Letter From Merida, Venezuela, on the recent violence

Hands Off Venezuela received an interesting letter on the recent violence in the city of Merida, which gives a good insight in the right wing terrorism that is increasing in Venezuela. We publish it here together with a public statement (in English and Spanish) by the student movement.

Hands Off Venezuela received an interesting letter on the recent violence in the city of Merida, which gives a good insight in the right wing terrorism that is increasing in Venezuela. We publish it here together with a public statement (in English and Spanish) by the student movement.

Compañeras y Compañeros,

Thank you for taking the time to read this important update on right wing pro-coup terrorism now taking place in Venezuela. I am a United States citizen living and working in Merida Venezuela reporting on what appears to be the face of US backed efforts to de-stabilise the democratically elected Venezuelan government.

Throughout the last week a heavily armed opposition student organisation has held violent protests in the city of Merida. Using handguns, shotguns, and Uzis they have repeatedly attacked the police and the National Guard leaving between 26 and 36 wounded, at least two of those critically. The organization is called the Movimiento 13 de Marzo (M-13, not to be confused with the chavista Movimiento 13 de Abril M-13a) and has repeatedly worked to destabilise the city and country in collaboration with pro-coup anti-Chavez opposition groups.

The proclaimed reason for the protest is the ULA (University of the Andes) student elections, which were postponed when the Supreme Court ruled that the Administration and Faculty of the ULA were exerting unjust influence on the election and should not make up four of the five members of the elections monitoring committee. The M-13 claims that this is a violation of the ULA´s autonomy and that, although the Venezuelan judicial system is independent of the executive branch, the executive branch is responsible.

The reality is that the M-13 and its leader Nixon Moreno (who has been a "student" at the ULA for 15 years) are attempting to create chaos before the presidential elections this December and to incite the universities to rise up against a contrived attack on their autonomy. For the moment this plan has failed and almost none of the other Universities have responded. Their tactics of unprecedented violence strongly indicate that they were looking for a student death in order to inflame the country.

During the protests members of the M-13 chased down, stripped naked, beat, and attempted to rape police woman Sofía Aguilar at gunpoint. She has identified Nixon Moreno, the leader of the M-13, as the man who shot her partner and a member of the group who then beat him into a coma before she was assaulted. Between the protests members of the M-13 held a pistol to the head of a female member of the Juventude Comunista (JC, Communist Youth) and forced her to reveal the addresses of other JC members, one of whom they have severely beaten.

Although there is a long history of violence during protests in Merida, it has consisted of rock throwing and the occasional Molotov cocktail. Never have students come out so heavily armed and shot so many people without any provocation or escalation. It is widely suspected that the arms and extremely expensive elections materials possessed by the M-13 have been directly provided by, or bought with resources provided by, US Ambassador William Brownfield or the CIA.

Nixon Moreno is in close contact with the opposition ex-Governor of Merida William Dávila and reportedly has met at least once in a Merida hotel with US ambassador William Brownfield. The US ties to this terrorist group are important in understanding the US support of opposition movements in Western Venezuela.

Below and attached, in English and the original Spanish, is a public statement about the protests released by a coalition of youth organisations in Merida.

Please help to expose what is going on here and to inform your communities and contacts.

En Solidaridad,

Josué Wilson

Merida, Venezuela


We, Revolutionary Student Movements, the Federation of University Centers of the University of the Andes, and the Popular Movement of Merida (Movimientos Estudiantiles Revolucionarios, la Federación de Centros Universitarios de la Universidad de los Andes y el Movimiento Popular Merideño) wish to make public our rejection of the terrorist acts perpetrated by the pro-coup opposition groups 13 th of March Movement, 20 Movement, Red Flag (Movimiento 13 de Marzo, el Movimiento 20, Bandera Roja,) and other splinter groups, led by the "pseudo student" Nixon Moreno (charged in the April 11th coup with the assault on the State Capital building of Merida, publicly accused by a young policewoman of being a member of a group who tried to sexually abuse her, and who assaulted a policeman who is now in a precarious state of health,) who in complicity with paramilitaries, narco-trafficers, and common criminals tried today to re-initiate a destabilizing agenda by means of violence in face of the presidential elections in the upcoming month of December, and by means of "Guarimbera" practices which include in their plan of action the use of high-calibre firearms in an indiscriminate manner against the people of Merida.

We also denounce categorically the complicit and collaborative attitude of the University authorities under Chancellor of the University of the Andes Léster Rodriguez, the Administrative Vice-Chancelor Mario Bonucci, and the Dean of the School of Economic and Social Sciences Laura Toro. These administrators, accompanied by groups unconnected with the university who share the same reactionary pro-coup interests, presidential candidates, politicians on an old demagogic course, irresponsible social communicators who lack ethics, and all those manipulated by the interests and designs of North American Imperialism try to create a matrix of opinion in which they show the victimizers as victims, denouncing a supposed violation of the university's autonomy.

