domingo, 20 de abril de 2014

Testimonials from Venezuela: Antonio and Francesca

Today you will read the testimonial of a man wounded in the protests in  Merida and an Italian photographer briefly imprisoned during protests in Caracas.

These testimonials, as the others previously published here, have been collected by Roberto Mata, an outstanding Venezuelan photographer, who has spend these past weeks days in the quiet but valuable task of interviewing people who have experienced the horrible repression occurred during protests. His work was originally published in Prodavinci. (if you speak Spanish and want thoughtful, accurate analysis and testimonial of the Venezuelan situation, this is the place to go). I have received Roberto Mata' authorization to translate and publish his work in this space.
To preserve the value of the testimonials, I have tried to keep the texts as close as possible to the original which means that some expressions might seem odd for English native speakers. Where words and expressions were likely to get lost in translation, I looked for English equivalents and/or included small explanations between parenthesis.
 
Translations of previous testimonials from the conflict are available here:



19. “It does not hurt when you are being shot. It burns. It makes you angry”, Antonio

By Roberto Mata (read the original material in Spanish at Prodavinci: http://prodavinci.com/blogs/no-duele-cuando-te-disparan-quema-da-rabia-antonio-por-roberto-mata/)
March 26th, 2014
Antonio, 30. Law student and public service worker. Photo by Roberto Mata

The group of the Mérida Police; broke in two parts to allow the entrance of the ten members of the colectivos (civil militias). The sound changed: from pellets to gunshots.

 At night, A man out of ten, with the police backing him up, pointed and shot six time with a 9mm gun to Antonio’ body. The cabin of a public telephone was in the middle so the first three shots got in the cabin, saving his face and chest. The other shots came in and out of both of his legs. “It does not hurt when you are being shot. It burns. It makes you angry”.

The armed man did their job. Foot, calf and very near of the femur. It was three gunshots, a lot of blood, six holes. Antonio was helped in a nearby building, until he made it to the ambulance that would take him to the Medical Center at ULA (Los Andes University).

In the moment the ammunitions are over and National Guards are waiting for supplies, protesters start attacking the police. Antonio throws stones but his arm is not long enough to make them reach their goal. Most of them fall in the middle. That is why he prefers to protest using banners. 

On February 12th, in front of the Chinese market “Yuan Lin” located at “Las Américas” Avenue (Mérida city), protesters where winning the match. So the National Guard required the Colectivos (Militias) to step over.

- Antonio, are you violent?

- Only in my thoughts…

 Antonio assures that the barricades are being built to protect theirselves of the Colectivos.

Outside the conflict, Antonio’ work consists on regulates informal business in the city center. He does this part time. The rest of his days consist on “college life”, a life that is also part of the Colectivos. 

 1152 Kilometers separate Puerto Ordaz, birth city of Antonio; from Merida. One day he decided he would not pay 50.000 Bs., for a spot at the public university UDO (Universidad de Oriente). He also decided to take an admission test at the Los Andes University (ULA). He did a 28- hour long bus trip. When he was admitted, he rented a room with a shared bathroom.

Antonio is going to Law School. Paradoxically, he does not believe on denouncing his three gun wounds because if the police let the Colectivos act and the same Colectivos shot him, “what justice I can expect?

 He says this and then, he remains silent. 


20. “I was imprisoned. I still tremble when I think about it”, Francesca Commisari,

By Roberto Mata (Read the original material at Prodavinci here: http://prodavinci.com/blogs/a-mi-me-agarraron-de-pensarlo-todavia-tiemblo-francesca-por-roberto-mata/)
 April 2nd, 2014
Francesca, 35. Photojournalist. Picture by Roberto Mata

“I was imprisoned. I still tremble when I think about it”

Even though she feels she reacted well when she had no other choice but to turn herself over, everything that she knew went through her mind: repression, Colectivos, detentions, tortures, murders. All that in just one second.

Francesca, Italian- born, was carried by two National Guards after being taken out of a large plant pot in front of the Británica Tower (near Altamira, East of Caracas) where she was hidding on February, 28th. Once she was located, the National Guards shot pellets to the floor, about half a meter from her.

Francesca felt the effects like one starts awakening of the effects of the anesthesia. She saw how her body was trembling but she did not felt it.

She resisted for as long as she could. Then she dropped her camera bag. Francesca is a photographer.

“If this were the Fourth Republic*, you all would be dead by now”, the National Guards said over and over again to the forty one people detained that night.

