Sunday 16 February 2014

The Procrastinator (some) Times Sunday 16th of February Edition


This is been a very tough week for Venezuela, my country. That is why the news section is entirely devoted to try to explain the situation and sharing links of photos, articles and videos. In our Culture & Entertainment section everything is House of Cards and lovely Ellen Page. In the Design, Business & Innovation you can see a list of the top 10 most innovative companies in advertising via Fast Company. In the Science section an interesting article about how the human brain has adapted to react to emoticons in the same way it would to expressions on real human faces. And finally In Dog We Trust share some good news about Sochi's dogs and introduce us to the lovely Hashi.

Happy weekend, happy reading, and my brave Venezuelans, keep fighting!


Photo: Carlos García Rawlins (Reuters) via El País.

Photo Leo Ramirez (AFP) via El País.

Photo: Jorge Silva (Reuters) via El País.

This past 12 of February there was a demonstration, mainly composed by students and young Venezuelans asking for fellow students who had been jailed after earlier protests to be freed, and also protesting against massive shortages in food and medicines, ravaged economy and one of the highest murder rates in the world. Armed groups supported by the government called "colectivos" fired their arms against the students killing two of them and leaving more than 20 injured. Security forces, police and military, instead of helping the civilians, fired tear gas, used water cannons and used extreme violence against the students, and the protestors in general. See some of the videos in YouTube here, here, here, here, here, here, here (yesterday afternoon Saturday 15), and watch how they even used a tank here.

The murder of one of the students, Bassil Da Costa, by the government supporters was recorded for at least three different point of views by different people using their cell phones. The proof is undeniable. Nevertheless the government did not say anything about these videos, instead they proceed to put dozens of students in jail and tortured them.

After 15 years of "Revolution", the Venezuelan media (with the exception of some newspapers and radio stations) belongs to the government, directly or indirectly. No TV channel reported the clashes instead they were forced to transmit a military parade, and the only channel NTN24 from Colombia that was covering the demonstrations live was taken out of the cable during that day and their website was also blocked. Graphic reporters from international agencies were attacked and robbed during the protests, but some images managed to reach the international media that very same day. Now the government is blaming the French agency AFP of conspiracy.

Venezuelans only count with social media, powered by a non casually slow and intermittent Internet to keep themselves informed and to share what is happening. They use Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and open platforms like 9Gag. But the government is trying to block that too. Twitter Inc. confirmed on Friday that the Venezuelan government blocked users' online images as opposition groups marched through Caracas for a third day. Venezuela’s main telecommunications company, CANTV, is government-run and handles the overwhelming majority of internet traffic.

As the protest continues, the coverage in international media has increased. More people are now fully aware of the strong censorship imposed by the government to the local media that offered a very limited and biased coverage, as Venezuela’s government dominates the country’s airwaves.

Nobel peace prize and ex-president of Costa Rica, Óscar Arias, expressed his concern about the current situation and said that "Venezuela can do all sort of narrative efforts to sell the idea that is a true democracy, but with every violation of Human Rights committed, that claim is denied in practice because it represses criticism and dissent. Every government that respect Human Rights should respect the right of its people to demonstrate peacefully, the use of violence is unacceptable. Let's remember Gandhi's words: and eye for an eye only ends up making the whole world blind."  Sadly, other Latin American leaders remained silent, or even worst expressed support to Maduro's repressive and anti-democratic regime. The power of cheap oil and "petro-dolars" cannot be underestimated.

What I've tried to do here is the only thing I can do as a Venezuelan living abroad, trying to make other people understand what is happening in my country. Despite the repressive efforts made by the Venezuelan government we are not voiceless due to the work of a lot of people that is trying to send our reality, our message, our pain, our indignation across.

Thanks for reading. Thanks for not being indifferent to injustice, repression and tyranny. And thanks for sharing, if you do it, the efforts made by the brave people holding their cell phones would not have been in vain.

There are links along this paragraphs, supporting my claims and my words, that even though are not neutral (how can they be?) they are supported by facts. Below there are other links, updated daily in case you want to know how the news are unfolding, and share, of course.


YouTube: Armed "Colectivos" (paramilitar groups supported by the government) kidnap a student in Maracay.  (Added Wednesday #19F)

Quartz: The pictures the Venezuelan government doesn't want people to see. (Added Wednesday #19F)

The Guardian: Venezuela: raid on Leopoldo López headquarters as Maduro cracks down. (Added Tuesday #18F). People then recorded this in a mall where the police chase down activists.

Caracas Chronicles: Torture, Rape and Ransom. (Added Monday #17F)

The Daily Beast: Is this the end of Huga Chavez's Venezuela. (Added Monday #17F)

Al-Jazeera: Venezuelan protest leader calls new rally. (Added Monday #17F)

The Huffington Post: Pictures: Venezuela See Two Students killed.

The Washington Post: Photos: Violence erupts amid anti-government protests in Venezuela.

BBC. Venezuela student protest ends in deadly violence.

