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Venezuela Bans 22 Media Editors and Executives from Leaving the Country

Over 20 members of three Venezuelan media groups, El Nacional and Tal Cual, as well as news site La Patilla, are now prohibited from leaving the country. Caracas judge María Eugenia Núñez ordered the restriction on the opposition media figures, who are “accused of ‘continuing aggravated defamation'”, according to broadcaster NTN24.

The court order was requested on April 28 by the National Assembly president, Diosdado Cabello, seen as one of president Nicolás Maduro’s closest allies in government and member of the ruling PSUV party. It was stated that these media organizations had affected the government's reputation by featuring “unscrupulous” publications from ABC, a Spanish daily newspaper.

The reports published in January alleged that Cabello was connected to drug trafficking in Venezuela.

As a result, Cabello sued for defamation everyone of importance at newspapers El Nacional, La Patilla and Tal Cual; as well as 22 members of the respective boards, including Miguel Henrique Otero, editor-in-chief of El Nacional, Teodoro Petkoff, from Tal Cual, and Alberto Ravell from La Patilla. 

Alberto Ravell and Miguel Henrique Otero found out about the court rulling while travelling outside the country. They declared, respectively, that they will return to Venezuela in a few days to face the charges, and that their editorial lines will not change.

Despite what it seems like a violation of freedom of speech, even international treaties exempt such reproductions of news items from legal liability, except for the source.

Teodoro Petkoff, director of TalCual, and one of Venezuela’s most outspoken government critics, has already been banned from leaving the country because of another defamation lawsuit filed by Cabello last year. Petkoff recently received a prestigious journalism award in Spain, but was unable to collect it in person. The award was instead received on his behalf by former Spanish president Felipe Gonzalez, who spoke about attacks to freedom against expression in Venezuela.

According to Venezuelan law, the Court needs to notify each of the defendants, something that has yet to be done. Also, under no circumstance can a judge rule this prohibition without having talked to them first.

This defamation case had a very timely consideration and resolution, something noticeable in a country where the average prisoner has not seen a Judge in the first few months after its detention, or has spent around two years in prison without sentence, something analyzed in the blog The Devil's Excrement.

Caracas #SmartCityHack Proposes Solutions to People's Problems

The Venezuelan edition of the Hackathon Smart Cities took place in Caracas from 6 to 8 March, 2015. Don't you know what a hackathon is? If so, read this post!

The #SmartCityHack event was simultaneously organized in 27 cities by Global Datafest.

5 histories from behind  #SmartCityHack Caracas showing that where there is a will, there is a way

The Venezuelan edition, organized by SDI Innovation and Wayra accelerator, yielded positive results, serving as inspiration for innovative projects aiming to improve citizens’ quality of life. Estefanía Salazar, a Global Voices contributor, wrote a review of the event for the Spanish-language website Komunumo, highlighting some of these projects:

- CCSMoveOn: es un “Waze” del transporte público. Permite al usuario generar rutas con su teléfono inteligente, con la posibilidad de enviar alertas por SMS sobre posibles eventualidades.

- Compártelo: es un sistema de referencias para Pequeñas y Medianas Empresas basadas en recomendaciones cara a cara.

- Caracas CityCare: Conecta problemas urbanos con propuestas de solución en una misma interfaz.

- Favor x Favor: sistema para favorecer el intercambio gratuito de servicios y bienes entre vecinos de una comunidad.

- Identidad en Línea: sistema de nube para facilitar la difusión encriptada de información y procesamiento de documentación de usuarios de servicios públicos o privados.

- Iniciativa Yokoima: comunidad de intercambio de información y servicios interesados en la recuperación del río Yokoima en la ciudad de Upata (estado Bolívar) […]

- CCSMoveOn: “Waze” for public transport, allowing the user to generate routes using a smartphone, with the ability to send SMS alerts about possible eventualities.

- Share it: a reference system for small and medium-size businesses based on face-to-face recommendations.

- Caracas CityCare: Connects urban issues with proposed solutions in a single interface.

- Favor x Favor: a system that encourages free exchange of goods and services between community members.

- Online Identity: a cloud system to facilitate the spread of encrypted information and process public or private user’s documentation.

