Fierce

Their Daughters Were Mercilessly Ripped From Them And Now These Women Are Seeking To Solve These Murder Mysteries

In Venezuela, a group of women has taken it upon themselves to seek justice for thousands of people who have been murdered by government forces, as many suspect to be the case.

These women, many of whom have lost family members, are on a mission to uncover the truth about the killers and expose the truth behind hundreds of unsolved murders.

Nobody knows exactly who these killers are, but almost everybody shares the same suspicions.

Credit: @CaraotaDigital / Twitter

Translation: #Faes stopped shopkeeper in El Valle and left him dead at Pérez Carreño

Most activists suspect President Maduro has been using Special Action Force (FAES), a masked paramilitary force, as a way to silence protests across the country’s barrios. Sometimes the murderers wear balaclavas, sometimes masks, sometimes they show their faces. Whenever these forces arrive, the people flee.

In a recent interview with CNN, one woman describes the night these men came for her husband. According to her, the men grabbed her husband from a poor neighborhood in Caracas, while he was visiting her and their three children.

“It was horrible, they had no compassion for our little girl, nothing. They just took him as they struck him. They put him in the van and they hit him, and they hit him, and they hit him,” she goes onto say.

Yarleidys never saw her husband again.

These barbaric methods of capture and murder have left people feeling angry and afraid.

Credit: @NadeenReham / Twitter

Translation: Corrupt wretched assassins

Venezuela has been racked by violence and it’s estimated that more than 8,000 people have been killed in extrajudicial killings between 2015 and 2017.

One woman, Aracelis Sanchez, 51, lost her son when he was shot just outside their home in 2013. She believes the men who executed him were members of the same forces.

Yet so far, no one has been prosecuted for the killing.

However, there is strength in numbers.

Credit: @GomezMarcos / Twitter

After her son’s murder, Sanchez went to a government office to report it. In the office, she met another woman whose son had also been killed. From that moment, a women-led movement was born.

Today, a group of more than 100 mothers and wives have joined her and started a group called Orfavideh, the Organization of Relatives of Victims of Human Rights Violation.

Although speaking out in a country where violence is rampant, especially violence against women, Sanchez leads the group in their activism. Not only are they working to solve countless unsolved murders but they also help each other through the grieving process. They also help each other in their lawsuits against the state. Unfortunately, they have yet to win any convictions but they are determined to keep trying.

Oftentimes, they speak out very publicly.

Credit: @amnistia / Twitter

They have helped bring greater attention to the issues and since their involvement, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) assigned a five-person team in Venezuela to investigate the killings.

This team also linked the FAES to more than 200 killings.

“I think that this is terrorism, that (the government) inflicts on the people of the barrios so that the people do not come out and protest,” says Carmen Elena Arroyo, an Orfavideh member, told CNN.

In an interview with CNN, she says her son Cristian wasn’t particularly political. “Everyone knew him, and everyone liked him.”

Cristian was a successful barber in Petare and was returning from celebrating his 25th birthday when he ran into FAES members. What happened next is unclear. But he ended up dead.

“Soon the barrios won’t have any young men left,” she says.

READ: 20 Iconic Pictures From Venezuelan History

One Day After A Texas Sheriff Called Undocumented Immigrants ‘Drunks,’ His Son Is Arrested For Public Intoxication

Things That Matter

One Day After A Texas Sheriff Called Undocumented Immigrants ‘Drunks,’ His Son Is Arrested For Public Intoxication

A Texas sheriff is eating his words after his bigotted comments came back to bite him in the worst way.

A day after Tarrant County Sheriff Bill Waybourn referred to undocumented immigrants as “drunks” who would “run over” children, his own son was reportedly arrested on charges of public intoxication. It has also been revealed that his son Sergei Waybourn has been arrested before. In 2018 he was charged with assault and in recent years he was arrested for trespassing and theft.

Sheriff Waybourn’s comments sparked controversy when he spoke against undocumented immigrants at a press conference in Washington.

Last Thursday, the sheriff spoke at the conference alongside Immigration and Customs Enforcement Director Matthew Albence. Speaking in response to a ruling by a federal California judge made last month that imposed restrictions on ICE’s use of “detainers,” Waybourn underlined the consequences of releasing illegal immigrants with DWI and other crimes.

U.S. District Judge André Birotte Jr.’s decision barred ICE from using online database searches to find and detain people based. Recently, the ACLU stated that since 2008, 2 million US citizens have been illegally detained because of such searches.

Waybourn pointed to his charge of inmates to give examples of high rates of repeat offenders. “If we have to turn them loose or they get released, they’re coming back to your neighborhood and my neighborhood,” Waybourn said according to New York Post. “These drunks will run over your children, and they will run over my children.”

After his comments, the national president of the League of United Latin American Citizens called for Waybourn’s resignation.