The interrogatory began on the same night of the detention and continued until the next day. The same questions, no scales: Who are you? What do you do for a living? Where do you live? Spell your name!”

Being a foreigner allowed her to move as photographer with certain tranquility until Chavez died. From that moment everything changed. She started feeling with more rigor limitations to the press. She felt the blocking (of the press).

- What does your photographic work reveal?

- That there are a lot of people unhappy who are organizing in a pacific way and there are also less pacific people. That there is a strong response of the public order forces and even more, from those who are not public order forces.

Francesca house’ keys, a card reader, a thousand Bolívares, a new box of Lucky Strike cigarettes and all her photographic equipment, are now in possession of the National Guard. However, (to her surprise), her camera was put on sale on an online site.

The 36 hours that she spent detained with only two meals, the same clothes and an immense desire of making photographs of what she had just lived, do not come out of her head. The Italian Consul warned her about the possibility of being deported.

Francesca wants to leave Venezuela when she wants to, not because she is forced to.

 * The democratic period in Venezuelan history ranging from 1958 till 1998 is often refered to as the "Fourth Republic". Mr. Chavez' movement and political party in its early years was called "The Fifth Republic".

jueves, 17 de abril de 2014

Testimonials from Venezuela: Yuribi and María García

Today you will read the testimonial of a young leader of the protests - often turned into violent clashes with the police and the Colectivos (armed militcias) -in Chacao and the story of woman who contributes to the demonstration by cooking meals daily for protesters in Merida.

These testimonials, as the others previously published here, have been collected by Roberto Mata, an outstanding Venezuelan photographer, who has spend these past weeks days in the quiet but valuable task of interviewing people who have experienced the horrible repression occurred during protests. His work was originally published in Prodavinci. (if you speak Spanish and want thoughtful, accurate analysis and testimonial of the Venezuelan situation, this is the place to go). I have received Roberto Mata' authorization to translate and publish his work in this space.
To preserve the value of the testimonials, I have tried to keep the texts as close as possible to the original which means that some expressions might seem odd for English native speakers. Where words and expressions were likely to get lost in translation, I looked for English equivalents and/or included small explanations between parenthesis.
 
Translations of previous testimonials from the conflict are available here:
 

17. “The colectivos have the right to kill. I don’t”; Yubiry

By Roberto Mata (Read the original material at Prodavinci in Spanish here: http://prodavinci.com/blogs/los-colectivos-tienen-derecho-a-matar-yo-no-yubiry-por-roberto-mata)

March 16th, 2014
Yuribi, 18. Breakdance dancer and Graphic Design student. Picture by Roberto Mata
Yubiry scampers National Guards. She attacks them with words and stones. She is careful to throw the stones at their bodies, not to their heads. She recognizes that the anger has allowed her to develop a great ability to reach the target that she must control.

She knows how to block street and put a stop on the Colectivos (militias) so they do not steal the water and the food of the protesters. She is the first one in her group picket. She achieves concrete actions.

Her pacific character, after frustrated attempts of dialogue, has opened the way to a newly radical Yubiri. The violence and injustice had made a brave Yuriby, to flourish as a leader.

She stopped participating actively at Altamira (East of Caracas) a few days ago. She needed to organize the Chacao Municipality to produce a distraction and diminish the Guards attack in other areas, but the strategy only worked the first day. Then the repression doubled and now the National Guards cover all the protests around.

After February 12th, Yuriby felt fear and recognize that with that fear she would not achieve anything. She decided to act. So far the damages she has suffered are a purple arm and a lot of mockery and insults

The day she found her room filled with food, water and first aid kits, she understood that she had become a leader. The neighbors ask her daily about the strategy.

Eighty and seven stiches on the head of a student, who was following her instructions, let her see how big her responsibility is.

The fear returned.

“The colectivos (armed militias) have the right to kill. I do not. The justice is not going to condemn them. My moral do not allow me (to kill)”

Yuriby fells, gets up and sees four characteristics that she the key to assure the protests achieve any goal: astuteness, radicalism, pacifism and dialogue.

Yuriby’ father has not talked to her for a year. He lives in Cojedes (central Venezuela) and the political differences do not allow reconciliation with his daughter. Her mother defines herself as apolitical.

Yuriby’ boyfriend left her on February 13th when he suspected what her new purpose of life was.

She now lives with her grandmother.

Yuriby sometimes feels alone but not enough to abandon her fight. “It is the future of my generation”.

