Two more accused in the Serra murder case

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Robert Serra, Venezuela’s youngest parliamentarian, and his girlfriend, María Herrera. Gone, but not forgotten…and justice will soon be served again in the case of their untimely deaths. This time, to two more individuals:

The Venezuelan Public Ministry has accused Danny Salinas and Wuadyd Pacheco for their suspected involvement in the deaths of National Assembly deputy Robert Serra, and María Herrera, on October 1 in the neighborhood of La Pastora, Libertador municipality, in the Capital District.

The 55th prosecutor of the Metropolitan Caracas Area, Miguel Ángel Hernández Salazar, accused Salinas of being a co-author in the crimes of aggravated homicide of the deputy, aggravated robbery, as well as homicide with malice aforethought for futile motives in the execution of an aggravated robbery against María Herrera, and association for the purpose of committing crimes.

In addition, the prosecutor presented the accusation against Pacheco as an unnecessary accomplice in the aforementioned crimes, and as author in the crime of associating for delinquent purposes.

Both crimes are listed in the Criminal Code and in the Organic Law Against Organized Crime and Financing of Terrorism.

In the writ presented before the 9th Control Tribunal of the Metropolitan Caracas Area, the representative of the Public Ministry requested admission of the accusation, ordered the trials of Salinas and Pacheco, and that they be held in custody in the headquarters of the Bolivarian National Intelligence Service (SEBIN), located in El Helicoide.

Aside from these two men, others recently accused are the Caracas municipal police officers Edwin Torres, Erick Romero and Raider Espinoza, as well as Carlos Enrique García.

Also tied to the double homicide and currently in jail are Jaime Padilla, Neira Palomino, Yusmelys Meregote, and Nadis Orozco, for their relations with the Colombian, Leiva Padilla Mendoza, who was apprehended in Cartagena, Colombia, on November 2, and who is currently awaiting extradition.

Translation mine.

So, it looks like El Colombia and his band of merry miscreants are going to have some sweating to do. Let’s hope that’s all of them.

The ironies of the Venezuelan opposition, part 55

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“All set for the Caracas Music Festival!” (Note the old seven-star flag, being held upside down. The current Venezuelan flag has eight stars. What decade is this, again? With the oppos, it’s always yesterday once more. Shooby-doo-lang-lang.)

Good evening, world, and welcome to yet another fine edition of VenOpIronía. Today’s installment: How to commit auto-suicide. Sounds a bit redundant, yes? Yes, it is — but it’s the only word that fits when this happens:

Hooded protesters gathered on Sunday afternoon at Plaza Francia, Caracas, causing security forces to appear on site and suspend the 6th annual Reading Festival.

The protest was organized by United Active Youth of Venezuela (JAVU), who informed of their activity on Twitter.

The municipal police tried to prevent the demonstrators from blocking Francisco de Miranda Avenue and decided to temporarily suspend the Reading Festival in order to prevent that.

The demonstration was criticized by [opposition] personages such as Leonardo Padrón, Sumito Estevez and Ibéyise Pacheco, generating controversy on the social network.

Leonardo Padrón tweeted: “The protest at Plaza Altamira ruined the close of the Reading Festival, it’s an exercise in sovereign stupidity.”

Sumito “El Cheff” Estevez wrote: “Don’t try to paint the stupidity of these little kids forcing the closure of the fair a few minutes ago as heroic.

“Don’t go to the book fair at Altamira. They just advised me that the guarimberos closed it. Obviously, my two events are suspended.”

Ibéyise Pacheco wrote: “This protest today looks just like an ‘auto-suicide’.”

Clearly, these personages protested because their interests are under attack. They should have screamed to high heaven when 43 Venezuelans fell dead at the hands of these same guarimberos.

Translation mine.

I can’t imagine why a book fair located in an upscale, mostly opposition sector of Caracas could have brought these right-wing hoodlums out to “protest”. Maybe they were hoping to kill their own cultural stars and fob the blame off on Chavistas, as usual?

Oh, probably. Only problem is, they wound up alienating their own.

Suddenly, all the right-wing media figures are scrambling to distance themselves from JAVU. The same who were silent about JAVU’s violence in recent months, when 43 Venezuelans died, are now squealing like piggies because they got their little literary shindig shut down…by JAVU. It’s especially rich that Ibéyise Pacheco, who made something of a name for herself in 2002, calling for a future “without Chávez, of course” every night on the TV news right before the April coup went down, finally got a taste of her own putschist medicine.

And I…cannot stop laughing at the stupidity and ineptitude of them all.

