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Thursday 21 August 2014

Bound, bloodied and gagged: Beauty queen makes graphic stand against human rights crackdown in her country

Published 28/03/2014 | 19:02

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As deadly unrest continues to blight Venezuela, high profile figures have sought to raise awareness by posing in a series of unsettling photographs– their normally perfect, TV-ready faces smudged with dirt and sweat as they stare arrestingly into the camera lens.

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Former Miss Universe Stefanía Fernández, who trades on perfection, is the lone female campaigner and arguably the most shocking.

To raise awareness of human rights violations in the South American country and the gagging of media outlets, she wears a taut rope in her mouth, and has swapped the eyeliner that usually defines her doe eyes for blood dripping from her tear ducts.

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Former Miss Universe Stefanía Fernández. Photo: Instagram

Singer and TV host Francis Coleon, journalist Boris Izaguirre, as well as student political campaigners and athletes also lend themselves to the Your Voice is Your Power campaign.

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Singer and TV host Francis Coleon. Photo: Instagram

Daniel Bracci, the photographer behind the campaign, has sought to harness the power of social media, and has accompanied his images with the hashtag #MordazasEnVenezuela (#GaggedInVenezuela) and uploaded them to Instagram.

“This campaign started because something directly affected me, when my grandfather passed away because of the hampa (the underworld-like situation) taking place in Venezuela,” Bracci told Informe 21, a Venezeulan news outlet.

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Journalist Boris Izaguirre. Photo: Instagram

The project comes as President Nicola Maduro agreed on Thursday to enter talks with Venezuela’s opposition with the help of independent facilitators, according to South American foreign ministers.

His year-old government has been widely criticized for its tough crackdown on opponents protesting galloping inflation, rampant crime and shortages of basic goods like toilet paper and corn flour.

Weeks of clashes between protesters and loyalists have left at least 32 people dead on both sides.

In their statement, the foreign ministers call on all parties to renounce violence.

Independent News Service

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