The Link-Up Spell: The day Venezuela lost all hope
With grenades and thousand of bullets, the Venezuelan government executed a rogue cell without any respect for human rights. What does the death of their leader, Oscar Perez, mean today? Get prepared for a conspiracy that will rock out your senses.
In the morning of January 15th, 2018, a small group of Venezuelan rebels got surrounded by a large group of national security forces. The rogues were supposedly led by a fugitive ex-police officer named Oscar Perez, of 36 years, who became Public Enemy Number One for the Nicolas Maduro regime.
Who was Oscar Perez?
Perez, who was a member of the forensic police (Know as CICPC on the country) with 16 years of experience in tactical operations, became a divisive figure around the crude protest period of June 2017, when thousands of people got killed during violent clash against the public forces.
The fugitive first appeared flying over Caracas dropping controlled explosives and shooting over the Supreme Court and the Ministry of the Interior buildings with a stolen helicopter. The supposed attack was just a call: there were no people injured and the vehicle had a banner with the word “Freedom” and an “Art. 350” call, an article of the National Constitution that disavow a Government if it restricts Human Rights and democracy on the country.
Police and military corps were immediately discharged to find the rogue cell and the high commands put a bounty on the heads of Oscar Perez and their group.
Later that day, a series of videos were shared on social media in which the armed opposition leader appeared with four hooded figures telling Venezuelans they were a “nationalistic, patriot and institutionalist” group against the Maduro regime. He asked the military, police and civilians to join arms against the government and to re-establish the constitutional order of Venezuela.
The hijacked helicopter was later found on the outskirts of Caracas, and Perez was seen a couple of times in short apparitions on some opposition rally and TV interviews, attributing some bombings and assaults to their group.
After the public spotlight, the life of the ex-policeman was glorified by opposition digital media and muddied by the Government propagandist TV channels and newspapers. Maduro pointed him and his comrades as an “extremist terrorist cell” and asked for their immediate capture, also linking them to parties, like Voluntad Popular.
Father of 3 children, the Caracas born tactical officer pilot was also the co-producer and protagonist of the 2015 movie “Muerte Suspendida” (Suspended Death), a film that tried to spread a more positive view to the forensic police corps, an image damaged by the constant corruption denounces made by the population every day. He also collaborated with a NGO, Fundación GV33 Moral y Luces, to help children on the streets, and was an apprentice of the Freemasonry organization on the country.
For most people, the public persona of Oscar Perez was highly suspicious, a character that coincidentally contrasted against the typical shadowing figure of the rogue police. In a country where government broke all hope for change with ferrous controls on every part of the public apparatus, all the videos and the leader’s background of this group became several motives for doubt. People asked why a dissident figure, flirting with overthrown a bad-but-powerful regime, had to feed up this “James Bond” status uploading photos on Instagram practicing with guns and jumping out of helicopters with dogs.
Then, the leader and his group became a myth. Until December 18th, 2017, when the rogues reignited the social media spaces when they assaulted a military barrack during the night, stealing 26 rifles and more than 3.000 munitions.
This is when this so-called rebellious spark went too far.
The fall of Oscar Perez
After some quiet, but tense nights, Venezuela faced the worst Christmas of their recent history. Maduro promised pork meat and goods at low prices through the State “CLAP” program to refill the tables of the hungry population, while facing the highest inflation rates of the world and negative public image. Let’s note this time that the promise was never fulfilled.
However, by the first week of January many poor sectors started to assault food transports in different cities of the country. Local Governments had to deploy the police on the worst scenarios, like it happened in the Andes state of Merida, where protesters faced the public forces resulting in several civilian deaths.
In this violent environment, Nicolas Maduro close ring, comprised of deceased Hugo Chavez close politic companions and the military leaders, found the whereabouts of Oscar Perez and their group on El Junquito, a poor neighborhood of Caracas.
During the early morning of Monday 15th, 500 man of the Special Forces unit of National Police were deployed on the site with tanks, grenades and guns, surrounding Oscar Perez and other six members of his group, including civilians, in a house on a hill.
During the siege, Perez started to post videos on his Instagram account revealing the inside of the home. Government forces exploded a wall with RPGs (Rocket-Propelled Grenades) and begun a mass shoot against the remaining structure with heavy firepower. In these videos he can be heard saying he offered to surrender, while being covered by the concrete pillars, but authorities did not cease the shooting.
