How could you kill a child?

Daniel Tachira

Daniel is outraged. He’s exhausted, sad, shocked.
He does not weigh the consequences and he takes off his shirt. With his hands, he takes some of Kluivert Roa’s blood – that was left in the street – and smears it on his chest. He goes to the Bolivarian National Police line and asks the question that we, 30 million Venezuelans, are asking today: «How could you kill a 14 year old child?»

Daniel flooded social networking with that image. Many got confused and thought he was Kluivert’s brother. He is not his genetic brother, but Daniel calls him «my Venezuelan brother.»

I believe that on February 24, we all became Kluivert’s family. We all became his mom, his dad, his brother or his scout partner. But Daniel was there when Kluivert was assassinated… and he is not afraid to tell what he witnessed.

This is our conversation, on the evening of the same day, February 24th, 2015:

Daniel: «Since the morning hours, there was a demonstration as usual. This time, the Catholic University of Táchira took to the streets in protest, for what we normally protest every day: scarcity, criminality and many other things.

Suddenly, there is a thrust by the Bolivarian National Police. Kluivert was leaving his school – the Agustín Codazzi, located a few blocks from the Catholic University – and he was heading home. He was not involved in the protest, he was just passing by that area because it was his normal way home.

When the onslaught comes, Kluivert does not know what to do and he hides under a car. At this moment, he is detected by an official of the Bolivarian National Police, who pulls him out from under the car where he was hiding, gives him a blow on the head and shoots him. The boy was killed instantly and the policeman fled immediately after having shot him.»

Andreina: Just to clarify, confirm and reconfirm: You saw when the officer of the Bolivarian National Police shot 14-year old Kluivert Roa in the head?

Daniel: «Yes, ma’am. I confirm.»

Andreina: Did you see it with your own eyes? You’re not making things up. Nobody told you …

Daniel: «No, nobody is making it up. Nobody told me. I was right there. Also, there are all the videos and the companions at the Catholic University of Táchira that can re-affirm the information I’m giving you. »

Andreina: Just today we heard the testimony of Ramón Cabeza, who is the Chief of Public Safety of the Governorate of Tachira. And he somehow suggested that the young Kluivert Roa had taken refuge under a car and was hit by a random bullet. How can these two very different versions be evaluated… yours and his?

Daniel: «For the state, there will always be an excuse to say that nobody is guilty. There will always be a reason to justify something, a reason by which they wash their hands from their crimes. I do not think a random shot might reach the head, point blank, and be able to cross the boy’s head and his brains get scattered in the street. To me, it does not appear like a random bullet»

Andreína: What happened next? What did the officer who shot him do? Was there an attempted lynching? What happened next?

Daniel: «Immediately after shooting him, the policeman fled running in the nearest street, towards the governor’s residence street. At that time, a large number of us ran after him.

The officer got on a partner’s motorcycle while another policeman, trying to disperse the entire demonstration, used a hand-held tear gas canister. And then the shooting policeman was taken to the residence of the State Governor.

At that time, I decide to take my hood off, leave the stones aside and go directly to the Governor’s residence, where there was a line of the Bolivarian National Police. I go with Roa‘s blood, that I grabbed at the place where he fell, on my hands and on my chest. And I kneel before them. No, not before them… before Venezuela, demanding that someone comes out to speak, to talk in order to stop this.»

Daniel Tachira 2

Andreína: What did you tell the officials?

Daniel: «Look, I … in the first instance, I expressed to them my pain, all my anger, all my shame, reminding them that this was a 14 year old boy, he was a teenager that had a lot to live for, a boy who may have been their son, their cousin, their brother.

That led many officials to shed a few tears. At the end of the day, we are all human…

I demanded them to send someone to talk and find out what to do next because the death of that boy should not go unpunished. And yes, three hours later, a representative of the government of Táchira came out to talk to us.»

 Andreína: Do you think that the death of that 14 year old boy can trigger a social explosion in Venezuela?

Daniel: «Today, February 24th, the history of Venezuela has changed. Because today it was no longer one more student assassinated, today it was no longer one more offender murdered. Today a 14 year old boy was assassinated, a boy who had a million dreams ahead.

Yes, I do think that today can trigger a social explosion. Unfortunately, Venezuela must prepare for a social explosion that will come soon. Very soon.”

 Andreína: What is your message for President Nicolas Maduro?

Daniel: «President Maduro: resign. It is no secret to anyone that the position of the presidency was too big for him. That no improvement can be seen in this country and that every day, the situation in Venezuela is getting much worse.

To me, a person is more valuable when he is able to admit his mistakes and say «I put my position at your disposal». I would value him far more than now that he keeps damaging a country with lies, with so much vulgarity and baseless arguments. My message is: Mr. Nicolas Maduro, resign, please.»

 Daniel Tachira 3

Interview by Andreina Flores.
Caracas –
San Cristobal. Venezuela
February 24, 2015

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