SEBIN Arrests Activists Who Produced PJ Video Against Repression

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Remember that amazing video we posted yesterday noting the way Venezuelan soldiers’ families are going through the same crisis we all are? Today, the SEBIN secret police has begun rounding up activists involved in its production.

Yesterday, three people involved in the videos were taken into SEBIN custody: Marco Trejo, César Cuellar and James Mathison.

And the crackdown is ongoing.

At around 9 a.m. this morning, SEBIN operatives turned up at the San Antonio de los Altos home of Andrés Moreno Febres-Cordero. Andrés works at the Sucre Municipal government’s youth department, and was affiliated with the production of the video, apparently involved in costume design. He’s a production guy, but his politics are out in the open. 

https://twitter.com/andresfebresc/status/740275791028715520

When SEBIN turned up, he wasn’t home, but his mom, Andreyna Febres-Cordero was.

Andreyna is a commercial law professor at Universidad Metropolitana, and director of their Law school. We talked to Andrea Santacruz, a criminal law professor at UNIMET and part of the Human Rights center there -which is currently handling the case. And here’s the breakdown.

Upon arrival, the officers showed Mrs. Febres-Cordero not an arrest warrant for her son but rather, a picture of such a document on a cell phone screen. Criminal law is pretty clear on this: you have to present a formal warrant to carry out an arrest. But why would this mean anything to SEBIN?

Now the kicker: the picture was of a MILITARY arrest warrant. Andrés is a civilian, who has never had any affiliation with the Armed Forces, and yet the First Control Tribunal of the Military Circumscription of Caracas is issuing him an arrest warrant. The implication here being that, since the video features military uniforms, this would somehow constitute a military offense.

Let me be crystal clear here: this makes no legal sense whatsoever. If a civilian commits a crime, he’s cited and prosecuted by a criminal court. Period.

In any case, they showed her the picture as proof that there was a warrant, and asked her to come inside and take a look. Again, for officers to come into a person’s home they need either a warrant or the freely given consent of that person. Professor Febres-Cordero, in a show of good faith and in the name of proper justice, allowed the officers in without a warrant. Having gone inside, and verified that Andrés wasn’t home, they proceeded to ask Professor Febres-Cordero to go with them to SEBIN’s headquarters to answer questions.

Again, we hit a legal snag here. In order for a person to be compelled to make a statement, a proper subpoena must be issued. In this case, the Prosecutor’s office at our Ministerio Público would have to issue it. And here’s where Professor Febres-Cordero drew the line. She refused to go with the officers, seeing as she has no legal obligation to. And even then, she said she could offer declarations right there in her home, if they would take them.

As of noon today, officials remained in her house — for no apparent (or legal) reason.

Now the law student in me (I am, in fact, Andreyna’s student) is appalled by the evident disregard (or ignorance, or both) of the law by SEBIN’s officials. And of course, more than a little worried about Andrés and Andreyna. But the Venezuelan in me has to wonder.

How come a little video like that could go so deep under the government’s skin?

Well, if you want to push back against SEBIN’s abuse of power, what you have to do is clear: share it. Post it on all your social media. Spam your friends with it. Send it around on your school’s Whatsapp group. It’s the one recourse we have left.

Todos vivimos la crisis. Todos queremos revocarla. ¡Todos este #16S a la Av. Libertador!

A post shared by Julio Borges (@julioaborges) on

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Carlos is a Law and Liberal Arts student at Universidad Metropolitana, and a teacher of Philosophy, Entrepreneurship, and Public Speaking at Instituto Cumbres de Caracas. MetroMUNer (@MetroMUN) and VOXista (@voxistas). But really, he's just an overcompensating, failed singer-songwriter.

19 COMMENTS

  1. One way to demonstrate your disgust with these people would be to show-up in the Bronx at 6 pm on Thursday, and then bang some pots and pans in protest at Maduro’s visit to the Latino Sanctuary Church. Someone remember to alert the news media.

  2. This is an episode straight out of George Orwell. The “revolution” has finally come full circle, arresting people merely for articulating one of the Ten Chavista Commandments. “Though shalt not repress the hungry”.