- Yokoima Initiative: an information and service exchange community aiming to recover the Yokoima River in the city of Upata (Bolivar state) […]

Smart Cities Hackathon in Venezuela

Global Datafest is organizing the Smart Cities Hackathon, held simultaneously in 27 different cities around the world. The Venezuelan edition of the Smart Cities Hackathon calls on programmers, big data experts, urbanists, public officers and communications specialists who have an interest in developing technological solutions for issues related with the security, mobility, services, e-government, environment and sustainability of Venezuelan cities.

We are a week away of meeting us at the Smart Cities Hackathon!

How can you participate?

Puedes participar de dos maneras:

1. VOTA POR UN RETO
El Instituto Metropolitano de Urbanismo Taller Caracas, el Instituto de Estudios Urbanos de la USB y la Facultad de Urbanismo de la UCV propusieron los desafíos en los que se debería trabajar.

Estamos consultando a los ciudadanos para que voten por alguno de estos retos y así validen los que consideran necesarios. Entra ya a El Nacional y su programa Caracas, Cómo Vamos Y participa en la encuesta!

2. VEN A TRABAJAR EN UN PROYECTO
Durante una intensa jornada, únete a urbanistas, programadores, expertos en data, coach de emprendimiento, periodistas y diseñadores, para crear una solución digital.

There are two ways to participate:

1. VOTE FOR A CHALLENGE
El Metropolitan Urbanism Institute Taller Caracas, the USB Urban Studies Institute and the UCV Urban Planing School proposed the challenges we should be working on.

We are surveying citizens to vote for any of these challenges to figure out which ones they consider necessary. Go visit El Nacional y su programa Caracas, Cómo Vamos and take the survey!

2. COME WORK ON A PROJECT
During an intense work day, join urban planners, programmers, data, experts, entrepreneur coaches, journalists and designers to create a digital solution.

When?
From 5:00 pm, March 6, 2015
To 7:00 pm, March 8, 2015

Where?
Academia Wayra, Torre Xerox, Av Ávila with Av Libertador, Caracas.

The Smart Cities Hackaton organization is sponsored by developers community 4Geeks and the firms Vikua Grupo Intech and EstoEs.co. Besides that, it was supported by Caracas en un Click, Regional and Urban Studies Institute (Simón Bolivar University), El Nacional, RunRunes, Center of Studies for Bicycle Mobility (CEMBI) and Forum Media.

Under the hashtag #SmartCityHack, you can find out everything about the Smart Cities Hackathon on Twitter.

Educating Girls Today, Empowering Women Tomorrow

Marita Seara, who blogs for Voces Visibles (Visibles voices), invites us to reflect on the discrimination that affects girls and teenagers — access to education — and the need of educating our girls today so they can be the empowered women of the future.

FotografÍa extraída del blog Voces Visibles, utilizada con autorización.

Photo from the blog Voces Visibles, used with permission.

According to data backed up by Amenisty International, 41 million girls can't even access elementary education. Illiteracy, child marriage, teen pregnancy are part of a vicious cycle that especially affects our girls. Thus, Latina America isn't exempted from this global issue, mainly about teen pregnancy:

Venezuela ostenta el primer lugar en Suramérica y el tercer lugar en América Latina al ser el país con mayor cantidad de embarazos precoces. De cada 100 mujeres venezolanas que quedan embarazadas anualmente, 25 son adolescentes, de acuerdo al programa de Telemedicina de la Universidad Central de Venezuela.

Venezuela is top of the list in South America and third place in Latin America with the highest rate of early pregnancy. Out of 100 Venezuelan women that get pregnant each year, 25 are teenagers, according to Telemedicine program at the Central University of Venezuela.

Among the causes of teen pregnancy, it's worth mentioning that one-third of unwanted pregnancies are a result of not using protection, and half of the girls affected didn't receive proper sexual and reproductive education before getting pregnant.

So, education is the only way. By educating our girls today, we are empowering women of tomorrow, and therefore, their families and communities.

You can follow Marita Seara on Twitter.

This post was part of the twenty seventh #LunesDeBlogsGV (Monday of blogs on GV) on November 3, 2014.

