Antifa Rallies Planned in at Least 20 U.S. Cities — Won’t ‘Stop Until This Regime Driven from Power’

The left-wing, Antifa Refuse Fascism group is planning rallies in at least 20 cities across the United States on Saturday to demand that the duly-elected President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence be “driven from power.”

In a full-page ad in the New York Times on Wednesday, the group advertised its event:

Nov 4 it begins — be there — join with the thousands who will gather in cities and towns across the country. A movement of protests that continue every day and night, growing until we become millions … determined not to stop until this is driven from power.

Newsweek reported on Thursday:

“Refuse fascism,” a nascent protest group with ties to a more explicitly left-wing radical group, “the revolutionary communist party,” doesn’t seem like a typical fit for the left-leaning pages of the paper known as The Gray Lady, but very little has been normal about the Trump era so far, according to organizers.

The regime is destroying the planet by ignoring climate change, they say, and they claim it is turning America into a fascist country through an unprecedented series of executive orders.

“What Trump and his administration are doing could pose an existential threat to humanity,” Andy Zee, a member of the advisory board for Refuse Fascism, told Newsweekin a phone interview.

“We’re in one of the most perilous moments in history right now,” Zee said.

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The nightmare must end! Trump & Pence Must Go
This Saturday: Protests Begin!
SHARE & Find yours here: https://refusefascism.org/protests-and-events/ 

The tremendous joy people felt when Trump’s twitter was down, is nothing compared to joy the planet will feel when we drive his regime out!

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Saturday nationwide!
End the Nightmare. The Trump Regime Must Go
Join us! NYC. 1pm. 42nd & Broadway http://refusefascism.org 

The Refuse Fascism website states:

No! In the name of humanity we refuse to accept a fascist America! Take to the streets and public squares in cities and towns across the country continuing day after day and night after night — not stopping until our DEMAND is met: This Nightmare Must End: The Trump/Pence Regime Must Go!

A list follows naming what those nightmares are, including discrimination against Muslims and gays, objectivism and harassment of women, and the danger posed by climate change.

The “about” portion of the Refuse Fascism states:

We launched RefuseFascism.org at an emergency meeting at the Great Hall of Cooper Union in NYC on December 19th, 2016.  Watched by some 200,000 people on HuffPo’s FaceBookLive, Andy Zee, PZ Myers, Carl Dix, Jeremy Scahill, Imam Ayub Abdul-Baki, Rev. Doris Johnson, Sunsara Taylor, Immortal Technique, and Fran Luck spoke along with messages from Gloria Steinem, Chase Iron Eyes, Isabel Cardenas, and others on the fascist character of the Trump/Pence Regime and called on people to get organized to stop it before it came to power.

But some are saying that the reaction to the planned rallies is overplayed and is being characterized by some conservative websites as the start of a civil war.

The Washington Post reported:

Infowars has warned “Antifa Plans ‘Civil War’ to Overthrow the Government.” The John Birch Society put out two recent videos warning Americans to “stay home and tell your children to do likewise” on Saturday.  YouTuber “A Glock Fanboy” notched more than 400,400 views for a clip raising the alarm about “the first day of the revolution or whatnot.”

Time magazine flatly said the claims of an insurrection are: “simply not true.”

There will indeed be anti-Trump rallies in 20 cities around the U.S. on Saturday, from Atlanta to Honolulu, organized by a left-wing political action group called Refuse Fascism whose goal is unseating Trump. But its tactics — including but not limited to a “passionate speak-out with music and participatory art” — are a far cry from violent insurrection.

Nor is it likely that the streets will be teeming with angry mobs: only 990 people have said that they’re attending the demonstration in New York, according to the event’s Facebook group.

Among the at least 20 cities where rallies are set to occur are Atlanta, Austin, Boston, Chicago, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Honolulu, Los Angeles, Minneapolis, New York City, Philadelphia, San Francisco, and Seattle.

Cameroon: Troops deployed ahead of Anglophone independence declaration

President Paul Biya has sent in the army to deter Anglophone secessionists from declaring their independence as massive protests break out. But this appears to have done little to weaken their resolve.

