Testimonies 2017

“I want the press out of here in five minutes!”

Reinaldo Riobueno

“Shoot the guy in the white sweater,” the Bolivarian National Guard superior ordered from the tank on the Francisco Fajardo Highway.

Reinaldo saw the cameramen and photographers that were covering the police crackdown and noticed that he was the only one wearing a white sweater. At one thirty, fifteen minutes later and no more that twenty meters away, they carried out the order. They shot him.

This is the fourth tear gas bomb that has hit Reinaldo, but it was the one that broke his leg while he was doing his job: taking photographs.

His parents had felt happier since Reinaldo Riobueno, a 24-year old Engineering and Telecommunications student from the Andrés Bello Catholic University, stopped going to the protests, and studied to become a photographer from Unión Radio, decked out with a bulletproof vest, helmet, and ID card.

But on May 3, the National Guard attacked the media directly.

“I want the media out of here in five minutes!,” went the cry.

Two photographers stayed to take care of him. Sat on a stone in unbearable pain, he tried to call for
someone to come and get him. They took their masks off and the police started shooting again.

They made him walk with his broken leg. They managed to negotiate, and a motorbike came to pick up him and take him to the Salud Chacao clinic. Shortly after, a couple more journalists arrived with similar
leg injuries.

His broken leg didn’t make Reinaldo cry, but the frustration was another matter. He’s ready to hit the streets again, but he’s got to have an operation. The doctors are going to put a titanium plate in his leg and he has to rest for ten weeks.

For now, his leg is in a cast. He tells his eight-year-old brother that it’s to make him look like a mummy.

Reinaldo Riobueno

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