Venezuela Clears the Tower of David, the “World's Tallest Slum,” of Squatters

The Venezuelan government has finished evacuating thousands of squatters from the Tower of David, which overlooks Caracas’ slums, and is the tallest and most distinct building in the capital city's skyline. 

The one-time office tower is a symbol of how prosperous Venezuela once was and its current dilapidated state reflects growing inflation and poverty problems in the country. Some of the squatters were people seeking refuge from growing daily violence in the sprawling city.

“This is not an eviction, this is a coordinate operation, harmoniously carried out with the community of the Confinanzas towers, that implies moving from here to units in Misión Vivienda”, stated Ernesto Villegas, minister for the Transformation of Gran Caracas, to a local TV station. Those units are located in Valles del Tuy.

On Twitter, users are posting some images from the so called skyscraper-favela of Caracas:

Know why the famous Tower of David is being evicted (PHOTOS).

CARACAS: Since last night, the “Tower of David” is being evicted. Since 2007 the building was invaded by squatters.

One of the seasons of TV show Homeland was set in the Tower of David. On this report, we watch.

‘Women Work 2 to 3 Hours More Than Men’

From Venezuela, Marita Seara Fernández, a member of the collective Mujeres Construyendo [es] (Women Building), an online community that aims to end the digital gap among women, took part in the “First International Women Bloggers Conference” [es] in Mexico on October 2013. She notes that women barely represent 25 percent of the Spanish-speaking blogsophere and that this kind of event are still “uncommon” among them, as they need to express freely and uncensored and without limits.

Fernández writes [es]:

Hay muchísimas voces femeninas en el mundo, sobre todo en países donde la represión, discriminación y desigualdad es parte de su día a día. ¿Pero qué hay de blogs escritos por mujeres latinoamericanas?, ¿de voces que presenten una realidad en sus comunidades o reflejen el empoderamiento y el liderazgo que muchas representan?. Hay pocas.

[..]

Si comenzamos con que el acceso igualitario a internet es un derecho, para disminuir esta brecha es esencial el cambio o implantación de nuevas políticas públicas que van desde la alfabetización y la educación desde edades tempranas hasta la ayuda en el manejo y redistribución del tiempo de las mujeres, de manera así que puedan acceder al aprendizaje de estos recursos.

There are many female voices in the world, mostly in countries where repression, discrimination and inequality are part of their daily lives. But what about blogs written by Latin American women? Voices that present a reality for their communities or reflect the empowerment and leadership that many of them represent? There are few of them.

[..]

If we start by saying that equal access to Internet is a right, to shorten this gap what is fundamental is change or new public policies from literacy and education from very young ages to helping with the management and redistribution of women's time, so they can have access to learning about those resources.

Among other things, she notes that “women work 2 to 3 hours more than men, “that's why they don't have the necessary time to learn how to use digital resorces“. You can read more on her post [es].

This post was part of the fifth #LunesDeBlogsGV [Mopnday of blogs] on June 2, 2014.

Atletico Madrid Football Club Campaign

Américo Alvarado wrote on Barataria about the campaign by Atletico Madrid Football Club:

Sometimes, we witness real life stories, worthy of the seventh art. And right now we are witnessing one of those stories, somehow we are living it in the thrilling world of football. Heroic and inspiring are just a couple of adjectives that come to my mind to, somehow, classify the season Atletico Madrid Football Club is going through, with “Cholo” Simeone. A team that, against all odds, is two matches away from becoming monarch of the so called Star League and, besides all that, the team has seeped, after forty years, in the final match of the tournament of the most important clubs in the world: the UEFA Champions League.

The post reviewed here was part of the second #LunesDeBlogsGV [Monday of blogs on GV] on May 12, 2014, submitted by @rennygranda.

Venezuela: Confusion and Attacks Discussed on Twitter

Using the hashsags #UcabCaracas and #SOSColectivosDelTerrorAtacanUCAB [SOS terror groups attack UCAB], comments and images of assaults on students on protests that apparently happened at Andrés Bello Catholic University [es] in Caracas have been widely shared. Among those tweeting inside the university campus, that has suspended it academic activities, we find the group UCAB student movement [es] sharing information and posting images of injured students .

