Protest Against the Maduro Government in Caracas

At least a dozen street protests that began last night in Caracas have been extended until dawn on Tuesday, especially in areas considered bastions of the ruling, in which the protesters call for the end of the Government of Nicolas Maduro.

The Venezuelan Observatory of Social Conflict (OVCS) estimated the number of demonstrations registered near midnight in the capital of the country at 30, most of them in neighborhoods in the municipality of Libertador, a territory governed by the ruling party and where all the seats of the powers are located. public.

Nearly a dozen of these protests have continued in the early hours of Tuesday and citizens have reported this through social networks, which circulate numerous photographs and videos that show cuts of roads as well as people in the streets shouting anti-government slogans.

Although no authority has ruled on the matter, there are many images that show the forces of order trying to dissuade the demonstrations, in some cases firing tear gas in residential areas.

The Venezuelan Program of Education-Action in Human Rights (Provea) reported, through Twitter, the use of tanks of the Bolivarian National Police (PNB) in the parish of El Valle “to try to stifle” a protest.

Two Caracas residents who live in different sectors and who preferred to remain anonymous told Efe that the shooting and detonations continued during the early morning, which is why many residents have decided to take shelter in their homes, some of which have ended up with broken glass.

In addition, dozens of protesters have erected barricades , which keep lit with debris and around which they have gathered to express their rejection of President Maduro, whom the opposition and many countries consider illegitimate.

The skirmishes have been accompanied by the action of hundreds of neighbors who beat pots from their homes and in several areas of Caracas , a form of popular protest in Venezuela to make claims to governments.

These demonstrations occur a day before the day to which he has called anti-Chavez for tomorrow in rejection of the legitimacy of the new presidential mandate that Maduro swore before the Supreme Court almost two weeks ago and that will keep him in office at least until 2025 .

The Chavez leader won with a wide margin the presidential elections of last May, but the opposition branded them as fraudulent and boycotted them. For this reason, the Organization of American States (OAS) and the European Union (EU) do not recognize the legitimacy of their second term.

Spanish Citizen Found Guilty of Triple Murder in Florida

When the Florida Superior Court annulled his death sentence two years ago, considering that the evidence that condemned Pablo was “scanty and weak”, the prosecution again requested the lethal injection. The defense began its fight to make Ibar the 29th prisoner who would go free after passing through the death row in Florida. A victory would have dealt a blow to a controversial punishment, in force in 30 States of the country, which in Florida is imposed with a particular frequency. It has not been.

The defendant has listened to the verdict with his usual mettle. Just a movement of denial with his head, before he was handcuffed again, covered by the jacket of his blue suit, to return him to his misery.

Today’s decision is not firm. This may be just a new point and followed in an endless judicial battle. But the forces are scarce. “I’m not here at all,” said Cándido Ibar, Pablo’s father and brother of ill-fated boxing champion José Manuel Urtain, a Gipuzkoa ballplayer who came to make the Americas in the pediments and ended up giving 24 years of his life to demonstrate the innocence of your child.

Candid, 74 years old, noble Basque and not given to show his feelings, was dejected. Knowing that today there could be a verdict, he had woken up shortly before four in the morning and could not get back to sleep. When he has heard the first “guilty”, he has grabbed his forehead with his hand. With his eyes closed, he has continued to listen to Judge Bailey read the verdict of the jury, which found his son guilty of each of the six counts, including three first-degree murders. “You can not understand, this I did not expect,” said Cándido on the way out. “That they did not reach a unanimous verdict and the trial declared null, yes. But this…”.

Although the jury does not argue its verdict, everything indicates that the DNA has been key in its decision. The first genetic analysis of the shirt with which one of the murderers covered his face in the surveillance video that recorded the crime, and then removed to dry the sweat, did not throw matches with Ibar’s DNA. Yes there were abundant traces of an unknown subject.