According to Dallas Morning News, Domingo Garcia said Waybourn ought to “resign and apologize for his bigoted comments immediately.”

In response, Waybourne said his comments had been taken out of contexts and his office released a statement saying that “Sheriff Waybourn was not referring to all legal or illegal immigrants when making his comments about DWI/DWI repeat offenders. He was speaking toward the charges of DWI and DWI repeat offender in the context of illegal immigration.”

In response to the news of his son’s arrest, the sheriff said he is “deeply saddened by Sergei’s choices.”

According to WFAA, he said that “It has been many years since he disassociated from our family. We, along with many family members have made efforts over the years to help him – all to no avail. It is always sad when drugs take control of a person’s life. His choices and actions have lead to this situation.”

Senior Border Patrol Officer Gets To Retire After Allegedly Kidnapping And Sexually Assaulting Another Agent

Things That Matter

Senior Border Patrol Officer Gets To Retire After Allegedly Kidnapping And Sexually Assaulting Another Agent

customsborder / Instagram

On July 10, former senior Border Patrol agent Gus Zamora, 51, was arrested in Tuscon for sexually assaulting a junior agent. Zamora’s wife is Gloria Chavez, one of the agency’s highest-ranked female officers. Three weeks after he was indicted by a Pima County grand jury, the agency took the only action it has thus far: it allowed him to retire from the agency three weeks after being arrested. Customs and Border Protection defended its actions by telling The New York Times, it “holds its employees accountable and expects the entire workforce to adhere to the agency’s standards of conduct.” Zamora attended a pretrial hearing at the Arizona Superior Court in Tucson. He pleaded not guilty.

The victim, identified as R.W. in court documents, told police that she looked up to Zamora as a mentor, given their ten-year age difference and his seniority. Over the years, R.W. had ignored some of his advances, asserting her desire to remain friends. The night of the assault, they met up for dinner and Zamora bought her so many tequila shots, video surveillance shows her falling to her knees as Zamora brought her back to his hotel room where he would later sexually assault her.

Before their dinner, Zamora texted her to ask if she “dressed up” for him, according to The New York Times.

Credit: customsborder / Instagram

According to The New York Times, Zamora bought them five rounds of tequila shots, and at one point, she moved away from him after he placed his hand on her left thigh. The Daily Mail reports that Zamora told investigators that he offered R.W. a ride home, to which she declined, saying she didn’t want to be alone. Zamora alleges that she initiated the sex. However, hotel surveillance footage shows Zamora holding R.W. up. At one point, she fell to her knees, according to police documents obtained by The New York Times. 

Those police documents detail how R.W. said she blacked out, only waking up a few times to find herself on the bed. She told police she didn’t feel like she had the capacity to give consent. The rape kit results have not been made public. 

A few days later, R.W. reported the crime to the police, who then recorded her follow-up call to Zamora.

Credit: customsborder / Instagram

According to The New York Times, the detective on the case recorded a phone call during which R.W. informed Zamora that the sex was non-consensual. The detective wrote, “he told her to not go there and that it wasn’t like that,” that sex “was never on his mind. They had too many shots,” The New York Times reports. Effectively, Zamora tried to call him out and he just deflected the blame onto both of them. 

When Zamora was eventually called in for an interview, a detective told Zamora that R.W. was in no state to offer consent, to which he “said that he knows, but he wasn’t in a state to consent either,” according to The New York Times

Women make up 5 percent of Border Patrol agents.

Credit: customsborder / Instagram

The female agents who do make up the force have voiced their outrage at the agency’s inaction around sexual assault accusations. “There’s not a single woman in the Border Patrol who has either not been sexually assaulted, outright raped or at the very least sexually harassed,” former Border Patrol agent Jenn Budd told The New York Times. Budd’s since become an immigrant rights activist, and urges women to reconsider joining the Border Patrol.

Two days before Zamora allegedly assaulted R.W., Tucson police arrested Border Patrol agent Steven Charles Holmes, 33, for sexually assaulting three women over seven years. 

The agency is already under immense criticism for its high rate of arrest charges brought against Border Patrol agents when compared to other law enforcement agencies.

Credit: @CBP / Twitter

In July 2019, Quartz reported that Border Patrol agents are arrested approximately five times as often as other law enforcement groups. With a budget of over $15 billion and over 60,000 employees, it’s the largest law enforcement agency in the United States. Many critics say the agency is not held to account for its unconstitutional means of coercing migrants to sign removal forms written in English, a language they often cannot understand. 

A Customs Border Patrol spokesperson told El Paso Times that its Office of Professional Responsibility “will review all the facts uncovered to ensure all allegations of misconduct … are thoroughly investigated for appropriate action by the agency.”

READ: US Border Patrol Sent This Man And His Child Back To Mexico And Hours Later They Were Thrown Into Trucks And Abducted