Another defeat for guarimbas in Venezuela

Hey! Remember all those useless idiots and their dumb little #SOS Venezuela hashtag from February? Remember how they all thought it was such a “game-changer”, and that the “tyrant” Maduro would go down in defeat because of some stupid tweets, and even stupider violence?

Well, today they got served another big slice of humble pie by none other than Madurito himself:

And here’s the story, from Aporrea:

Venezuelan president Nicolás Maduro announced the formation of the Committee of Families of Victims of the Guarimbas to demand justice and punishment for those responsible for staining the streets of the land with blood for months in their attempt to bring down the Bolivarian government.

“Spouses and children of the men and women of our land, civilians and militaries, who were murdered or suffered injuries during the guarimbas”, said the president from Miranda on Thursday, where he took part in another inauguration of public works and housing as part of the Territorial Socialism program.

“I call upon this committee of family members to activate so that there will be justice in the land and in the world, and that fascists will be recognized and denounced,” Maduro added.

Maduro recalled that on February 12, when right-wing militants destroyed the façade of the Public Ministry and the Carabobo Park square in Caracas, it marked the beginning of violence programmed by opposition directors, with international support.

“No one imagined that on that day, five months of violence would begin, with 40-odd dead at the hands of fascist groups who began the destruction with guarimbas,” Maduro said. He recalled the strangulations with wires on the barricades, the murders of members of the Bolivarian National Guard, and of civilians who were cleaning up the streets, and the intemperate threats from politicians who believed themselves to be superior.

“They underestimated the civilian-military power of the Bolivarian Revolution, the power of the conscience of the people. 2014 will be the year we defeated the fascist guarimba that tried to set fire to the land and subjugate the people with violence and foreign interference.”

He commented that the recuperation of Carabobo Park, which the Mayoralty of Caracas opened to the public on Thursday, is a triumph of peace and of the Venezuelan people.

He also recalled that international campaign in which local artists and foreigners screamed and wrote signs with the phrase “SOS VENEZUELA”.

“Where were they, how much were some of them paid for that?” asked Maduro. He contrasted that hypocritical manipulative attempt with the silence those same groups demonstrated when Israel massacred the people of Gaza.

“Why didn’t they say ‘SOS Palestine’? Millions said ‘SOS Palestine’, but not those paid-off groups, some of them deceived, but who later recognized their error.”

Maduro said that the defeated believed that this world-wide manipulative media operation would pay off. He confirmed that all the fighting to confront the lie had been worth it.

“And thank you, a thousand and one times, to the Venezuelan people, their conscience, their gigantic strength, which has passed all the tests we have had to stand, and let us go on overcoming them.”

Translation mine.

You may have noticed that Madurito is wearing a keffiyeh in the video. That’s because something else is happening in Venezuela, something very special: A hundred medical students from Palestine have arrived to begin their studies at the Dr. Salvador Allende School of Medicine. They will be taking home that training to a land that sorely needs it — especially in Gaza, which Madurito referenced in his speech. Here is the Palestinian ambassador to Venezuela, Linda Sabeh Ali, thanking Madurito and Venezuela for the free education they are about to receive:

Great news indeed, and it could not come at a time of greater need.

¡Viva Venezuela!

“El Colombia” is captured!

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A photo of “El Colombia”, real name Leiva Padilla Mendoza, is shown on Venezuelan state channel VTV.

A little BIG good news, and a major break in the Robert Serra assassination. Caracol reports that the chief paramilitary suspect has been captured:

Leiva Padilla Mendoza, alias “El Colombia”, was captured in an operation by the Colombian DIJIN (federal police), in Mamonal-Gambote, southeast of Cartagena, inside a commercial building.

The mann is accused of being the suspected organizer of the assassination of Venezuelan parliamentary deputy Robert Serra and his girlfriend, María Herrera, on October 1 in Caracas.

The Colombian paramilitary suspect was wanted under an Interpol “Code Red”, and according to Venezuelan president Nicolás Maduro, he used false names to evade the authorities.

Also wanted for the crime against the deputy is “El Eme” (“M”), identified as Fariñez Palomino, who allegedly entered the home with Leiva and six other men, and assassinated the deputy with a gunshot to the head.

Translation mine.

Aporrea also reports that the wife of “El Colombia”, Neira Palomino, has been taken into custody by a Caracas control tribunal for her ties to the paramilitary band.

The Moon is full now, and just as Neruda predicted, the cowards’ moon is hanging very low in the sky. There’s just one left to go, and there is no doubt that his days as a free man are numbered.