 

18. “I cook for 25 protesters. I do it alone but I am not the only one”; María García

By Roberto Mata (Read the original material in Spanish here: http://prodavinci.com/blogs/cocino-para-35-manifestantes-lo-hago-sola-pero-no-soy-la-unica-maria-garcia-por-roberto-mata/)

María Garcia, 27, Dental Technician. Picture by Roberto Mata
Maria is a dental technician but in the mornings, after very few hours of sleeping, Maria cooks lunches or dinners: pasta, rice and grains for about 35 protesters. She does this alone, but she is not the only one. There is network of people who, despite the shortage situation and the difficulties to go to one place to another in Merida city, supports the protests with time, food, medications and logistics.

During the nights, Maria takes shifts. She makes litters of coffee and waits near the barricades, at the Av. Cardenal Quintero, where she learned to take care of pellet wounds, with oxygenated water, alcohol or Gerdex and gauze. The first day she did this, on February 6th, most of the shots at protesters were at their faces. That is how she learned.

Her biological clock is inverted since then. Maria cannot stop supporting from where she thinks it is her duty: to cook and cure.

She studied to be a “Dental Technician” at the UNEFA (Armed Forces University). What she did not learned at the university, she learned it on her own, with a lot of practice. She finished her career but she has been waiting for two years for her degree.

In her career, her struggle is also against shortages. She does not find teeth to make dental prosthesis. They are no longer produced nationally, neither imported. She cannot work.

During her career she was offered to go to government rallies to get four extra points in each course in the final grades.

Maria never assisted to any government rally; she did not accept the offer. Those who marched got their degrees.

- Do you have a boyfriend, Maria?

- This is not the time to think about that

The only scape of Maria, her refuge, is her five year old boy. When she is with him, she tries not to think on everything she is risking.

When María hears the sound of Sexy and I know it, by LMFAO, she answers her phone. That is her ring tone. When she hears an explosion nearby she does not even move. She knows that it is only a mortar.

miércoles, 16 de abril de 2014

Testimonials from Venezuela: Doris and "Julio Coco"

Today you will read the story of the mother of one of the students detained at the protests and the profile of an unlikely leader-Youtube sensation that has emerged in the Venezuelan scene.

These testimonials, as the others previously published here, have been collected by Roberto Mata, an outstanding Venezuelan photographer, who has spend these past weeks days in the quiet but valuable task of interviewing people who have experienced the horrible repression occurred during protests. His work was originally published in Prodavinci. (if you speak Spanish and want thoughtful, accurate analysis and testimonial of the Venezuelan situation, this is the place to go). I have received Roberto Mata' authorization to translate and publish his work in this space.
 
To preserve the value of the testimonials, I have tried to keep the texts as close as possible to the original which means that some expressions might seem odd for English native speakers. Where words and expressions were likely to get lost in translation, I looked for English equivalents and/or included small explanations between parenthesis.
 
Translations of previous testimonials from the conflict are available here:
 


15. “And they said to him: ‘we are going to plant the evidence: say that you burnt those police patrols”; Doris Morillo

By Roberto Mata (Link to the original material at Prodavinci, in Spanish: http://prodavinci.com/blogs/y-le-dijeron-te-vamos-a-sembrar-di-que-tu-quemaste-esas-patrullas-doris-morillo-por-roberto-mata/)
 
March 10th, 2014
 
Doris Morillo de Coello, 50. Lawyer, mother of a detainee. Picture by Roberto Mata 

Doris has lost 10 Kg. in 26 days: the time that her son Marco Aurelio Coello, an 18 year- old, high school student, has been imprisoned.

Marco Aurelio was in a bathroom and handcuffed when a CICPC (Scientific Police) officer put a gun on his head and said: “We are going to kill you. We are going to plant you evidence so say that you burn those police patrols”.

Marco Aurelio’ denial made everything worse. He was wrapped up with tape and a foam rubber mat. Five officers punched him, kicked him, threaten him: “Sign here. Say that you put that on fire”. Another denial and the officers thus sprayed gasoline on Marco Aurelio.

With two cables they applied electric discharges that made him pass out, until someone showed up and said “Do not kill him here! Not here where we can be seen”. Then, as entertainment, the officers played to apply smaller electric discharges to each other.

Marco Aurelio spent 48 hours uncommunicated before he was able to see a lawyer.