5:24PM Tense situation goes on in UCAB CARACAS. Patrols keep coming and going to the university main entrance.

With the same hashtags, a series of tweets by supportes of chavismo try to deny the information, or criticize students protests. Also, with #SocialismoProductivo [productive socialism] this group aims to highlight what they consider unjustified protests and condemn violent acts.

These are gullible kids who beleive that the point is encouraging violence withour being aware of the consequences of their acts.

There are reports of protests in other universities in provinces and those that have decided not to join the protests are harshly criticized. All this reflects the informative confusion and the different visions, the main topics of the conflict in Venezuela.

Venezuela: Conclusions on the Dialogue

"El mapa que no queremos ver". Imagen del usuario Juan Carlos Aristimuño en Flickr. Usada bajo licencia  Atribución-SinDerivadas 2.0 Genérica (CC BY-ND 2.0).

“The map we don't want to see.” Image by Juan Carlos Aristimuño on Flickr. Used under the license  Atribución-SinDerivadas 2.0 Genérica (CC BY-ND 2.0).

(Links in Spanish are signaled as [es])

Daniel Lara Farías, @DLaraF [es], writes [es] on Infociudadanos about the dialogue [es] between the government and the opposition. He launches criticism against the president of the National Assembly, Diosdado Cabello (links added). 

Due to Diosdado's lack of credibility within the fraction of the United Socialist Party of Venezuela itself, parliament is unable to parley. Therefore, a dialogue must be set up in Miraflores Palace with international and ecclesiastical guarantors. This is because thanks to Diosdado's ways and means, nobody believes the conversations with a regime that in full debate, calls a female representative opponent a prostitute, splits the head open of a Democratic Action representative, and prohibits the rest from speaking. In other words, Diosdado prohibited the parley in parliament.

But he also criticizes opponent, Henrique Capriles:

But if Capriles is right when he says that the political crisis begun in April 2013 when he was robbed of the election, there is nothing left to do but to also make him responsible for it. He spent a year driving upwards in idle, without pressing the accelerator! A year later, violence is ignited by the citizen's frustration knowing that problems mount up and the government doesn't resolve them. We can't vote out the government because the elections are fixed. Who are the responsible ones? The ones on the street, risking the threat of jail, death, and persecution? Or the ones that robbed the election and the idiots that allow themselves to be robbed?

PHOTOS: Protests in Caracas, April 1

Website PRODAVINCI posts nine pictures by Andrés Kerese taken during protests in Chacao, one of the subdivisions of the metropolitan district of Caracas, on Tuesday, April 1, 2014.

Chacao

Photo by Andrés Kerese, used with permission.

‘Nappies in Adolescence': Alarming Number of Pregnant Teens in Venezuela

Desireé Lozano, blogging for Voces Visibles, urges attention be paid to the extremely high rate of teenage pregnancies in Venezuela, where 25% of the pregnancies are among young people, and the lack of an appropriate public policy to counter this phenomenon and its repercussions. Venezuelan statistics are the highest in South America and remains in first place from two years ago.

Maternal mortality is an issue directly related to teen pregnancy. Desiree cited Venezuelan deputy Dinorah Figuera, president of the Family Committee of the Venezuelan National Assembly, who said the state's responsibility is to provide prevention:

“Una de esas consecuencias es que las madres adolescentes son mujeres que pierden oportunidades para desarrollarse desde el punto de vista profesional y aceptan cualquier tipo de trabajo para tener algún tipo de ingresos. Por esta razón el Estado debe aplicar una gigantesca campaña de concientización para la prevención del embarazo adolescente”, señala la diputada venezolana

“One consequence of teen mothers is woman lose development opportunities from a professional viewpoint, take any job in order to make some income. For this reason, the state should mount a massive campaign to prevent teenage pregnancy,” the Venezuelan deputy says.

Additionally, teenage pregnancy contributes to an already established trend, the feminization of poverty. Furthermore, the phenomenon embodies a risk for the mother’s health, running a greater danger than the average. In her article, the writer collects interesting expert statements on the subject providing an overview of the problem.

Continue reading Desireé Lozano‘s and Voces Visibles‘ work here or on Twitter.

This post was part of the 46th #LunesDeBlogsGV  (Monday of blogs on GV) on April 13, 2015.