PS: Well, that was quick. Looks like “El Eme” is also captured, according to Últimas Notícias (via Aporrea). It appears that he and “El Colombia” were captured together. Colombian authorities are trying to determine whether he can be extradited, since there was no Interpol “red alert” on him, but he is wanted by the 9th Control Tribunal of Caracas. With this, the paramilitary band’s criminal career is officially over. Kudos to the authorities of Venezuela and Colombia for mopping up this bloody mess.

More fallout from the Serra assassination

The social networks of Venezuela have been buzzing with messages surrounding the death of deputy Robert Serra. And some of what’s been Facebooked and tweeted is truly vile, as the National Assembly president, Diosdado Cabello, reads out above. Here’s a quick summary of the highlights (if you can call them that):

On his VTV show, Con el Mazo Dando, the president of the Venezuelan National Assembly, Diosdado Cabello, informed on Thursday of the detention of Victor Ugas, who spread a photo via social networks of the assassinated deputy Robert Serra in the morgue, as well as the detention of a tweeter known as “La Negra Hipólita”.

“This week they also captured Victor Andrés Ugas, alias Víctor Hugo, who took the photo of comrade Robert Serra [in the morgue]. You’ll have to say who gave you the photo. Also, Daniely Benítez was detained, she’s the one called ‘[La Negra] Hipólita’. She’s very good at predicting things. On September 4, she said that the National Assembly would be in mourning, that we would be buying white candles [for wakes], but she’s so good at predicting that she never predicted that she would be jailed. That’s because the whole thing is suspicious.”

[…]

Cabello also informed of the detention of other citizens who had made threats or jokes around the assassination of Serra, as well as investigations of other Venezuelans who committed the same crimes and are not in country.

Translation mine.

Yes, that’s right…some punk leaked a photo of Robert Serra’s body in the morgue. And another one appears to have had advance knowledge of an assassination to come, one that would have vigil candles burning in the National Assembly (where, in fact, Serra’s body and that of his girlfriend, María Herrera, did lie in state). Just a macabre joke, I’m sure. Or a damn good crystal ball…one that, as Diosdado Cabello ironically remarks, somehow failed to predict that its psychic owner would land up in the slammer.

According to this news item, the photos of Serra’s corpse on the slab have been under investigation since October 10, and the suspect believed to have tweeted them was arrested on Wednesday. He remains in custody.

Meanwhile, we now know the amount of money Serra’s assassins got to do the job. A cool quarter of a million gringo dollars, according to the justice minister:

The planned and executed assassination of socialist National Assembly deputy Robert Serra cost its intellectual authors $250,000 (US), monies which came from Colombia, according to the minister of Interior Relations, Justice and Peace, Miguel Rodríguez Torres.

[…]

“With Lorent Gómez Saleh in prison, we now know that they were starting to eliminate 20 leaders,” said the minister, recounting that the terrorist plans, orchestrated in Colombia, which extremist groups were to carry out in Venezuela, and to which Saleh belonged, were to be carried out only against the leaders of the Bolivarian Revolution who mobilized the people to militancy with the greatest strength.

“They came from Colombia with that amount of money, which not just anyone would have, and killed our comrade Robert Serra,” Rodríguez Torres said during an assembly in Propatria, Caracas.

Translation, again, mine.

Money from Colombia? Surely that wouldn’t be traceable back to El Narco, would it? Miguel Rodríguez Torres thinks it would, and he would know, as justice minister and as one privy to all the information surrounding a crime of this magnitude.

Meanwhile, seven arrest orders are currently awaiting fulfillment, and Interpol is on red alert for the individuals in question. The eighth suspect is already in detention: Edwin Torres Camacho, the corrupted bodyguard who let the killers into the home.

Pablo Neruda’s prophetic words are about to come true; the cowards’ moon is hanging low in the sky. Not much longer now…

Video shows assassins entering and leaving Robert Serra’s home

Venezuelan president Nicolás Maduro himself narrates this video, which shows just how quick and efficient the killers of Robert Serra were. The full security video from the night in question is just 11 minutes long, and the segment showing the entry and exit of the killers clocks in at a mere six minutes. That’s right: Just six minutes from the time they entered the house, with the help of a paid-off bodyguard of the late parliamentarian, to the time they exited and buzzed off, some on motorbikes, a very typical mode of transportation in Caracas. This video shows clearly why there were no signs of forced entry at the home, indicating an apparent inside job. With a paid-off bodyguard to unlock the door for the killers, there would be no need to break in, calling unwanted attention to themselves and wasting valuable minutes, as well as making it that much harder to escape in time.

