Attacks on Utilities and Other Violence Continues in Venezuela

Attacks on utilities and public property have continued this week and so far no arrests of the perpetrators have been made.


Merida, 27th March 2014 ( – Attacks on utilities and public property have continued this week and so far no arrests of the perpetrators have been made.

National Electoral Council (CNE) spokesperson, Socorro Hernandez, said today from Maracaibo that authorities were evaluating damage done to the CNE offices of Zulia state, after they were torched on Tuesday.

Hernandez said “fortunately” all of the office’s information was backed up in Caracas. However, the CNE will have to be relocated, as she said 60% of it had been damaged, impeding its ability to operate.

The regional CNE head, Marisela Gonzalez said a provisional office would be set up by Monday.

The Merida water council, Aguas de Merida, said that on Sunday the Bourgin plant in the city had been poisoned with diesel. The contamination was quickly discovered following testing of water, and the water supply to Merida citywas  turned off for one hour while cleaning was conducted.

“In every way, it’s about a deliberate and premeditated action… They punctured the pipes and they must have poured more than 100 litres of … diesel in them. What would have happened to the Merida population if the contaminated water had reached their homes?” said the environment minister Miguel Rodriguez.

Violent opposition groups are still occupying the environment ministry in Merida, preventing all permissions and evaluations from taking place. According to Ernesto Arens, head of the Merida offices, the group’s attacks against the buildings have left Bs 18 million in damages. Over twenty civil servants are unable to work or to access the information and equipment on the premises. 

On Monday afternoon, 100 hectares of the Waraira Repano National Park were set ablaze. Two fires were started near the Tacoa-Boyaca electricity plant, within hours of each other.

“The way that the event occurred makes us believe that it was intentional… the fires were located in two sites, where the only substations of the national electricity system are located,” electricity minister Jesse Chacon stated.

On Tuesday in Caracas, a white goods warehouse for the My Well Equipped House national program, was also set alight (photo). The warehouse contained washing machines, fridges, and other goods that go towards furnishing state provided housing.

Regional governmental spokesperson, Jaqueline Faria, said at the time that fire fighters were trying to put the fire out, but were finding it hard “because of the amount of oil”. Faria said it was too early to conclude “if it was intentional”.

In Los Mangos, Ciudad Guayana, Bolivar, an incident occurred at a barricade, where barricade participants tied a man up with wire and proceeded to threaten, verbally abuse, and mistreat him. It was caught on video, but later removed by YouTube, but photos of the episode are still available. The motive behind the abuse is uncertain, with opposition supporters in the area stating the man had been caught robbing, and the local National Guard saying he had been attempting to cross a barricade.