Venezuela’s Most-Wanted Rebel Shared His Story, Just Before Death

Óscar Pérez, the police officer who commandeered a helicopter and called on Venezuelans to rise up, spoke with The Times in the days and hours before he was killed.

Comments: 146

  1. There will always be a brave few who will risk everything to stand up to tyranny. But most humans sre gutless cowards.

  2. To assert that "most humans are gutless cowards" is cynical, without foundation, an arrogant judgement contrary to human history.

  3. I am sorry he died and oppose the chavistas 100%, but this dude was also 100% out of his mind. There was no way he was going to get the support of anyone, trowing grenades from a helicopter does not make any sense and anywhere else would be considered an act of terrorism itself. It was never clear if he was calling for a civil war or what. The fact that he was murdered tells of the brutality (in spanish you can use the same word for stupidity) of the government.

  4. ...and Venezuela is a member of the UN's Human Rights Council...

  5. Amazing! From the description of the final months of this undoubtedly courageous latter day revolutionary, Óscar Pérez, turning his back on wrongdoing was the only talent in which he was at all lacking.

  6. I didn't expect this article to hit me like this. 8 am and I need a drink, mein gött.

  7. A charismatic leader with too few following him. Venezuela is crying for change. Perhaps Perez will inspire someone who can pull it off.

  8. Charismatic leader ? he was a terrorist.

  9. A sad but in a way beautiful story, from desperate and sinking country. You tried, Oscar. And that's more than so many of us can say. Rest In Peace.

  10. I have annually traveled back and forth to Venezuela since the late 1980's, watching its spiraling economy in slow motion, pause and continue, like the controls of an aging VHS machine. Now the economy has basically collapsed and, credits rolling, we discover the actors in this story. For my part, it appears Mr. Perez is lucky to be named an extra, compared to major players such as Hugo and Nicolas. But while those last two, and their supporting cast roll across the screen, one major part is missing from this success story of a failed nation, the audience. The Venezuelan people were just an audience. They failed year after year to turn their culture around, a not difficult task to say the least. When they didn't like some parts of the movie they either didn't buy a ticket or went to the lobby to buy popcorn and argue amongst themselves about the unfairness of it all. Again and again. I remember reading in a biography of Simón Bolívar's late in life dismay about corruption and power in Venezuela and how his herculean war of liberation could not change a people's culture. "The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, but in ourselves, that we are underlings."

  11. Congratulations, you have belabored the cinematic metaphor to a bloody pulp.

  12. Your point, while not perfect, needs to be absorbed by the people of the U.S. Out you just got(or don't vote) and ignore the politicians in between elections your country will be looted.

  13. May they all rest in peace. They are heroes. Of course, this sad news begs a question: What, if any, role should the United States play in what is going on right under our noses in Venezuela? Do we just sit on the sidelines and watch people, and especially babies, starve to death? Do we pay no attention to a monster like Maduro, who rapes and pillages his own people? We've seen this all to often in Latin America, from Chile to Mexico, over the decades.

  14. Under the previous administration overtures were made to Havana to open dialog. No one is saying the Castro government is lily-white, mind you, but we have communications with MANY governments that have problems: China and Saudi come to mind, as now does Turkey. Havana has had a relationship with Venezuela for many years, so we might have been communicating with Venezuela through Havana. Instead, we have no one in power in D.C. that seems to understand diplomacy. We can't even get along with our neighbors Mexico and Canada. As far as the "medical issues" suffered by our personnel in Havana, no one can seem to realize that the degradation of U.S.-Cuban relations has direct benefit to Moscow. Putin - if anyone - certainly has the means to produce the illnesses in Havana. Perez certainly had a lot to say. Whether or not his statements justified his actions remains to be seen; but he certainly seemed to be pushing for the suffering common people to overcome a ruling minority. He gave his life for that. Perhaps we need more of those kind of people here in the States.

  15. It's one of the few places we haven't invaded lately, so let's not have to go to the old soldiers home for recruits and keep it that way. American involvement other than food or medical aid would unite Venezuelans against a common enemy. Us.

  16. Government corruption may be the end of us all. It is everywhere. Venezuela is just one example. The U.S. is headed in that direction unless we do something to control the power of individuals over the majority.

  17. He gave his life for us to live in freedom, not just Venezuelans but all of us. The drug cartel that is running Venezuela is international and is seriously threatening world peace and security. To stop it we need a return to moral values and to have faith in the good will of good people. Óscar Pérez was abandoned not because people did not agree with him, but because they agree with him so much and he was too good to be true.

  18. I recommend that you read Douglas Valentine's book The CIA as Organized Crime. There are other recent excellent books that show how the "invisible government" has used drug traffic to finance operations in different parts of the world. I read periodicals and books from the extreme right to the extreme left. Doing so gives me a better perspective. Other people prefer to read only what tells how the USA is the supreme expression of freedom and goodness. I am sure they are happier that way.

  19. While you can consider him a rebel (call it however you want), what can’t be denied is that he fired with a helicopter the Supreme Court of his country. I can only imagine what could happen if something slightly similar takes place in the EU or the US, but we can all guess. I don’t care which side are you rooting for (although it’s pretty obvious), but he comited an act of terrorism. I wouldn’t call him a rebel, but the opposition and the international press needs heroes against the Venezuelan government, for sure. Nothing new.

