We must remind ourselves all the time to resist the deceit of official propaganda. Seriously.
I’ll tell you how chavismo lies:
The twins are activists of opposition party Primero Justicia and were captured by State security forces. They weren’t committing a crime and the guys in uniform didn’t have an arrest warrant. So it was an arbitrary detention. Does the term ring a bell? It’s a Human Rights violation, it’s serious and quite common in the chavista era.
After that, they were kept in isolation, without access to their lawyers or their relatives for hours. Nobody knew where they were and the authorities responsible for the arrest were silent.
That’s a forceful disappearance, remember? Another severe Human Rights violation. Something that shouldn’t be allowed but that Maduro, however, has applied countless times. Sometimes these disappearances take longer, like Alcedo Mora, whose whereabouts remain unknown after he denounced corruption in PDVSA.
Once the twins were arrested, something even more serious happened: they finally managed to communicate with their people and told them they had been tortured to falsely confess whatever chavismo wanted. You know the drill: they’re paid mercenaries, they’re involved with other people, everything is someone’s plan. Back in 2014, they followed the same procedure with Marco Coello and other five detainees, to try and accuse Leopoldo López for violent events on February 12th. On that occasion, torture included beatings with bats and fire extinguishers, drowning, electricity, sleep deprivation, psychological terror, threats, you name it.
Something must be very wrong with chavismo for them to have to fabricate evidence instead of getting it through their snitches and inside men.
You know what torture is? It’s one of the worst Human Rights violations. It doesn’t expire for the rest of the lives of those involved, should their names and responsibilities be established.
But that wasn’t enough, no: Nicolás Maduro dared broadcast a recording with the statements of one of the allegedly tortured brothers (that “allegedly” could help me in court) (that’s a lie.) Maduro said that they had permission from the Prosecutor’s Office to show “evidence” of the case in public.
He sentenced the brothers on live TV based on that fabricated evidence. Vice-president El Aissami also demanded “maximum penalty” for them and dozens of other detainees. The chorus of official voices accused them of “terrorism” in unison. Their outlets paid with our taxpayer money, have been using “terrorism” to refer to protesters for days now.
Do you know what due process and presumption of innocence are? They’re crucial for justice. When they’re violated, everything is lost. That’s why chavistas are mere executioners. Remember that one of the issues in Venezuela is branch autonomy, but in this case, we witness the Executive Branch ordering the Judiciary, sentencing without trial and imposing penalties.
The twins’ court hearing took place yesterday, April 17th.
Guess how it went down.
- There’s no accusation of terrorism. They don’t use it. It’s not on the file.
- The Prosecutor’s Office points out that they didn’t know about the video and therefore couldn’t have authorized the President to use it. They demanded the judge to clarify if it had been her.
- And investigation on torture and other violations was demanded.
And judge Josephine Flores’ reaction?
[Remember, Maduro controls the judicial branch and has issues with General Prosecutor Luisa Ortega Díaz after she denounced the Supreme Tribunal of Justices’ rulings violated the constitutional order.]
- She threw the ball back at the Prosecutor’s Office, telling to find out who “authorized” the video by themselves.
- She indicted students Francisco José and Francisco Alejandro Sánchez with “public instigation and criminal association,” but not with terrorism, and ordered them to be taken to Tocorón prison.
That accusation sounds weird, but it actually means: guilty of “inducing non-compliance with the laws,” something most Venezuelans do every day, and guilty of “agreeing,” something that all twins in the world naturally do.
That’s how two students are going to one of the worst prisons in the world, in violation of dozens of laws and with a trail of abuses behind them. But what I really want you to understand with all I’ve written is that chavismo celebrates this situation like this: “we locked up two terrorists and many more will come.” In order to accomplish that, they’re willing to support torture, disappearances, arbitrary arrests and mock trials. They don’t give a damn. After establishing a dictatorship to remain in power, what could be worse?Caracas Chronicles is 100% reader-supported. Support independent Venezuelan journalism by making a donation.