Bolivia to Host First International Community Radio and Free Software Conference

The first international conference on community radio and free software will be held in Cochabama, Bolivia from June 11-13, 2015. So far, the community radio stations from Spanish-speaking countries that have confirmed their assistance are: Argentina, Colombia, Ecuador, Mexico, Uruguay, Venezuela, and of course, the host, Bolivia. 

The preliminary agenda includes a forum discussing the advances taking place in Latin America regarding free software, telecommunication legislation, and a migration plan. There will also be workshops and simultaneous talks on free software tools such as Shamatari, Ardour, Audacity, and Creative Commons, amongst others. 

Several websites, such as Radios Libres (Free Radio Stations) and Corresponsales del Pueblo (The People's Correspondents), have helped to spread the information found on the official site, liberaturadio.org, while others have stepped up to the task of getting communities to attend the event, such as the Comisión Nacional de Telecomunicaciones de Venezuela, Conatel (National Commission of Telecommunications of Venezuela), which in addition underlines its support for these initiatives: 

En Venezuela las emisoras de radio comunitarias también cuentan con apoyo para su independencia. En enero de 2015 fue lanzada otra aplicación libre ideal para medios comunitarios: Shatamari 15.01., que tiene 260 aplicaciones preinstaladas y configuradas para trabajar en medios digitales, audiovisuales, automatización de emisoras radiales y medios impresos.

Twitter users also began to spread the word of the event to others as well as to motivate internet users and community radio stations to meet up at the conference. 

Sign up starts on April 1; for more information, visit the event's official page at liberaturadio.org

The Political Apartheid Against Women in Venezuela

Desireé Lozano, a blogger for the Spanish-language website Voces Visibles (Visible Voices), reflects on the existing limitations on women’s political participation in Venezuela. According to the sociologist Evangelina García Prince, a kind of political apartheid that excludes women from decision-making reigns in the Venezuelan parties:

En los partidos venezolanos, el discurso oficial no incluye una perspectiva de género ni una propuesta de las mujeres sobre las mujeres o de la organización sobre sus frentes internos o externos. Estos esconden la exclusión efectiva de la consideración del tema de la igualdad y la atención a las diferencias de género

In the Venezuelan parties, the official discourse does not include a gender perspective or any proposal from women about women, or a perspective on the organization of their internal and external fronts. These hide the effective exclusion from considering the issue of equality and focus on gender differences.

On the other hand, Sonia Sgambatti, a lawyer and professor at the Central University of Venezuela, explains that there is still a long way to go in this matter. For example, the Chamber of Deputies of the National Assembly of Venezuela consists of 167 deputies, out of which only 31 are women, representing 18.6% of the total:

Con la mirada en el futuro, Sgambatti indica que las mujeres venezolanas deben, con valentía y tenacidad, participar activamente de la vida política y social del país. “Por la tanto debemos exigir a la Asamblea Nacional reformar la Ley Orgánica de Procesos Electorales para incorporar la cuota electoral femenina o promulgar una Ley Orgánica de Cuotas Electorales Femeninas, con el objetivo de lograr la igualdad de género en esta materia”.

Looking ahead, Sgambatti indicates that Venezuelan women must, with courage and tenacity, actively participate in the political and social life of the country. “Therefore, we must demand the National Assembly to reform the Organic Law on Electoral Processes to incorporate a female electoral quota or to enact an Organic Law of Women's Electoral Quotas, with the goal of achieving gender equality in this matter.”

You can follow Desireé Lozano and Voces Visibles on Twitter.

This post was part of the 44th #LunesDeBlogsGV (Monday of blogs on GV) on February 23, 2015.

Venezuela Suspends -and Brings Back- Flights to Netherlands Antilles

On Friday June 25, 2015, Venezuela government announced the suspension of all flights between Venezuela and the Netherlands Antilles (Aruba, Curazao, Bonaire, Saint Marteen and other islands).

According to Venezuelan newspaper El Universal, the action would be a consequence of the detention of Venezuelan Army general Hugo Carvajal –former director of intelligence between 2004 and 2009– by request of the American government, due to Carvajal's alleged ties with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (known as FARC) and with drug trafficking. Carvajal was appointed as consul in Aruba, but he didn't have the blessing of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, that is in charge of Aruba's foreign affairs.