Marco Aurelio first protest was on a march on February 12th. He went with a friend and the mother of his friend. At Parque Carabobo (downtown Caracas) he found himself alone and trapped between the protesters and police officers with shields.

In an act of naivety, he looked the police for protection. A tear gas bomb got to his hip. Stunned and asphyxiated, he lost the ability to recognize what was happening around him and ended up on the floor. When he recovered he recounted three things: he did not know how much time it has passed, he was being handcuffed and he has seen some CICPC corps on fire.

Doris’ son is not alone. Six more young men are with him the same condition. They had never met before and now they are in the same space. All confined there.

Doris’ house is not disorganized but it is evident that stopped being a priority days ago. Marco Aurelio’ room is intact, the bed done, no laundry to do. A small truck got to the house with a newly upholstered sofa. The once long awaited sofa now looks out of place.

Sometimes, and only for short moments, Doris loses her faith.
 
 

16. “I hope to be alive in five years”; Julio Coco by Roberto Mata #Profiles

By Roberto Mata (Link to the original material at Prodavinci, in Spanish: http://prodavinci.com/blogs/en-cinco-anos-espero-estar-vivo-julio-coco-por-roberto-mata-perfiles/)

 March 17th, 2014

Julio "Coco", 36. Technical Degree in Chemistry - Political Activist. Picture by Roberto Mata

— In five years?

— In five years I hope to be alive. We are living in a dictatorship…

Over the table, in his living room, there are $120 US Dollars in cash. Julio needs a motorbike. He knows he has been targeted, so he feels vulnerable by using public transportation.

Those dollars comes from an Amazon gift-card he sold. He wants to save up to five hundred dollars to buy a new Skyline with guarantee; that a friend has already offered him.

The motorbike is automatic. Julio does not know how to drive in manual transmission.

- I would have liked to be a Rockstar but I am a “Barrio rocker” (Barrio: shanty town)

 - How is that?

- I do not go to the good concerts, I do not buy original records and my t-shirts come from informal markets…

He assures that it is not his place to assume the responsibility of the political leadership, but someone has to stand up and he does that.

He is a drummer, wears a piercing, dances salsa, did BMX and does not have more tattoos for lack of money. He has been formally unemployed for the last three years, although he does some policy advice. His political training was in the Bandera Roja (communist oriented) political party.

At El Tigre, in the Anzoátegui state (West of Venezuela), he was “adopted” by the school rebels when he was 13 years old. They told him how to smoke, drink, punch others and to play truco (a card game) and basketball. In return, he would explain to them Physics, Chemistry and Math. Julio was a “coco” ("coconut" in Spanish, used here as slang for “brain”) to them.

Now Julio lives in a 76 Square Meters- two bedroom apartment. It was there where his wife filmed the famous forty two minutes long video that has been online since February 12th.

At a demonstration at El Rosal (East of Caracas) people took him at least seven hundred pictures. To each person who approached him, he would spend from five to seven minutes to “speak clear and give an answer face to face”.

It took him two hours to walk only one block.

“This is like a tsunami. We are now living in something like a small wave but then this wave “picks it up” and then, the tsunami comes”.

He says he suffers just like any Venezuelan, and he think it is this which connects him to the people.

He speaks directly, likes to hang around without shirtless and opens his mouth when he is amazed by something.

He opens his mouth a lot.
 

jueves, 20 de marzo de 2014

Testimonials from Venezuela (Saúl and Gustavo)

Today you will read the heartbreaking story of the  father of one of the students who was brutally killed by the National Guard during protests in Valencia about a month ago, and a man shot in the leg on similar circumstances.
 
The testimonials, as the others previously published here, have been collected by Roberto Mata, an outstanding Venezuelan photographer, who has spend these past weeks days in the quiet but valuable task of interviewing people who have experienced the horrible repression occurred during protests. His work was originally published in Prodavinci. (if you speak Spanish and want thoughtful, accurate analysis and testimonial of the Venezuelan situation, this is the place to go). I have received Roberto Mata' authorization to translate and publish his work in this space.
 
To preserve the value of the testimonialS, I have tried to keep the texts as close as possible to the original which means that some expressions might seem odd for English native speakers. Where words and expressions were likely to get lost in translation, I looked for English equivalents and/or included small explanations between parenthesis. This translation was kindly edited by Matt to make it more understandable for English speakers. Thank you so much for your help.
 