  20. I don't know if Perez is a Rebel or not, but Venezuela is no more a Democratic state. The democratic state was dismantled by a corrupt elite of civils and military, most of then involved in narcotrafic and corruption. In my opinion Perez's acts perfectly fit under the 333 article of the Venezuela's constitucion. FYI Beth, the Supreme Court who is leading by and ex convict of two murdered, and the Perez fired was with stun grenades. Nobody was harm in any of his acts.

  21. He fired blanks just to make a point. Read the story.

  22. This what happens to a country when its leader takes his people down the path to socialism. Chavez was popular only because he gave stuff away. When he ran out of stuff to give away, his popularity ended, and the usual socialist bureaucrats scooped up the remaining crumbs. So much for the Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren model of governing.

  23. Economic justice in Venezuela was undermined by foreign operatives. Always will there be bootlicks grateful for the status afforded them by their betters.

  24. Quite the contrary, it was the Capitalist markets sinking the oil price that crashed the countries economy, just as it did in the 1980/90s under the previous neo-lib capitalist regime which murdered thousands on the streets demonstrating.

  25. Venezuela overspent when the money flowed. The prudent thing to do is to build a cushion during commodity boom times to see you through the lean times. Lean times always come. You also keep the oil infrastructure up to date so your operations are as streamlined and efficient as possible. Venezuela did none of this. Cronyism and a system of patronage took over. The fault is entirely on the government not a cabal of oligarchs backed by the USA. The rationalizing never ends for pie-in-the-sky socialism failures.

  26. Oscar Perez is a real hero. When I heard he passed away my heart sank. I would not compare him to Che though. I would rather see Oscar's image on a t-shirt than the Argentine megalomaniac. Perhaps the day will come when the Venezuelan people, those that aspire to a democracy, can thank this man for the sacrifice he made in inspiring them and fulfilling this noble endeavor.

  27. There was nothing democratic about him. He fought for a small wealthy white elite that despise the Venezuelan people and their votes.

  28. Please cite a source or some manner of proof

  29. The article 350 of the Venezuelan constitution said:"The people of Venezuela, faithful to its republican tradition, to its struggle for independence, peace and freedom, will ignore any regime, legislation or authority that goes against democratic values, principles and guarantees or undermines human rights" Venezuela is a failed state, with more than 200 billion dollars of debt, three digits inflation, with more than 24 thousand people killed for violence each year. Today there is no food or medicines, babies die from malnutrition every day while thousand and thousand of people are leaving the country looking for better conditions If you want, you will be welcome in this paradise. Perez was a patriot and a dreamer unfortunately, to much for a country like this...

  30. We have tyrants running Russia, Venezuela, North Korea, America, et al. How is this happening? What's going on?

  31. You may not like the results of the last presidential election but in no way is the end result a tyrant in the Oval Office.

  32. Read, study, think. You may find out what is happening.

  33. This is vintage 1980s-style reporting on Latin American affairs. Any terrorist who opposes an enemy of the US government was lionized then, too, but the Times should know better by now. There are far more people of Latin American descent reading this paper today, and we know all about armed officers who want to "defend this country" by stealing, throwing bombs, and getting in shootouts with soldiers and police who haven't defected. For readers who aren't familiar with how the American media usually reports on events in South America: ask yourselves if a man who did any of the things this article describes would be treated so fairly if he was, say, a Catalan separatist, or a member of the IRA, or a Thai republican.

  34. Thank you. Actually, because I am 81 years old, I can remember the NYT' collusion with the CIA and the interests it defends back in the 1950's when I was a student at the University of Puerto Rico. But it goes back much longer. Among various excellent books on the subject I have recently read, The Devil's Chessboard, by David Talbot is one I recommend. I have read the Times everyday for most of my adult life. I learned to read it and make my own conclusions with the aid of other sources from different countries.

  35. "ask yourselves if a man who did any of the things this article describes would be treated so fairly if he was, say, a Catalan separatist, or a member of the IRA, or a Thai republican." Rebels generally receive public support from outside their country if they represent genuine human values, especially freedom. That the NYTimes is biased goes under a different headline.

  36. This is an excellent point and I thank you immensely for making it. At the risk of sounding like the current president of the United States, articles like these, written through the lens of an adolescent watching an action movie, brings me more to the depressing realization that current American journalists have lost or never understood what it means to report and inform. It appears that many are more suited for the role of screenwriting, or gossip reporting as evidenced by this overly simplistic, romantic article.

  37. if only we got the same from the nyt on honduras i...for one...these stories might be more credible...seems like the maduro gov..for all its faults both real and imagined still maintains considerable support and that venezuelans know who really turns the screws.

  38. A US sponsored coup etc, under Obama

  39. A terribly sad story, one that Yeats would memorialize, were he writing today. http://www.thecriticalmom.blogspot.com

  40. This story says a lot more then just about the state of Venezuela. It's really about the true state of the Human Condition and the modern world. If desperate, starving people won't fight back against their oppressors, why should our government fear any collective backlash of corruption and dishonesty by Americans? Complacency is both a great threat to democracy and a facilitator of autocracy.