So who are the killers? Well, the head of this particular band of assassins is a Colombian paramilitary by the surname of Padilla Leiva; his nickname, and the name of the band as well, is “El Colombia”. How original! Maduro also gives the nicknames of the rest of the killers, in the order in which they appear and enter the home. Their real names are presumably known to the authorities, but not mentioned in this clip.

Meanwhile, here’s a tape of the corrupted bodyguard, Edwin Torres Camacho, who let the killers into the house:

And here’s a transcript of what he said:

“It all began three months ago, I was talking on my cellphone with deputy Robert Serra, when I was approached by ‘Colombia’, one of the authors of the death of the deputy. Then he asked me ‘Anything else? Is everything all right?’ This in a normal discussion with my boss…

“He told me that…he broke into the situation to tell me ‘let’s go, let’s go screw him, let’s go there’, with such insistence, I fell into temptation and from the Wednesday of the week before the deputy’s death, uh…they were talking about everything they were going to do that day…

“We left there…on a Sunday we swung by the deputy’s house in a pickup truck, burgundy and black, and the same again on Monday, two days before the deputy’s death, they lent me a cellphone with which they told me that we were going to work that day.

“The day of the incident, Wednesday, they gave me the motorbike on the Cristo corner, and I went out to look for it. From there I went toward La Pastora, met with ‘Colombia’, who got on the bike with me, and we went to the deputy’s house. When we arrived there, I opened the door with the motorcycle key, forcing the lock, and ‘Colombia’ entered behind me. After that, he went ahead and neutralized María [Herrera, Serra’s girlfriend], then two others entered, and the other four: ‘Eme’, ‘Dany’, ‘Oreja’ and ‘Tintín’.

“At that moment, I walked toward the kitchen…’Colombia went up with ‘Tintín’ and that’s when they neutralized Robert and brought him to his study. Then I gave him a kick in the neck and I was getting on top of him when Tintín was on top of Robert with a knife in his hand, with an awl…and I saw that the deputy was already gagged and mortally wounded.

“After he went down, Tintín went back down, and the others, with weapons in hand. I went down last and saw how ‘Colombia’ was on top of María. I couldn’t see what he was doing to her, but I could see that he was on top of María. Then it was ‘let’s go, let’s go” and we left the house. As we were leaving the house I turned back to open the door for them, I opened the door electrically, then they left and I hung back, looking around, because I didn’t have the motorcycle key in my pocket, the one with which I opened the door and forced the lock.

“After I came out, because I couldn’t find the key, I had to push the motorbike downhill. I pushed it along with ‘Tintín’. I came out last and from there, we went down two blocks. I dropped off Tintín, I don’t know which way he went, he went his way and I went down three more blocks. I left the bike someplace, and I don’t know what happened to it. I caught a taxi and went home.”

Translation mine.

So now we know how this was possible. Even with bodyguards, Robert Serra wasn’t safe, because the assassins were able to bribe one of them. One corrupto was all it took to end Robert Serra’s life…well, one corrupto and half a dozen killers.

And three months of planning, and a huge whack of dinero, too.

Lorent Saleh, terrorist, in his own words

Coño, what’s this? Oh, just a cute little student opposition leader from Venezuela, showing his true (terrorist) colors. ¡Qué bolas!

On the VTV show Cayendo y Corriendo, yesterday, a new video was broadcast showing Venezuelan right-winger Lorent Gómez Saleh admitting that he was a terrorist.

“My profession is terrorist,” the right-winger asserted.

As well, Gómez Saleh says in the video that he has plans to disturb the peace in the city of San Cristóbal in the state of Táchira, and that he is counting on the aid of 20 young people, Venezuelan and Colombian, calling them the “elite group”, in order to carry out this type of terrorist acts.

“And 20 is a lot, brother; we don’t need more people because these are detailed things,” he says.

“Táchira will be our bastion, there we’re going to put up a good fight. And we’ll heat up Táchira little by little, you haven’t yet seen how Táchira is catching fire…right now we’re raising the pressure bit by bit,” says Saleh.

In one part of the video, Saleh comments: “We want to hit ‘em in the pocket…We want to start a shitstorm and it’ll be simultaneous, because we can’t be starting a shitstorm today and every day.”

He also reiterated that the groups of terrorists he runs are armed.

“We have some good cellphones, some good computers, some cameras, and weaponry,” he assures.

The far-right activist also spoke of his allies in the encampments at Alfredo Sadel Square, and of the work they are doing.

“In Caracas, ‘Guerrilla’ (Ronnie, co-ordinator of the violent acts in Caracas) was the chief at Sadel. The strong arms of combat have arrived at the camp at Sadel.”