Cameroon soldiers patrol the far north region near the border to Nigeria (picture-alliance/dpa/N. Chimtom)

The Cameroon government has deployed thousands of troops to the anglophone northwest and southwest of the country in an attempt to stop separatist groups from declaring independence on October 1.

Authorities also announced temporary restrictions on travel into Nigeria in the wake of violent protests, sparked by ongoing complaints of economic and political discrimination and demands for more Anglophone rights in the predominately Francophone country.

But at the border locality of Ekok, at least 700 people are ignoring calls for peace by political leaders and civil society groups, and continue to hold demonstrations and attack government buildings while proudly hoisting what they call the flag of their new independent state, Ambazonia.

27-year-old Tambe Elias, who claims to be the head of the group, says they no longer recognize President Paul Biya as their leader.

“He is nobody and he will never mean anything to the Ambazonians. This is the border between southern Cameroon and Nigeria, at the frontier Ekok. You can see the flags, this is the border. Now they have closed the border, they don’t want us to cross to Nigeria, but we are already there. Biya must go.”

The demonstrators attempted to cross over to the Nigerian border state of Enugu, with whom they have strong cultural ties, in order to inform authorities that a new nation had been born, however Nigerian immigration police ultimately prevented them from doing so. So they returned to Ekok, loudly singing their new national anthem while hoisting their blue and white flag and chasing away any Cameroon government workers who crossed their path.

A looming crisis

Despite the setbacks, the separatists have vowed to secede from Cameroon on October 1 – at least symbolically – and have appointed the exiled Julius Ayuk Tabe as their interim leader.

In response, the Cameroonian government has deployed troops to major towns in the country’s English-speaking region in an attempt to stop the demonstrations, although many separatists have simply relocated to smaller regions like Ekok where there is little to no military presence.

Cameroonians in New York call for national unity during the Anglophone crisis (picture alliance/AP Photo/B. Matthews)Cameroonians in New York call for national unity during a United Nations visit by President Paul Biya

French-speaking Cameroonian, Debong Ignatius, is concerned that the military getting involved may only make matters worse. He spoke to DW about his own recent experience.

“Men in uniform and the police circled our neighborhoods, entered the various houses insisting that people should bring out any Ambazonian flags which they were hiding. But I do not think it is their duty to go harassing people at this precise moment because it can exacerbate the situation.”

Government ministers step in

Almost all English-speaking government ministers and senior state workers in the capital Yaounde have been sent home by President Biya with orders to convince people not to support the separatists.

Secretary of State in the Ministry of Industries, Mines and Technological Development, Fuh Calistus Gentry, told DW he plans to focus on speaking with his constituents about the dangers of believing in false hope.

“First of all this is a psychological war where people are frightened because some groups of people have taken their minds hostage. Secondly there is a false hope that is put into peoples’ minds. We have tried to assure people that the state will go to any extent to assure the fundamental rights of every person. We have also gone out to detoxify the minds of people which is built around false hope.”

Schools remain shut

Cameroon Anglophone independence protesters are released from custody (Reuters/Stringer)Anglophone independence protesters are released from custody at Yaounde prison

Schools have been closed in Cameroon’s English-speaking regions since November 2016, when lawyers and teachers called for a strike against what they believe is the overuse of the French language.

Many of those involved in the strike were arrested, with pressure groups calling for their immediate and unconditional release. Fifty-five of the 75 protesters were released and charges were dropped, with observers viewing this as a significant concession to the strikers’ demands.

But with separatists now calling for complete independence from Cameroon, President Biya has made it clear that he is not open to any form of negotiation over the issue, saying the country will remain indivisible.

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St. Louis: Protests erupt after white officer acquitted in fatal shooting of black man

Demonstrators have clashed with police in St. Louis following the acquittal of ex-officer Jason Stockley in the fatal shooting Anthony Lamar Smith. Two officers have been hospitalized after being hit with bricks.

Watch video00:38

Police and protesters clash in St. Louis

Several officers were wounded and dozens of protestors were arrested in St. Louis, Missouri, Friday night in scenes reminiscent of the racially charged unrest that erupted in nearby Ferguson in 2014.