  41. Margaret Thatcher once said that “The trouble with Socialism is that eventually you run out of other people’s money.” Seems it can happen under Capitalism in the US as well. Just different oligarchs stealing under a different banner, but similar results.

  42. _isms do not guarantee honesty. That is the fallacy of political adherence. Both left and right eventually rot from within, i.e. self-interest.

  43. Goodness Dlud, you have posted a lot of interesting comments, this is one for sure! I really agree with this observation.

  44. America's South American foreign policy ineptitude is partly to blame for this Venezuelan madness, but only partly. We've allowed quixotic SA governments that were our 'friends '- like Lula de Silva's Brazil - to spend like drunken sailors, enriching Wall Street only to crash. Why are we surprised by our 'enemies' like Chavez, who do the same, only to crash? I am no big fan of the Monroe Doctrine, but the truth is what hits SA and Central America hits us eventually. We can't elect their leaders, but we can stop rewarding banks who encourage SA's profligate behavior and profit. BTW that includes money laundering their dope money.

  45. Thanks to Meredith Kohut for the beautiful and moving photography.

  46. When the only hope for some kind of comfort trickles down from the corruption above, when the promises of leisure and entertainment comes from strategies to maximize corporate wealth, when the threat of violence obtains a chokehold on common folks... What can be done? Who is there to bare witness? Can the United Nations help? Sanctions? Is the United States complicit? Are there any Americans helping keep this status quo using the old Help-Build-Democracy deceit while siphoning off wealth, natural resources and drug $ for arms?

  47. I predict that statues will be erected through out Venezuela of the national hero, Oscar Perez, who's death signals the end to the Chavez revolution and dawning of a new era of freedom and prosperity. Only when the people rise up and say enough of Maduro and his thugs will the county begin to heal.

  48. The New York Times commitment to the overthrow of the democratically elected government of Venezuela goes back at least as far as their support for the failed coup against Hugo Chavez in 2002. Their participation now in romanticizing a man who in any country with a more compliant pro-US regime they would regard as a terrorist is just a reminder of the essentially propagandistic function of the corporate news media. This article refers to over a hundred Venezuelans killed in protests against the government, giving the false impression that they were all killed by government forces when in fact many were supporters of the government killed by the well to do racist right-wing opposition groups leading the protests. Venezuela has many problems, but one of its biggest ones is meddling in its internal affairs by the most powerful country on earth which happens to be closely aligned with its old light-skinned oligarchy, excluded from political power by democratic elections since the late 1990s. The New York Times is not just reporting here. They are using their considerable influence to give a murderous anti-democratic movement the aura of martyrdom. It is shameful.

  49. Christopher, Your comments may be true, but only if the people of Venezuela get life's basic necessities. That's not happening.

  50. Similarly, the NYT has by comparison posted very few articles critical of the Mexican government that in 2017 oversaw 29,168 murders (WaPo) including a record number of journalists killed. The difference is probably that the US has total access to Mexican oil thanks to Peña Nieto's "energy reforms" while Venezuela is still a member of OPEC.

  51. This is what Venezuela needs to do, as a very minimum: 1. Renegotiate its debt to make foreign currency available for the purchase of food and medicine 2. Remove exchange controls and let the bolivar float “freely” 3. Limit dollars to PDVSA 4. Stop the central bank from printing new local currency 5. Raise the minimum wage to $1 per hour 6. Eliminate all price controls 7. Raise the price of gasoline to $1 per gallon 8. Start optimizing oil production 9. Start reprivatizing the oil industry

  52. This guy was essential a terrorist, willing to kill and use violence against his government, even though a legal opposition still exists and holds large open street demonstrations. No sympathy here.

  53. When you know nothing, it may be best to keep your mouth shut.

  54. Thank you Jorge.

  55. You must also believe that those involved in the Boston Tea Party, and the revolutionary war terrorists? As well as the entire US Government including Abraham Lincoln who reigned down terror on Native Americans breaking treaties, committing genocide and Lincoln ordering the largest mass execution in history. “Lincoln willfully ordered this mass hanging in order to appease a Minnesota settler populace threatening riots and anarchy, perhaps even secession, if he did not do as they demanded.

  56. It is a shame things have gone so badly under Maduro, whether his fault or not. His revered predecessor, what was his name Chavez, I guess is hard to match. The mentality of the people is slavish, cowardly and self interested only. Venezuela seems to match the USA on that one. It is indeed a pity that the socialist experiment in Venezuela has come to an apparent debacle, but again this does not disprove the model or the egalitarian sentiment behind it, only that mismanagement and corruption destroy. Also, it seems as if Mr Perez' motives and sentiment may have lain largely behind his brother's demise, not a settled antipathy toward the ruling government.

  57. It's not a pity the socialist experiment has foundered; it does disprove the model and the faux egalitarian sentiment behind the travesty; it underscores once again that history is the story of liberty, and not your imagined equality that leads every time to dictatorship and immiseration.

  58. Foundered by itself, without help from the usual defenders of "freedom"?

  59. I guess international right wing sabotage of Venezuela's economy led by the USA has had nothing to do with Venezuela's present situation. They will keep talking of a "narco state" and the "monster" Maduro. And many who have no idea of what is going on will keep writing and repeating that mantra.

