Marvinia Jimenez is a young, partially disabled mother (35). When spreading protests came to her largely poor neighbourhood in La Isabelica, Valencia (some 200 kilometers from Caracas) on 24 February, she thought that instead of retreating, or running away, she would approach the National Guard, to have a word. What followed was one of the darkest episodes of brutality seen in Venezuela in the last few years. To President Nicolas Maduro's shame, almost every detail of the vile attack on unarmed Marvinia was recorded by many neighbours, who uploaded the gory stuff onto social media in real time. The pictures and video immediately went viral.
Alek Boyd's blog
The last couple of days have been kind of extraordinary, in the sense that some of chavismo's big dogs have come unhinged. First we saw Jose Vielma Mora, Governor of Tachira state where protests began, criticising President Maduro in a radio interview. Vielma Mora said he was against the brutal way in which protesters have been repressed, and added that he disagreed with keeping political prisoner Ivan Simonovis and opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez in jail (both on trumped charges). We then saw President of Congress, Diosdado Cabello, come on TV to lie about an alleged weapons cache that General Angel Vivas had in his house.
"When you're not allowed to think for yourself, when you're not allowed to have, and voice, an opinion, insofar as such opinion is contrary to the diktats of the ruling party, you lose the only thing that makes us human. You become like an object in a meaningless life, and such life is not worth living. So I decided to rebel against that system and I had no fear of dying, for living in such condition was akin to being dead."
Hundreds of thousands of Venezuelans will take to the streets today. The Maduro regime has failed spectacularly in its attempt to 'convince' the world that widespread protests that have rocked our country since Feb. 2 are the product of U.S. intervention, fascism and other such totally unsubstantiated nonsense. I remember having written a while ago that if the Cuban dictators could not impede the free flow of information in the prison island, Maduro stood no chance of succeeding at it. Despite the local media blackout, social media has roundly defeated all chavista attempts at censorship.
In the last few days the chavista regime in Venezuela censored the Colombian news channel NTN24. CNN reporter Karl Penhaul and his crew were assaulted by police in Caracas for, basically, doing their job. Caracas Press Club and Instituto Sociedad y Prensa have reported various attacks on journalists in the last few days. Images and videos of the brutality unleashed on protesters uploaded to Twitter have reportedly been censored. Yesterday, President Maduro threatened to kick CNN out of the country.
There's confusion. Loads of it. On the one hand, everyone feels energised by Leopoldo Lopez's heroics yesterday, on the other a question hangs in the air: now what? Dawn breaks in Venezuela with a resolved opposition movement with its leader in jail, unable to organize, communicate and execute whatever strategy going forward. Or is it? Let's take stock of what happened yesterday. Hundreds of thousands dressed in white took to the streets across Venezuela yesterday, answering the call made by Lopez.
Leopoldo Lopez has been arrested by Venezuela's National Guard, after giving a speech in front of thousands of people. He was taken away in an armoured vehicle. Destination unknown.
This post will be updated throughout the day, although for latest update best to check my TL @alekboyd on the right.
13:04: Lopez is taken out from armoured vehicle and into black SUV.
Leopoldo Lopez, one of the two most promising leaders of the Venezuelan opposition (the other being Maria Corina Machado), posted a home video yesterday, raising a few claims and stating that tomorrow he will go to the office of Ministry of Interior and Justice, to hand a petition and hand himself in:
Primicias24 is chavista investigative journalism at its very best. It is a site run and edited by a chap called Carlos Herrera, a former councilman. Herrera and his rag have been on a relentless streak of late, posting stuff about me that reveals more about their worldview than anything else. So for instance, I learned from Herrera a while ago that I "had AIDS". He then posted a piece entitled "Carlos Herrera replies to the hitman, homosexual and sick Alek Boyd".