At least 23 people have been burnt alive since last April to this day in protests organised by the Venezuelan opposition, as documented by Red58.org.
Most of them died or were seriously injured due to prejudices against the victim because of their social status or political belief, an act typified by the United Nations as a “hate crime.”
“A crime of hate is a form of dehumanising crime because those who commit it consider that their victim lacks human value because of their color, sex, sexual orientation, gender, ethnic origin, physical or mental disability, social status, religion, age, religious or political beliefs, “according to the UN Office of the Special Advisor on the Prevention of Genocide. This type of crime, unprecedented in the contemporary history of Venezuela, has occurred in five regions of the country in the last 118 days: Capital Region (15), Lara (3), Zulia (2), Anzoategui (1), Tachira 1) and Carabobo (1).
Four of these events occurred when explosives exploded in the hands of the opposition protesters themselves, before they were thrown at others. In 19 cases, the assaulted people were government officials, black, poor or were singled out as ‘Chavistas’ by extremists; in actions where the perpetrators used Molotov cocktails and homemade mortars, firecrackers and other weapons.
Carlos Ramírez, burnt at the exit of the Altamira Metro in Caracas and one of the few who survived to tell the story, told the media how he was intercepted by a group of hooded men:
“One of them said: ‘Hey, chavista!’, to which I replied: ‘I am no Chavista! Let me in, I’m going to a building around here’. He threw me a blow, I threw him another; when I tried to run, he said: ‘Grab the Chavista!’ Around twenty of them came out.” He received the impact of a Molotov. Although officials of the Police of Chacao – a autonomous body of the municipality of the same name that heads the opponent Ramón Muchacho – were present, they did not intervene in their defence.
The practice of burning people alive has been used in the past by minority groups to disappear all those considered of inferior race. The frequency and frightenign cruelty of these acts, perhaps the most decadent manifestation of hate crimes as evidenced by historical records as well as current use of this despicable practice by ISIS, the genocide in Rwanda, Colombia’s paramilitarism or Mexico’s hitmen, are neither circumstantial nor isolated.
In the United States, Tuskegee University has reported that 3,446 Afro-Americans and 1,297 whites were lynched – and most burnt alive – between 1882 and 1968, by extremist groups such as the Ku Klux Klan.
In addition to the infamous gas chambers of concentration camps, there is a wealth of documentation on the Nazi practice of burning people alive. One of the most barbaric massacres of World War II occurred on 12 August 1944 when a group of Germans killed some 560 civilians in Tuscany, western Italy. All, mostly children and women, were burnt alive by flamethrowers.
Some of the more than 4000 Argentine detainees-missing, who passed through the School of Mechanics of the Navy (ESMA), during the dictatorship, were burnt in the boilers of the Officers’ Casino in this dark prison.
According to local Venezuelan press reports, of the 105 deaths in Venezuela during the street protests, 29 were victims – directly or indirectly – of the actions of the demonstrators themselves. Another 14 victims died during looting and in one prominent case, the assailants set fire to a shop and ended up engulfed in flames. Another 14 deaths are attributable to actions by state authorities (in almost all of these cases those responsible have been prosecuted) and 44 are still under investigation or in dispute.
Even the US Embassy in Caracas has alerted its nationals about the violent nature of the opposition demonstrations, and has suggested that they should not go near the places where protests are held or “shuttles” (street closures).
Map of burned alive in Venezuela
We have documented in Google Maps the data of the 23 people burned alive in the last 108 days, since April 1, 2017 when the opposition called the civilian insurgency in Venezuela.
We have included the name, age, circumstance in which the person was burned and links to the media that reported the news. Each case is documented with photographs and videos of the event, which we will continue to update as of today. To see the map and more info click here.
Text and photos from Red58.org – (Translated by Cecilia Nunez).