“I Heard Five Shots” with Rosa Orozco

Rosa Orozco, mother of student Geraldine Moreno killed by the Venezuelan National Guard while protesting against the government in February 2014, addresses the 12th Annual Geneva Summit for Human Rights and Democracysee quotes below, followed by the full prepared remarks.

On her daughter being shot and killed by Venezuelan security forces:

“Ten minutes after my daughter went outside, I heard five shots. My daughter lying in a pool of blood, screaming because of the pain in her face and her legs.”

“I thought that my daughter only had pellets on her face because she was still talking to me. That was the last time I talked to her.”

“On February 19, the National Guard arrived, shooting at the neighbors who were only holding pans and flags. My daughter Geraldine ran up to the guard. But he shot her. Then another guard shot her in the face, and then again from 10 centimeters away.”

“The guard embedded a cartridge in my daughter’s right eye and she lost 90% of the brain mass, being torn apart by pellets.”

On lack of justice:

“This is my double tragedy: losing a daughter and having to put up with the absence of justice.”

“I demand no more extrajudicial executions in my country, no more impunity, justice for my case and for all.”

On 2019 protests:

“During the 2019 protests, the FAES, an armed group attached to the Bolivarian National Police, identified the Protesters, went to their homes and murdered them in front of relatives and friends.”

“I do not lie when I tell you that even the pets of political prisoners are imprisoned, deprived of food and tortured to death as coercive measures against detainees.”

On political prisoners:

“I cannot fail to mention the most damaging torture and inhuman treatment of political prisoners, who have lost their eyes, chronically ill or died as Councilor Fernando Alván and Captain Acosta Arévalo.”

Full Remarks in Spanish. See below for English

Gracias por la oportunidad que le dan a esta Madre Venezolana; es una experiencia amarga y satisfactoria a la vez, amarga porque me trae aquí el drama de haber perdido a un hijo, y satisfactoria porque puedo relatar a uds la tragedia contra los ddhh que afrontamos en Venezuela.

Hoy, gracias a organizaciones y líderes mundiales, son escuchadas acá las víctimas ignoradas en Venezuela debido a la ausencia de Estado de derecho.

Hoy hablo en nombre de más de 300 víctimas asesinadas desde 2014 a la fecha, producto de un patrón de ataque sistemático y generalizado contra quienes claman justicia, libertad y democracia.

Soy Rosa Orozco, madre de Geraldin Moreno, estudiante de Citotecnología asesinada a los 23 años, deportista de alto rendimiento y apasionada del futbol. Mi tesoro y compañera a todas las concentraciones pacíficas donde asistimos ejerciendo nuestro derecho humano y fundamental.

El 19 de febrero de 2014 me arrebataron mi Corazón y mi alma. Ese día le dije que no saldríamos, porque desde el 12 de febrero nos manteníamos rechazando la crisis que hoy se traduce en una emergencia humanitaria de hambre, represión, muerte y más de 5 millones de migrantes.

Aquel día ella jugaba en la cancha de futbol de mi urbanización y como a las 8:05 pm me dice que salgamos al portón del edificio con los vecinos que manifestaban. Ella salió primero y a los 10 min escuché 5 detonaciones, al acudir vi a mi hija tirada en un charco de sangre, gritando a causa del dolor en la cara y en las piernas.

Yo pensaba que mi hija solo tenía perdigones en el rostro porque aún me hablaba, le dije “te van a llevar a terapia intensiva porque estas muy alterada … Dios te bendiga todo va salir bien”, esa  fue la última vez que hablé con ella.

Luchó por su vida 3 días, los médicos me pedían fe, pero eso no fue suficiente, a causa de complicaciones murió el 22 de febrero a las 12:35 am.

Aquel 19 de febrero el destacamento 24 de la Guardia Nacional entró a la urbanización donde vivo en Naguanagua estado Carabobo.

13 motorizados, comandados por el Teniente Coronel Frank Osuna, llegaron  disparando a los vecinos que solo tenían cacerolas, pitos y banderas. Geraldin corrió y el guardia Francisco Caridad Barroso le dispara al cuerpo, ella cae, luego otro guardia ALVIN BONILLA le dispara al rostro, no conforme se baja de la moto y dispara nuevamente a 10 centímetros de su cara.

De nada sirvieron las súplicas de clemencia. El guardia le incrustó un cartucho en el ojo derecho a mi hija y perdió 90% de la masa cerebral, siendo despedazada por los perdigones.