He also referred to terrorist plans to be executed in the capital.

“With 10,000 dollars we’ll plant a good sniper there in Caracas.”

In another video presented on the program, Gómez Saleh states that he will be meeting with the press representative of the NGO “Operation Freedom”, Gisela Matamoros, who works for the ex-deputy, María Corina Machado.

It bears recalling that Gómez Saleh has been photographed with various political spokespersons of the Venezuelan opposition, among them Antonio Ledezma.

Translation mine.

Antonio Ledezma, alias Grandpa Monster, is the right-wing metropolitan mayor of Caracas, and a key figure behind the guarimbas there.

Notice, too, that San Cristóbal is mentioned? That’s where some other guarimbas took place earlier this year, with an eye to ousting Madurito, during the epic fail known as “La Salida” (The Exit). Wouldn’t surprise me if it turned out that little Lori-Sally was in cahoots with the fascist mayor of THAT city, in addition to the aforementioned Grandpa Monster.

Oh yeah, and there’s more incriminating video, too:

In this one, Lorent Saleh is admitting that he has ties to another familiar face of the Venezuelan opposition: Maricori, a.k.a. María Corina Machado. Another prominent putschist, in other words.

Such respectable ruling-class types, these old-line Venezuelan oligarchs. And such a firm commitment to democracy, too! Why else would they be so desperate as to associate with known, and self-admitted, terrorists?

Assassination: CONFIRMED.

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Venezuelan justice minister Miguel Rodríguez Torres talks about the Serra case on his radio show. See that bar across the screen? It reads “Assassination Confirmed”. Meaning, the murder of deputy Robert Serra and his girlfriend, María Herrera, was NOT part of a botched robbery or any “ordinary” violent crime. Here are the details, courtesy VTV:

The Popular Power minster for Interior Relations, Justice and Peace, Major-General Miguel Rodríguez Torres, announced that according to investigations of the killings of Robert Serra and María Herrera, there was detailed planning involved.

During his radio show, the minister explained that it was a planned crime. The Scientific, Criminal, and Penal Investigations Service (CICPC) has collected sufficient elements to make possible a reconstruction of the incident. The hypothesis includes the number of individuals involved, how they entered, and how they exited.

“What happened that day, without a doubt, was the doing of someone who wanted to end the life of this important young leader of the United Socialist Party of Venezuela,” Rodríguez Torres said.

He assured that “there had been a previous stakeout, in order to know exactly what was Robert Serra’s routine, and that of those who accompanied him.” Rodríguez Torres did not specify further details, in order not to alert the criminals.

He also ruled out robbery as a motive for the homicide: “We are 95% certain that they did not come to rob Robert Serra, but exclusively to kill him, because they didn’t steal anything. They didn’t touch his briefcase with his laptop and tablet, and that is an element of value for a normal thief.”

As well, Rodríguez Torres stated that the pronouncements of opposition leaders with regard to the case were self-serving, to “make us see that this crime is imputable to citizen insecurity as common crimes. [They are] trying to justify the unjustifiable.”

Rodríguez Torres recounted all the paramilitary actions that have taken place in Venezuela, planned by sectors of the Venezuelan and Colombian right wing.

He pointed out that the violent acts originated by the Venezuelan opposition began “coincidentally” after Álvaro Uribe Vélez won the Colombian presidential elections in 2002. From that moment, “Henrique Capriles Radonski and Leopoldo López made contact with Uribe to receive advice, directions, blessings and maybe a few other things as well.”

“That same year, López asked Uribe to be his security advisor, and the former mayor of Chacao, Emilio Graterol, contracted his services as police advisor to José Obdulio Gaviria, who is a cousin of [notorious Colombian drug lord] Pablo Escobar Gaviria.”

Rodríguez Torres also recounted how a series of violent events in April 2002 were planned and organized at Plaza Altamira, among them the placing of C4 explosives at the consulates of Colombia and Spain. There were several persons injured, and damage to the infrastructure. “There was participation from the right-wing political sector, and it was a purely terrorist action,” the minister said.

In 2004, 150 Colombian paramilitaries resided at the Daktari ranch, located between the municipalities of Baruta and Hatillo, with protection by local police. “They were led by Comandante Lucas, an assassin for the paramilitary Salvatore Mancuso, who testified in the United States that these Colombians were in Venezuela on the orders of Álvaro Uribe Vélez,” the minister explained.

“This case clearly demonstrates the presence of militarism in our country as a means of trying to rise to power. I name them case by case to remind you of the right-wing leaders and the barbarities they have wrought in this land,” Rodríguez Torres said.