In the 1997 joint trial of Ibar with the other defendant, Seth Peñalver (he himself, acquitted to the third in 2012), the State presented DNA evidence from the same shirt, which excluded Ibar. In the trial against Ibar in 2000, in which he was sentenced to death, the most advanced analysis of additional samples taken from the same shirt, the State’s own experts testified, again excluding Ibar.

On that occasion, the DNA was discarded, Ibar was basically condemned by the video, in which the jury considered that the one who appeared was the accused, and by testimonies of witnesses who, since then, have been largely discredited. Those are the tests that the Supreme Court of Florida considered “scanty and feeble,” when he ordered the trial repeated.

But in a new genetic analysis brought by surprise in 2016 by the prosecution, made with a new technology that the defense has tried in vain to discredit, although the genetic fingerprint of the unknown continues to prevail, a minimal trace of Ibar’s DNA was found, only in one of the five points of the garment analyzed. The defense has tried to dismantle the controversial new analysis and to prove, in addition, that the deficient custody of the test could have allowed a posteriori contamination.

It has been demonstrated that the test arrived in an envelope open to experts, in contact with other objects. And that the general custody of the evidence, during all these years, was deficient (the defense provided a video in which it is seen how the prosecutor himself manipulates a test). The expert of the prosecution, to questions of the defense, admitted that contamination with DNA is much easier today than in 1994. Even so the truth is that a genetic test of the shirt provides a coincidence, although small and of origin and reliability debatable, with Ibar’s DNA

Neither the experts in facial recognition of the defense have managed to convince the jury that the face that is seen briefly in the video is not that of Pablo. They are a few moments and the image is ill-defined, typical of a camcorder of the time. The defense brought an eminence in the matter, from the United Kingdom, which underlined the supposed differences with Ibar. But he has not convinced the jury.

This Saturday, the excitement overflowed the 6,900 courtrooms of Broward County, north of Miami, stripped of the frenetic activity of the weekdays. At 10.30 am the usual knocking on the wooden door, which separates the court from the room where the jury deliberated, with which the sheriff announced that they were going to enter. There was a verdict.

The silence, among the thirty people present in the room, the vast majority of them from Ibar’s side, was sepulchral. It was barely broken by the sobs of a broken family. Tanya Quiñones, Pablo’s wife, could not even speak with the media that were waiting for her on the way out and towards those who have shown great affection throughout the process.

The way of the appeal, cumbersome and expensive, will depend on the sentence that is decided, explains Benjamin Waxman, the experienced lawyer who has defended Pablo in this trial. If there is a death sentence, the appeal is direct to the Superior Court of Florida. If it is life imprisonment, to the federal court of appeals. In any case, warns Waxman, we are facing a process that, again, can last for years. Six were between the first conviction and the appeal.

“There have been mistakes, it’s clear. I know, and I have experience in this, “Waxman argued. “This jury has had a very difficult job. I believe in the jury system, but I think they were wrong. The case was very complicated. DNA [key in the trial] is something extremely complex. ”

Waxman trusts the strength of the Ibar and the Quinones. “Pablo is very strong, we are many who believe in his innocence and we are not going to loosen up,” he said. “The strength of this family, you have seen it, it is incredible, Tanya, Michael will be able to resume their lives and continue supporting Pablo, they are very strong individuals, and as a family, they are even more “

US-backed Kurdish Fighters on Alert for Turkish Attack

The Turkish Army General Staff announced the start of the operation from 5:00 pm on Saturday. Among the arguments to defend the operation, the right to “legitimate defense” and different resolutions of the UN. The General Staff has also clarified that it will respect the territorial integrity of Syria. According to the ANHA agency, close to the Kurdish organization, a Turkish detachment consisting of “ten tanks, five (light armor) and a large number of soldiers “tried to penetrate by land in Afrin to the height of the border village of Balia, but was” repelled “by local forces.

Various sources reported exchanges of fire and skirmishes at other points on the Turkish-Syrian border. Likewise, Islamist rebel factions allied with Turkey attacked Kurdish positions east of Afrin from inside Syrian territory in a battle in which there would have been at least 4 dead. The CNN-Türk chain also reported the bombing of eight Turkish F-16 fighters to the Kurdish positions in the mountains that form the border between Turkey and Syria.

