Over 2,000 have been arrested made ever since this protest cycle began 46 days ago today. Brutal repression and systematic violation of civil rights have been amply documented, but according to today’s El Nacional’s front page story news, we’ve hit a new low.

On May 4th, after riots and lootings shook Valencia, in Carabobo state, leaving at least one dead and several wounded, 40 civilians were taken into military custody. 37 detainees have alleged during their court hearings that they were beaten by their military captors. They claim their heads were shaved, and one of them complained he received cigarette burns. But that is not the worst of it.

According to Luis Betancourt, a coordinator for Foro Penal (an NGO set up to give legal aid to victims of political repression) 15 of the detainees told a military judge that they were force-fed pasta topped with grass and excrement. They said tear gas powder was rubbed on their noses to make them open their mouths.  

37 detainees have alleged during their court hearings that they were beaten by their military captors.

This qualifies as torture and inhumane treatment, punishable crimes according to the Special Law to Prevent and Sanction Torture and Cruel, Inhumane or Degrading Treatment. (Passed in 2013 while Diosdado Cabello was speaker of the National Assembly.)

It also presents serious risks to the victims’ health: many diseases are transmitted vía fecal-oral route (viruses, parasites and also bacteria), and there are few medicines in Venezuela to treat these.

According to Foro Penal, such practices are increasing. Eight people taken into custody on May 6, after knocking down a Chávez statue in Villa del Rosario, Zulia state, accused law enforcement of rubbing itching/tear gas powder on them.

The same method was used in Sucre state, where nine people were taken into National Guard custody after taking part in an opposition march on May 8th. During their court martial, eight detainees, again, civilians, told their military judge that itching powder was rubbed on their faces and that they were heavily battered by authorities.

As part of Plan Zamora, civilians have been taken into custody by military authorities and brought to military justice, a practice deemed inconstitutional. In response, the Prosecutor’s office demanded that the 14 detainees at Villa del Rosario get tried by a civilian court

These claims are beyond sordid. They make you wonder what ever happened to the values of the military authorities who are supposed to protect and safeguard the people of our country.

The National Guard’s motto is “El Honor es su Divisa” [Honor is our currency].

It should be changed to el honor no se divisa.

Caracas Chronicles is 100% reader-supported. Support independent Venezuelan journalism by making a donation.


  1. I think we’re finally reaching the tipping point. Don’t know what awaits on the other side.

    In the last few days I’ ve heard both sides bring up the term “civil war”. Coincidence?

  2. Can’t be civil war… one side has an army, the other doesn’t. That would just be a massacre.

    Stories of torture are what really freak me out, not crime, not food scarcity, torture… if I ever get caught in a protest, I would consider throwing myself off a cliff if it would help me avoid torture. That shit is terrifying.

  3. Thank you , Astrid, for this timely piece. For those thinking of cutting deals/leniency, think: of the valiant peaceful demonstrators, force-fed feces, many dozens dying, many more tortured/maimed/wounded/jailed; and, of the general population, many eating garbage/ dying from lack of food/medicines/health care, with the majority losing 20 lbs. of their body weight in the past year, and hundreds of thousands killed by crime over the last 17 years, many more than in the Iraq/Afghanistan Wars combined….

  4. It actually shows the level of conceit the Guadia Nationalsozialistische is operating under. If they had a doubt about being prosecuted they would probably tread lightly. Instead they believe they will get away with it.

  5. If crimes are committed by attacking the military and offenders are charged under anti-terrorist laws, then they will be tried in military tribunals. I don’t know why you escualidos complain – trials by military tribunals of civilians was par for the course during the regimes of Betancourt (your Father of Democracy) and Raú Leóni – and there were no anti-terrorist laws on the statute books at that time.

    As far as human rights violations go, you need evidence, not hearsay. As far as civil rights go – well mine are violated every day by hooded / masked paid terroorist ypuths blocking roads and freeways passing through my municipality of Chacao and impeding my consitutional right to free movement.

    Repression?? WTF are you talking about? All the anti riot gear used by the GNB amd PNB is sancioned by the UN. This includes plastic bullets or “bird shot” which Maduro has now banned but that leaves water and tear gas, both completely legal within the framework on human rights, whether you like it or not.

    And don’t give me that crap that these are “peaceful demonstrations because anyone blocking roads, burnig tires, shooting ball bearings and some actually using firearms and then throwing excrement at security forces and destroying public property, burning buses and attacking maternity hospitals and schools, is tantamount to TERRORISM as defined uncer Venezuelan law.

    In the US these masked terrorists would be shot dead or have the crap beaten out of them on the street by police wielding billy clubs.

    You people are real democrats supporting terrorism against your own voters.

  6. […] tear gas powder was rubbed on their noses to make them open their mouths. » Caracas Chronicles: Detainees Tried by Military Justice were Forced to Eat Pasta with Feces. Breitbart: NGO: Venezuela’s Socialist Gov feeding its political prisoners […]


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here