By Melquiades Ávila.
A group of Warao women reported being attacked with physical and verbal abuse as well as their homes were invaded by National Guard troops who claimed to be investigating a robbery.
Warao and other major native Venezuelan groups are offered additional protection by the organic law of indigenous peoples and communities. Still, abuse is common and reported nationwide, from the Yukpa in Zulia state near Colombia to the Pemon community on the border with Brazil.
The incident occurred on May 11, in the sector of Los Güires, an indigenous community located in Tucupita, Delta Amacuro state Romelia Rojas, one of the victims, said in a statement to the Tanae Tanae native rights NGO website, that she was beaten by the police.
Rojas said that the military entered her house violently and threatened to cut her hair, because “the government wants information about a robbery in Macareo”, she said about a crime that took place in Pueblo Blanco, a sector close to her home. The woman believes that this is the reason why the troops carried out the raids in the nearby areas.
In the complaint, the women’s group claims that they were forced to give details with threats, even claiming that the National Guard fired their weapons right next to them to force them to give information about the robbery they claim not to know.
A Warao woman, who identified herself as Carolina, said that a Guard fired his weapon right next to her ear, in an open threat to get her to confess; actions they consider as abuses of authority that violate the integrity of the families.
The Warao women point to the head of the local Supply and Production Committee (Clap) of the sector of accusing the indigenous population of being responsible for the robbery that occurred in the Macareo sector, an area close to the community.
The Clap box is a scheme to distribute heavily subsidized foodstuffs which the local opposition considers as social extortion, and that has been denounced and sanctioned as corrupt by the U.S.
The affected said that the complaint was filed with the Public Prosecutor’s Office of Delta Amacuro State. Besides, they decided to make public these actions that they consider as a violation of the rights of indigenous peoples.