USA Today: Twitter reports image blocking in Venezuela.

Bloomberg: Venezuelans blocked on Twitter as opposition protests mount.

US News: Venezuela's opposition braces for crackdown as blame traded for deadly protests.

News Australia: Tanks, tear gas used by security forces to break Venezuela protest.

Reuters: Anti-Maduro protestspersist in Venezuela, dozens jailed.

Al-Jazeera: Police fire tear gas at Caracas protesters


Últimas Noticias: Murió Génesis Carmona, modelo herida durante las protestas en Carabobo. (Agregado Miércoles #19F)

Venenews: Mensaje de Leopoldo López antes de entregarse. (Agregado Miércoles #19F)

YouTube: Colectivos armados secuestran estudiante en Maracay  (Agregado Miércoles #19F)

El Mundo: "Los militares me violaron con el cañón de un fusil." (Agregado Miércoles #19F)

El País: La Policía Política pone en aprietos a Maduro. (Agregado Martes #18F)

El Nacional: Comunicado de Unasur no es el mismo que leyó Jaua. (Agregado Martes #18F)

NTN24: Víctima de abuso de la GNB relata las violaciones a los DDHH a las que fue sometido. (Agregado Lunes #17F)

RTVE: Video: Capriles convoca una marcha por la paz. (Agregado Lunes #17F)

Últimas Noticias: Video Análisis de los disparos en la Candelaria el 12F. (Agregado Dom #16F. Excelente periodismo de investigación ¡Hay que verlo!)

 El País. Fotogalería de imágenes del #12F.

El País: La soledad de Venezuela. América Latina da la espalda a la violencia política, la censura y la criminalización de la protesta que se ha agudizado en el país.

Julio Jiménez Gelden: #BetaPolítico #ElInicio #12F. (Este análisis de la situación es de los más sensatos que he escuchado hasta ahora, must see!)

CNN: Elías Jaua en CNN Conclusiones.

BBC Mundo: En fotos: Jornada de marchas en contra y a favor del gobierno en Venezuela.

Roberto Mata Instagram: Corto testimonio del padre de Roberto Redman.


AFP: Venezuela: les étudiants toujours mobilisés, avant les partisans du pouvoir samedi.

Le Nouvel Observateur. Les manifestations continuent au Venezuela.

Les Voix Du Monde. Venezuela: silence médiatique au pays de la révolution bolivarienne.


Spiegel Online. Tote bei Protesten in Caracas.

DW: Drei Toten bei Krawallen in Venezuela.


The night of the 19th of February was the most violent one that had happened in my country in decades. The military, the police and the paramilitary ("colectivos") went out to the streets to persecute, assassinate, and intimidate the Venezuelans. As the blog Caracas Chronicles says (first link) "this is no war zone: in a war zone you have two sides shooting at each other. Tonight one side is doing all the shooting, the other side is doing all the being shot at."

Have a look for yourselves, more recent articles are on top and with an asterisk the articles and videos you really really should read/watch:


The Independent: The left has a blid spot on Venezuela. When will it acknowledge that Chavez's socialist dream has turned into a nightmare

Channel 4: Is Venezuela burning while the world watches Ukraine? 

USA Today: Voices: where are the diplomats to help Latin America? Unlike in Ukraine, there's little hope Venezuela's neighbors will intercede in an effort to quell violence.

Motherboard / Vice: Not satisfied with blocking Twitter and TV, Venezuela shut off the Internet.

ABC: Internet a crucial Venezuela battleground 

BBC: Venezuela revokes 'acreditations and visas' of CNN journalists 

BBC: Venezuela threatens to expel CNN over protest coverage

Caracas Chronicles (must read!) 19F The night Venezuela finally imploded

Slate: Venezuela Erupts in Violence. The Venezuelan president appears to have ordered a national crackdown on protesters.

Buzzfeed: CNN journalist robbed at gunpoint in Venezuela

NPR: In Venezuela, Another Beauty Queen's Death Adds To Anger 

Buzzfeed: 29 disheartening imagesabout what's happening in Venezuela 


YouTube: Comunicado del Movimiento Estudiantil (2014)

NTN24 (Colombia): Video: Así se enfrenta la GNB con gases lacrimógenos y tanquetas a los manifestantes en San Diego  

DW (Alemania): DW es también obstaculizada en su labor periodística

Clarín (Argentina): Los días en que la calle pisoteó el carisma

El Nacional (Vzla): Una operación para el horror.
El País (España): El gobierno de Venezuela militariza el Estado Táchira.

And these are the videos recorded by people on the streets:

You Tube: Tupamaros en El Marqués (video)  ("Tupamaros" paramilitary in El Marqués neighborhood).

You Tube: Caracas 19F GNB dispara a civil en La Candelaria (Military shot dead a man in La Candelaria, Caracas city centre).

You Tube: Violencia en Chacao (video) (Violence in Chacao)

You Tube: Guardias Nacionales matan a joven en Avenida Panteón (video) (Military kill a man in Av. Panteón)

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