Venezuela: Resistance Seen From The Inside
A piece of the revolution that is shaking the richest country in the world, in which its inhabitants starve
Australia Unwrapped brings you a world exclusive story from inside the Venezuelan resistance movement. We do not wish to pass judgement, only to give a voice to key players, hear their story, and let history be the judge. THIS ARTICLE IS UNEDITED AND THE TRUE VOICE of Ricardo, student of the Central University of Venezuela.
It had never been so difficult to be young in Venezuela, nor would it have been thought that indifference and political fanaticism would be able to ruin in such a short time one of the richest countries in the world, this is the panorama of Venezuela narrated from within the conflict, with the sovereign protagonist of the people who are now overwhelmed in the streets willing to die for freedom and never kneel again to the military boot. It is the epic story of how millions of people, among high society residents and inhabitants of the poorest neighbourhoods of the capital fight side by side against a thousand-headed monster, the dictatorship of Nicolas Maduro.
I am Ricardo, student of the Central University of Venezuela campus Maracay, student leader and activist for the claims of the guild, victim of repression and military abuses, pointed out by governmental bodies of “terrorist” and receive financing from abroad to overthrow the President; Like thousands of Venezuelans, I belong to that list of people who bother the system for spreading the truth and protesting my rights, the Power dome does not support dissent, do not debate or admit adverse opinions, if you have a way of thinking other than that imposed in state propaganda, you are sentenced to prison or you could receive several shots from paramilitary groups in the name of “the Revolution.”
Venezuela is a country that for decades maintained a high level of oil revenues, despite the many corrupt and rotten policies of the rulers, we could enjoy an excellent quality of life, since the millionaire robberies and embezzlements could not be noticed in the pocket so drastically, during the last 18 years the Chávez government became systematic corruption , broke thousands of companies, stole hands full and took action against private property used populism to attract the most ignorant mass and guarantee the power while still stealing.
This panorama has changed for 4 years, after the death of Chávez, his successor Nicolas Maduro, he took power and continued with that legacy of corruption and populism, surrounded by the military high Command and accelerated the socialist process to end the private enterprise, began submitting to dissent censoring media, its economic measures were and continue to be out of all logic , the price of oil fell dramatically, and as the government stole everything, the good life ended, the crisis in Venezuela became official.
There were strong demonstrations in the year 2014 that demonstrated the government’s intentions to hold power to blood and fire used paramilitary groups and excessive repression to instil fear in the population and turn off the protests, unfortunately, they achieved their goal, and the country entered from that moment on the biggest spiral of crisis and misery in the last 200 years. The last 3 years have caused millions of Venezuelans to migrate, escaping from hunger, crime and persecution of the government against opponents.
Gas Bombs Launched by the National Guard in Caracas. Ricardo Rattia
In Venezuela it is not possible to lead a normal life, the most basic activities are the impossible product of the delinquency and the high cost of the life, more than 70% of the population eats only 2 times a day, supermarkets do not have food such as flour, milk, sugar or bread, and the places where these products can be found have prices higher than one day of work per unit. It is common to wonder if tomorrow it will be possible to eat.
Hospitals are full of fungi and bacteria, have no inputs, are exposed to recurrent failures of electricity and water, while the government resists accepting the crisis and denies the opening of a humanitarian channel, many newborns die from infections and malnutrition, something as simple as finding aspirin is a difficult task to fulfill, following complex treatments is a race against time in search of drugs and inaccessible prices.
In the face of this crisis, crime is fierce, in Venezuela, the only refrigerators that are full are found in each morgue with the remains of children, adults and elderly people. As is evident, resistance, not only responds to protestants in the streets, it is about resisting life, refusing to think that this will be the future and that young people cannot leave home quietly, for fear of the infamous crime bullets that this government has driven since it took power.
Such as spark tried to light a lighter, which began with protests for the passage increase during April, it joined the measures that the Supreme Court of Justice took against the parliament, an organism in the hands of the opposition that was not recognized and proceeded to be dissolved, a month later Nicolas Maduro gave the order to prepare a change of constitution without submitting to referendum its approval.