Translation mine. Here’s the video of the minister’s radio appearance:

So we can see that all the key players of the Venezuelan and Colombian far right are involved in this assassination, as they were in the attempt on the life of Nicolás Maduro earlier this year, and in the attempt on Chavecito’s life as well, in April 2002.

Colombian interference in Venezuelan politics goes back at least that far; further, probably, if we examine the life of El Narco more closely, since his own involvement in the far-right politics of his land, and his use of paramilitary terrorism in it, goes back very far indeed. Remember, he’s an old friend of Pablo Escobar, the infamous drug lord killed by the DEA. And as governor of the Colombian province of Antioquia, he signed off on flight permits for Escobar’s drug runners, enabling them to get their wares to market out of country. Since Venezuela was, at that time, very much a point of transit for Colombian cocaine, it’s quite reasonable to assume that a great many of Escobar’s pilots were flying into Venezuela, offloading their drugs at local airports like Maiquetía to be transferred to international flights and ships, and returning to Colombia to repeat the process countless times.

Chavecito’s election in 1998 spelled the end for that, as he was not tame to the interests of the drug cartels or the US. And worse, Chavecito was hostile to the CIA…which we now know, thanks to the great investigative reporting of Gary Webb, was actually behind the crack-cocaine epidemic in the poor neighborhoods (predominantly black) in the US. And of course, the CIA was behind every right-wing “leader” in Latin America, whether “elected” (note the quotes) or simply imposed by coup. So of course it stood to reason that when El Narco rose to the rank of Colombian president in 2002, one of his first acts, however unofficial, would be to send paramilitaries to neighboring Venezuela to “help” the old political ruling classes there regain the power they were about to lose for good. And their role in the April coup of that year is getting harder and harder to dispute, as more evidence arises that they were involved in every act of political unrest that followed on the heels of Chávez becoming president.

We can also see clearly that there are ties between paramilitarism and Chavecito’s last would-be political rival, Henrique “Majunche” Capriles Radonski, as well as Leopoldo López and María Corina Machado. All of them would never be freely elected by the Venezuelan people, so of course they rely on manufactured riots, insecurity, instability and product shortages created by organized hoarding. Which they then crassly blame on the PSUV government. The fact that nobody is really convinced is a major strike against them, and means they will remain unelectable for as long as they live.

It also means that they will go on resorting to criminality, right up to and including murder, in their attempts to bring a legitimate government down.

Little wonder, then, that Robert Serra named them all as intellectual authors of what was to be his own murder, just days before it happened.

Robert Serra names his assassins

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Who says dead men tell no tales? Not I. And not the Argentine journalist Fernando Vicente Prieto, who wrote the following article for the Correo del Orinoco about the recently slain young Venezuelan deputy, Robert Serra:

It’s been 48 hours since they killed Robert Serra and, in the same criminal operation, María Herrera. Robert was a kid, a Venezuelan boy. He was a deputy for four years, and he was only 27. He was the youngest parliamentarian in Venezuela. His killers knew of his unwavering commitment, his firm and potent voice, because he represented the best of a revolutionary youth, prepared to go the full distance.

They thought they killed him completely in that cruel and, at the same time, perfectly rational act. They wanted to kill in him a generation, called by Hugo Chávez to the most difficult and beautiful task. But Robert Serra continues to speak after his death and from there, he points in his eternal gesture at the assassins. They wanted to kill him again and again, and on October 1 — sadly — they succeeded. But not completely.

Even though they killed him 48 hours ago in La Pastora, I turn on the TV and there’s Robert, talking again, and this time of his own death. He’s conversing on the show Zurda Konducta with other guys like him, some dressed like journalists. Robert is waving his hands and speaking clearly. He’s analyzing the moment of the Revolution, describing the job taken on by the youth after Chávez, and suddenly he begins to tell who assassinated him, why, and in what context.

“The country should observe what’s going on. Why was Álvaro Uribe Vélez the first one to come out in defence of Lorent Saleh? Because there are interests directly related, between the paramilitaries he personally directed and still directs in Colombia, and these despicable acts.”

“If we look retroactively at the fallen during the last guarimbas, [we see] a well-aimed shot to the head, with 9mm or high calibre bullets. A well-aimed shot. Not just any shooter has the ability to do that,” says Robert. “Let’s remember what happened in April 2002, with the coup against Comandante Chávez.”

