Allegations of Torture

Your briefing for Sunday, April 16, 2017. Translated by Javier Liendo.

Last Friday night, the State secret police (SEBIN) searched the apartment of brothers José and Alejandro Sánchez, Primero Justicia activists arrested on April 13 in Montalbán. According to Interior minister Néstor Reverol on his Twitter, the twins: “organized terrorist actions and attacks against the peace of the nation,” adding that the brothers allegedly confessed “having participated in this week’s violence,” involving “right-wing leaders as financiers.” Reverol thinks that the arrest was useful for collecting “valuable evidence.”

Just as Pérez Jiménez had his National Security, Nicolás has the Sebin, an institution that has demonstrated its autonomy, disregarding the State and the laws and ignoring orders from the Prosecutor’s Office and the courts. Yesterday night, National Assembly Speaker Julio Borges condemned a severe Human Rights violation: officers tortured Alejandro Sánchez to force him to write confessions in which he frames PJ lawmakers in crimes of terrorism. A formal complaint for this case has been filed before the Prosecutor’s Office and the forensic police (CICPC). Borges urged Ombudsman Tarek William Saab to be coherent and to investigate the cases of young people being arrested and tortured.


This April 19th isn’t a call to sign a document in Caracas’ City Council and vice-president Tareck El Aissami made it clear that it won’t end with the resignation of this fake Vicente Emparan called Nicolás, that they’ll seek confrontation with the opposition. The fact that chavismo called for a “massive march“ with its limited recent numbers and with San Félix still so fresh, shows their arrogance, but also their blindness. Even if they force public servants to attend, there’s no reason to march for the government.

To keep reinforcing branch autonomy, El Aissami said that 117 people have been arrested, accusing them of terrorism and demanding maximum sentences for them. In his view, “a handful of right-wing leaders keep toying with the coup d’État, trying to impose terrorism as way to deal with conflict,” claiming there are “small pockets of violence,” a scale inconsistent with the magnitude of his accusation. In any case, he announced a march for independence on April 19th with three warnings: “it’s not a date for those Venezuelans” (the opposition); “if the opposition is going to do something, they must know that chavismo’s going to be on the street” and that they will force these (terrorist and criminal) right-wingers back into the constitutional path. Perhaps El Aissami forgot that the government that would declare independence was established a year after April 19th, 1810.

Protests morph in Venezuela

Opposition lawmakers called the entire country to set up marches protesting the dictatorship. According to AN first vice-president Freddy Guevara: “The regime is trembling because they’re seeing political parties and the people standing united. They’ve tried to demobilize, thinking that we’ll call off street protests if they announce gubernatorial elections. That would be an accomplishment, no doubt, but the self-coup d’État is still ongoing. In order for protests to end, the Constitution must be fully restored, expired elections must take place, the AN must get its authority back, political prisoners must be released and a humanitarian channel must be opened.” Guevara said it was a lie that the opposition met with the government to negotiate a truce in protests in exchange for gubernatorial elections, adding that there have been no formal communications with chavista leaders since November. Delsa Solórzano condemned the attacks against journalists and citizens during protests.

In a Ralph Lauren sweater

Yesterday, Nicolás tried to reinterpret the conflict we’re experiencing, imposing a cadena to show a work meeting in Miraflores, with more soldiers than civilians, so genuinely socialist that he was wearing a Ralph Lauren sweater. He repeated El Aissami’s story of how people traveling during the holidays was evidence of Venezuelans’ great purchasing power, an unnecessary mockery, when we have the worst purchasing power of the last 20 years, but he did it in order to announce that he’ll keep Holy Week security operatives in place until April 19th, which means that it’ll be much harder to reach Caracas on Wednesday.

Once again he dubbed the opposition the “antichrist” and all accusations against the government’s repression and violence, he blamed on “the right” and international press that “misrepresents our country everywhere all the time.” He claimed that he’ll present evidence about terrorist plans and claimed that chavismo understands Jesus Christ even in his martyrdom, because they’re willing “to be martyrs for our country.” It was moving of him to demand a halt to hatred and confrontation while the State channel, VTV, promoted selective harassment, claiming that “Capriles Radonski keeps dealing in terrorism.” He applauded himself for his four years in power, even though he’s governed three of them with special powers. Read Mayela Armas’s article on Crónic Uno.


None-budsman Tarek William Saab dedicated eight flamboyantly written tweets to the Sánchez brothers. None of the tweets is a valid response to complaints of torture, he merely claimed to have checked the brothers’ legal and physical status and confirmed that they were held in CICPC’s headquarters. According to Tarek, the brothers met their father, José Francisco Sánchez, in the presence of Prosecutor 23 of the national jurisdiction, Prosecutor 106 of Caracas’ metropolitan area and his lawyer Joel García; that Court 10 of Control is in charge of their case and the hearing is scheduled for next Monday, April 17th. He said he’ll remain vigilant for all the recent cases —without distinctions— “to preserve Human Rights as enshrined in the Constitution,” but he didn’t answer for the torture. Weird, eh?

Naky Soto

Naky gets called Naibet at home and at the bank. She coordinates training programs for an NGO. She collects moments and turns them into words. She has more stories than freckles.