The family members of the 44 people killed during the Venezuelan oppositino barricades and violence earlier this year gathered in Caracas today to reject the international silence over the deaths and to announce the establishment of a Committee for the Victims of the Barricades.
Committee spokespeople say that they will act to bring attention to the stories of those who were killed and injured during the barricades and which they say have been ignored up until now by international organizations such as the UN.
“It’s as if they had made all of these events invisible, made these victims invisible. The victims haven’t been made known, their stories.That’s why we want these stories to be heard, to be made public,” said Desiree Cabrera Rodriguez, one of the spokespeople for the committee.
Forty-four people were killed and over 150 wounded when violent roadblocks were set up in February this year by people calling for the removal of President Nicolas Maduro. The armed “barricaders” as they came to be known set the streets alight, refused to let pedestrians or vehicles cross the roadblocks, frequently beating up or verbally abusing people trying to get to work or hospitals, and attacked members of the country´s Bolivarian Armed Forces and government supporters. They were responding to a call by right-wing opposition leaders Leopoldo Lopez and Maria Corina Machado to force the “exit” of the national government.
While Lopez was arrested in February, he has received support from United Nation officials who state that his arrest is symptomatic of political repression. His wife recently travelled to Europe to make an appeal for support, meeting with political figures such as Spanish prime minister, Mariano Rajoy. Yet spokespeople for the committee say that their voices have not been taken into account by the same organizations, despite the fact that they are the real victims of the violent barricades.
“We are invisible in the United Nations, there they talk about the rights of Mr Leopoldo Lopez, but they don´t say anything about our rights, they won´t even talk about the victims of the barricades,” said a Committee Spokesperson during the press conference.
The committee members also released an email address for other citizens who had been victims of the barricades and encouraged them to get in touch in order to join the campaign.
Originally posted by TeleSUR English.