Note: later, the decision was revoked, and flights between the two countries were resumed.

Biofortified Bananas for Beta Carotene Deficiency

Félix Moronta Barrios is a Venezuelan biologist who spreads scientific culture among Spanih speaking community. He recently explained the researches and biotechnologic findongs about transgenic bananas in Uganda and the United States.

The banane cultivated in Uganda has no A vitamin. That's why its modification is necessary. Moronta Barrios warns the skeptical:

Antes de que piensen cosas como “natural es mejor”, “otra vez los científicos jugando a ser dios”, “lo modificado genéticamente es malo malísimo”, etc, etc, etc. sepan que la transgénesis también ocurre naturalmente, como expliqué aquí. Que el plátano, banana o cambur que consumimos hoy en día es un invento humano, tal como explica Ciencia de Sofá en “El oscuro pasado de los plátanos“. Y para que no termine ahí la sorpresa, les cuento que es un alimento radiactivo por su alto contenido en potasio; tanto, que camiones cargados de plátanos hacen saltar las alarmas en algunas aduanas. Incluso hay una unidad de medida al respecto, la dosis equivalente a un plátano.

Before you think of things such as “natural is best”, “again scientists playing God”, “genetically modified is not good”, etc, you better know that transgenesis goes on naturally, as explained here. The bananas we eat are human creation, as stated by Ciencia de Sofá on “The dark past of bananas“. And for more surprises, let me tell you this is a radiactive fruit, due to its high content of potasium. So much that banana trucks start the alarms in some customs control. There even is a measuring unit about that, the dose equivalent to a banana.

For updates about biology and biotechnology by an expert written in Spanish with a simple language, visit the blog by Felix Moronta or follow his tweets on morontafelix.

This post was part of the eleventh #LunesDeBlogsGV (Monday of blogs on GV) on July 14, 2014.

Venezuela: Answering Dieterich

After reading an interview [es] on Spiegel Online to German sociologist Heinz Dieterich, who purposts “Socialism of the 21st Century“, Adriana Vigilanza commented [es] on the blog Apertura Venezuela what Dieterich said. Below, a couple of them. Adriana's comments are italicized:

S O: What has happened that people are ready to risk their lives in the srweets?
Dieterich: There is a combination of factors: first, infinite death rhetoric by president Nicolas Maduro, that divides Venezuelans in “fascists” and “loyals.” To add on this, we have the prison of oppostion leader Leopoldo López and the serious problems that country is having, which allowed radical sectors to movilized frustrated people.
Dieterich has the wrong information about Venezuela. “The infinite death rhetoric”, that exists without a doubt, was created by [late president Hugo] Chávez, who even invented the slogan “Socialist nation or death”. Nicolas Maduro only continues what the other one started, adviced Dieterich.

[…]

S O: Is it likely for the president to be toppled?
Dieterich: On the guidelines of Chavismo, the discussion will go on about an effective way out to the crisis without considering this as a toppling. Meanwhile, it's clear to everybody that Maduro has no concept nor tools for modernizing the country. He used to think and thinks that it's enough to emulate his predecessor Hugo Chávez on the rhetoric and choreography and to keep the economic model.
Better said than that, impossible. The “Socialism of the 21st Century” he invented and that Chávez implemented, was (and still) pure “rethoric and choreography.”

The post reviewd here was part of the fourth #LunesDeBlogsGV [Monday of blogs on GV] on May 26, 2014.

Venezuela: Pro-government Website Goes Briefly Offline

After website Aporrea [es] went briefly offline on May 10, 2014, a number of comments appeared on Twitter. Apparently the portal domain was withdrawn for a while, thus revealing that the page is hosted somewhere in the United States. To many people, that the most important portal for Venezuelan pro-government opinions depends on services based in the US opens up criticism and discussion about the problem foreign currency blockade and its inevitable consequences.

This is the evidence. RT @victoramaya: dollar shortage finally affected Aporrea… their domain expired and they haven't paid for it.