Es atroz el comportamiento de la Guardia Nacional de Venezuela, si vieran el rostro de mi hija entenderían.

En 5 días se cumplirán 6 años de la ejecución extrajudicial de Geraldin y solo han sido juzgados 2 militares de 24 participantes. Esta es mi doble tragedia: perder una hija y soportar la ausencia de justicia.

He denunciado incansablemente la complicidad de todos los guardias y  la línea de mando, hubo una orden y lo denunciaré hasta que no quede sangre en mi cuerpo.

Mi hija no volverá y es la realidad que enfrento cada mañana, pero exijo no más ejecuciones extrajudiciales en mi país, no más impunidad, justicia para mi caso y el de todos. Ante la impunidad existente, ruego justicia de la comunidad internacional.

Denuncio que son 324 venezolanos asesinados -desde 2014 – por disentir del gobierno ilegítimo de Nicolás Maduro, por exigir una transición política o simplemente por salir a las calles a protestar por servicios básicos, como el caso de Rufo Chacón, cegado por protestar junto a su madre por falta de gas.

Durante las protestas de 2019, el FAES, un grupo armado adscrito a la Policía Nacional Bolivariana, identificaba a los protestantes, luego incursionaba a sus residencias y los ajusticiaba frente a familiares y vecinos. Organizaciones de ddhh dentro y fuera de Venezuela lo acusan de más de 18 mil asesinatos por diversos motivos, incluso la Alta Comisionada para los DDHH de la ONU, recomendó la disolución de ese grupo que más parece de exterminio, sin embargo, Nicolás Maduro y quienes acompañan su régimen, lo alienta y apoya permanentemente en cadena nacional de radio y televisión.

No puedo dejar de mencionar las más dantescas torturas y tratos inhumanos a los presos políticos, quienes han perdido sus ojos, enfermado crónicamente o fallecido como el Concejal Fernando Alván y el Capitán Acosta Arévalo. Sus familias sufren vejaciones, persecución, amenazas y el robo de alimentos y medicamentos que ingresan a las cárceles. NO miento cuando les digo que hasta las mascotas de los presos políticos son encarceladas, privadas de alimentación y torturadas hasta la muerte como medidas de coacción contra los detenidos, todo está documentado, pero habrán visto que hasta a la Comisión Interamericana de Derechos Humanos le niegan el ingreso a mi país para observar esta situación.

Sin embargo, las víctimas seguiremos denunciando, exigiendo verdad, justicia, reparación integral y garantías de no repetición.

Para ello creamos Justicia, Encuentro y Perdón, una organización de ddhh que en Venezuela documenta y denuncia estos casos ante instancias de justicia nacionales e internacionales, exponiéndolos permanentemente para sensibilizar a la sociedad y generar memoria histórica. Esa es ahora mi razón de vida ahora, justicia, para que ninguna otra madre sufra lo que sufro yo. Soy consciente y agradecida del apoyo que el mundo democrático y comprometido con los ddhh ha puesto en mi país, sin embargo, hay mucho por hacer, la escogencia de Venezuela, representada por el régimen inconstitucional y opresor de Nicolás Maduro, para integrar el Consejo de DDHH de la ONU, pese a la certificación de la gravísima crisis de ddhh en mi país, por parte de la propia Oficina del Alto Comisionado para los ddhh de ese organismo, nos da muestra de ello. Concluyo en consecuencia, exhortando a todos los gobiernos del mundo, a quienes trabajan en los organismos que integran los diferentes sistemas de protección de ddhh a nivel mundial, que no esperen que sea demasiado tarde, no se trata de contar víctimas y hacer relatos bajo la promesa de nunca más, se trata de evitarlo. Es una VÍCTIMA quien se los implora.

Full Remarks in English

Thank you for the opportunity you give this Venezuelan mother. It is a bitter and satisfying experience at the same time — bitter because the drama of having lost a daughter brings me here, and satisfying because I can testify on the human rights tragedy that we face in Venezuela.

Today, thanks to organizations and world leaders, the victims ignored in Venezuela due to the absence of the rule of law are heard here.

Today I speak on behalf of more than 300 murdered victims as of 2014, the product of a pattern of a systematic and widespread attack against those who cry out for justice, freedom and democracy.

I am Rosa Orozco, mother of Geraldin Moreno, a computer science student murdered at the age of 23, a high-performance athlete and a passionate soccer fan; my treasured companion to all peaceful demonstrations which we would attend exercising our fundamental human rights.

