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Chapter 11

Following are select pictures from the photo gallery.


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Rafael Fuenmayor and his film crew were near Malvina, filming the crowd around the injured journalist, when they saw her collapse.

Rafael was a reporter for CMT, the smallest of the private TV stations in Caracas.  He was a big guy, built like a linebacker, with short black hair that he kept slicked back. He wore wire-framed glasses and a suit when he worked, and these days, due to the increase in violence toward journalists, he had a Kevlar vest on under his jacket. He and his crew (a cameraman and one technician) had been working since five thirty that morning covering the march, running all over the city trying to keep up with everything that was happening. They had beaten the march to the Silence, arriving around one o’clock. By then, there were already a hundred or so presidential supporters around the Llaguno Overpass and another group of several hundred more up 8th Avenue.

Then the marchers began to arrive, pouring out around the towers of the Silence.  It seemed to Rafael that in the time it took to close his eyes and open them again the place was full of people.  He had never seen so many people together before.  At that moment he realized that when they had filmed the march that morning, he had only seen a small piece of it.  He had never imagined that there would be so many people.  And he didn’t like it, not because he was pro-Chávez, but because he knew that something very bad was going to happen, something ugly.  Because all these people had decided to go to Miraflores regardless of what might happen to them.

 Unlike most of the people in the march, Rafael knew that shots had been fired.  A short time earlier he had filmed the very first gunshot victim on Baralt Avenue, an undercover detective for the DISIP, the secret police, who was shot in the head. The man’s I.D. had said he was part of the president’s escort, Tony Velasquez—Caravana Presidencial.  Velasquez was dressed up like a journalist and had been shot further up the street, closer to the Llaguno overpass.

When Rafael saw the photographer collapse, followed a moment later by the tall women in the Primero Jusiticia shirt, he knew it was possible they had been shot, too.  The wounded photographer particularly worried him because he was clearly a reporter: he had a camera with a telephoto lens and a vest, a chaleco—the kind of vest with lots of pockets that is very popular with reporters. He recalled that the undercover DISIP officer also had on a similar chaleco and looked like a reporter, plus, he had seen another photographer with a big camera injured earlier.  It looked to him like journalists were being singled out as targets.

A group of people had picked up the wounded photographer and were carrying him down University Street. In the confusion, Fuenmayor did not get close enough to see the man’s face.  It wasn’t until much later that he learned that it was a friend of his, Jorge Tortosa, a 48-year-old photographer for the left-leaning newspaper 2001.

Rafael narrated for his cameraman while other men hurry Tortosa  away.  Then Rafael turned back to Malvina.  Her friends had propped her against the wall of the Metro station and a man was pressing a handkerchief against her face. Her eyes were closed and Rafael wondered if she was dead.

“This woman from Primero Justicia appears to have been injured in the face here at Pedrera corner on Baralt Avenue,” he narrated.  He glanced from the camera down at Malvina.  Suddenly Malvina’s eyes opened wide with fright.  Rafael stopped mid-sentence, clearly startled. She looked as if she had just woken up from a nightmare.


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©2005 by Brian Nelson