CARACAS -- Relatives of the anti-Maduro gang that were killed by police Monday are pleading to claim the bodies of their relatives, while a hero’s sendoff for a pro-government activist that took part in the shootout causes resentment Wednesday in Caracas.
“Make it known to President Maduro, because by law we are entitled as citizens, that our grief be respected and that he stop obstructing and deliver to us the body of my son!” pleaded Cecilia Agostini, the mother of Abraham Agostini, one of the men killed alongside Perez, according to police.
Agostini and other relatives of the deceased gave a press conference Wednesday. Oscar Alberto Pérez, Daniel Enrique Soto Torres, Abraham Israel Agostini Agostini, Jose Alejandro Díaz Pimentel, Jairo Lugo Ramos, Abraham Lugo Ramos and Lisbeth Andreina Ramirez Mantilla, the lone woman, were felled Monday near El Junquito, a township outside of Caracas where weekend chalets intermingle with wooden “ranchos”, substandard shacks where the poorest Venezuelans dwell.
Lawmaker Wiston Florez told reporters during the conference that “they (the government) told us the bodies are at the orders of a military court.”
ROGUE COP OR HERO?
What began as middle class street protests in 2014 have turned into acts of resistance since last year, when Perez stole a helicopter, bombed the Supreme Court with flashbangs, flew anti-Maduro banners, appeared in the midst of several peaceful anti-government protests, stole assault rifles from an arsenal and, in general, kept the pressure on Maduro.
Perez’s actions were mostly peaceful, however spectacular, and the main charge against him (until Monday’s shootout) was that of being a “fascist” according to wanted posters distributed by police.
Even to the end, he was trying to surrender to attacking forces because of the presence of "civilians" (presumably the woman and a reporter) in the house that was completely gutted by an RPG that killed Perez (see video above).
Heyker Vasquez, a member of the pro-Maduro “Three Roots” collective was in uniform as a National Police officer and carrying a fake ID when he was shot and killed in the chest Monday, one of the two policemen killed during the raid.
Today, his affiliates in the armed pro-Maduro gang shot machine guns in the air (such weapons are illegal in Venezuela) and proceeded to bury him after a motorcade through the dead man’s old “23 de enero” neighborhood, black-clad, hooded and carrying late-model US-made assault rifles, in an image reminiscent of ISIS.
Meanwhile, the dead on the other side of the shootout have not even been released to their families, two full days after the attack.
Tuesday, the opposition-held National Assembly legislative labeled the deaths of rogue cop Oscar Perez and six others (including a woman) as “murder” and announced a commission to investigate the happenings, which have not yet been explained by the government. Commission President, lawmaker Delsa Solorzano, said the presence of Vasquez will be one of the main points in the investigation.
“From the Assembly we regret the death of all of those felled in this obscure procedure undertaken to capture a single Venezuelan,” Solorzano said Wednesday during the same press conference.