For months, the Turkish Army has concentrated tanks and artillery pieces in the vicinity of the border between Turkey and Syria. Military camps have been established in at least seven points in the area and the machinery digs ditches and builds protection walls, reports the Haberturk newspaper. In the days before the ground intervention, the Turkish artillery fired numerous howitzers at the Kurdish positions in the Afrin canton, as confirmed by a YPG commander with whom could speak on Friday. The source said that the bombing had only produced “material damage”, although the command of the Turkish Armed Forces claimed to have destroyed several “shelters” of the Kurdish organization.

The beginning of the Turkish offensive has been preceded by an intense war campaign in the Turkish media and is that the operation has a high internal policy component: Erdogan has been trying for months to increase its base of support in the face of the crucial elections to which will face next year through a decidedly nationalist policy. And the fight against the PKK and its Syrian extension arouse broad consensus in Turkey. Not in vain, this week 500 people showed up at a military base in Istanbul chanting slogans such as “All Turkish is born a soldier” or “If the country is at stake, the rest does not matter” and asking to be enlisted in the military operation.

The Turkish president stressed on Saturday that the Turkish forces will not stop at the Afrin operation and pointed out that the next target would be Manbij, Syrian town that disputes Allied rebellious militias of Ankara and allied Arab and Kurdish militias of the United States. Later, Erdogan said, “we will continue step by step to the Iraqi border to clean up the area of this terrorist garbage that seeks to encircle our country.”

The spokeswoman for the US State Department, Heather Nauer, warned Turkey on Friday not to act against Afrin: “We do not want them to get involved in more violence, we want them focused on (the fight against) Daesh (Arabic acronym to refer to the Islamic State) “. But Erdogan’s answer leaves no doubt about the poor state of relations between Washington and Ankara: “Anyway, we no longer care what they say. It does not matter to us that a terrorist organization changes its name,

Turkey and the United States have been in turmoil since the Obama Administration chose the YPG as a strategic ally in Syria in order to end the Islamic State despite knowing the ties of the Kurdish-Syrian organization with the PKK, a group that Washington has cataloged as a terrorist. In just over three years, the Kurdish militia has revealed itself to be a good military election since, allied with various Arab factions, it has managed to reconquer most of the territory occupied by the jihadists.

However, this war victory has been at the cost of damaging, practically irremediably, relations with Ankara, one of Washington’s oldest allies in the Middle East. And the recent announcement that the US will train a border surveillance force of 30,000 troops, half of them Kurds, has only made the Turkish Government even angrier. “How is it possible for an ally to establish a surveillance force on the border of another NATO partner?” They ask in Ankara.

The choice of Afrin to attack the Kurdish-American alliance is not trivial: the Kurdish canton is the weakest link because it is isolated from the rest of the territory controlled by the YPG and surrounded by Turkey to the north and west and by rebel forces favorable to Ankara to the east and to the south, areas in which the Turkish Army also has deployed some 2,000 troops from Operation Euphrates Shield and its rapid intervention in the Syrian province of Idlib . There is also no US presence in Afrin, although according to the Turkish intelligence services, US arms have arrived at the YPG forces deployed there.

All in all, the Turkish military operation is very risky. The Turkish Social Democratic opposition, which initially supports the attack, has asked to explore diplomatic channels and ensure that Russia allows the participation of Turkish aviation in the military campaign (the Damascus Government warned that it could shoot down Turkish aircraft if they violated its airspace but, today, whoever commands in the Syrian skies is Moscow).

A security expert consulted by this journalist explained that without support from aerial bombings, Turkey will have very difficult to advance. Even with the support of aviation, Afrin could become a trap for the Turks as it is “hostile territory”, with an important density of urban population (more than 170,000 inhabitants) and where there could be numerous civilian casualties. According to Kurdish analyst Mutlu Civiroglu,