Merida, May 31st, 2010 (Venezuelanalysis.com) – “The only weapon my son had was his video camera,” said the Cristina Soler, mother of David Segarra, a Spanish Telesur journalist and resident of Venezuela, who was detained early this morning by Israeli marines as they attacked the fleet of aid ships heading towards the Gaza Strip in Palestine. The Venezuelan government also officially condemned the attack, calling it an “action of war against unarmed civilians.”
Media reports vary on the total numbers killed by the Israeli marines, at 10 to 19 people, with as many as 50 people injured. The attack, supported by the Israeli government, was an attempt to stop six boats with hundreds of activists from more than 40 countries from bringing 10,000 tonnes of aid including wheel chairs, construction material, medicine and education material to the Gaza Strip.
Israel has a blockade against that part of Palestine and the attack by Israel occurred in international waters.
Telesur was transmitting images of the attack as it occurred, but then lost contact with Segarra. Telesur is a Venezuelan-initiated, Latin American alternative television news station.
Spanish foreign ministry spokespeople report that Segarra is well but he has been detained incommunicado along with others, and his current whereabouts are unknown.
According to Segarra’s mother, he was filming in Gaza in January this year with a Venezuelan team, and was continuing the documentary about Gaza as well as working as a Telesur reporter on the aid mission.
Segarra is a well known for his documentary, “A Coup and a Letter,” about the 2002 coup against President Chavez and the letter Chavez wrote saying he hadn’t resigned. Segarra, though Spanish, lives in Venezuela and works for Telesur and with Vive TV and Avila TV, and has made and collaborated on a number of other documentaries about Venezuela.
Segarra was posting to Twitter just before the Israeli marines arrived. He posted, “Confirmed: There are at least two Israeli ships and helicopters following the fleet to Gaza. The 6 boats are well and on route.”
Four hours before that, he wrote that three Israeli ships were visible and then that they were slowly coming closer, that their satellite emission was failing but internet was still working, and “all activists are preparing for resistance.”
“The fleet calls on the international community to intervene before a tragedy is generated,” he wrote.
The president of Telesur, Andres Izarra, said the attack was “a new massacre by Israel against the Palestinian people and this time against international efforts to help a population that is isolated because of Israel.”
Venezuelan Government Condemns Israeli Attacks
The Venezuelan government and President Hugo Chavez released a statement at midday today condemning the “brutal massacre committed by the state of Israel against members of the Freedom Flotilla” and its “action of war against unarmed civilians who were trying to bring humanitarian assistance to the Palestinian people of Gaza, which is subject to a criminal blockade imposed by the state of Israel.”
President Chavez, in the name of his government and the Venezuelan people, expressed his condolences to the family and friends of the “heroes who were victims of this crime,” and promised the necessary support so that “those responsible for the murders be severely punished.”
The statement concluded, “The revolutionary government of Venezuela will continue denouncing the terrorist and criminal nature of the Israeli government and reiterates... its unshakeable commitment with the struggle of the Palestinian people for freedom, national sovereignty and dignity.”
At the start of 2009, Venezuela severed diplomatic relations with Israel in protest against Israel's deadly bombing of the Gaza strip.