  3. The people should now have that same mentality prevalent in the countries that managed to defeat communism: “either you arrest us all, or kill us all, because we rather die than keep living like this”. Then take one famous spot in Caracas, it could even be the place that guy is incarcerated, and just stay there for days. In Brazil, only when the people stayed at Paulista Avenue for days (yes, really sleeping at a blocked Paulista Avenue for almost a week), followed by a call for a general strike, is that the things started to change.

    Thousands should show up in one place and say: “ARREST US ALL! YOU WILL NEED TO BUILD 1,000 PRISONS BECAUSE MANY MORE ARE COMING!”

    Of course, easy to write all that when you are away from the turmoil, but what other option do the majority of people in Venezuela even has? Most will just see theirs kids dying from lack of medicine and food if nothing is done anyway.

  4. These Sebin crooks should all go to jail, one day. They are obviously greased by the corrupt regime. And they attack their own people. Innocent people. It’s just disgusting.

    One of the problems in Vzla is no one is held accountable, and punished for their crimes. They know they can get away with whatever. In any functional society, you have to send criminals to jail. It’s called crime deterrence.

    I understand that conditions are difficult in Vzla. But anyone working with the Sebin, under chavista orders, deserves no respect. They deserve Jail.

  5. This is incredibly sad news to hear. There is no upside to being quiet as the people who are most likely to benefit from the suppression are most likely the ones who want to ignore reality.

    I wish you all safety and security as you move forward in your fight.

    But, do not expect the USA to lift a finger. We can’t. Any attempt by us “gringos” to get involved only adds fuel to the fire that the Chavistas are using to burn down your supporters.

  6. Here is an update released by the mother of Andres Eloy Moreno Febres-Cordero:

    COMUNICADO FAMILIA FEBRES – CORDERO POR LA DETENCIÓN ARBITRARIA DE ANDRÉS MORENO FEBRES – CORDERO

    Por medio del presente queremos hacer del conocimiento público la situación de la detención del ciudadano ANDRÉS MORENO FEBRES – CORDERO y las condiciones en que ocurrió la misma.
    En primer lugar, en fecha 20 de septiembre de 2016 funcionarios del Servicio Bolivariano de Inteligencia Nacional (SEBIN) acudieron a nuestro hogar con una presunta orden para privarlo de libertad, la cual nunca nos fue presentada en papel, sino únicamente mostrada en un celular.
    ANDRÉS, el mismo día, al conocer de dicha decisión, en forma voluntaria y en un acto claro y consciente de su inocencia, se presentó ante el SEBIN a dar la cara y afrontar el ilegal procedimiento que se instauraba en su contra.

    Este procedimiento es a todas luces ilegal, entre otras, por las siguientes razones:

    – Por ser llevado ante un Tribunal Militar, a pesar de ser un civil.

    – Fue presentado por los delitos de a) Ofensa a la Fuerza Armada Nacional; b) Delito contra los deberes y el honor militar de usurpación de funciones; c) Uso Indebido de Condecoraciones, Insignias y Título Militar; y d) Delitos contra la Administración Militar. Ninguno de estos delitos fue cometido por ANDRÉS, toda vez que él ni actuó como funcionario militar, ni se hizo pasar por funcionario militar, ni en forma alguna actuó contra la Fuerza Armada Nacional Bolivariana.

    – ANDRÉS está detenido por haber colaborado en un video, contratado por la organización política Primero Justicia a una empresa privada, en ejercicio de principios democráticos constitucionalmente establecidos en nuestro país.

    Producto de este procedimiento ANDRÉS quedó ilegalmente detenido en la sede del SEBIN, desde ayer 22 de septiembre.

    Nos encontramos actualmente luchando en su defensa, por su libertad, con la plena convicción de su inocencia, confiando siempre en Dios y amparados en que Venezuela pronto retornará a ser el país de nuestros sueños.

    San Antonio de Los Altos, 23 de septiembre de 2016.

  7. Once I read a text of someone who wrote about an arrest of a person in the Third Reich Germany. In the text, now and then, the author manifested his surprise: “they gave no warrant”, “they didn’t ask permission”, “They were disrespectful”, “They abused of their force”, etc. More and more I read it, and thought: “¿What a crazy guy is this author, can’t he see the ones arresting the guy were nazis and gestapo?”

    In a similar manner, I wonder about this text. So many amazements by the author. I wish someone would explain to him what CHAVISMO means.

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