Read morePolice reform in Ferguson

What started as peaceful protests over the acquittal of white ex-police officer Jason Stockley in the fatal shooting of Anthony Lamar Smith, a black man, quickly escalated when demonstrators broke a window and splattered paint over St. Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson’s house. That prompted riot police to respond by dispersing the crowd with tear gas and armored vehicles.

Two officers were hospitalized after protestors hurled bricks at them, the St. Louis police department said on Twitter.

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At least 2 police officers hurt after chemical agents used near Waterman and Kingshighway after  verdict.

Meanwhile, video footage posted online showed police dousing at least five protestors with pepper spray outside the courthouse where Stockley was acquitted.

Ahead of the ruling, activists had threatened civil obedience, including possible efforts to shut down highways, if Stockley were not convicted. One group of protesters tried to climb onto one of the highways but were blocked by police. Another group cut off an intersection by sitting down silently in the middle of the street.

Ex-cop Stockley acquitted of first-degree murder

Stockley was found not guilty of first-degree murder after he fatally shot and killed Smith back in 2011. The court on Friday found that the State had failed to prove “every element of murder beyond a reasonable doubt” or had not “proven beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant did not act in self-defense.”

According to Stockley, Smith had attempted to run over him and his partner after they encountered what appeared to be a drug deal in a fast-food restaurant parking lot. After chasing the Smith by car, Stockely opened fire through the driver’s window after Smith allegedly tried to reach over to the passenger seat to grab a revolver.

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Police dashcam footage showed Stockley saying that he was “going to kill this (expletive), don’t you know it,” before shooting Smith five times, which, according to the prosecution, proved the officer had intended to kill Smith. Stockley’s lawyer dismissed the remarks, saying they were “human emotions” uttered during a high-risk police pursuit.

Footage also showed Stockley reaching into a bag in the back of the police SUV before returning to Smith’s car. The revolver Smith is alleged to have reached for did not have his DNA on it, although it had Stockley’s.

However, Judge Timothy Wilson said he doubted the prosecution’s claim that the gun was planted, writing in his ruling: “The court observes, based on its nearly 30 years on the bench, that an urban heroin dealer not in possession of a firearm would be an anomaly.”

Following the ruling, St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner acknowledged the difficulty of winning police shooting cases, but maintained that the prosecution had “offered sufficient evidence that proved beyond a reasonable doubt” that Stockley had intended to kill Smith.

Remnants of Ferguson

Friday’s violent protests played out not far from the Missouri suburb of Ferguson, where Michael Brown, an unarmed 18-year-old black man, was shot dead by a white policeman in 2014. The officer, Darren Wilson, was never charged, prompting weeks of civil unrest and giving rise to the Black Lives Matter movement.

Since then, several officers have also been acquitted in police shooting trials in Minnesota, Oklahoma and Wisconsin, while a case in Ohio twice ended in a hung jury with the prosecution decided not to seek a third trial.

dm/rg (AP, Reuters)

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Spotlight on US gun debate

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What are Venezuela’s proposed constitutional changes?

Venezuela has been in the grip of mass protests against President Nicolas Maduro’s plans to create a “constituent assembly.” Ahead of the Sunday vote, DW looks at the beleaguered president’s constitutional proposals.

Watch video00:39

Venezuela moves ahead with election despite violence

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro’s push for a special assembly to rewrite the country’s constitution has provoked international criticism and anger from the South American nation’s opposition groups. More than 100 people have died in anti-government protests since Maduro announced his plans in May.

Maduro, however, is bent on going ahead with creating a “constituent assembly” to “achieve the peace needed by the republic, defeat the fascist coup and let the sovereign people impose peace, harmony and true national dialogue.”

The Sunday vote will determine whether Maduro succeeds in his plans. The country’s electoral council, which is dominated by Maduro’s supporters, has created a voting system that critics say heavily favors the ruling party.

Watch video01:41

Deadly clashes in Venezuela as crisis deepens

Venezuelan opposition says Maduro could use the new assembly to install an autocratic regime.