Previous testimonials:
 
 
13. “This pain will never end.”
Saúl Moreno, Geraldine’s Father

By Roberto Mata (If you know Spanish, read the original material at Prodavinci: http://prodavinci.com/blogs/tengo-miedo-al-momento-en-que-se-acaben-los-novenarios-y-la-prensa-pierda-el-interes-saul-moreno-el-padre-de-geraldine-por-roberto-mata/)
 
Saúl Moreno, 55, Real State. Father of Geraldine Moreno. Picture by Roberto Mata originally published at Prodavinci.com

 “I am afraid of the moment when all the calls end and the press loses interest. I am afraid of the moment on which I have to get up early to remember her. This pain will never end,” explains Geraldine's father, Saúl. 

On Wednesday, February 19th Geraldine was playing soccer as the lead position. The National Guard came by surprise, with their bikes and their lights off. The demonstration was two blocks away. Geraldine was in front of her building. Her neighbors were hitting pots and pans as a form of protest. 

There was a warning shot. She tried to escape but she fell. The neighbors remember two soldiers. One said to the other “Shoot her!” and but the first soldier refused. So he did it himself. The second soldier shot Geraldine in her face with his shotgun while she was lying on the street. He was only a meter away from her. 

Geraldine, entered emergency saying “Hurry, do it fast because I can feel my brain burning.” One pellet went through her right eye. Another went through her left eye. She lost them both. The damage to her brain was immense and, in the end, irreparable. 

It was Saúl's longest night. Between the barricades and an unofficial curfew, he only managed to get midway to the hospital. He had to wait until the next day to be with his daughter. 

On Saturday, February 22nd, at 12:35 pm, in front of her mother, a priest and Saúl, Geraldine was disconnected from life support. Saúl had hopes of seeing his daughter recover. “They took everything away from me. I do not have anything left,” he said afterwards.

The over hundred year house of Saúl’ mother was the place where Geraldine used to tell bad jokes, the kind of jokes that are so bad that at the end make everybody laugh. Today, all her family feels thankful to Geraldine for making them laugh so much.  
 
 


14. “They did not want people to go out. I was shot in front of my house.”
Gustavo Salazar
 
Gustavo Salazar, 42, Commerce. Picture by Roberto Mata originally published at Prodavinci.com
By Roberto Mata (If you know Spanish, read the original material at Prodavinci: http://prodavinci.com/blogs/la-intencion-de-los-colectivos-era-amedrentar-que-la-gente-no-saliera-pero-a-mi-me-dispararon-frente-a-mi-casa-gustavo-salazar-por-roberto-mata/)

“The intention of the paramilitary was to threaten and scare demonstrators, to prevent them from going out. I was shot in front of my house.”

Two men on a motorcycle tried to cross a barricade installed at El Trigal, Valencia, on Monday, February 24th. Gustavo warned them there was no way to cross, so they turned around and shot him. There were no words, only more shots in the air. 

The damage was done. 

Gustavo has been hospitalized for twelve days. He had an artery reconstructed, two bypasses, and is left with an open wound to drain the swelling.

The bullet entered through his calf and lodged in his ankle. It is still there. 

Since the demonstrations began, he and his wife had moved from Naguanagua to his family house at El Trigal. The barricades did not let them go in or out. They have not been able to go to work for three weeks. Their nine-year-old daughter has not been able to go to school either. 

Without being able to work, Gustavo dedicated his time to participate in the marches and protests. He believes in supporting the young people and in the future of his daughter. 

During the nights, the National Guard comes and shines lights in the windows of each house. It is a state of siege. 

Gustavo is scared. “[I am frightened of] the National Guard and the colectivos (government-sponsored militias). No one protects the citizens. We protect each other. I have never seen that kind solidarity between neighbors before.”

- Do you have weapons, Gustavo?

 - I have a trumpet and a few banners that talk about shortages, lack of security, violence and inflation. 

It took three days for the mother and two sisters of Gustavo to be able to come out of their house (specifically of the block) and visit him at the clinic. The barricades kept them without communication. 

