Genesis Carmona, shot in the head by pro-government supporters, died after spending 22 hours in intensive care. The rising model became the latest fatality in an ongoing struggle against the administration of Venezuelan President Maduro. The violence, which has wracked the country in recent months, now has a face.
As Venezuela continues to get blown apart by unprecedented violence, Maduro continues to lose his grip on power within the South American country. In monologues lasting hours, Maduro continues to blame everyone from the US to unnamed “fascists” for the problems in the country.
Maduro, a former bus driver, was appointed to his position by the dying Hugo Chavez and never enjoyed the popular support of the late president. Maduro, who has repeatedly shown a willingness to grasp any idea, no matter how insipid, has struggled to maintain the legacy and power of Chavez, but he has lacked the charisma and intellect needed to get his administration in gear.
An early pronouncement of Maduro’s, made just a few months after taking office, was the establishment of a new Cabinet Seat, the Ministry of Supreme Happiness.
Genesis Carmona, 22, is being called the “model who took a bullet for her country.” On February 18, while attending an anti-government protest in Valencia, Carmona was shot by pro-government demonstrators. Rushed by motorcycle to a hospital, Centro Medico Guerra Mendez, she was immediately operated on and kept in intensive care following surgery. The shot in the head which she had suffered proved to be too much and Carmona died 22 hours later.
Unknown outside of Venezuela, Carmona was famous within her country for being a beauty queen. She was selected, out of a field of 25 contestants, to be Miss Turismo Venezuela, last year.
The rising model was the latest victim of the continuing violence in Venezuela.
Leopoldo Lopez, the handsome and charismatic co-leader of the opposition, remained in prison overnight. Lopez had dramatically surrendered to national police in front of tens of thousands of supporters earlier in the week. Maduro has charged Lopez with murder and instilling unrest within the population and ordered Lopez to be arrested.
Wednesday, Maduro announced that Lopez would not face a judge in open court as required by Venezuelan law. The hearing will be held inside a military jail before a Maduro appointed judge. Media and the public have been banned from the prison and will not be allowed to observe the proceedings.
Speaking for more than two hours, Maduro said, “I said, ‘Send him to jail,’ and that’s what happened and that’s what will happen with all the fascists.”
While Lopez sat in prison waiting, anti-government protesters in Caracas set trash fires in the streets and clashed with national police and military troops. Gunfire was heard throughout downtown Caracas while Maduro was speaking on television.
Demonstrations grew after Lopez’s detention. The protests and street marches started weeks ago with unrest about rampant crime, shortage of basic consumer goods and an inflation rate running more than 50 percent.
In Tachira, an opposition stronghold along the Venezuela/Colombia border, there have been violent struggles between security forces and protesters. Maduro stated he is prepared to declare a “estado de excepción,” a form of martial law.
As Lopez was being driven away by the authorities, he was able to send out one final Tweet to his supporters. The tweet said, “Maduro lives lies and in fantasy. I will not negotiate with dictatorships. I face death on my own terms.”
As violence continues in the northern part of the South American continent, many in Argentina, Venezuela’s closest ally, are wondering when martyrs such as Genesis Carmona and Leopoldo Lopez will rise in Buenos Aires.
By Jerry Nelson