Before the community in general, evidence has proven the falsehood of these arguments by means of testimonial and audiovisual evidence which confirms the destructive actions brought by these paramilitary groups which represent a serious threat to the security of the nation and the peace of the republic.

We believe that the University has been and continues to be overrun by a band of parasitic pseudo-students, by paramilitaries, by narco-traffickers, and by the encysted bowels of administrative corruption whose cause is the apathetic neglect by those who until now have led, damaging the entire university community and the people in general, using university autonomy to shelter and support every kind of attempt or conspiracy against the social peace and wellbeing.

We the revolutionary student movements, the F.C.U. and all of the men and women affected by this wave of violence and unknown guerrilla acts of destabilizing intent, demand the defence of the true University autonomy, in which there is no room for paramilitaries, terrorists, coup plotters, conspiracists, sell-outs, lackeys, mercenaries, and in sum, all those who act against the peace of the Venezuelan people.

No to violence, no to the "Guarimbas," no to impunity, no to international interference, no to psychological and physical terrorism, no to coup seeking. We will remain united all for the defence of peace and sovereignty in the face of the hatred which threatens to do away with all of our hopes.


Nosotros, Movimientos Estudiantiles Revolucionarios, la Federación de Centros Universitarios de la Universidad de los Andes y el Movimiento Popular Merideño queremos hacer publico nuestro repudio a las acciones terroristas perpetradas por parte del golpismo y el oposicionismo representados por el Movimiento 13 de Marzo, el Movimiento 20, Bandera Roja y otros grupúsculos mas, que se encuentran dirigidos por el "pseudo estudiante" Nixon Moreno (imputado por el golpe de estado del 11 de abril, el asalto a la gobernación de Mérida, acusado públicamente por una joven policía merideña como integrante del grupo de maleantes que intento abusar de ella sexualmente, y quienes además agredieron a un agente policial cuyo estado de salud es precario), quien en complicidad con paramilitares, narcotraficantes y hampa común, hoy pretenden reeditar una agenda desestabilizadora mediante un clima de violencia frente a las elecciones presidenciales del venidero mes de diciembre, por medio de las practicas Guarimberas, que incluyen dentro de su plan de acción el uso de armas de fuego de alto calibre, de manera indiscriminada sobre el pueblo merideño.

Por otra parte denunciamos contundentemente la actitud cómplice y encubridora de las autoridades universitarias encabezadas por el ciudadano Rector de la Universidad de los Andes Léster Rodriguez, el Vicerrector Administrativo Mario Bonucci y la Decana de la Facultad de Ciencias Económicas y Sociales Laura Toro. Estos personajes en compañía de grupos ajenos a la universidad pero con los mismos intereses reaccionarios y golpistas, candidatos presidenciales, politiqueros de una vieja trayectoria demagógica, y comunicadores sociales irresponsables y sin ética, todos ellos manipulados por los intereses y designios del Imperialismo Norteamericano, intentan crear una matriz de opinión en la que se muestran a los Victimarios como victimas, denunciando una supuesta violación de la autonomía universitaria. Cuando ante la comunidad en general, ha quedado evidenciada la falsedad de tales argumentos mediante pruebas testimoniales y audiovisuales que constatan las acciones vandálicas llevadas por estos grupos paramilitares, quienes representan una seria amenaza a la seguridad de la nación, y a la paz de la republica..

Consideramos que la Universidad ha sido y continúa siendo allanada por una banda pseudo estudiantes parásitos, por paramilitares, por narcotraficantes y por la corrupción administrativa que esta enquistada en sus entrañas y es causada por la desidia de quienes hasta ahora la han dirigido, perjudicando a toda la comunidad universitaria y al pueblo en general, utilizando la autonomía universitaria para cobijar y amparar todo tipo de atentados y conspiraciones contra el bienestar y la paz social.

Nosotros los MOVIMIENTOS ESTUDIANTILES REVOLUCIONARIOS, la F.C.U y todos los hombres y mujeres afectados por esta ola de violencia y actos guerreristas inéditos con propósitos desestabilizadores, instamos a defender la autonomía universitaria verdadera, en donde no tengan cabida, los paramilitares, los narcotraficantes, los terroristas, los golpistas, los conspiradores, los vendepatria, los lacayos, los mercenarios, en fin todos quienes atentan contra la paz del pueblo venezolano.

No a la violencia, no a las guarimbas, no a la impunidad, no a la injerencia internacional, no al terrorismo psicológico y físico, no al golpismo. Permaneceremos todos juntos por la defensa de la paz y la soberanía, frente al odio que amenaza con acabar nuestras esperanzas.

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