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REDACTED Page 104 of 190 government gangs attacked. In other incidents, we found compelling evidence of uniformed security forces and pro-government gangs attacking protesters side by side.”425 Similarly, International Crisis Group states that members of the SEBIN and armed members of the pro government armed paramilitaries worked together during the repression of the 2014 protests.426 This clear relationship between the government and the pro government armed paramilitaries is strengthened by the repeated public calls by senior governmental officials public for pro government armed paramilitaries to act against protesters. President Maduro himself has on multiple occasions called on colectivos to take action against the protestors. For instance, in a speech on 5 March 2014 transmitted live as a mandatory broadcast (cadena nacional), Maduro requested the colectivos to “extinguish” the protests: “These groups of guarimberos, fascists and violent [people], and today now other sectors of the country’s population as well have gone out on the streets, I call on the UBCh, on the communal councils, on communities, on colectivos: flame that is lit, flame that is extinguished.”427 On March 12, a week after Maduro’s speech, Guillermo Sánchez died after being shot, reportedly by a pro-government armed group, in La Isabelica, Valencia. Guillermo Sánchez, who lived in the road where protests were taking place, had left home that day to go and paint his mother’s house. His wife, Ghina Rodríguez, told Amnesty International that eyewitnesses stated that a group of armed men shot and beat him. They then put him on a motorbike and flung him towards state police officers who were stationed near the protests, saying: “here’s another one for you, expect some more”. Similarly, on 16 February 2014, the Governor of the state of Carabobo, Francisco Ameliach, a member of the PSUV, issued a tweet calling on a pro government armed paramilitary group the UBCh—a civilian group formed, according to the government, as a “tool of the people to defend its conquests, to continue fighting for the expansion of the Venezuelan Revolution” to launch a rapid counterattack against protesters. Ameliach said the order would come from Diosdado Cabello, the President of the National Assembly. The 16 February tweet, which was later deleted from his feed, said: “UBCH get ready for the swift counterattack. Diosdado will give the order. #GringosAndFascistsShowRespect.” 428 425 HRW (2014). Punished for Protesting: Rights Violations in Venezuela’s Streets, Detention Centers, and Justice System 426 INTERNATIONAL CRISIS GROUP. (2014) Venezuela: Tipping Point 427 Rechazan decisión de Maduro de mandar a colectivos a la calle (video included). El Diario de Caracas (Mar 5, 2014). Available at: colectivos-la-calle 428 EL UNIVERSAL. (2014) Ameliach llamó a prepararse para el "Contraataque fulminante.” El Universal. [Online] 17 February. Available from:

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