  60. Not to sound callous but... did he really expect to come out of this one alive? I only hope that other Venezuelans realize just how low they have sunk and rally. I also hope --but this won't happen-- that all the Venezuelans in exile in Doral, Weston and other parts of Miami stop just talking and actually take some action for their country. Won't happen. Venezuela is totally toast.

  61. The courage of Oscar Perez and his companions is rare. Talk about democratic freedom is common and cheap. Online and sitting in a chair.

  62. Create a Venezuelan-American Foundation. That should work,

  63. He had guts and tried to do something to save his country. He failed but another one will succeed sooner or later. We don't have anyone here that has the guts to really fight a dictatorship in the making.

  64. 'rebel'? He was a terrorist bombing the courts, parliament, democratically elected representatives, the police, civilians and soldiers. He was a stooge for the coup staged by the corrupt Oligarch families that have controlled much of Venezuela for centuries and supported by the US government.

  65. wow. that is quite an assertion. And your claim is based on?

  66. Facts and history.

  67. This sad story reveals the drama that Venezuela is experiencing today. We saw an execution live, without compassion and totally outlawed. A comment to the author of this article, the article says: "Mr. Pérez calls out to a military major who stands outside, telling the rebel to give up, saying that the state has won. Mr. Pérez says he won’t surrender because he fears they will kill civilians in the building." This is not true, Perez wants to surrender actually in the conversation with the military, the presence of a prosecutor and the press was offered by the major. Perez emphasized that he don't want to fight because he knew some of the people out there.

  68. They killed two soldiers and gravely wounded 8. That does not sound too peaceful.

  69. “The notion that a radical is one who hates his country is naïve and usually idiotic. He is, more likely, one who likes his country more than the rest of us, and is thus more disturbed than the rest of us when he sees it debauched. He is not a bad citizen turning to crime; he is a good citizen driven to despair.” ― H.L. Mencken Don't be so quick to label those fighting against an inherently corrupt and oppressive government power structure terrorists and radicals. Disliking their methods is one thing, but to reflexively dismiss the merits of the opposition undermines the importance of why the opposition was and is necessary. True patriotism does not require blind and unflinching loyalty to authority.

  70. Venezuela is our hemisphere's Syria. An incompetent despot; an entrenched and corrupt military and judiciary; a population too exhausted and weak to fight against the repressive state. Refugees spilling over to its So. American neighbors. But the world has become desensitized to this all-to-frequent suffering. It's truly horrible to see a resource-rich country disintegrate before our eyes.

  71. No. The quantitive analogy to Syria in this hemisphere - if we choose to count and number and keep account the killing of people in combat - is Mexico.

  72. What would be the explanation of the Venezuela's regime to the Free World and its own People, about shooting, and using a tank, to destroy the lives of several rebels, that were surrounded, including from above, instead of waiting in the outside to negotiate? Why did they prefer to risk the lives of their own soldiers? Or, you can read history.

  73. The Free World. Freedom to sale your labor force. And freedom to buy it if you have accumulated capital

  74. Venezuela was the first country to eliminate malaria almost 60 yrs ago. Now apparently aspirin is the extent medical care available. Stunning to see commentary here defending what Chavez and Maduro have done.

  75. The article is good and there is need to disseminate information about the horrors that Venezuelans are living with this narco/regime. Only two comments or objections on the article: comparing this brave man with Che Guevara is not proper. Guevara was a bloodthirst cocaine-addict who killed many people. Oscar Perez DID NOT KILL ANYONE... And further in the article it says that Perez said he "won't" surrender because there were civilians to protect, and in the video he sent speaking to the Major, he said he "wanted" to surrender to protect the lives of the civilians in the house... Thanks so much for divulging information that helps Venezuela's fight for freedom.

  76. When I was a journalist intern, I was assigned an undercover assignment to expose human trafficking. Even that scared me. I could only wonder when facing a gun and death if I would have the same gut as Mr. Perez to act. My admiration to your bravery Mr. Perez is at the same time flooded with the guilt of thought, what would I do? I cannot answer.

  77. To paraphrase the FBI definition of terrorism, it is violence "perpetrated by individuals and/or groups that espouse extremist ideologies of a political, religious, social, racial, or environmental nature." Thus by definition Óscar Pérez was a terrorist, not a "rebel," and his Instagram videos were reminiscent ISIS propaganda. People like Timothy McVeigh also believed they had a just cause against a corrupt government. Fortunately, Pérez will never get the chance to do something similar to what he did. You cannot bring about democracy through violence.

  78. The terrorist is always the other.

  79. "You cannot bring about democracy through violence." Yes, I believe George Washington said that.

  80. George Washington fought on behalf of White male slave-owning landowners in a British colony who no longer wanted to pay taxes to their king.

