie del Tiro to clear the road blockade in the intersection of the main Avenida Los Proceres and Lomas de los Vientos in Mérida, Venezuela.

After clearing the debris which blocked the access to Pie del Tiro, they remained on site for while. It was then that they were attacked and shot at by a group of masked young men. Three of those who cleared the opposition barricade had to be hospitalised with gunshot wounds: José Rincón, 51; Javier Osuna Briceño, 39 and Gisella who had been shot in the face and died on Sunday, March 9.

gisellaGisella was Chilean, 47 and a mother of 4 who was living in Mérida and studying a masters in education at the University of Los Andes (ULA), where both her parents were teachers. She was a supporter and activist of the Bolivarian revolution.

The working class and poor community of Pie del Tiro had been besieged and harassed by opposition roadblocks for nearly a month and every time they themselves or the National Guard cleared the way, the middle class student protesters would block the roads again. This was making it difficult for the overwhelmingly Bolivarian supporting neighbours to leave their community to go to work, to go shopping, to access public transportation.

In a video produced anonymously in Mérida (where journalists have been threatened by opposition thugs for reporting their violent protests) you can see Giselle and other neighbours from Pie del Tiro describe the situation and express their frustration at being besieged and at what they perceive as the lack of action by the government:

The killing of Giselle has been covered by the media in Venezuela and Chile, but has not even been mentioned by the mass media in Spain or any of the English language mass media in the UK and the US. Of course, the story of working class and poor Bolivarian supporters being shot and killed by violent, armed, masked opposition thugs does not fit in the picture of a “repressive regime” attacking “peaceful student protests” which the mass media internationally has been building over the last month.

Further to this killing, two other people were killed by gunshot coming from opposition thugs on Thursday, March 6, in Los Cortijos, in the East of Caracas. Here, a group of middle class opposition protesters had been besieging the state TV channel VTV Canal 8, for nearly a month, harassing the TV station workers as they were going to and coming back from work, throwing molotov cocktails at the channel’s installations, setting burning barricades, and throwing objects. This had also disrupted the activity of motorbike taxi drivers in the whole area.

Opposition supporters had taken to laying steel wire (guayas) across the streets, at 1.20 m of height, to knock down motorbike riders. On February 21, a motorbike taxi rider, Santiago Enrique Pedroza, 29, was beheaded when he collided with one such guaya, in the same part of Caracas. A woman died in Mérida, Delia Elena Lobo Arias, 40, in the same circumstances.

On March 6, a large number of organised motorbike taxi drivers decided to clear the barricades in Los Ruices, the area around VTV TV channel. When they were removing the debris from the road they were attacked by masked young men from the nearby buildings throwing stones, bottles, incendiary bombs and shooting at them with guns. As a result, a young moto-taxi driver, Jose Gregorio Amaris Castillo and a young sergeant of the National Guard, Acnes López Lyon, were shot dead. It is also very unlikely that you have heard of these four killings in the mass media.

The incidents described here, which resulted in the death of two unarmed Bolivarian revolution supporters, one National Guard sergeant, and two others as the direct result of the actions of violent opposition thugs (three shot dead, two as a result of opposition roadblocks) are an indication of what the real situation is in Venezuela right now.

A small minority of violent opposition supporters are out in the streets with the stated aim of overthrowing the democratically elected government and putting an end to the Bolivarian revolution. In many parts of the country, working class and poor neighbourhoods are starting to fight back and removing roadblocks to ensure their right to safe passage. As they do so they are being shot at by armed thugs in the opposition barricades.

March 15, 2014 - Posted by | Video | , ,

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