And from that context, he comes back to talking about the present: “And look at this shameless Lorent Saleh, who says: ‘we have the diplomatic façade with this Operation Freedom’.” He is eloquently referring to the leader of Operation Freedom, one of the “peaceful students against Maduro”, as the private media call them.

“He says that, straight up, that crook says ‘we have the diplomatic façade of the altars of the defence of human rights’. And you see how when our state security corps come out to guarantee peace in the land, they are the ones who get converted into victimizers by the opinion shapers. I want to see CNN replay these videos that are coming out now. I want to see that woman-abuser Fernando del Rincón replaying that. I want to see Patricia Janiot. I want to see all of those who have initiated a media campaign against our country,” Robert insists.

He doesn’t stop; he keeps pointing out tactics and responsible parties. He recalls how the paramilitary groups planned to attack discos and bars in San Cristóbal: “Even their own guys,” he exclaims, “so that the social breakdown would be much greater.”

Later, he directly addresses Antonio Ledezma, the right-wing metropolitan mayor of Caracas. “I know you must be watching me,” he tells him. And reads one of many tweets Ledezma immediately put out to defend the paramilitary group.

He also reads out a tweet by María Corina Machado, which cynically affirms that “everybody knows what awaits Lorent Saleh and Gabriel Valles at the hands of the régime”. And Robert accuses: “No! Not everybody knows. You know it, shameless person, because you’re in the plan! You know it, Antonio Ledezma knows it, Leopoldo López knows it, and and Álvaro Uribe knows it, because they’re the ones who are in on the plan to destabilize our democracy. Now many of us know it.”

Robert looks into the camera. With his short, scrubby hairstyle, as always, and his neighborhood boy’s face, intelligent and naughty. Profound. Chavista. With all his life ahead of him. He thumps his chest and warns:

“And I’m certain, I’m certain, that in that macabre list I could be one of the names. Fine, let them do it. But it doesn’t matter. I’m certain that they plan to hold collectives and social movements responsible. What for? To generate the reaction that tells CNN that there is a ‘dogfight’ going on that they have set in motion for the gringos and other countries of the world to demonstrate that there is no governability here, that Nicolás Maduro doesn’t guarantee peace, and so the world’s police, the blessed gringos, have to intervene.”

And Robert goes on explaining, dead now but with his voice full of life: “We have to get to the root of this, my dear comrades. This was born at a party. I have the migratory register of many of them: how they came through Costa Rica, through Colombia, from where we denounce the so-called Mexican party. And what was the Mexican party? A party held in Mexico by a group of Venezuelan ex-bankers, fugitives from Venezuelan justice, who circulated instructions via a political operator named Gustavo Tovar Arroyo to unleash violence in our land.”

“I am convinced that they will banalize this denunciation tomorrow,” Robert continues. “They want to see the body of the president so they can say ‘Ah yes, the Chavistas were right’. And how will they banalize it? They’ll say that this is a smokescreen to cover up the problems of the land.”

The end of the program draws near. I hear [them read out] a tweet from a young right-winger which says: “I wish I had a pistol so I could shoot down all of those guys from Zurda Konducta.” Robert nods as if to say “exactly!” and says: “You see? This is a product of the hatred the right-wing has instilled.”

He adds: “Today history proves Nicolas Maduro to be right when he said: ‘Gentlemen, behind all of this lies the empire, and the hand of Álvaro Uribe’, who is thirsting for blood in Venezuela, a product of his failure in Colombia. He wants to destroy peace in our land and he has absolutely nothing to lose, because he doesn’t even have morality.”

Robert says goodbye. He talks about the importance of the 2015 legislative elections, in which the right-wing will try to take the majority so as later to deal a parliamentary coup, as in Honduras and Paraguay. “To win is to win well. Let’s build a majority with our people. What is at stake for us in the coming year will be the peace and the democracy of our land. Let us carry on the legacy of Hugo Chávez. If they ask this generation what our objective is, it’s not a term in office, comrade. It is to make irreversible the dreams of Hugo Chávez and his legacy in this homeland he built for us.”

Robert Serra. 27 years old. Young Chavista deputy. A revolutionary who never will be silent. Those who have ears to hear, let them listen. Because Robert is still speaking loud and clear.

Translation mine.