Read: Pope Francis calls for ‘diplomatic solution’ to end violence in Venezuela

Proposed constitutional changes

What remains unclear is what constitutional changes the president is seeking. Maduro has only spoken about it in vague terms. But this is what could be in the offing:

– The new assembly is likely to create a peace and justice commission that would ensure those responsible for ongoing protests and political upheaval be dealt with effectively.

– Legislators in the National Assembly, controlled by opposition members, could be stripped of their immunity from prosecution.

– Not only will the National Constituent Assembly rewrite Venezuela’s constitution; it will also have more powers than the National Assembly.

– The next presidential vote is set for next year, but the constituent assembly could postpone it.

– The assembly is certain to continue the socialist policies first installed by Maduro’s predecessor, Hugo Chavez.

Read: Venezuela police beat journalists, anti-Maduro protesters

Unpopular vote

Only 23 percent of Venezuelans favor the new assembly plans, according to a June survey by polling firm Datanalisis. Nineteen percent said a new constitution would “guarantee peace and stability” in the country.

Earlier this month, more than 7.5 million people had rejected Maduro’s proposals in an unofficial referendum organized by opposition parties.

The United States and the European Union have slammed Maduro’s proposed measures and have threatened to further isolate the socialist regime.

shs/  (AP, Reuters)

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Dozens detained in Moscow as protesters show up at unauthorized location (VIDEOS, PHOTOS)

Dozens were detained at an unauthorized protest in Moscow after Aleksey Navalny called for the demonstration to be moved from its authorized location, citing obstructions to installng a sound system and stage. Hundreds turned up at the authorized site, with sound systems present.

Recap: RT’s extensive LIVE updates on Moscow protest rallies

About 4,500 people took part in an unauthorized protest on Tverskaya Street in the center of the Russian capital, Moscow police said in a statement. More than 150 people were taken to police stations for “breaching public order,” the statement added.

Protest at historic fair contained. Police making arrests. Opposition chanting “shame”. People urged to go to designated protest venue

It came after one of the organizers, Aleksey Navalny, called for the demonstration to be moved from the authorized location on Sakharova Street to Tverskaya Street, through a message on his website just hours before the event. Navalny cited a lack of stage and audio systems as a reason for moving the location.

“Some contractors refuse [to provide equipment] straight away, others when they learn about the geolocation,” Navalny claimed, adding that equipment suppliers were allegedly being “pressured” not to work with him, regardless of the money he offered.

Navalny urged protesters to come to Tverskaya Street instead. Moscow authorities announced they were not contacted on the issue and assumed that it was a “new provocation” intended to deceive people into attending an unauthorized gathering. The Moscow Prosecutor’s Office warned Navalny that holding a demonstration on Tverskaya Street would violate the law and law enforcement would be compelled to take necessary measures.

Around 1,800 people, according to police estimates, showed up at the original location on Sakharova Street, and the demonstration concluded without any major incidents, according to Moscow police.

It can be seen in a video that a stage equipped with audio systems was functioning on Sakharova Street, and was used by people protesting a massive Moscow redevelopment project.

Navalny himself was not able to show up at any of the events, as he was detained by police before the beginning of the protest. According to his lawyer, Vadim Kobzev, Navalny’s administrative case involves repeated violation of rules for organizing or carrying out a public rally.

A number of opposition protesters, following Navalny’s call, gatecrashed the celebrations on Tverskaya Street, including ‘The Times and Epochs’ historical festival. The festival has been running at multiple locations in Moscow since June 1, with over 6,000 reenactors participating, including history enthusiasts from the UK, US, Italy, Sweden, France, Ireland and other countries.

Families with children now fleeing historical fair in Moscow, after opposition protesters blockaded one of the enterances to the fair

Police contained the unauthorized protest and urged them to go back to nearby Pushkinskaya Square in an orderly fashion. Over 150 people were detained in Moscow during the unauthorized protest, the police said.

While 4,500 people came to Tverskaya Street to participate in the unauthorized protest, over 270,000 people visited the central Moscow street to take part in the Russia Day festivities, according to police estimates. Russia Day is the national holiday commemorating the 1990 declaration of sovereignty. Some 3.8 million people have participated in around 3,000 events across the country, police reported.

Another unauthorized protest rally was held in St. Petersburg. Some 3,500 people turned out at the event, according to police estimates, while at least 500 were detained over public order disruption.

