The Faces of Repression

15 meses de represión

The cases highlighted in this special started to unfold on February 12 and were followed by months of protests and detentions in Venezuela. This timeline of events is not exhaustive. Instead, it is illustrative of the facts and the context in which they took place. February 12: Students and members of the opposition marched in 38 cities against insecurity, scarcity, inflation and censorship. By then, it had been more than a month of protests in the capitals of the Andean states of Táchira and Mérida. Protestors were demanding increased security in universities. Opposition leaders Leopoldo López, María Corina Machado, and Metropolitan Mayor of Caracas, Antonio Ledezma, also called on citizens to march under the slogan #LaSalida. The proposed hashtag themed movement was presented as a plan of permanent mobilization to demand solutions for the social and governance problems the country was facing. At the time, Venezuela was third on the list of nations with the highest homicide rate in Latin America, according to data published by the United Nations Program for Development in November 2013; in January of that year the shortage of products was around 30% and cumulative inflation--which currently exceeds 68%--was already the highest in the world. The Venezuelan government denies the existence of political prisoners.