Venezuela’s Dictatorship No Longer Cares About Appearances
For two and a half months, the Venezuelan Government had been extremely careful with the students and their protests. While it was aggressive and repressive at attacking those protesting in the streets, it had been respectful of the student camps set up in various parts of Caracas and other cities. The strategy by the students had been clever, they could not be accused of being violent, while camping near where many of the protests were taking place, allowing them to “feed” into the protests and retreat back to the camps when required. Moreover, the camps were in front of the United Nations in one case and near the OAS in the other. It seemed improbable that a Government involved in an internationally mediated dialogue would attack the camps. It would simply damage the image of the Government and tell the world what an outlaw Government Maduro’s has become.
Except it did not work out that way. Instead, the Government or someone decided to attack and raid the student’s camps. And the raids had many surprises:
-It was a military operation led by the Minister of the Interior Rodriguez Torres.
-It was an illegal raid, as the Prosecutors office was not only not informed, but had no representatives present at the raid, as required by law.
-The military raid arrested everyone in the camps, those sleeping on the streets and/or the sidewalks, with no legal justification for those that were simply protesting, without blocking the way, as guaranteed by the Constitution.
-Students were held incommunicado for longer than twenty four hours, without the Government releasing their names, allowing them calls or legal representation while they were mostly accused as a group, without being individually charged.
-The students were all subjected to drug tests, without any legal reason for it. In fact, only a small number were found to have traces of drugs.
-Minister Rodriguez Torres, who acted as prosecutor, policeman, investigator and judge in the operation, accused the students of being armed, despite them not using weapons once, including the night of the raid. Contrast this with the paramilitary groups who support the Government are usually seen publicly with their weapons.
-Most students were eventually released, those that were kept in prison were simply accused of “leading” the protests via intelligence evidence gathered prior to the raid. There is nothing illegal about being a leader of a protest.
While all of this is going on, Maduro keeps trying to talk dialogue, while Diosdado Cabello makes wild accusations against opposition figures, many of which are members of human rights ONG’s or are involved in the dialogue process.
So, can anyone understand what is going on here?
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