Contributed by Joe Montero
Late in the morning, on July 28, Kevin Navas Rodriguez and a group of friends were on the Tipoco Reserve, off the main highway at Sucre (Barinas State in Venezuela).
According to eye witness accounts, the scene was suddenly surrounded by armed people, poining their automatic weapons at two people repairing a motorbike and others around them. A woman, identified as having a Colombian accent gave the order to shoot.
Hit by the hail of bullets, Kevin fell to the ground dead.
On hearing the news I was affected. Along with two other Australians, Lucho Requelme and Federico Fuentes, I got to go to Kevin’s home during our visit t o the country in March this year. Although we didn’t get to meet him personally, we did talk to those who shared his home. They face become familiar faces. although our hurt is nothing like those who were close to him, it still brought home thew human cost of the brutality.
We had gone to Venezuela to find the truth and do our best to bring this back to Australia. The evidence we picked upby what we saw and heard, convinced us that the crisis the crisis there not about Nicolas Maduro imposing his will on the population. We saw it is about a minority and outside powers not prepared to accept the choice of most to decide a future suitable to the minority and outside powers.
Kevin was not the only on to pay with his life. Five others were gunned down at the scene. The others killed were Eudes Yorkley Rojas, Manuel J Cordero, Alexi Ontiveros Mora, Eudid Rojas Pena and Miliady Navas Gonzeales. Miliady was a young pregnant woman.
This was a precision and targeted hit, carried out by a unit with serious military training. This, more than an account of someone with a particular accent, indicates the of Colombian paramilitaries. Sucre borders Colombia.
The attack took place at a time of an increasing frequency of violent attacks on the Venezuelan army and civilians accused of supporting the Maduro government.
Behind this escalation, is a mixture of the failure of the Washington led attempt at government overthrow to date, lack of international support for increasing the level of intervention, and the domestic situation in Colombia.
Colombia has been saddled with an increasingly brutal president and government since August last year, which is stepping up the use systematic of violence on its own people. At least 658 political, community, union, women, indigenous, peasant, LGTB and other leaders considered opponents have been assassinated by the paramilitaries in barely a year.
Colombian paramilitaries in Colombia
The Colombian paramilitary group AGC (Gaitanista Self-Defense Forces of Colombia) invaded humanitarian zones in the north-west of the country.
Video from teleSUR English
The regime has also signed up as the front line for the US intervention in Venezuela strategy, and is applying the same brutal methodology across the border.
Those who were targeted and shot on 27 July, bhapnned to be active in the Bolivar and Zamora Revolutionary Current (CRBZ) and the civilian militia known as the Chavez Popular Defence Brigades (BDPHC)
The CBRZ and BDPHC issued a joint statement, calling for the maximum effort to investigate the murders and the punishment of those responsible for drawing up the plan and carrying out its execution. The statement promises to “continue the fight, denouncing and mobilising [so] that these murders don’t go unpunished.”
“To the murderers, we say that we will not be intimidated. That as a people we are vulnerable like any other human, but spiritually we are extremely strong, because of what our people have always been, a brave and unyielding people. Wherever you look, you will find us on our feet and determined. Do not expect mercy if you act in a cowardly and deceitful way. The arms of Bolivarian justice are long and justice is always done.
“To the families of the fallen comrades, we express our solidarity in these difficult times. Amid the deep sorrow, you should feel proud that your loved ones fell as patriots., as revolutionaries. They were not criminals. They will always be martyrs of our people, militants of the noble cause they believed in and for which they offered their lives.”
Diosdado Cabello, the president of the country’s National Constituent assembly said in his own pubic statement, “We strongly condemn this violence and demand a thorough investigation to find the culprits.”
The rising use of violence as a political weapon is widely believed to be driven by the ability of Maduro to stay in office; the spectacular failures of the Juan Guaido led opposition in recent times, culminating with the attempted coup fiasco and subsequent corruption scandal; and Washington’s loss of the initiative in the international peace talks.
Another indicator of the Washington strategy, is the failure a of the trade sanctions to bite deep enough to cause internal political fragmentation, and the resulting talk about putting in place a naval blockade, even at the risk of an attack on the shipping of other nations.
The nature of the new Washington only makes real sense, if the purpose is create the conditions for an incident, to be used as a cover for higher level overt intervention in Venezuela. The risk of military invasion, therefore, remains a very real threat.
This has not happened so far, because the majority of Venezuelans have made it clear that they are prepared to resist and support what they consider their government, and the lack of international support to move in.
Encouraging Washington’s way of thinking, would be recognition of the reality that the Colombian regime faces a formidable in its own home turf. Being drawn into Venezuela too much and too quickly, risk military over extension and its own stability.
The creation of a situation that somehow shifts the balance and makes a direct military US led strike possible is the goal.
Burdened with a highly concentrated media ownership embedded in US foreign policy, Australians remain in the dark about much of what is going on in Venezuela. Keeping silent on the killings in Sucre is but the latest example of denying information to the Australian public.
Despite this, some of the truth is filtering through. There is little sign of significant support for intervention in the internal affairs of Venezuela, for involvement in the trade embargo and military intervention.
Support for demanding Hands of Venezuela, No Sanction, No Intervention and Respect for the Choice of the People of Venezuela is growing.