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Venezuela: Enduring Terrorism at Home

By Alexandra Beech,

“Why was the story on Venezuela buried in the New York Times”, a friend recently asked me. “I could hardly believe it.” Other American friends have also expressed outrage by the silence of the American media over the carnage and mayhem in Venezuela.

Even as the Chavez government denied our constitutional right to a recall referendum, the repression that it unleashed on the Venezuelan population should have made front page news in every newspaper around the world. Yet not even Fox News is interested.

During the past few days, I have been trying to understand how peace became bloody violence, why my mother had to flee her apartment after the National Guard threw open tear gas canisters into her building; how young protestors, mainly men, have disappeared into thin air, and then reappeared with red and purple bruises all over their bodies, forced to sign documents stating that they were not tortured, that their bodies would appear floating on the Rio Guaire.

No one in the international media has reported that some protestors are missing; that Carlos Eduardo Izcaray Pinto, cello soloist for the Orquesta Sinfónica Venezuela, was kidnapped by the National Guard while watching an opposition protest. Even after he said that he was not participating in the event, the soldiers beat him to a pulp and threw him into a tank, which they filled with tear gas. Then they electrocuted his neck and “other parts,” reports his father, ignoring his pleas. After he told them that he was the guest director for that week’s symphony, the torture increased, since they “now knew where he worked and lived.” Needless to say, he was not allowed to see his lawyer during his detention, and it was only after family and friends protested that he was released. Currently, he is in a clinic, but he cannot return home because the soldiers threatened to kill him.

There’s the story of the oil man. Remember the oil industry managers that Chavez vilified during the strike? Jose Vilas, a former manager at Intevep, PDVSA’s former research and development arm, was protesting in a neighborhood in San Antonio de Los Altos when the National Guard tanks arrived. Photographs show him running from National Guard soldiers. He was shot in the back. The bullet lodged in his stomach, below his belly button.

He passed away on an operating table at 9:19 pm on March 1st.

Like him, eleven others have died. Three hundred Venezuelans are being held in jails. One hundred Venezuelans are injured with bullet wounds. Concerned parents, friends, and family members have flooded the Internet with personal letters, photos, and stories. As the days pass, the degrees of separation decrease. It is now friends and friends of friends who are being detained, tortured, and murdered.

Even if no one cares about constitutional justice in Venezuela, they do care about human life.

Therefore, it is a grave mistake by the mainstream American media not to cover this story. Added to this travesty is the silence by Latin American governments, which have remained mute before the stunning images of human rights violations.

Perhaps the protest resignation of respected diplomat and Ambassador to the United Nations Milos Alcalay over the government’s human rights violations will open the world’s eyes before it’s too late and Venezuela becomes another Haiti.

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