“What worries me is that there is tension from both sides. But one side has the weapons and it is killing the people”.

domingo, 16 de marzo de 2014

Testimonials from Venezuela (Giussepa and Carlos)

Roberto Mata, an outstanding Venezuelan photographer, has spend these past few days in the quiet but valuable task of interviewing people who have experienced the horrible repression occurred during protests. His testimonies, always accompanied with a picture, include students detained, injured and a journalist beaten by the National Guard. The work was originally published in Prodavinci. (if you speak Spanish and want thoughtful, accurate analysis and testimonial of the Venezuelan situation, this is the place to go). I have received Roberto Mata' authorization to translate and publish his work in this space. Since this blog was originally conceived to be a testimonial one, nor a source of news; these testimonials provide a unique opportunity to read a personal account of the events; one that I am not longer able to produce since I do not live in Venezuela anymore.
To preserve the value of the testimonial, I have tried to keep the texts as close as possible to the original which means that some expressions might seem odd for English native speakers. Where words and expressions were likely to get lost in translation, I looked for English equivalents and/or included small explanations between parenthesis.
 
Keep in mind that these are normal people, like you and me, exposed to painful, extreme circumstances.
 
 
 Note: This translation was kindly edited by Matt to make it more understandable for English speakers. Thank you so much for your help.
 
 
11. “I broke down (inside). And I cannot do that”;
 
Giussepa Quinci

By Roberto Mata (If  you   know  Spanish, read the original material at Prodavinci: http://prodavinci.com/blogs/me-quebre-y-yo-no-me-puedo-quebrar-giuseppa-quinci-por-roberto-mata/ )
Giussepa Quinci. Picture by Roberto Mata originally published at Prodavinci
Since the demonstration began in Altamira, just east of Caracas, Giuseppa Quinci has worked every day till one in the morning. She carries three cellphones and a radio which she uses to communicate with her team. Her communications are coded. 60, to be exact.

Giuseppa was the first doctor to arrive to the place where Roberto Redman was lying on the floor. He had been shot in the head. Using her coded communication, she radioed the Roberto's condition to her team. 

To her friends and neighbors gathered around, nobody understood what she was saying. But it didn't need translation. Roberto's brain damage was immediately apparent by the posture of his arms. Head injuries cause the arms to flex and contract in erratic ways. It was at this moment that Guissepa started to break down.

Fourteen years ago, when she started working at the municipal health center known as Salud Chacao, chronic diseases and car accidents were the main issues she faced. Now, during these days of protests, she assists those traumatically injured by the gas, pellets and punches. She also assists those who have been psychologically scarred. 

Guiseppa sees a lot of panic attacks. The feeling of intense, oftentimes inexplicable fear has fallen on many of her neighbors and friends. They are also her patients. She practices internal medicine, but emergency care is something that draws her in. She believes that being in the streets is the true way to help; she trusts her ability to act quickly. She is trained for it and over a two week span in February, her team saw 126 patients. “My job is to simply be there for whoever needs it, without judgement. To render assistance I must let go of sympathies, affinities, and fears”.
 

12. “I close my eyes and I see the bomb perfectly as it comes directly at me”; Carlos Tejeda
 
Carlos Tejeda, 21, Civil Engineering student at the Universidad Metropolitana (Caracas). Picture by Roberto Mata originally published in Prodavinci

“I close my eyes and I can see the bomb perfectly as it comes directly at me. The bomb is like a tuna can that fumes”

The National Guard made a surprise attack on students who were putting out sticks and debris to build a barricade this February in Altamira. Squatted in the ramp of the Britanica Tower, the National Guardsmen waited until they were only about ten meters away from the students so they could shoot tear gas bombs. 

Disoriented and with a ringing in his ear, Carlos had been struck. He did not know where he had been shot. He checked his teeth, checked his face, he could not see.

Then he understood everything. “If I am going to lose my eye, I will lose it”, he thought. 

In the ambulance he took a call from his mother: “Blessings, mama, I am perfect. I will be home in a little while”. He was blind as he carried on his conversation. Carlos decided not to worry his mother. 

Before entering surgery, he signed a document acknowledging the scope of the surgery. He may wake up without an eye. Somehow he managed to keep it, though it is still so swollen that doctors can neither look into it nor can he see out of it. It is just there. 

Weeks later and his prognosis is poor. It is very unlikely that he will recover his full vision. The eye is practically dead. Upon learning this, he cried for the first time. If he could talk with the guard who shot him, he would ask him if this is a war against the students or if he believes that the students have a war against them. He would ask him how he feels about what is happening in Venezuela.

“I have not seen my dogs. I have not seen the video of me being shot. I haven't seen the TV, my phone, nor the sun or the sky. I must keep my eyes closed all the time”. 

Ever since he came out of the hospital, he has been staying with his dad, sleeping with him in the same bed. 

Carlos explains what worries him the most: “I am more scared about not being able to live in Venezuela, than not being able to see it.”