  81. Maduro is not a President nor a Dictator. Maduro is the tip of the icerberg of an international Narco Cartel that is occupying Venezuela by force. Their State policy is to dilapidate the lives of Venezuelan citizens, private industry, personal safety, healthcare, food supply and press freedom. This has now materialized into a catastrophic urgent reality for those still leaving there. I doubted of Oscar Perez until last week. Like another comment so eloquently put it: He was too good to be true. Oscar’s actions were baffling in the face of an all-powerful drug cartel, it didn’t seem possible he was pulling them off. It looked like one more theater piece from Cuba’s ex-KGB G2, which infiltrates and runs the highest ranks of Armed Forces in Venezuela. They repeatedly stage theatrics, get people excited to protest and then fizzle out their energies once they are discredited. We got exhausted and missed an opportunity to rally behind him. He was a small uprising against an international monster that is bankrolled by Russia and China, which provide cash and weapons in exchange for vast favorable deals into Oil, Steel and many other precious resources in the Venezuelan. Cuba provides the strategy and basically runs the operation. He challenged their most important resource, their appearance of strength. They made an example of him, for any other that is considering similar moves. Oscar unmasked the worst facet of this Narco Mafia and I thank him for that.

  82. This is what Venezuela needs to do, as a very minimum: 1. Renegotiate its debt to make foreign currency available for the purchase of food and medicine 2. Remove exchange controls and let the bolivar float “freely” 3. Limit dollars to PDVSA 4. Stop the central bank from printing new local currency 5. Raise the minimum wage to $1 per hour 6. Eliminate all price controls 7. Raise the price of gasoline to $1 per gallon 8. Start optimizing oil production 9. Start reprivatizing the oil industry

  83. It is important to note the difference between how the current Venezuelan regime treated this rebel and the 90's democratic government treated the failed coup attempt led by Hugo Chavez that resulted in many deaths. Hugo Chavez & Co were placed in jail for a while to be eventually pardoned, and allowed to run for the presidency!. On the other hand Oscar Perez who did not kill anybody was brutally killed by the Chavista-Maduro regime *AFTER* he had already surrender.

  84. Maduro controls all stances of power besides the executive branch and the citizens are defenseless against him. Anti-riot police open fire on protesters. That’s a dictatorship! It doesn’t matter if it’s far-right or left. A dictatorship is a dictatorship! Venezuela humanitarian crisis is spilling across its border. Thousands are coming to Brazil seeking protection here as refugees while others make temporary visits seeking desperately needed medical care. https://www.hrw.org/news/2017/04/18/venezuela-humanitarian-crisis-spilli...

  85. Bernie, are you watching what is happening in socialist Venezuela? Why would you want to inflict America with the fate of Venezuela? Socialism's victims, most dying of starvation as a result of insane economic policies such Maduro has embraced, and supplemented by many simply murdered to ensure the regimes' iron-grip on the population, number in the hundreds of millions since Marx loosed the economics of envy upon the world. Have you visited Venezuela's democratic-socialist state lately?

  86. Hey Ned, If you want to see the kind of social democratic system that Bernie wants for America, you'd be better served observing peaceful, prosperous Sweden or Norway. Comparing Venezuela to the American left is like comparing the Syrian regime to the American right.

  87. I don't know how familiar you are with Norway. They were a poor country (at least $ wise) until the North Sea petrodollars came in. That plus a heritage of responsibility to the volk allows them their generous and well managed public spending.

  88. Sorry, but its just as dishonest to cherry pick the one or two positive, working examples (with populations no where comparable to ours) and ignore the far higher number of failures when trying to sell your ideology to others.

  89. The true terrorists and radicals in Venezuela are Maduro and his government. People are literally dying of neglect with no food or access to health care while Diosdado Cabello heads a drug cartel. We are talking about organized crime in government. "The most wanted rebel" was a true patriot that gave his life in a quest to end a dictatorship. The Venezuelan narco-government implement crimes against humanity and deserve their day in the International Criminal Court, in The Hague.

  90. Bourgeois terrorist celebrated by New York Times. Endorsing the death squads that eliminate peasants protesting for land distribution and labor reform in coveted oil bearing former colonies should be expected by the capitalist controlled media. Óscar Pérez killed for the top 1% of Venezuelan society, and his legacy should be desecrated.

  91. Pérez and his accomplices were terrorists in the making. This article refused to report the number of Venezuelan security members who were killed by Pérez and his accomplices. This should be a significant element of any story like this, yet the NYT bends over backwards to turn these terrorists in the making into heros. And before they were found they attacked the Venezuelan Supreme Court building - suggesting they fired 'blanks' is pure propaganda and not verified. In the same vein, this reporter wrote a story with numerous biographical details and allegations that he can't verify. These details have been fed to him by extremely partisan sources who can not be believed, yet he regurgitates them without any apparent concern. This is not ethical reporting. This is propaganda. The NYT would never lionize someone who attacked the US Supreme Court or any government building of a country considered an ally of the US. The NYT, however, has been consistent since day-1 in supporting the right-wing opposition in Venezuela - including the attempted right-wing oligarch organized coup against Chavez in 2002 and cheer leading US government actions contributing to the serious economic decline in Venezuela.

  92. Thank you for this excellent and much needed reply Mr. Alpers. Just by seeing the first New York Times recommended comment I confirm the absurdity of this article.

  93. Pérez actions did not kill anybody. Maduro’s Narco mafia is a genocide in progress. Just last year they brutally killed hundreds of protesters that democratically tried to protest him. Pérez was calling for a better inclusive Venezuela. It is the regime who has implemented a terrorist state.

  94. What makes you, J Albers from Cincinnati, Ohio, an expert in this situation? How are you qualified to report that Perez killed security people? Why don't you cite your sources, that is, if you have any. What you are doing is giving propaganda for Maduro's dictatorship where the situation is so dire that children are literally starving.

