The lawmaker from the Bolivar state, Americo De Grazia, posted a video in which a seemingly armed group from the gold mines of El Callao asked for a peace commission to the government of Nicolas Maduro to dialogue about the violent acts of the last few weeks.
The gang asked for peace, saying, “we do not want more deaths.” But, they boasted their fire-power and promised to fight to the regime all over Venezuela, in a similar fashion as Wilexis gangs have done in Caracas if Maduro does not allow them a truce.
The organization seemed to be composed of 11, heavily armed and hooded persons. They used code, calling themselves Base El Peru. In the Chavista parlance, a base is a pro-Maduro organization.
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The spokespersons in the De Grazia video seem to be proposing a truce in the gold state, the place of frequent massacres, with gangs shoot it out for control of the mines.
“Today, September 12, 2020, we are going directly to the national government to reconcile our peace with the well-being of the people of El Callao. We call for a dialogue because we are in a senseless war to defend our human rights, to defend our work, to defend our people,” one of th members said, reading from a piece of paper, sitting at a plastic table with the Venezuelan flag behind.
The armed group asked for peace for the inhabitants of El Callao and the artisanal miners, which work in the gold mines in this town, located in the south of the state of Bolivar since, in recent weeks, there have been confrontations between gangs and law.
Confrontations have been going on for seven years, and the fighting can continue, if the regime so desires, the spokesman stated.
“We can continue the war, because we do not have one year, nor two years in this, this fight we have here is more than seven years old. You cannot even imagine the capacity we have to continue with a war in any part of Venezuela, we have allies in all the states of the national territory. But it is enough. We do not want more deaths. We speak for our population, tired of so many atrocities by the police and military forces that are in the population of El Callao,” they manifested.
The group also denounced that in that town, the police carry out extrajudicial executions, forced disappearances, kidnappings, and false arrests, in addition to people detained just for working in the mines. “We want and are willing to dialogue for the people. We don’t want war anymore.”
Who controls El Callao?
Those who appear armed and with their faces covered in the video define themselves as members of Base El Peru. In this area, two men, alias Toto and Zacarias, operate and command gangs known to law enforcement.
Peru is an extensive sector of El Callao, located on the perimeter of the Orinoco Mining Arc. It is an area where thousands of artisanal miners work say that they must pay a fee from their earnings to the armed group to have security inside the large pits where they work, extracting the precious metal.
In less than a month, 11 men have died in that area: ten members of the mentioned gang and one military man. In the violent clashes, the security forces have seized rifles, rocket launchers, and grenades, weapons of exclusive use of the Armed Forces, but which were in the hands of civilians.
Those elements, revealed in official reports, are evidence of the type of weaponry the gangs in the gold state have. Although intense police and military operations in mining areas are frequent, the ringleaders are still free.