In the last four months, almost 120 anti-government demonstrators in tyranny-laden Venezuela have been killed and close to 1,000 more are in prison. And things aren’t getting any better.
Francisco Marquez knows all about the horrific environment in Venezuela. He’s an ex-political prisoner and Executive Director of Vision Democratica, an organization that exists to promote democracy.
After corrupt leader Hugo Chavez died in 2013, he handpicked a socialist successor, Nicolas Maduro. Marquez was still an activist the time and was tasked with organizing a petition drive for a referendum on Maduro. With enough signatures, they could legally revoke the mandate of his institution.
On his way to complete his task, Marquez was stopped at a routine checkpoint, but when guards searched his bag, they weren’t happy with what they found. He was immediately jailed and interrogated, threatened by torture if he failed to comply.
Marquez never made it to his destination. He was left in prison for four months, being moved from prison to prison, cell to cell. In a video report from the Daily Signal, Marquez recounts the torture of political prisoners in Venezuela and what it was like to be one of them. It inspired him to help others, people like current political prisoner, Willie Arteaga.
Vice President Mike Pence is vowing to end the “tragedy of tyranny” in Venezuela. This young violinist inspired Venezuelans to stand for freedom. Now he’s rotting in prison.
Posted by The Daily Signal on Monday, August 14, 2017
Violinist Arteaga protested regularly against Maduro using music as a way to unite and motivate others.
“When I decided to play at protests, it was because I knew that music carries a message of peace on the streets,” said Arteaga. “And when I was playing there, the boys — the protestors — would get encouraged to keep fighting.”
Arteaga said he plays not only for the protestors, but for the guards as well. His music is for everyone.
“My music is for uniting Venezuela and uniting the world, in reality,” he said an interview, while visiting Washington, D.C.
Weeks later, after returning to Venezuela, Arteaga was shot by the national guard and imprisoned, simply for peacefully protesting his government in the streets — and remains there indefinitely.
In a video taken from a hospital bed, holding his violin, Arteaga said he will never stop fighting.
Marquez is now speaking out for Arteaga and wants people to know that democracy is not just about Venezuela, but a concern for the entire world, calling it a “universal right.”
“For people to choose who they are governed by, for people to have their basic human rights, their basic necessities met, these are things that we are fighting for,” said Marquez.