  95. Many American Socialists intuitively know that Maduro is the stereotypical Latin American leftist dictator, yet, blinded by ideology, they still support him. Well, you’re giving socialism a bad name! Tyranny knows no political affiliation, and everyone, leftist, centrist or rightists, should condemn it.

  96. Unfortunate but despot's Chavez and Maduro were too well schooled by their Cuban mentor's for Mr. Perez to have had any chance of surrender let alone survival.

  97. The cover photo is beyond words...deeply moving...

  98. Euologizing and romanticizing a narcissistic would-be action hero who preached and practiced a retro-Rambo cartoon version of armed rebellion despite the principled rejection of violence by Venezuela's democratic opposition only reinforces the false narrative of Madero and his remaining loyalists that their (yes) elected government is threatened principally by 'terrorists' and 'foreign powers' (i.e. the US) aided and abetted by 'corporate media.'

  99. There is one gross, overt inaccuracy in this story, and a major omission that makes the story over all misleading. First, the government never released the body, and Aura Perez never claimed it from the morgue. The government buried the body at a location of its choosing over the objection of relatives, including Aura Perez. Moreover, the "funeral" depicted occurred hours after the burial, after the National Guard stopped blocking access to the government-selected burial site. The omission is Perez cause of death, which was a shot to the head. Each of Perez's supporters killed also had a shot to the head. The operation, involved not only "authorities," but also the Tres Raices "colectivo," a member of which was also killed. The operation has been widely denounced by the press, international politicians, human rights organizations and even named and anonymous members of the Armed Forces as an extrajudicial execution of surrendering forces. How does that controversy, as if there really was any controversy over it, not get mentioned in the article?

  100. I don't get it. The government buried Perez and his friends in Philadelphia?

  101. Clayton in Philadelphia: how do you know all this? What is your source?

  102. It is amazing that when a right wing terrorist commits acts against the people of a country whose leadership is progressive and not right wing people praise his actions. This was no "Che" just a houilgan who believed his own fictional narrative. That is why the majority of the Venezuelan people voted for governors, mayors and a constitutional assembly while terrorists betrayed their nation.

  103. I agree that Óscar was no "Ché". Ché was a mercenary and assassin from the same group that trained Maduro and who currently runs Venezuela’s Narco Mafia regime. The terrorism occurring in Venezuela today is from the State, just last summer they killed hundreds of peaceful protesters exercising their right to dissent on the streets. The elections were completely fake, like they have been for the last 18 years, as Smart-Matic the company who used to run them, conceded just months ago when the mounting evidence made their position untenable and they were about to be sanctioned and lose their US-Florida-based business worldwide.

  104. Venezuela, another showcase for Socialism. Che was a foul, murderiing Marxist terrorist and no hero to decent people.

  105. Thank you. In the US and in Right Wing narrative, terrorists are 'Freedom Fighters'. Had all the repressive S.American regimes been able to repress all legitimate democratic Socialist movements, and Venezuela would have been eliminated in another anaconda embrace' --- that the US is so good at; then we would see the wonders of Honduras and Paraguay predominate. Luckily, some governments have been able to survive the toxic 'bear hug' of the US and of the parasitical land owning and parasitical Capitalist class. Venezuela: keep n fighting the onslaught of the dark Capitalist world order!

  106. Astonishing. How often do we get heroes of this magnitude in real life. An inspiration to us all.

  107. Completely agree, we was out of this world, he gave his life, leaving wife and children for his country, knowingly.

  108. The oft repeated story of Socialism. “For the people” slogans and propaganda, followed by complete government control and loss of property rights and civil rights. Next came starvation and imprisonment for opponents. China, Vietnam, Russia, Cuba, Cambodia, North Korea all followed this ugly path. Why any American would worship socialism is beyond reason.

  109. You are confusing socialism and communism.

  110. I would say that worship of actual socialism is extremely rare in the United States. Fear of perceived socialism, on the other hand, is fairly rampant. As is worship of unfettered capitalism.

  111. Why any American would be unable to distinguish between this and Scandinavian socialism, as well as the socialistic aspects of every other country in the free world, such as universal health care, is beyond reason.

  112. The Maduro regime is now a corrupt Narco-State. Officers of the Venezuelan army are drug trafficking with 4000 FARC in indigenous regions of Amazonas and terrorizing indigenous communities. Drug money is paying for FARC political parties in both Colombia and Venezuela. They no longer need to kidnap and hold people for ransom with the drug money pouring in! In the comments section here, I see that many people confuse "Socialism" for Social Democracy". The latter involves regulated free-market participation, where the market works for ALL members of society (Norway, France -where I live, etc.) Socialism necessarily means a planned centralised economy, without free-market participation. To see a renowned leftist describe one of the failings of Maduro, please go to youtube and look for the film: Chomsky: Leftist Latin American Governments Have Failed to Build Sustainable Economies

  113. Paris Artist: When I have gone into Deux-Maggots or Flore in past decades I have thought about the fact that all you see around Saint-Germain-des Pres these days is groups of tourists and pseudo bohemians with expensive watches and fat wallets. If you say that there is social democracy now in France you must not French television or read French news: either Le Monde or Le Monde Diplomatique. Tell that to French workers who are seeing their rights and wages decrease day by day. Mais vous etes artiste. Artiste Parisien!

