Caracas, March 17th 2015 (venezuelanalysis.com) - Venezuela’s National Bolivarian Police force (PNB) once again entered into a stand off with what appear to be political opposition groups on Monday, after around 15-20 hooded militants attacked the local Bolivarian University in Tachira at around 6.30pm.
Police were called to protect the building on Monday evening by university authorities and found themselves besieged by the group when they attempted to cordon off the area. Although the attackers were unable to reach the main building because of police presence, the grassy area surrounding the university was badly burned.
“The situation could have turned extremely problematic, but thanks to the involvement of the authorities, we were able to put out the fire,” stated Eduardo Marapacuto, a Coordinator at the UBV, Tachira, who stated that the attack lasted from about 3 pm until 11 pm at night.
According to Coronel Ramon Cabezas, chargé for citizen security at Tachira’s municipal government, the attackers appear to be a group of students from the Experimental University of Tachira (UNET).
The same morning, the group had also previously seized and set alight a vehicle belonging to state water company, Hidrosuroeste, outside of the UNET before turning their attention to the UBV.
“We want to make the public aware of these violent terrorist actions and these acts of vandalism by gangs of hooded attackers,” announced Cabezas on Venezuelan National Radio (RNV).
Just on the Venezuelan border with Colombia, Tachira is a hotbed of rightwing political action and was also the setting for some of the most violent scenes from last year’s armed barricades or guarimbas, which claimed the lives of at least 43 people.
The violent protests saw rightwing activists block off roads, preventing freedom of movement and the circulation of necessary goods such as gas and food, as well as the obstruction of emergency services. Government buildings were badly burnt and arson attacks against the houses of government supporters were also reported in Tachira.
For UBV students, Monday’s attack comes as a painful reminder of last year's barricades. It takes place almost exactly a year after rightwing militants carried out a serious arson attack against the Tachira headquarters of the state Experimental University of the Armed Forces (UNEFA).
Following the latest incident, groups at the Tachira UBV have spoken out against what they describe as ongoing “threats” to carry out violence against their educational institution.
“The terrorist groups’ slogan is that this would be their second trophy, making reference to the fact that practically a year ago they burnt down the UNEFA,” explained Marapacuto.
As one of the revolution’s most emblematic universities, providing free education using a popular pedagogy, many feel that UBV facilities are a principal target for rightwing militants.