This spark managed to make contact, the lighter went on tightly, the Venezuelan people couldn’t take it anymore and flipped over the streets, it would be the beginning of a revolution that has so far claimed more than 80 lives (including those not reported by public bodies) and has marked life with tragic experiences, but it has also shown how the light emanating from the free nature of peoples can end up extending before miles of darkness.
The first day I felt a strange feeling, it was not the first protest I was going to, I already knew the acid smell of tear gas and what was necessary to attend a demonstration, but there was something different, I knew within me that it would not repeat the failure of the 2014, this time would be without return to reach freedom, when life becomes so difficult, to be set to die is no longer a concern.
There was blood; the scene was familiar, police pickets and attacks of paramilitary groups to the marches convened by the opposition. I was on the highway and began to see how the first gas bombs already furrowed the sky of Caracas, an adrenaline shot was activated within me, started repression and it’s time to help people escape.
Clashes in El Rosal, Caracas. Manuel Acosta
To my surprise, a great mass remained firm and ready to fight against those uninformed of the dictatorship, advancing vigorously beating their shields and shoot incessantly, this was the feeling I felt before, what I waited so long to come, the fear disappeared, the only concern is to recover the country that now tries to remove us from our hands, time to move forward more forcefully than the approaching, we cannot choose between fleeing or facing, now it is necessary to overcome.
The freeway trembled, a great libertarian and collective shout made a stop for a moment those uninformed, even on our side there were some surprised, really was happening, the Venezuelan people had woken up and stood ready to fight against the monster who has mistreated him for so long. The military react, it is a gigantic avalanche of indignant people and in rebellion, they cannot contain us and they are retracted several meters until their armoured vehicles.
When you get to these trucks start shooting a lot of gas bombs and buckshot, enough to cause significant damage and contain the manifestation, the confrontation lasts until the night and finally, we retire, we feel different, it has been a victory without crowning our goal, we witnessed the power that the Union has when it is solid and organized, from now on, nothing would be able to stop our advance to freedom.
In a context like this, the country explodes in news and similar situations at the national level, the media censored and bought by the government do not report anything and only those who enjoy limited access to social networks can know what happens in other states, the rebellion is present in every street, from students to workers, businessmen and politicians united in the fight, the organization became “The Resistance“, and it became the call of those who until today continued in our crusade for democracy.
But not only did we grow in strength, but the government also increased military spending and increased levels of repression, activating the “Zamora plan”, the police pickets became platoons and later complete divisions, the streets where before had a pair of patrols now had armoured trucks and tanks full of water, the paramilitary groups appeared now in broad daylight with long weapons, attacking residential resistance sets.
Armored Trucks Against Wood Shields. Manuel Acosta
On April 26th, near Altamira Square in Caracas, these actions were exposed, Juan Pablo Pernalete, a colleague from the Central University of Venezuela, and an athlete with just 20 years of age received a tear bomb impact on his chest that fragmented his heart in several parts, the Bolivarian National Guard (GNB) began to shoot these artifacts at point-blank range , the government’s intent changed, they did not want to disperse the protests, now their goal was to cause the greatest possible damage and to assassinate the resistance.
The onslaught was criminal, with motorcycles of high displacement evicted the square, shot point-blank buckshot and gas bombs, the apartments were not saved, windows of residential complexes ended up broken by these projectiles, however, we were not willing to be afraid to return, we opted to seek means to protect ourselves, construction helmets, industrial gloves, makeshift shields of wood and brass became obligatory to defend the resistance to be in each protest.
The streets went on, indignation, pain and more willingness to plant us was our slogan, the government escalated its violence attacking schools, universities and even medical centres in search of protesters, the police fired gas bombs inside clinics and nurseries. How much hatred can someone inside to suffocate for pleasure innocent children and people in a delicate state of health?
The cries of armed force training went on to be chanted against resistance, war is open to dissidents, “throat with steel daggers to protesters” is part of what can be heard in barracks and commandos, while in the central streets of Caracas, paramilitary groups threaten to lead journalists and contrary to the government. They started using bullets between buckshot and bombs in an open way.
