The devices have been dubbed “Puputov cocktails” on social media, and they are becoming the trending weapon at anti-government protests in Venezuela. That is pronounced “poo-poo-tov,” and as the name indicates, they are nothing more and nothing less than bombs made with feces.
This low-tech weapon is now being used by protesters facing riot officers from the National Guard and the Bolivarian National Police on the streets of a country in the grip of social, political and economic upheaval. The next protest is scheduled for Wednesday, and posters are calling it “La Marcha de la Mierda,” literally the Shit March.
The first recorded use of excrement bombs was last weekend at a skirmish in Los Teques, the capital of Miranda state, just a few kilometers out of Caracas. According to an account that soon went viral, around a dozen National Guard officers were pelted with excrement. Before moving out again, several members of this militarized police force were allegedly so disgusted that they vomited.
Whether accurate or not, the story served to fuel interest in Puputov cocktails, with many online users exchanging “recipes” for preparing them. Although it takes little more than water, human waste and a glass container, messages containing precise, step-by-step instructions are available on WhatsApp.
Before the dung bombs, there were paint bombs meant to block the view of riot police vehicles
By Monday, dung bombs were reportedly being used in the cities of San Cristóbal, Mérida, Valencia and Caracas on a day when the opposition had called marches across the country to protest President Nicolás Maduro’s plans for a Constituent Assembly that would bypass the democratically elected legislative body.
A shortage of resources and the ferocity displayed by security forces tasked with breaking up demonstrations have forced protesters to come up with creative new forms of self-defense. Thirty-seven people have died and hundreds more have been injured ever since the opposition called people to the streets on March 30 to protest the government’s slide into a “self-coup.”
Before the dung bombs, there were paint bombs meant to block the view of riot police vehicles. People are also learning to make shields to protect themselves from tear gas, using chipboard and following instructions available on social media.
Government spokespeople insist that the front lines of the anti-government protests are filled with paid mercenaries who carry real firearms. The regime claims that several deaths widely attributed to tear gas bomb impacts were actually caused by shots from homemade weapons that use ball bearings as projectiles.
English version by Susana Urra.