Freedom of speech, right to assembly and free press are rights that many American college students take for granted, but not in Venezuela
Venezuelan college students and civilians’ rights are being violated, which is why they have been marching since Feb. 12 against the government, because they have been repressing.
“Tortures against 11 students have been reported,” Idania Chirinos, reporter for NTN24 Colombian broadcast station, said.
According to Ms. Chirinos, Lawyer for Foro Penal Mayela Fonseca reports that said that students have bruises, apertures in the head, cuts and lacerations on the entire bodies.
“Sadly we live in a situation that we describe as terrible,” Armando Chirinos, editor of Venezuela Al Dia and brother of Ms. Chirinos, said.
According to lapatilla.com there are six people dead after one week of protest.
“A government out of control that suppresses students that in a pacifistic way, try to find solutions to the multiple problems that the country has, such as scarcity of everyday goods and insecurity in the streets,”Mr. Chirinos said.
Juan Carrasco, a Venezuelan protestor, said to NTN24 he was raped by the National Guard with a gun.
Mr. Chirinos said that what has surprised him the most is how relentless, vicious and ruthlessly the government has reacted against students.
Mr. Chirinos also added that students were surprised while they were marching pacifically with weapons of war, expired gasses and brass knuckles.
Mr. Chirinos said that that four people were killed [at the time the interview was made], hundreds of people injured and outrage several students.
Mr. Chirinos believes that this situation can hardly be forgotten because of the “abominable acts” that the government has done.
The government has taken measures that have hurt people from the marches. According to lapatilla.com police used green gas to control the protests.
“By repressing the students, the government is punishing and infuriating the students’ attempts to be listened to, understood and respected,” senior Luis Mendez said.
In addition to gas, guns and plastic bullets that have been used in the past few days. The Associated Press reports that three people were killed when the protests turned violent on Feb. 12.
“It is very frustrating watching my family and friends doing something like this for my country,” senior Rafael Gonzalez said. “Is difficult to be here and leave your family fighting and struggling to be heard.”
Mr. Chirinos believes that the government does not take the same measures to fight insecurity because they do not care.
“In Venezuela a communist regime prevails that does not care about the middle and thinking class,” Mr. Chirinos said.
The only broadcast station that has fully covered Venezuela’s situation for the past days is NTN24.
“My strength comes from my huge love to Venezuela,” IMs. Chirinos said. “From my own conviction and the direction of the channel. We have to risk everything for the democratic values. It is worth it.”
The government removed them from the air, so now Venezuelans only way to be informed is through a live signal from YouTube or Twitter.
To Ms. Chirinos it is frustrating to her see how the censorship is growing.
According to USA Today, Twitter spokesman Nu Wexler said images are being blocked in Venezuela.
“A democracy that doesn’t accept the free press cannot be considered a democracy,”Mr. Chirinos said. “The base of any government system-wide of criteria is free thoughts, which is what a strong and pluralist society does.”
Venezuelan students and civilians that are outside of the country have been trying to spread the word.
“There is not much we can do except for pray and maybe get the media from this country to show the world what is happening,” Gonzalez said.
Mr. Chirinos recommends social media to get the information out.
“The best way to be informed is through internet and social media, Twitter and Facebook,” Mr. Chirinos said. “In Venezuela the most reliable sources are patilla.com and venezuelaaldia.com, which I am honored to be the editor of.”
The government of Perez Jimenez, ex-president of Venezuela, fell in 23 days, but Mr. Chirinos believes this can take longer.
“I think the fall of this regime will come with the fall of the economy when the sub-officials, officers and troop members do not enjoy the privileges that have enjoyed at this time,”Mr. Chirinos said.
Mr. Chirinos said that the regime will end when they go through the same thing that Venezuelan society is suffering.
Gonzales said that Venezuelans need to be heard , and if their own people are not helping them he hopes that an international organization will do it.
Mr. Chirinos said that the students are not alone.
“The country supports them and is willing to accompany them to their final result. You [students] are now in the forefront of the change that sooner or later is about to come,” Mr. Chirinos said.
Gonzalez encourages students and friends not to give up.
“This is the time for the truth and they just have to remember that will take a lot of time, but no matter what, we should never surrender to the tyranny of the government,” Gonzalez said.
Feature image courtesy of @noticiasSOSVzla via venezuelaaldia.com
Photo courtesy of Lex Gascó [picture inside the post]
E/N: In the print publication of The Southern, this article appeared under the headline SOS Venezuela: Students share concerns as protests rage.
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