Neomar Lander’s struggle continues in Venezuela

Nancy Armas said she watches a video of her grandson Neomar Lander every day. 

The 17-year-old protester was wearing a white helmet to face the Venezuelan riot police officers. He wrote "The Resistence" on the side. He had a gas mask and used a T-shirt to cover his face. 

"I don't want to leave Venezuela. This is my country. I was born here and I am fighting for it," Lander said in the video. "The fight of a few is worth the future of many."

Lander's words echoed all the way to South Florida. He died during a June 7 protest in Caracas' municipality of Chacao. A video shot from above shows his body on the ground as a police officer on a motorcycle fires a tear gas canister.

There are conflicted statements about the cause of death. Several witnesses said they saw a police officer fire right before Lander collapsed. His mother, Zugeimar Armas, said the friends who were with him are convinced that the security forces are to blame for his death. 

William Tarek Saab, the national ombudsman, announced a post-mortem investigation revealed a homemade mortar exploded in his hands and not a tear-gas canister as witnesses alleged. The case was with the chief prosecutor's office. 

Lander suffered "two broken ribs, an exploded left lung with internal bleeding and a burn on his forearm." The paramedic who treated him confirmed his left lung exploded. 

The street clashes began after riot police officers faced a peaceful march with water cannons, tear gas canisters and tanks in April. The march was meant to protest the Supreme Court's decision to take power away from Parliament, which Democrats control.

The justices, socialists loyal to the government, later reversed their decision, but the protests continued amid government repression, and food and medicine shortages. Students and young unemployed professionals moved to the front lines. 

For nearly four  months, student protesters have been facing security forces with shields and Molotov cocktails. Some wear tear masks. They are demanding that President Nicolas Maduro step down.

Some of the protesters who were setting up roadblocks on Wednesday in Caracas view Lander and others who have died during the street protests as an inspiration. In Lander's bedroom, his mother keeps the many drawings and poems that she has received from those who have pledged to continue his fight. 


YouTube video in Spanish

This BBSNews article was syndicated from News | WPLG, and written by News | WPLG. Read the original article here.

This BBSNews article originally appeared on News | WPLG.