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RED VZLA Urgent Request to the OTP-3

REDACTED Page 103 of 190 Committee of the PSUV, has publicly referred to the colectivos as an entity forming part of the GoV, by using the collective pronoun “we” to include the colectivos when talking about the GoV. 421 In addition, several members and/or founders of the colectivos remain in high level positions in the GoV. As one of the many examples, Diosdado Cabello, the current President of the National Assembly and Vice-President of the USPV, had a crucial role in establishing the colectivos.422 The following sections will go on to show how during the 2014 protests, several pro government armed paramilitaries violently attacked the opposition protesters acting under the command and control of the GoV and pursuant to the policy established by the Presidency.423 It is alleged that the same conduct took place during the incidents of violence occurring in 2015. In many instances, they have acted under protection of the State and Municipal Police as well as the security forces deployed such as the Bolivarian National Guard, and the National Bolivarian Police. During the 2014 protests, “security forces repeatedly allowed armed pro-government gangs to attack protesters, journalists, students, or people they believed to be opponents of the government (…)”.424 During the protests, government security forces not only tolerated or protected the pro government armed paramilitaries while they attacked, but even engaged in direct collaboration by providing them with safe corridors to attack protestors in several municipalities across Venezuela. Human Rights Watch reports that: “[i]n some instances, security forces were present when armed gangs attacked protesters, but did nothing to disarm the gangs or protect their victims. Rather, security forces stood by idly, or left an area shortly before pro- 421 EL UNIVERSAL. (2014) Varela: Colectivos son el pilar para la defensa de la patria; EL NACIONAL. (2014) Varela: Colectivos somos pilar fundamental para la defensa de la patria 422 STRATFOR. (2014) Venezuela’s Pro-Government Activists Play a Role in Protest Violence; MADARIAGA, S. (2014) Comando Criminal Sincerniza Ataques de Colectivos: Diosdado Cabello- Freddy Bernal-Eliecer Otaiza; STRATFOR. (2015) Analytic Guidance: Venezuela's Political Factions. Stratfor. [Online] 8 February. Available from: venezuelas-political-factions [Accessed 25 October, 2015] 423 LA PATILLA. (2014) Colectivos de paz accionan armas de fuego en la Rómulo Gallegos ante mirada de la GNB. La Patilla. [Online] 19 February. Available from: gallegos-ante-mirada-de-la-gnb/ [Accessed 25 October, 2015]; BAJAK, F. (2014) Venezuelan student protesters seek to woo poor. Associate Press. [Online] 19 March. Available from: [Accessed 25 October, 2015]; ASOCIACIÓN CIVIL CONTROL CIUDADANO. [Online] 25 March. Available from:¬id=12494 [Accessed 25 October, 2015] 424 HRW (2014). Punished for Protesting: Rights Violations in Venezuela’s Streets, Detention Centers, and Justice System

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