Anthonny Arias outilnes the irony in the situation:

Really, I've been laughing as Aporrea doesn't have the big bucks to pay for the domain. LOL!

Lastly, Publio Escipión expresses doubts from the critical texts published on the portal in the last months:

Aporrea got pounded. The domain expired yesterday. There are no dollars or they were closed due to the criticism?

Protesting in Venezuela Will Require Authorization

(All links are in Spanish otherwise noted as [en] for English)

As the protests [en] in Venezuela draw upon 100 continuous days of demonstrations, the Venezuelan Supreme Tribunal of Justice's recent verdict rules that the right to protest “is not an absolute right.” In order to carry out any type of demonstration, one needs to have an express permit from the corresponding mayor's office. 

Humberto Decarli writes on the blog, El Libertario [The Libertarian], about a punitive focus of the constitution's consecrated right. 

During one of his interminable speeches, the late president asserted that authorization is not needed in order to protest or express opinions in public spaces. Nevertheless, a Copernican twist happens in the “revolution's” military political committee, this being understood that a right as important as this requires a non-existent blessing. 

Reactions on Twitter show equal rejection. 

Enough said!!!!!

When the scroungers ask for permission to KILL, we'll ask for permission to PROTEST.

There are also those who agree with the regulation, even though they have to use false information.

Hey Ciberguarimberos [cyber guarimberos], stateless ones, before criticizing our TSJ [Supreme Tribunal of Justice], check out how protests are in your beloved U.S.A. 

Why don't guarimbas exist in the United States? Sanctions: 30 years jail for attacking security agents or civilians with dangerous weapons. 10 years jail for calling to pressure the government from a public setting. Up to 35 years jail time for causing harm to security agents. 25 years imprisonment for destruction or harm to facilities or vehicles. 10 years jail for supporting or financing an unauthorized demonstration. 6 months detention for foreigners that participate in a protest.

It is worth clarifying that the term “guarimberos” is used for the people that carry out barricades and street blockades as a means of protesting.  

Twitter user @ProtestaCivil posts an article of the constitution affected by the tribunal's decision. 

Article 350 and 68 for those that don't know and so that it's clear for the Sapos.

Article 68: Citizens have the right to protest, peacefully and without weapons, without any other requirements that the law establishes. The use of firearms and toxic substances is prohibited during peaceful demonstrations. The law will regulate police action and the security in control of public order.

Venezuela Decoded, Making Sense of Conflicting Accounts

Back in February 2014, Venezuelan journalists Mary Avilés, Ana María Carrano and Martín Quiroga, currently living in Silicon Valley, were frustrated with trying to find out what was really happening back home. After first protests that month, Twitter had become the last independent channel for information and everyone was using it — the government, the opposition officials, journalists and citizens. At the rate of 1,000 tweets per hour, their contradictory reports parrying on cell phone screens and it was hard to figure out who to believe.

Avilés, Carrano and Quiroga are or have been John S. Knight Foundation fellows. Along with Douglas Gómez, Ana María Carrano's husband, after intense weeks, and having recruited some additional team members, they rapidly built and launched Venezuela Decoded, an online platform to help people make sense of conflicting accounts about that country’s ongoing civil unrest that have been flooding social media:

What I hope for Venezuela Decoded is to became a reference site for international audience and media about the Venezuelan conflict, a kind of a landing page,” Aviles said. […] “I believe we can contribute leveraging the power of social media in journalism.”

Inspired by Syria Deeply, the team recently applied for a Knight Foundation News Challenge grant to help fund their efforts. You can see their proposal here.

Coming Soon! Rising Voices Microgrants for Amazon Communities

Amazon Peru, photo by Pearl Vas  (CC BY 2.0)

Amazon Peru, photo by Pearl Vas (CC BY 2.0)

Rising Voices will be launching a microgrant competition next month for digital citizen media projects in the Amazon region which is home to many indigenous communities. Thanks to Avina Americas, Fundación Avina, and the Skoll Foundation, we'll be offering this support with ongoing mentorship from the Global Voices community.

Read more about the project on Rising Voices and register your interest here.

Citizen media has played an important part in many cultural, political, social and environmental struggles in the region. See some of our past coverage of Amazon communities on the special coverage page: Forest Focus: Amazon.

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