Venezuela: armed groups threaten residents not to vote for opposition candidates

The terror began this morning in Catatumbo, a border city in the state of Zulia, where shock bands, paramilitary groups and the Colombian guerrillas operate.


“The sun had not yet risen when at 4 in the morning, today Sunday the 21st, the day of the municipal and regional elections, the streets of the town Found, were flooded with the noise of motorcycles, with more than 40 men dressed in black, trying to sow terror ”, a border inhabitant, who lives on the river bank, tells Infobae; “The noise of motorcycles and loud voices woke me up scared. These guys are going to defend the power they have with the municipal government at the point of lead ”.

The Found town is the capital of the Catatumbo municipality, Zulia state, so named because it is located at the meeting point of the Zulia and Catatumbo rivers. It is part of the south of Lake Maracaibo, famous worldwide for its lightning. But it is also Found a town where the guerrillas, especially the National Liberation Army (ELN), settled years ago, after they managed to displace the paramilitary group Los Rastrojos, and have made their trench with the help of military and civil officials, mainly from the Navy and the mayor’s office.

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There are towns in municipalities in the interior of Venezuela, where shock bands, paramilitary groups and Colombian guerrillas terrorize the population that desperately seeks to get out of its local rulers. It happens in Found, a strategic town for guerrilla groups that have had the collaboration of military and civil officials to act in the area. Yesterday, Saturday, they imposed terror on the town, with armed men, dressed as policemen and those who prevented the Opposition candidates, who believed in the elections, from exercising their right to be accredited or to present documents before the electoral body.

One of the strategies that Chavismo has been using in the elections, together with the help of the National Electoral Council, is to place people who are unconditional to the revolution to control the different electoral boards, be they municipal, state or national, or in effect obstruct the function of those who are not Chavistas or refuse to violate the law.

Armed group

Inhabitants of Found told Infobae that the mayor of Catatumbo, Wilmer Ariza, is responsible for the organization of the armed group, led by Luis Enrique Mogollón alias Enriqueto and Darwin W. Bracho, who presents himself as a police officer. “That Bracho is not a policeman, but he walks around town with long weapons, intimidating people, showing off his weapons, even when the Minister of the Interior, Remigio Ceballos Ichaso announced the prohibition of carrying weapons until one day after the elections.”

“The head of the armed groups, Luis Enrique Mogollón alias Enriquito, was denounced in Nueva Esparta and Carabobo states for fraud and illegal possession of weapons. Darwin Bracho was pretending to be an announcer, but he is nothing of the sort and now he says he is a police officer. Lendys Cardozo has several complaints for shooting indiscriminately in the town, but has the protection of a mayor alias Parulo. Jordán Contreras was part of the Self-Defense Forces of Colombia (AUC) in El Catatumbo. This group, which also includes Yuderkis Vielma and Benito Parra, was created by Captain Juan Carlos Duque, former director of INTT, known for his relationship with collective groups ”.

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When asked what this armed group is looking for, he responds “to sow fear and terror in the local population, to demotivate voters so that out of fear they do not go out to vote, because the townspeople want to have different authorities that respond to the serious problems they face. we have in the municipality ”.

A military officer, who does not share the protection they give to irregular groups, reveals that “the real war is over drug trafficking routes, in the area, the ease of moving by air, land or water, that’s why you find guerrillas, paracos, armed gangs or government shock forces ”.

The electoral body

“What Chavismo does in Catatumbo is an abuse. They kidnapped the seal of the Municipal Electoral Board and the president and secretary are in the street because they do not open the electoral headquarters, “denounce followers of the Opposition candidate, Fernando Loaiza Chacón. In Catatumbo there are only two visible candidates for mayor: Loaiza who was mayor in previous periods and the current mayor Wilmer Ariza (Psuv) who seeks to repeat.

On November 15, Gustavo Manuel González Galvis, operator of the Municipal Electoral Board, publicly stated that he will not open the headquarters of the Board only when he decides to do so and did not open it for opponents neither that day nor the following days. The day before, several opposition parties demanded that he attend the witnesses before the Board for the delivery and sealing of the electoral credentials; “I do it when I feel like it,” was the answer he gave.

On the other hand, it institutionalized as if it were mandatory and not a right according to the exceptions of the regulation and the law, that the vote would be assisted, arguing that this is stated in the Constitution of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, which is absolutely false. Another irregularity is that Miguel Ángel Espinoza, Municipal Coordinator of the CNE, was usurping the functions as President of the Electoral Board, even carrying with him the seal of the Electoral Board, according to supporters of Fernando Loaiza.

In the case of El Guayabo, another town in the Catatumbo municipality, opposition leaders denounced that at dawn today “they do not want to let witnesses and members of Democratic Action (AD) pass, they allege that there is an alliance between the Unit Table ( MUD) and AD; They do not want to let us pass and that there is a new list and they do not accept to receive the one that we printed a few minutes ago, the CNE official, which is dated at 3 am today, Sunday, but they refuse to receive it ”.

Irregularities in centers

From the early hours of the morning, the officials operating the machines of the National Electoral Council (CNE), in many voting centers, began to impose rules in a discretionary manner without respecting the regulations that the electoral body issued. Again the history of several elections is repeated, where the operators of the machines are erected as heads of the voting tables, passing over the members of the voting station and the president of the same who is actually the highest authority.

The journalist Gerard Torres published that at the Juan Pablo Pérez Alfonso voting center in Maracaibo, Zulia, the CNE operator and Plan República officials allowed entry to polling station members not drawn by the National Electoral Council. “I’m not going to work with that list,” the machine operator is heard saying. “But that was issued by the CNE. Why don’t you work with the CNE list? ”, A man rebukes her. “What I need is to work now, to open that machine,” she insists. And he replies “but as it should be, legally.”

Torres, who is the moderator of NCTV’s Con You program, also refers to what happened at the José María España electoral center in the Cacique Mara parish of Maracaibo, Zulia state, where “they denounce members of Chavismo who, with bats in hand, deny the entry to the voting centers for polling station members accredited by the CNE ”. In the video, an individual is observed who, without a shirt and in shorts, threatens with a huge bat to prevent the entry of an unknown person.

Two days before at the Domingo Labarca Prieto Basic School, located in the Santa Bárbara parish, Colón municipality, Zulia state, citizen Yamer Pérez wanted to impose himself as President of the voting center of that school unit, which in addition to everything is illegal because he is a candidate for alternate councilor for the PSUV, also deputy director of Civil Protection, as well as head of the motorized group and works directly with Mayor Bladimir Labrador.

The protest was swift and a group of police and military officials from the Plan Republica prevented the action because Yamer Pérez did not present any CNE credentials. The following day, the officials who acted in accordance with the Law were transferred to the General Directorate of the Maracaibo Police and accused of Instigation to the Ear and Treason against the Fatherland. They are: Chief Supervisors Eleomar Quintero and Ender Verá; supervisors Tony Portillo, Deivis Acosta, Eduard García García and Johan Fernández; and Officers Anuar Daoud, Edgar Chaparro and Yohendri Rincón.

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Helen Hernandez is our best writer. Helen writes about social news and celebrity gossip. She loves watching movies since childhood. Email: Phone : +1 281-333-2229

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