So we can see that there is, indeed, a veritable rogues’ gallery of usual suspects behind Serra’s death: El Narco Uribe, the failed ex-president of Colombia, and head of the paramilitary death squads to which Lorent Saleh and Gabriel Valles are now well known to have belonged. Antonio Ledezma, alias “Grandpa Monster”, the reviled right-wing metropolitan mayor of Caracas, and a well-known collaborator in all the violent opposition guarimbas there. And the bottom-feeding right-wing “leaders”, María Corina Machado, alias Maricori, and Leopoldo López, the pretty boy who’s still sitting in jail, safe and sound, awaiting trial for his part in the recent failed putsch against Madurito. And a bunch of bankers, fugitives from justice all, who absconded with money belonging by rights to the Venezuelan people, who are currently squatting in Mexico. Serra names them all. The only person he doesn’t name is the one who pulled the trigger on him. But it hardly matters. He knows who wanted him dead. And he knows that they had the power and the cash to hire a very cold, clever sharpshooter to do their dirty work, too.

And if you wonder why I’m still writing about him in the present tense, it’s because Robert Serra, like Chavecito before him and Che Guevara before him, is the kind of person who never really dies. He left so much of himself behind, even in his short existence on Earth, that it doesn’t matter anymore where his body is. His spirit is the kind that won’t be silenced so soon. And that irony will be the final joke on his killers, because they will fade from existence as nonentities, even though they succeeded — but only partially, as the author of the piece says — in killing him.

The “most moral army in world” shits all over Gaza. Literally.

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Israeli troops may have (momentarily) withdrawn from the Gaza Strip, but they haven’t really left it. Traces of them still cling to everything they’ve occupied, and not in a good way:

When Ahmed Owedat returned to his home 18 days after Israeli soldiers took it over in the middle of the night, he was greeted with an overpowering stench.

He picked through the wreckage of his possessions thrown from upstairs windows to find that the departing troops had left a number of messages. One came from piles of faeces on his tiled floors and in wastepaper baskets, and a plastic bottle filled with urine.

If that was not clear enough, the words “Fuck Hamas” had been carved into a concrete wall in the staircase. “Burn Gaza down” and “Good Arab = dead Arab” were engraved on a coffee table. The star of David was drawn in blue in a bedroom.

[…]

A handful of plastic chairs had their seats ripped open, through which the occupying soldiers defecated, he said. Gaping holes had been blown in four ground-floor external walls, and there was damage from shelling to the top floor. There, in the living room, diagrams had been drawn on the walls, showing buildings and palm trees in the village, with figures that Owedat thought represented their distance from the border.

“I have no money to fix this,” he said, claiming that his life savings of $10,000 (£6,000) were missing from his apartment. But at least it could be repaired, he acknowledged, gesturing through the broken glass at a wasteland stretching towards the Israel-Gaza border 3km away. “Every house between here and there has been destroyed.”

Charming. Didn’t any of their mothers toilet-train these little terrorists? Couldn’t they at least find a bathroom to do their business in? Did they wash their hands afterwards, or just wipe them down on the curtains? And where were their superior officers when these bandits robbed Ahmed of his life savings? Sucking hummus made by settlers in the Occupied Territories off their thumbs, no doubt.

Yeah, these guys have all the maturity of a diaper-dragging two-year-old. It’s a wonder they can hold a rifle straight. Doesn’t give me much confidence in their ability to wage “surgical” strikes if they can’t even clean up after themselves. Or be trusted to leave a cash stash where they found it. Land is not the only thing these guys are in the business of stealing, it seems.

And how does this “most moral army in the world” treat the children of Gaza? Like this:

Half an hour’s drive north, a similar picture was found at Beit Hanoun girls’ school, taken over by the IDF following the ground operation. Broken glass and rubble littered the floors and stairs. Tables and desks were covered in the abandoned detritus of an occupying army: hardened bread rolls, empty tins of hummus, desiccated olives, cans of energy drinks, bullet casings. Flies buzzed around the rotting food.

Here too, said the school’s caretaker, Fayez, who didn’t want to give his full name, soldiers had defecated in bins and cardboard boxes, and urinated in water bottles. “You will be fucked here” and “Don’t forget it’s time for you to die” were chalked in English on blackboards.

The Guardian notes that the new school year is slated to begin in a little over two weeks. Not much time to repair the damage and clean up the mess, in other words. Assuming that Israel doesn’t start bombing all over again, and smash that school to rubble this time, those girls will be seeing that those “moral” Israeli soldiers are all slobbering for the chance to rape and kill them. And they’ll also be smelling the lingering stench of their ordure.

The Guardian also notes that “The Israel Defence Forces did not respond to a request for comment.” Could it because they haven’t yet made up a hasbaratic “explanation” for why their brave, brave boys felt compelled to shit all over innocent people’s homes and schools?

Golly, talk about leading by example. Yep, that squeaky-clean “only democracy in the Middle East” is sure adept at persuading those barbarous Arabs of its nobility and virtue!