VENEZUELA: Oct 12- Pachamerikan Actions (en)
Tuesday, Oct. 12, 2004 at 9:47 PM
Statue of Critobal Colón toppled in Plaza Venezeula in Caracas today, resulting in 3 to 10 arrests. Statue is to be repaired and restored
Around 12pm this afternoon about 200 Venezuelans congregated in Plaza
Venezuela in Caracas in to celebrate “El Dia de Resistencia Indigena” and in
solidarity with the Pachamerikan movement against neoliberalism and
imperialism. It began quietly with a ritual fire and a small procession of
a puppet representing Pachamama and commenced with music and dancing and was
to end with toppling of a statue of Christopher Columbus located in the
During the day there was much talk of police repression by the
Metropolitana police, who are famous for their repression and sympathy for
the Opposition, but when the toppling commenced at around 4pm, there was
little or no obstruction. Much to everyone´s suprise, the statue came
crashing peacefully down with a single pull. Once the statue was toppled
the people pulled it into the streets and in an impromptu act, dragged the
statue along the highway with a procession of drumming and puppets to Teatro
Teresa Cariño, where a performance in honor of "El Día de Resistencia
Indígena" was being held by the Bolivarian Government. There the statue was
spray-painted with red painted with red and hung from a tree in the presence
of the National Guard. Shortly after the statue was hung, the Metropolitana
police arrived. There was some discussion between the organizers, the
National Guard, and the police, which resulted in the confiscation of the
statue by the police. The crowd protested with chants of "Jucio Popular"
[Popular Judgement] (in reference to an element of the action being a
popular judgment of the guilt of Christopher Columbus for 500 years of
genocide) and the police responded by distributing tear gas and shooting
blanks into the crowd.
During the chaos that followed 3 to 5 comrades were detained, and the crowd
immediately activated another impromptu march to the mayor's office to
demand their release. Once the march reached the mayor's office, there was
about an hour of debate before a small number of organizers were permitted
to enter with their demand. The organizers returned with the bargain that
were presented to them, that the organizers turn themselves in, in turn for
the release of the current prisoners. It appears as though the organizers
are going to comply with this bargain, putting thirty of themselves in
prison in turn for the release of the five prisoners.
Following the arrests, Freddy Bernal a self-proclaimed "Chavista," and the
mayor of Alcadia Libertador (the majority of metropolitan Caracas) made an
official statement condemning the action as "anarchy" and officially
"wash[ed his] hands of any responsibility for the action. He also stated
the statue will be repaired and replaced in Plaza Venezuela.
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