The last 60 days have been full of violence and excessive repression, but no doubt one of the most horrible was on May 3. After a frontal onslaught with armored trucks on the freeway Francisco Fajardo, we decided to remain in Altamira, exercising resistance, the National Guard attacked us even more strongly, and at one point of the confrontation, one of these vehicles ran over us, passing over the companion Pedro Yammine of just 22 years of age with his 9 tons of hatred and evil.
Peter survived miraculously, but he will have sequels for life, meanwhile, the guard who hit him, despite being fully identified, continues to be released and was decorated. Terrorists are not the students who overflowed the streets demanding freedom and democracy, are those able to shoot to save, run over, flee the scene and then justify it as “fulfilment of orders”
Later, still without leaving the trauma caused by the outrage, I learned that a few streets died Armando Cañizales, a child of only 17 years of age the day before had entered his papers to the UCV to study medicine, despite the warnings of my friends he refused to go home, was willing to conquer his future in freedom and died fighting for him, a marble pierced his neck.
National Guard marbles extracted from a student’s leg. Manuel Acosta
The National Guard began to introduce spheres of glass and lead in the cartridges of pellets, in this way they would have projectiles able to kill without the possibility of identifying to the culprit, the same was repeated on May 10th in Las Mercedes, when the recently graduated student, Miguel Castillo, received an impact on the chest of a lead sphere shot by the National Guard. Days later these green criminals would also start using screws and spark plugs to cause as much damage as possible.
In its vile repression, the government has taken the means of all those who pretend to be present in demonstrations, whatever their work, from students, journalists and traders to the elderly and medical organizations. It is the case of the glorious Green Cross of the Central University of Venezuela, nonprofit partners who attend every day for help and pay attentions quickly, my saviours on more than one occasion, courageous and willing to support even the repressors when they are injured.
Incredibly they also do not escape the government’s abuses, one of the vehicles used by these paramedics was attacked with tear gas and gunfire at close range by the police, some colleagues were beaten and different belongings were snatched, including important medicines. More incredible is the spirit and the conviction of these, as they continue in the street without fear, with the mission to help whoever needs it, although military uniform.
Unfortunately, a colleague of this organization present in Maracaibo, Paul Moreno, was overwhelmed and lost his life while collaborating in the Help and shelter of several protesters, mourning is a terrible condition that has not ceased to be present in the country during these 2 months of resistance.
That’s how the National Guard shoots marbles. Manuel Acosta
The repression evolves every day more, like millions of people I cannot give total security to remain safe when I’m in the street, nobody in Venezuela is, play to normal does not work, the crisis and the attacks of the dictatorship completely suffocate you. It is impossible to save yourself from the monster of violence that this dome of power created by Hugo Chávez, has nourished with speeches of hatred and social polarization, there is no economic condition, race, sex or age that guarantees life, here is a bullet with the name of each inhabitant, depends on the resistance that are not fired sooner or later.
The country is on by the 4 sides, while the government is locked in 10 streets of downtown Caracas and is surrounded by soldiers accused of drug trafficking and corruption, the Vice-President is investigated for having links with terrorist groups in the Middle East, the President of the Supreme Court of Justice has a criminal record and many ministers are in the sights of international justice , they continue to say in the media that it is all about a plan financed from the Empire, and that the millions of people on the street are terrorists.
I have seen how these millions of Braves are proving that that country I considered lost is still alive, the hugs between strangers after retracting paramilitary groups as a form of celebration, the attention between protesters, spontaneous donation of food and medicine, and the enormous disposition of change make me believe in my people, make me have faith that something good is possible and we will get out of this nightmare , which will happen many decades so that someone can again blindly trust in military tyrants, and I will recover the future that during my youth I could not enjoy.
The Venezuelans will not step back, we’ll make the lives of our fallen, we are willing to conquer freedom, and we remain in resistance. It’s starting to smell of tear gas and I have to go back to the street.
“My name is Venezuela and I’m not a terrorist”. Manuel Acosta
Testimony: Ricardo (18 years old)
- Student at the Central University of Venezuela
- Local resistance leader
- Human rights activist persecuted by armed groups of the Venezuelan government
Images: Manuel Acosta (21 years old)
- Student at the Andres Bello Catholic University
- Social communicator and photographer
Thank you for sharing your story, as stated let history be the judge.
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Main Image Source : Pixabay