Journalist Cesar Miguel Rondon detained at airport with wife, after Maduro said he should be in jail
By Carlos Camacho
CARACAS -- Attired in traditional garb, Amazonas state governor Liborio Guarulla lead rites invoking for an ancient pre-Hispanic curse to be cast against increasingly embattled Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, amidst increasing violence and escalating repression as protests against the President enter its seventh week.
Another teenage demonstrator, 15-year old Jose Guerrero, died Wednesday morning, hours after being shot in the head during anti-Maduro demonstration in Tachira state. Hours after Guerrero’s passing, Venezuelan Defense Minister Vladimir Padrino announced he was sending almost 3,000 additional troops to Tachira, a Venezuelan Andes state bordering with Colombia, as part of the “second phase” of the “Zamora Plan”, an state of commotion military plan that is blamed for the deaths of 44 demonstrators and security forces in April and May. As part of the “Plan Zamora”, named after 19th Century Federal Wars chieftain Ezequiel Zamora, almost 2,000 demonstrators have been arrested, hundreds tried in military courts, violating due process in dozens of cases, the Attorney General’s Office warned.
In related news, prominent radio personality Cesar Miguel Rondon and his wife, Flor Alicia, were under arrest as of this writing in the Simon Bolivar international airport. Maduro said Tuesday night that Rondon and other journalists should be in jail for inciting revolt. Officials at the terminal annulled Rondon’s passport, according to local press reports.
Padrino said the National Guard is sending 2,000 additional troops to querulous Tachira, as well as 600 “special operations” troops. Critics of the Maduro administration often say that “special” troops are really Cuban military brought in by plane. Military cooperation between the leftist governments of Caracas and La Habana is vast a long-standing.
After Padrino’s announcement, local media reports started arriving about National Guard using live ammo, not tear-gas grenades or buckshot, against demonstrators in Tachira and Aragua states. Opposition lawmaker Juan Pablo Guanipa said Venezuelans were not going to be cowed by Padrino’s announcements, promising that there would be increased and peaceful protests in all 23 states.
Governor Guarulla led a crowd of hundreds in Puerto Ayacucho, the capital of Amazonas state and not far from Colombia, chanting, shaking maracas and burning offerings, in a bid to unseat Maduro through traditional, native beliefs.
“They (the government) think they have material power”, Guarulla, a lawyer by training, told Caracas daily “El Nacional” after the ceremony. “But we have a spiritual power”.
“I will call upon my ancestors, my shamans, so that the curse of Dabucuri falls on this people, who are trying to do us evil”, Guarulla vowed. The governor was barred from running for public office for the next 15 years by the Maduro-controlled Comptroller General’s Office.
After the rituals, the spiritual leaders Guarulla reunited took to the streets of Puerto Ayacucho, marching behind a banner that asked for Maduro’s ousting.
Dabucuri is revered by the native peoples in Venezuela, Brazil, Colombia and Peru, “El Nacional” said. All of those countries have a bit of the vast Amazon forest in their territory.