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Oscar Pérez, the implications of a murder

Por Luis Manuel Aguana

The assassination of Oscar Pérez by a combined force of members of the regime and a paramilitary group that operates in the parish "23 de Enero", draws the whole world the real picture of the situation of violence to which he is subject. Venezuelan people. The declarations of the main spokesmen of the regime confirm something that we already knew: regardless of human rights, regardless of any condition, whether you surrender or not, any act that the dictatorship considers as an aggression to its stability will be answered by the death. Oscar Pérez and his group became last Monday the 15th the proof of this.

The case of Oscar Pérez has not yet been evaluated in its just dimension, not only because of its implications for the regime for the violation of the human rights of Venezuelans who were massacred in the presence of practically the entire world through social networks, but rather its transcendence in current politics, military reactions, as well as in the reaffirmation of the outlaw character of the State led by Nicolás Maduro. I think the regime has dismissed the implications of this vile murder, dispatching it as any of the ones that it has committed since 2002, this being very different.

To the already long list of denunciations for crimes against humanity that have taken place in the International Criminal Court, another one of extreme gravity will now be added: War Crimes against the main persons responsible for the regime who ordered and executed this operation. According to the Rome Statute Article 8, War Crimes,"2b-vi) Causing death or injury to an enemy who has laid down his arms or who, having no means of defense, has surrendered at will.".

It was evident to everyone that on Monday, January 15, 2018, Oscar Perez and his group laid down their arms and were waiting for journalists and prosecutors of the Public Prosecutor's Office, when a group of irregulars subsequently identified as paramilitaries from an armed group of “23 de Enero” identified with the regime broke into the scene, resulting in the death of Oscar Perez and his companions, in circumstances that have not yet been clarified by the authorities.

This incursion is inexplicable. It is not understood why an operative carried out by a special GNB command, the FAES, is overtaken by an armed collective with clear extermination intentions at the site of the events, overturning the surrender procedure of those who had surrendered, confirming Pérez's own words in his video that the regime had allegedly given orders for his death. This is very serious.

To finish aggravating the matter, Freddy Bernal, Minister of Urban Agriculture, confirms the presence of these irregulars on the site of the operation against Oscar Pérez (see in Spanish in

The Minister of Defense has to explain a lot to the Venezuelans because it was his officials who were in charge of this operation, where they were killed not only Pérez and his group, but also armed civilians of a collective that did not have to be there, and explain the whereabouts of others who were mentioned by Oscar Pérez in his video -women and children- and were the reason why they decided to surrender without confronting the contingent of the GNB that was besieging them at El Junquito.

What happened to those people who have not been mentioned? Why it was demolished the house where the incident occurred, preventing future investigations? Why the Minister of Urban Agriculture -which functionally has nothing to do with that- justifies the presence of armed groups in that operation? Why is the government trying to cremate Perez's body less than 24 hours after his death, as he was informed, and does not deliver the body to his family properly? ( In a personal painful experience I know the same authorities prevent the cremation of a person if his death has occurred by accident, homicide or any other unnatural circumstance, even when an autopsy has been performed.

Many questions point to a scandalous open and threatening message from the regime to society as a whole, which proves everything we have seen on the streets when they launch collectives to attack the marches, but at the same time demonstrates their surprising weakness and contradictions.

Will the military now and in the future allow the superiority of irregular armed elements and criminals in their operations? Who's really in charge of the Ministry of Defence? If Maduro really ordered Oscar Perez to have his life preserved, who gave the counter-order over the President? And if that happened, who really has the power to officially dispose of someone's life over presidential authority, without this being a penalty established in Venezuela?

On the other hand, it will be very interesting to observe the reaction of the collectives to this fact. At the hands of who died the boss of Tres Raíces collective? In the exchange with Pérez's group, or had he already died when it happened and that death was then at the hands of the GNB? It would be very important to know the truth, but now it will be little less than impossible because the authorities are clearly very interested in disappearing the evidence.

Will these groups, after seeing this result, be interested in supporting the regime in the future or will they seek revenge for a possible betrayal? Both protagonists really know what happened there and from that more facts will originate that will negatively affect the regime, whatever these may be.

But there is one aspect of all this tragedy that needs to be highlighted. Oscar Pérez attempted a path he considered right as a citizen invested with authority to restore the constitutional order violated by Maduro's regime in Venezuela, according to Article 333 of the Constitution. He was a trained science police officer and used his knowledge to enforce the Constitution. Each of us has that duty under Article 333 of the Constitution and he did, as few officials have done. He took the Constitution very seriously and died for it.

However, we have seen that those who control the Republic's weapons - military and police - have not done the same thing that Oscar Perez did until now, so it is not difficult to suppose that until this happens in a decisive way, it is very difficult to see positive results in the recovery of democracy and freedom through weapons. Perhaps Pérez with that example tried to add those armed wills without success, leaving a bitter taste of hopelessness in many Venezuelans who genuinely believe that this path may still be possible.

Without disregarding the fact that at some point those officials that Pérez tried to add their example to the cause of democracy, take that extraordinary step of courage and love for Venezuela, to the point of giving their lives for that dream of a country in freedom, unarmed civil society has no alternative but to continue working for a non-violent, peaceful, constitutional, democratic and electoral solution to this crisis.

And just as we respect and do not disregard that others take the path chosen by Oscar Pérez and his officials, the Venezuelan people should respect and not dismiss a solution that implies the direct and sovereign participation of the Venezuelan people to resolve the crisis, without killing us all in the process. We are sure that this is possible, as well as that Oscar Pérez and his group, by defending with their lives the women and children who accompanied them on the El Junquito site, would agree with a solution that protects the population, because that is the spirit of the heroes who, like them, have written with their blood the history of Venezuela....

Caracas, January 18, 2018


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