“Venezuela, don’t lose hope… Now only you have power so that we can all be free”, said in one of his last videos, in which he also told his children he loves them and hoping he would see them again.
Of course, reality is harsher than fiction, and if this tale was for you like a Star Wars-like epic, you are very wrong, my friend.
Only death is real
National media was quiet. Only Government controlled TV station, Venezolana de Televisión, announced a letter in behalf of Justice Ministry, in which they partially informed the forces dismantled the place and two National Policemen were gunshot to dead by the rogue group. No signs of Perez, his men or the civilians were named during this communication.
On the other side, international news press had first-hand information by ocular witness. Perez was killed with all his companion, including the civilians. Agencies like BBC, CNN or Reuters won the scoop to the national media, mostly controlled by the State, apart from some few independent digital media.
One day later, when the photos of Oscar Perez corpse were heavily shared on social media by the population with messages of rage and sadness against this outcome, the Justice Minister, Néstor Reverol, gave a news conference to give the people the information they already knew with some twisted spice.
According to the Government, seven“terrorists” were killed during the siege, including a woman, and the others were captured. The details of the siege and how they died were not told, instead, Venezuela had another fine display of Nazi-like propaganda, with the usual rhetoric of victimization to evade the truth.
During the next days, the morgue of Bello Monte was heavily defended by military and the family of Oscar Perez last three days to know the official cause of death, in the middle of heavy rumors of a possible cremation of the body against the will of his relatives.
In fact, in the first post-mortem photo shared on social media, Oscar Perez body has an orifice on his head, so he was probably executed by the Police. This was later confirmed by the death certificate, which indicated severe head traumatism by gunshot. In theory, death penalty on this country is forbidden by Constitutional mandate. And to think about a guy and a group who did not killed a single person during all these operative months to be executed, what can we expect for the rest of us?
Some loose strings on Perez death
Besides the clear execution and the deadly silence of the media, there are some elements that looks fishy and that I will try to resume:
- Digital media news published this week that the IDs of the two Police killed during the siege, supposedly by the hands of Perez group, were false and there is no way to find the real persons.
- Why the public forces used heavy weaponry against a small group, supposedly 7, which included civilians?
- There were civilians among the Government siege group. Two of the dead were part of the “colectivos” (a communal group financed by the Government on popular zones that are denounced for being paramilitary Chavistas forces). One of them was the leader of the “Tres Raíces del 23 de Enero”, named Heiker Vasquez. Why there was an armed civilian on a military raid? According to videos published on national digital media, Vasquez was honored on his funeral in a “malandro” (thug) style: with gunshots to the air.
- The only person of Perez family that saw his body and signed the post-mortem documents was his aunt. Not his mother, not his wife, which were outside the morgue the whole week waiting for an official response and criticizing the rumors of the possible cremation decision.
- Justice Minister claimed that information about Perez whereabouts were facilitated by opposition parties, which are reunited on a round table to dialogue with Government spokesman about peace, mediated by Dominican Republic president, Danilo Medina. The Coalition parties of the opposition denied any link to the rogue group. Meanwhile, one of Chavistas heavyweight, Jorge Rodriguez, partially denied the Minister version and told the press the whistleblower did not passed the information on Dominican Republic. So far, nobody on the Government has confirmed who the whistleblower was, and it is very rare they are not taking advantage of this to fragment even more the weak opposition parties.
I tend to think this was just a warning for my fellow countrymen to “not fuck with the All-Mighty Government” in the beginning of new protests, this time pushed by the poor sectors, mostly aligned with the Chavismo. I really had my doubts about Perez figure, but his final moments were plain cruel and just gives us the message that all hope is lost in front of Nicolas Maduro and their cohort, members of a disastrous government, established in 1999, that mortgaged all our resources and future to get the favors of Russia and China in order to perpetually maintain themselves in the power.
I wonder if Oscar Perez, be it a real rebel or a paid actor to divert the truth, knew he probably died in vain for a future that will never come.
(Note: The account Perez used to submit the last videos was shut down).
The Link-Up Spell is a weekly Toilet ov Hell column about music, movies, books, retro video games and guaranteed Elfic nonsense. If you want to contact the author to send your material, mail us at toiletovhell [at] gmail.com with the subject “The Link-Up Spell” or message him on social media.