A number of sanctioned opposition protests were held across other Russian cities. The events concluded without any major incidents. Around 2,500 protesters participated in an anti-corruption demonstration In Chelyabinsk, according to police, and up to 2,000 people took part in an authorized rally in Ekaterinburg.

The protests in other Russian cities attracted much smaller turnouts. Rallies in Murmansk, Kurgan and Belgorod were attended by some 100 people each. About 150 protesters gathered in Cheboksary, Magnitogorsk and Ulan-Ude, about 200 met in Bryansk and Rostov-on-Don, and 300 people gathered in Tyumen.

Death toll rises as protests continue in Venezuela

A young demonstrator has died of gunshot wounds during ongoing anti-Maduro rallies across Venezuela, bringing the death toll to 48 as demonstrations enter their eighth week.

Demonstrators clash with riot police during a protest against the government (Getty Images/AFP/F. Parra)

During Sunday’s rally in the western city of Valera, gunmen reportedly fired at demonstrators and hit several people, including an 18-year-old male and a 50-year-old woman.

“At that moment, [Edy Alejandro] Teran Aguilar received a bullet in the chest,” the attorney general’s office said in a statement. The 23-year-old was pronounced dead upon arrival at a local hospital.

The mayor of a municipality in the eastern part of the capital, Caracas, said 46 people were injured in protests on Saturday. In the Caracas suburb of San Antonio Los Altos a youth was wounded by gunfire, according to the opposition governor of the state of Miranda.

Demonstrators protect themselves from tear gas during clashes with riot police during a protest against the Maduro government in Caracas, May 20. AFP PHOTO / FEDERICO PARRAProtesters struggled with tear gas in clashes with riot police during a protest in Caracas

Since the protests began on April 1, hundreds have been injured and 2,200 have been detained. Of those arrested, 161 have been jailed on the order of military courts, according to Foro Penal, a non-governmental monitor.

Venezuela’s opposition have blamed President Nicolas Maduro for the country’s wrecked economy that has led to dire shortages of the most basic of goods.

Authorities blocked an opposition push for a referendum in 2016, delayed state elections and are resisting calls to bring forward the next presidential election scheduled for late 2019.

Some 17 opposition parties have agreed to discuss the terms of a national dialogue with the government, although right-wing groups aligned with the Democratic Unity alliance have refused to cooperate.

Public burning

President Maduro slammed opposition protesters on Sunday for setting a man on fire during a demonstration.

“A person was set on fire, beaten up, stabbed… They nearly lynched him, just because he shouted out that he was a ‘Chavista,'” Maduro said – referring to the ruling socialist movement created by his predecessor, Hugo Chavez.

About 100 people participating in anti-Maduro protests in east Caracas reportedly surrounded the man, doused him in gasoline and set him alight, witnesses told the news agency Reuters.

“Burning a person because he seems a Chavista is a hate crime and a crime against humanity,” Maduro said in his weekly TV broadcast.

“Growing insanity. A human being is set on fire at a ‘peaceful demonstration’ by the opposition in Caracas,” Venezuelan Information Minister Ernesto Villegas said on Twitter, posting a video of the incident.

The prosecutor’s office said it had opened an investigation.

Aquí video de guarimberos accionando armas de fuego artesanales en “protestas no-violentas” (sic) en Caracas Venezuela

Paranoia rules

Maduro believes protesters are plotting a coup against him with US help and are increasingly persecuting “Chavistas” at home and abroad. Last week, he compared the situation to the Nazi treatment of Jews.

“Venezuela is facing […] a coup movement that has turned into hatred and intolerance, very similar to Nazi fascism,” he reiterated on Sunday.

Maduro blamed “the leaders of groups of mercenaries” for the violence and said several of them were already in prison.

US President Donald Trump, Maduro said last week, has his hands “deeply penetrated in this conspiracy, which aims to take political control of Venezuela.”

Watch video00:32

More than 200,000 protesters march against Maduro

jbh/cmk (Reuters, AFP)

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Protests paralyze Venezuela

DW talked to Venezuelan journalist and photographer Ivan Reyes whose images highlight the stories of the people marching against the government.

