It is instigated by elements within the reactionary far right who are trying to portray themselves as peaceful and independent. But statements made by a young man reveal the true intentions of the leaders of this opposition movement that is seeking to impose chaos and terror – even if people die.
Miguel Fernández Martínez
“They would take drugs and destroy everything they came across. I saw many ugly things, like when they cut a man’s neck in Altamira,” the young Venezuelan confessed to the authorities. He confirmed that he had been recruited by groups linked to the right-wing opposition to foment acts of violence in the country.
The testimony of this young man (whose identity has been hidden to guarantee his personal safety, who told his story to the channel Telesur), adds to complaints made by the Venezuelan authorities and the confessions of other individuals in custody regarding the plan for a coup d’état implemented since April by the opposition coalition Mesa de la Unidad Democrática (MUD). The latter has already been responsible for 80 deaths, nearly 2,000 injuries and significant economic losses.
Referring to right-wing Member of Parliament Miguel Pizarro, of the Primero Justicia party, the young arrestee confessed that he told them, “to prepare ourselves and carry everything out – to go ahead and not be scared”. Carrying everything out meant destroying street lights, vandalising major access roads and the highway, burning government buildings and assassinating anyone who supported the Bolivarian government.
He added that they also received implements to make homemade mortars and Molotov cocktails (homemade bombs), and that he had witnessed other violent incidents, including the burning of buses from the public transport system.
This situation, which is undeniably affecting family stability in Venezuela, in that young people and adolescents are involved, has already prompted reactions from the alarmed parents of some of the young people recruited by the right for their violent ends.
We have been made aware of the case of a father who, upon finding out that his son had failed to attend class over 60 times, even though he was not informed of this by the school, and realising that he was involved in guarimbas (violent groups of vandals), decided to voluntarily turn him in to the authorities.
“It’s not easy to turn your son in to the police, but my son is not a delinquent – he’s just been tricked. He’s a young man, a boy,” said the father, whose identity has also been protected.
Thousands of complaints are filed with the courts in cases such as these involving the use of children, young people and adolescents in this wave of violence. Many of the alleged victims come from the poorest echelons of society, who serve – in most cases – as pawns in assaults, attacks and terrorism.
To this end, the right fostered links with guarimbas, with their large proportion of criminal elements from marginal areas of the capital, who for a small sum, clothes, food and drugs (particularly Captagon (fenethylline), which crosses the Colombian border to arrive in Venezuela) are willing to spread chaos.
Who are the guarimbas?
Guarimba is the name given in Venezuela to a violent group of street protesters. Such groups are not newcomers to the Venezuelan political stage, and they have been used as weapons on multiple occasions by an opposition that never tires of aspiring to power, despite repeated defeats at the ballot box over the last 18 years. According to experts, this “insurrectional” strategy emerged on the streets of Caracas in February 2004, fuelled by those who opposed the Bolivarian Revolution led at that time by Hugo Chávez. Its aim is to launch a violent and systemic attack on public peace and tranquillity.
The intention behind these acts of violence, which span from vandalism to terrorism, is to provoke a “repressive” intervention by the security forces, instigate a civic-military uprising, delegitimise the Bolivarian government and force foreign intervention. The plan was perfectly designed by the right-wing opposition, which has repeated it persistently without achieving its aims, which include – as confirmed by some of its major ringleaders inside and outside Venezuela – causing a bloodbath in the country to topple the government.
One of the typical behavioural patterns of the guarimbas, which – coincidentally – are almost always behind the protest marches organised by the opposition, is blocking major access roads and highways, preventing freedom of movement for the population and spreading fear as a means of “persuasion”.
They also use barricades, attack essential services such as the electricity supply, drinking water and supplies of food and other vital products, burn down warehouses and systematically attack government buildings.
As regards this framework of violence, which undoubtedly reflects an attempted coup d’état, something much more dangerous is behind the street guarimbas – violent armed groups whose plans revolve around more strategic objectives.
On 9 May, the Venezuelan Executive Vice-President Tareck El Aissami provided national and international onlookers with evidence proving the link between these groups and the reactionary Venezuelan right, dating to before the current protests.
At the same time, the Venezuelan security forces managed to break up a group operating as an armed cell, which was responsible for the major acts of vandalism that had taken place in the east of Caracas and in the state of Miranda.
From over 15 people in custody, he focused on Nixon Alfonso Leal, one of the main ringleaders of these armed groups, who had close links to the far-right opposition party Primero Justicia, and who played an active role in the La Salida plan implemented by the right in 2014, which resulted in 43 deaths.
According to the Venezuelan authorities, Nixon Leal was one of the closest allies of parliament member Julio Borges, the current president of the National Assembly (the Parliament), who is one of the main actors investigating anti-governmental violence in Venezuela.
The Venezuelan Vice-President explained that Leal had organised the armed insurrection that took place in the Altamira, Chacao and Bello Monte districts of the capital, in the east of Caracas, and succeeded in forming armed groups in Catia, in the west of the capital city.
Yes to votes, no to bullets
In response to the escalating violence, the Bolivarian government called upon all sectors of the population to support a new Constituent National Assembly as a means of brokering peace despite the violent rhetoric put out by the far right.
The aim of the Constituent Assembly is to pave the way for dialogue between all Venezuelans, despite calls to sabotage it from MUD and its main political ringleaders.
Hence, the importance of maintaining Venezuelans’ civic-military unity around their Revolution, through the implementation of the Plan Zamora 200 and the Plan República, will trump any attempt to deliver Venezuela back into the hands of transnational companies and oligarchs. (PL)
*Correspondent in Venezuela.
Photos: Pixabay – (Translated by Roz Harvey)