  114. The French ran a narcotics state in Vietnam for many years.

  115. True, but do you know the whole story? I strongly recommend to you the book Whiteout, by Alexander Cockburn and Jeffrey St. Clair. If you really care about that issue, you should read that book and, if you have the time, read also Douglas Valentine's book, The CIA.

  116. Thank you for this moving article describing the struggle of Óscar Pérez and the dissidents who accompanied him. Along with Óscar Pérez and five other men, a pregnant woman, Lisbeth Andreina Ramirez, 26, was killed. They tried to surrender, as Hugo Chavez had done in 1992 before he was imprisoned for a coup attempt against President Carlos Andres Perez. Instead of being arrested, all seven of them were killed with a bullet to the head. Government critics said Perez's last videos published on Instagram were evidence of an extra-judicial killing or massacre that could prompt investigations by the United Nations, the International Criminal Court and other international organizations. 

  117. I'm an American & long term resident of Australia. I have met quite a few people from Venezuela who immigrated due to the current regimen. We can sit in our ivory tower debating and commenting, loosing sight of the true picture... Speak to my new neighbor from Venezuela & this becomes human.

  118. I would rather listen to the Venezuelans who, in spite of all the hardships created by a savage international attack led by Washington and its satellites, continue struggling for a government of the working class and not the oligarchs who ran Venezuela for centuries. Those who could afford to live in France, Australia, etc. will oppose any changes to their privileged position not matter how relative.

  119. Venezuela used to be such a beautiful country with people full of life, and an amazing holiday destination. Now the last thing you would want to do is land there even if it's just to refuel. It is a shame that no organization in the world seems to be able to stop this Narco-trafficking, corrupt and murdering government. There have been endless amounts of documents proving the corruption of this government yet the Laws of the World are clearly not good enough as they continue to allow innocent people to be murdered, kept oppressed and ignorant, in simple words keep their liberty from them. What is the solution for these people where everything is taken and left to become weak and poor so they are unable to fight back against the government? I'm tired of commenting on how horrible Nicolas Madura and his disgusting government is for support and voice because it is clearly not accomplishing anything. What can we do? What can the world do? On another note, it is very ignorant to compare Mr. Oscar Perez with Che Guevara. Che was a murderer and by no means a hero.

  120. Paris artist: thank you for sharing the YouTube link. “Three things cannot be long hidden: the sun, the moon, and the truth.”

  121. Were Nat Turner and John Brown terrorists or freedom fighters?

  122. Terrorists. And I am married to a John Brown decedent.

  123. Thanks for the sensible chuckle, and pardon me, but I think you mean "descendant."

  124. Oscar Perez WAS NOT a Che Guevara. El Che was an assassin shoulder to shoulder with Fidel Castro, who killed his own people for half a century. Fidel Castro and Raul Castro are responsible for the invasion of Venezuela with their clones dressed as medical doctors curing every illness with an aspirin. In exchange the Castro brothers have been paid by Chavez and Maduro with tanker loads of oil & a refinery, cash in dollar$ and MOST of Venezuela's gold reserve. Oscar Perez was no Che Guevara.

  125. I wish I could trust the NY Times and other corporate news sources to honestly analyze situations like Venezuela. I don't have enough information to figure out if the problems there are really the result of too much socialism, or if it is the 1% of Venezuela and the world attacking a government that tries to actually take care of the working poor. I'm pretty sure of a few things. Venezuela had very bad inequality under the previous government, worsened by austerity demanded by the IMF. Chavez built many schools and local clinics, and pushed power down to the local councils, and even turned abandoned factories over to worker owned cooperatives . He was very popular with the poorer Venezuelans. In the beginning of his rule, the 1%, (bankers, to oil execs, etc) went on "strike" crippling the economy, and eventually staged a violent coup, condoned (if not backed) by the Obama administration, which ended when the people demanded Chavez be returned. Obama's fracking and export of gas and oil has driven down global oil prices, which is what really wrecked the economy. The media is mostly owned by the rich and was not shut down by the government, even though they attack the administration. Since Chavez died everything has fallen apart, but most of the protesters are the rich, not the poor. Ideologues pronounce which side is evil without facts. What are the facts? We should be learning from this not using it as a propaganda tool.

  126. I suggest you read about rampant corruption and starvation in Venezuela, reported in almost all news outlets (except for those controlled by the Venezuela's government). Venezuela type communism (socialism with social control) may help the poor in the short term. But as a Thatcher once said (to paraphrase)- sooner or later you run out of other peoples' money.