DW: The protests against President Nicolas Maduro have been going for almost two months now. What is the mood in the crowd?

Ivan Reyes: The hope that the change is finally near gives everyone strength. People are angry and frustrated, and they say they will march as often as necessary to show Maduro that they won’t accept his form of governing anymore. But that rebellious spirit disappears once you hear the deafening sound of bullets and when the tear gas starts getting into your eyes.

Read: Pro-Maduro militia suppress Venezuela democracy demos

Every day, I see very emotional scenes. You know, those are not just young folks revolting against the system: Whole families, communities from universities and workplaces, organized groups, the elderly, and even people with disabilities come to the walkouts. The number of demonstrators is already quite big, you can hear them arguing whether they should march toward the presidential palace or confront the police in the streets, but they always unite in the end because they want the same thing – change.

Has anything changed in Venezuela yet?

The main goal – to remove the socialist government and install democracy – remains. I wouldn’t consider the recent protests to be a continuation of the 2014 riots, however. Unlike today, there was no opposition, and the events were rather random. What persists is the discontent with the current shape of the country that has been growing for several years. There have 15 mass protests in April and May alone, which is something unprecedented in the history of Venezuela.

Also, we are living in a true crisis right now – people weren’t dying from malnutrition or a lack of medication three years ago. You could have seen traditional media reporting from the streets, but nowadays the press is under pressure, and journalists don’t dare to be seen in the crowds.

More than 1,000 people have been arrested, and almost 40 have died so far in the protests. Doesn’t it discourage people from going out on the streets?

Watch video00:37

More protesters killed in Venezuela unrest

No, it actually makes them even more tenacious. You can feel the determination to resolve the situation once and for all; the lines are not as easily dispersed as they used to be. For instance, when people have to pull back, they only do so to reorganize, and then they return to the march again. But of course, fear is omnipresent because everyone has realized by now that the national police and the national guard are here not only to repress the crowd but also to hurt the people. The way they launch tear gas now can easily kill a person. But everyone is willing to resist; they withstand the shootings, the gas, and the attacks.

Read: Thousands of women march across Venezuela as political crisis deepens

However, it seems that the violence has been escalating on both sides recently especially since many masked groups took to the streets.

I believe the protests are quite peaceful, actually, and there is a desire for them to be non-violent, although that has become impossible. What I see every day is people with flags, banners, whistles, and hopes for a better tomorrow. But yes, some groups engage in clashes. They use stones and even make Molotov cocktails in order to match the governmental forces. It is a battle they can’t win, unfortunately – only the government has the resources to keep on fighting.

Why are the armed services so loyal to Maduro’s regime?

Some higher ranking officers get access to food, housing, vehicles, and even an above-average salary, although it is not very common. In reality, many who join the police or the national guard come from very poor environments, and they assume such jobs are a way out of their situation.

The political crisis in Venezuela is going hand in hand with the economic crisis. What does everyday life look like in Caracas?

People will do anything to survive. Some sell ice cream, water, cigars, or food on the streets, but the hunger is everywhere, and many people are reduced to having to dig through the trash to get some leftovers at least. Long lines form just to buy bread or get the so-called CLAP bags with various basic ingredients that state agencies distribute among the population, but those are not available to everyone either.

Read: 5 things to understand about oil-rich, cash-poor Venezuela

There are those who carry on, living their normal lives despite everything that’s happening, but they are not many today. Going to the movies or the theater has become an exercise in escaping the reality. Since the riots take place every day, the government shuts down streets, avenues, highways, and even the subway, which completely changes the dynamics of the whole society. As much as they don’t want to get involved in the protests, they end up being affected in one way or another.

Do you see an end to all this?

I don’t think the demonstrations will cease soon because I am not convinced Maduro is willing to resign. I’d say the actions on the streets will continue, but the opposition leaders should look for a new, innovative way to protest. Right now, they always end up the same – being dispersed on some highway or another venue.

The people are still motivated, nonetheless, they want the change. I think it’s a resistance fight on both sides. Let’s see which team gets tired first.

Ivan Reyes is a journalist working for Efecto Cocuyo, an independent Venezuelan newspaper.

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