WUJS is in contact with a number of students in Venezuela. Reports coming out of the country are deeply disturbing and WUJS calls for an immediate cessation of violence towards students. Student leaders have told WUJS Chairperson, Andi, of threats, beatings, intimidation and imprisonment by the government. This follows the assassination of student Basil Da Costa, who can be seen in a youtube video running away from gunmen on motorbikes when he is shot at close range.
The students are marching against the policies of President Nicolas Maduro, demanding a disbandment of the collectives(pro-government civilian ‘support’ groups), that were set up in previous years and have done little to stem the lack of security (Venezuela has one of the highest murder rates in the world). Venezuela has the highest inflation rate in the region at 56.2% in 2013, according to official figures. It is also beset by shortages, with shoppers often having to search a number of supermarkets for basic items such as milk and toilet paper.
The students are demanding the release of jailed protesters who, they have told WUJS, have been tortured. More than 70 arrests had been made nationwide in relation to the disturbances and more are being rounded up daily.
The government alleges that groups responsible for the violence had received training and funding from abroad. Accusing the protesters of attempting a coup President Maduro has called the students “Nazi fascists” and has called on his own supporters to flood the streets in support of him.
WUJS is looking for more information and sources on what is going on in Venezuela. If you have local information, or know how to reach out then please contact Andi directly firstname.lastname@example.org. Members of the Jewish community have complained of a lack of basic medicines; WUJS is in contact with the World Jewish Congress, Hashomer Haztair and its Latin American Unions to see what sort of assistance it can provide. Please check our Facebook for updates.
Find all the latest official statements put out by WUJS here. For the most up to date WUJS news always check out our Facebook page.