  127. Thatcher? You're quoting Thatcher, who force fed hunger striking Irish nationalists! Please.

  128. I've read about the starvation, but I've also read about the Obama (not even Republican) administration's push to export U.S. oil, knowing it would cripple oil producing countries like Venezuela, not to mention Nixon making the Chilean economy "scream" for daring to elect a socialist, the U.S. installing the Shah in Iran for oil interests (resulting in the Ayatollahs), Reagan's hiring of a mercenary army IN Nicaragua, Hillary's defacto support of the coup in Honduras, etc, etc, One of the ways capitalists fight socialism is by attacking the economies of socialist countries so they can say, "look feeding, housing, and educating poor people only leads to disaster!" while the Tom Friedmans of the world blame hunger, homelessness, and undereducation in capitalist countries on the poor who don't go for retaining often enough. My plea was not for more propaganda, which you felt compelled to provide, but for far more honest coverage, not tainted with a desired outcome, but with an actual desire to get nearer the truth, I know people like Trump think the truth is whatever you say it is at any given moment, but some of us still believe there is an objective truth beyond our senses, and that the scientific method is how you keep from lying to yourself. That is why, although my heart leans towards socialism, and I have decades of evidence that our government actively attacks socialist countries, I don't automatically come to conclusions about Venezuela without convincing evidence.

  129. You can see his killing live in YouTube. He was willing to surrender. Maduro's forces just wanted them dead. A totalitarian goverment is consolidating control in order to kiddnap the future of Venezuelans for generations...

  130. I read posts from supporters of the nasty Maduro/Chavez dictatorship and I’m reminded of a quote by Jean-Francois Revel: ‘The totalitarian phenomenon is not to be understood without making an allowance for the thesis that some important part of every society consists of people who actively want tyranny: either to exercise it themselves or — much more mysteriously — to live under it.’

  131. Amen. Wonderful quote, Thank you.

  132. Explains perfectly he rise of trumpism.

  133. Earlier noted in another's response "sooner or later you run out of other peoples' money" might be appended with "and have to spend your own" which is where the world's elite may now find themselves. Time to invest in private police, army and prisons.

  134. Oh, wait, we already have those!

  135. Venezuela is an object lesson for our own nation under Trump, who shows every indication of wanting to capture the full power and credit of the U.S. under his own criminal leadership. So far, the only thing that has stopped Trump is the size of our country and the decentralized nature of its overall government. If we were a small country like Venezuela, without meaningful checks and balances, both political and structural, Trump could easily have acted in a similar fashion to Maduro of Venezuela. Thanks to our many legal heroes who have challenged Trump, our efforts to check him are not left entirely to a sadly lone and unfortunate hero like Mr. Perez and his band of brave followers.

  136. Hah! I suggest you review the assaults on our liberty by an Obama Administration that used the IRS against its political opponents, that went after journalists like Sharyl Attkisson and James Rosen (and his family), that may have corrupted the DoJ and FBI investigation of Hillary Clinton’s malfeasance, and who it appears used a dossier paid for by the Clinton campaign to spy on the Trump campaign (and other citizens) through misuse of FISA courts. The threat to liberty is not coming from the appalling Donald Trump.

  137. Huge diversion... It is the socialist ilks like Bernie Sanders, Jeremy Corbyn and Oliver Stone who promote that kind of socialist utopia in Venezuela. On the other hand, Trump is trying to get the political establishment with their corrupt and efficient government off our back.

  138. Oscar Perez was driven to his actions and death by the conscienceless forces who were dismantling his homeland. May the sacrifice of his life inspire manyl around the globe to find ways to resist those who oppose virtue, honesty and decency in our societies. May his family be consoled. May he rest in peace and honor.

  139. As a pilot, I applaud anyone who has the right stuff to take to the air with a clear mission. Power is in the air.

  140. More successes of socialism.

  141. You are confusing Authoritarianism for Some Socialism. Dictators claim many types of political ideologies (Republicanism, Communism, Nationalism, etc.). The reality is Venezuela is under a Military Dictatorship. True Socialism, works for the greater good and not for personal gains. Famous American Socialists, like Jack London, Hellen Keller, and Upton Sinclair understood this and worked to make the USA a better nation.

  142. I would suggest that the situation has nothing at all to do with socialism and much to do with corruption, greed and despotism. Proper Socialism that greatly benefits the whole population is alive and well and thriving in Scandinavian countries without corruption and despotism. Socialism is NOT communism, contrary to what so many uninformed Americans believe.

  143. Corruption and socialism are not the same thing.

  144. I am an American and lived in Venezuela for 20 years, my husband is Venezuelan and my brother in law was a high ranking National Guard officer under the Chavez regime. I left in 2008 and came to Miami. I got to meet many of the high ranking officials in government that you are reading about today and are still there. They are greediest, nastiest bunch of people you could ever imagine. They stole our businesses, hired people to extort money from us and eventually when they threatened to kidnap my children I left. Chavez started out wanting to help out the poor but it turned to trying to turn the country into a class war, poor vs wealthy class. Chavez and his people were some of the wealthiest people in the world. His daughter who is 20 years and studies or hides out in Paris, Rosie Ines, 20 year old, took photos of her ATM balance $830,000 in one bank! she posted this on instagram. How many poor people could that money of helped? Oscar Perez was not a terrorist, the terrorist and drug dealers are the Venezuelan government. Oscar Perez was fighting to free his country from this oppressive regime. The elections were rigged for state, legislative and federal levels. I lived and saw horrendous behavior and unfortunately know these awful people and what they are capable of, please help Venezuela and everyone support overthrowing this regime!

  145. He just wanted to remove the minds and thoughts of military and civilians in Venezuela to go against this tyranny once and for all. Just another tragedy in the world. I hope the good people of the world push to make this murders and assassins in Venezuelan government go away forever.

  146. He died for what he believed, can Maduro do do that when his time comes?