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Fugitive right-wing student leader requests political asylum at Vatican Embassy in Caracas

by JESUS MARIA NERY BARRIOS Thursday, Mar. 15, 2007 at 9:20 PM

VHeadline en Español News Editor Jesus Nery Barrios writes: Fugitive right-wing University of The Andes (ULA) student leader Nixon Moreno requested political asylum and has sought refuge at the Vatican's Embassy (Papal Nunciature) in Caracas.

Fugitive right-wing ...
nixon_moreno_copia.jpg, image/jpeg, 320x377

Moreno turned up at noon, yesterday, accompanied by friends, supporters and student leaders from other Venezuelan universities, among them UCV (Caracas) and UC (Carabobo).

As the top leader of Movimiento Social 13 de Marzo (M-13) ... essentially an Andean oligarchy right-wing paramilitary group or "Godarria" ... characterized by violent and fascist methods used, for example, in May last year, when activists terrorized the Andean tourist city of Merida and used assorted firearms against regional police and the Venezuelan National Guard (GN) on the ULA campus under the 'protection' of the institution's constitutionally-granted autonomy, that effectively enforces a No-Go area on law enforcement officials.

Moreno and cohorts are alleged to have fired UZIs, severely wounding two National Guardsmen before stripping naked and attempting to rape a policewoman who had been directing traffic to prevent motorists from driving into the conflict zone.

Just a few days after the violent riots, the judge in charge of a subsequent investigation had ordered Moreno's capture to establish criminal liabilities. He has since been on the run from the law and by his own published admission has been "working covertly" to sabotage and disrupt the government of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela.

Amazingly, ULA professor Laura Luciani Toro, Dean of the ULA School of Economics and one of Moreno's and his M-13 organization's most avid supporters had allowed the suspects to hide in ULA facilities, expressing her verbal support in the regional and national media.

Luciani Toro has been Electoral Campaign Command Chief for opposition presidential candidate Manuel Rosales in the lead-up to last December's elections in which Rosales had himself undertaken to "free" Nixon Moreno and to allow him to finish a 13 years stin., a pensum that shall be completed in 5 years, theoretically).

During his "covert" existence on-campus, Moreno had been free to make numerous statements to 24/7 opposition-controlled Globovision TV news in interviews with Nitu Perez Osuna.

A spokesman from the Papal Nunciature is reported as having told the Spanish news agency told EFE that they were "studying the case and will inform their decision in due time."

In the absence of Moreno, the acting leader of M-13, Lawrence Castro said they requested political asylum in all of the Latin American embassies in Caracas but they had refused to welcome him "because they were afraid of Chavez and did not want to negatively complicate their relationships with the Venezuelan government."

Castro was unwilling to clarify if they had approached the United States embassy, given the fact that Moreno and former ambassador William Brownfield had met in the neighboring state of Barinas just days before his group's violent riots in 2006.

Moreno and his M-13 advisers had chosen March 13 ... the anniversary of 1987 riots in Merida against the murder of a ULA student by a local lawyer, which had spawned the student political movement ... to ask for political asylum and give the opposition media opportunity to boost a defamation campaign against the Venezuelan President and the people of Venezuela.

With this latest piece of theater, the Venezuelan opposition is clearly hoping for a lifesaver to their political survival after the seriously damage they sistained in the Dece,mber 2006 electoral defeat. By promoting a diplomatic crisis with The Vatican and another source of contention with the Catholic Church, they're hoping to stymie the debate about socialism and constitutional reforms to adjust the government apparatus to the social needs of the new Venezuela and economic reforms carried out by President Chavez to reduce inflation and improve living standards for all Venezuelans, especially of the previously excluded 80% majority, impoverished people still living in slums in the cities or depressed rural areas.

The turn of events has put Papal Nuncio, Monsignor Giacinto Berlocco and Pope Benedict XVI on the spot inasmuch as they cannot realistically be seen as giving aid and comfort to a man facing charges of rape, firearms, rioting and conspiracy with foreign individuals and organizations against a democratically-elected government.

Jesus Nery Barrios

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