HAVANA TIMES – When I left the house yesterday in the morning, the sky was cloudy and a joyous breeze blew that made me think that some kind of magic would engulf the day; something special could happen.
My work as a photographer took me to a green and pleasant area, on the outskirts of Caracas. During those early hours of the morning I was oblivious to what was happening in downtown Caracas.
It’s already news, even internationally, and it is not true that looting occurred at the avenues of Urdaneta and Armed Forces, just a few blocks from Miraflores Palace.
In my last post I mentioned the new “CLAP” method to distribute basic foods. And I explained who’s running it and what are its function.
Part of what happened yesterday in those areas of the city had to do with the Local Committees of Supply and Production (CLAP); the production in the name is a total understatement.
After several hours in line, hoping to buy some necessities, people began to notice with some dismay and complete outrage that the products they expected to purchase were being diverted to other government facilities to be delivered to the CLAP; because starting today, June 3, only the CLAP will sell basic products at regulated prices.
Thus the government seeks to eliminate the lines and keep under its control the sectors most likely to rebel over food shortages. Likewise the plan will punish those who are not “organized” in the Community Councils and diverts most lines to municipalities governed by the opposition.
I looked at the videos and did not see people assailing any local, I did see people protesting because they are denied the right to buy food to help their family subsist.
Then I discovered that the most significant incident occurring around Urdaneta and Armed Forces avenues was the violence against the Messengers. I mean teams of the national press that were present to cover the protests.
With an incredible viciousness, the National Guard and plain clothes individuals (identified as the “collectives”, but also with the presence of others who seem to have positions secured in the government), intimidated and abused more than a dozen reporters, stripping them of photographic and recording equipment.
What did they have to hide to attack the media in this way? Why is the National Guard acting alongside armed civilian groups?
The immediate response of the government is that attempts of looting and any protests for lack of food or medicine are orchestrated by specific groups seeking to destabilize the country.
I did see many upset women protesting against the Police, working class women who looked tired of spending hours in line and then receiving the news that, from now on, they will have to wait patiently at home for a certain group of people to bring them a bag of food.
I imagine that the reporters also saw these people demanding a minimum of respect; not violent groups willing to commit a crime. I imagine the government and military knew it and thus decided to make it impossible for them to do their work on this and future occasions.