On 19 February 2014, my heart and soul were taken from me. That day I told my daughter that we would not go to the demonstrations, because since 12 February we had been repressed by the crisis that today has transformed into a humanitarian emergency of hunger, suppression, death and more than 5 million migrants.

That day she was playing on the soccer field in our neighborhood and at about 8:05 pm she suggested that we go out to the gate of the building with our neighbors who were protesting. She went out first and after 10 minutes I heard 5 shots. When I went out myself, I saw my daughter lying in a pool of blood, screaming due to the pain in her face and legs.

I thought that my daughter only had pellets on her face because she was still talking to me. I told her “they are going to take you to intensive care, you are hurt… God bless you, everything will be fine.” That was the last time I talked to her.

She fought for her life for three days, the doctors asked that I have faith, but that was not enough. Due to complications, she died on 22 February at 12:35 am.

On February 19th, the 24th Detachment of the National Guard entered the neighborhood where I live in Naguanagua, State of Carabobo.

Thirteen motorized troops, commanded by Lieutenant Colonel Frank Osuna, arrived shooting at the neighbors who were only carrying pans, whistles and flags. Geraldin ran and the guard Francisco Caridad Barroso shot her in the body. She fell. Then another guard, Alvin Bonilla, shot her in the face and, without even getting off the motorcycle, shot again 10 centimeters from her face.

The pleas for mercy were useless. The guard planted a bullet in my daughter’s right eye and she lost 90% of her brain mass, being torn to pieces by the pellets.

The violent act of the Venezuelan National Guard is atrocious. If only you saw my daughter’s face you would understand.

In five days it will be six years since Geraldin’s execution and only two soldiers out of the 24 associated with the incident have been tried. This is my double tragedy: losing a daughter and enduring the absence of justice.

I have tirelessly denounced the complicity of all guards and the chain of command. It is clear that there was an order and I will speak out until there is no blood left in my body.

My daughter will not return and it is the reality that I face every morning, but I demand no more executions in my country, no more impunity, justice for my case and that of everyone. Given the existing impunity, I beg for justice from the international community.

I denounce that there are 324 Venezuelans murdered since 2014 for dissenting from the illegitimate government of Nicolás Maduro, for demanding a political transition, or simply for taking to the streets to protest for basic rights and services. Such is the case of Rufo Chacón, blinded for protesting alongside his mother about the lack of gas.

During the 2019 protests, the FAES (Fuerzas de Acciones Especiales de la Policía Nacional Bolivariana), an armed group attached to the Bolivarian National Police, identified protesters, then raided their residences and executed them in front of relatives and neighbors. Human rights organizations inside and outside Venezuela accuse the government of more than 18,000 murders for various reasons, including the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights who recommended the dissolution of that group that mostly appears to be a group of assassins. However, Nicolás Maduro and his supporters encourage that group of assassins and always support them on national radio and television networks.

I cannot fail to mention the most daunting torture and inhuman treatment of political prisoners, who have lost their eyes, become chronically ill or have died, such as Councilman Fernando Alván and Captain Acosta Arévalo. Their families suffer humiliation, persecution, threats and the theft of food and medicine that enter the prisons. I am not lying when I tell you that even the pets of political prisoners are imprisoned, deprived of food and tortured to death as coercive measures against detainees. Everything is documented, but as you might have noticed, even the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights is reluctant to enter my country in order to observe this situation.

However, the victims will keep on denouncing the regime, demanding truth, justice, comprehensive reparation and guarantees of non-repetition.

For this, we created “Justicia, Encuentro y Perdón,” a human rights organization that in Venezuela documents and denounces these cases before national and international justice bodies, exposing them to raise awareness within the society and generate historical memory. That is now my raison d’être, and it is justice. Justice so that no other mother will have to suffer what I suffered. I am aware of and grateful for the support that the democratic world committed to human rights has given my country. However, there is much to be done, as Venezuela is represented by the unconstitutional and oppressive regime of Nicolás Maduro. The admission to the UN Human Rights Council, despite the reality of the very serious human rights crisis in my country, by way of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights of that same body, shows us this. I, therefore, conclude by urging all governments of the world, whose work in the several organizations that make up the different human rights protection systems worldwide, not to wait until it is too late. It is not about counting victims and making stories under the promise of “never again.” It is about avoiding that. It is a victim who implores action.

Speakers and Participants

Rosa Orozco

Mother of student protester murdered by the Venezuelan National Guard

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