Torture in Venezuela

Your daily briefing for Friday, September 15, 2017. Translated by Javier Liendo.

The association Prepara Familia denounced yesterday the death of 11-year old Cristhian Malavé, contaminated with a bacteria from the hemodialysis unit of the the J. M. de los Ríos Children’s Hospital. He’s the fifth child to die of this cause. Others die of unattended complications and their records are blurred and their names are lost in view of a State unable to offer a response to our simplest and most urgent needs. Many children and adults live with diseases like the one that killed Cristhian; the bacteria he was infected with is survivable, but not in this version of Venezuela.

Complaints in the OAS

Tamara Suju, head of the Casla Institute, denounced in fron of the OAS the tortures and violations committed by public force officers against 289 people, protesters and citizens. There are complaints of assaults and rapes (with batons or firearms), feces force-feeding, electroshocks, beating, in most cases, and psychological torture, in all of them. The huge majority of victims are men, 79% between 18 and 30 years old. Torture in Venezuela went from selective to massive and no government representative has denied torture cases. The witness accounts of Francisco Márquez and Johanna Aguirre were nightmarish.

From the Dominican Republic

MUD issued a statement explaining that they attended the initiative of Dominican president Danilo Medina and the UN for an exploration meeting, where they established their conditions to start a formal negotiation process “with solid international support.” These conditions are: involving other countries as guarantors and witnesses of negotiations (six in total); establishing a timetable to implement agreements with guarantees and mediation, and choosing a neutral country as a base for negotiations. MUD restated its demands for any negotiation and eventual agreement, and pointed out the need to call for a referendum to approve any agreements that might result from a possible negotiation process.

“Without schedule or goals”

Former Spanish president Felipe González believes that this new attempt at dialogue between the government and the opposition won’t go anywhere because they have no schedule or goals. He explained that he concluded this because the dialogue that took place in the Dominican Republic still has the same features it had back in June 2016. “It was a dialogue without schedule or goals, which is resumed now, still without schedule or goals. That’s why it won’t go anywhere, unfortunately,” he said. González leaned toward imposing sanctions against high-ranking government officials, responsible for human rights violations and corruption. He once again demanded a call for immediate and free elections and said that the international community must not recognize the ANC. The former president is currently in Greece to attend a forum on democracy and receive the Athens Democracy Award.

Unrestricted trafficking

While Nicolás extended the decree of Economic Emergency for a tenth time, in Official Gazette N° 41.233 a decision that allows him to keep ignoring the National Assembly’s control over public spending , Venezuela appeared in the list of “Major Drug Transit or Major Illicit Drug Producing Countries for Fiscal Year 2018” for a sixth time in a row. The list currently includes 22 countries. President Trump said that Bolivia and Venezuela are the two countries in the region that have failed to show compliance to international obligations in narcotics control, accompanied by nations as prominent in the matter as Afghanistan, Nicaragua and Pakistan.

Luisa in the ICC

And while the imposed prosecutor general, Tarek William Saab, presented a balance of his first month in office, saying that the previous Prosecutor’s Office was “a cartel, a high-ranking mafia, which does not commit minor misdeeds (…) but is rather organized crime,” prosecutor general Luisa Ortega Díaz said that she’ll denounce Nicolás before the International Criminal Court, claiming that: “We’ve submitted a raft of evidence to prosecutor generals of all countries to put an end to impunity.” She added that she still has evidence she’s yet to use against the regime’s ruling clique and their closest associates, taking the chance to differentiate el finado from Nicolás, claiming that the former was respectful of human rights and had a historic vocation. Ha! Regarding drug trafficking, she said she’ll start revealing the files on these cases in due time.


Israel’s prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that Nicolás’ policies have brought tragedy on Venezuela, specifically in the economic area: “It used to be one the wealthiest countries in South America and now, it’s on the brink of misery,” he said, adding that the serious financial situation is the consequence of “a twisted ideology” that Nicolás wants to impose as he drowns people in misery.

After proclaiming on Wednesday his first Hispanic Heritage Month, and committing to guarantee human rights in Cuba and Venezuela and to support democracy in the region, President Donald Trump invited yesterday the presidents of Brazil, Colombia and Peru to a dinner next week in New York to discuss the Venezuelan crisis.

My respect to the Infobae journalist who interviewed Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, I’ve never seen someone try to avoid a couple of simple questions with such lousy arguments: “Is there democracy in Venezuela? Is there Rule of Law in Venezuela?” She took the opportunity to ask for “the same parameters” to judge both Nicolás and Mauricio Macri, saying that Argentina also has political prisoners and lacks Rule of Law. That’s shameful!

Yesterday, Panama authorized political asylum for TSJ alternate justice Milton Ladera.

Today, my oldest and best friend, my blonde sister, is leaving the country. Diaspora is also a kind of torture that chips at our most important platforms, our loved ones. I wrote this briefing out of discipline, but I’m fighting off the tears.

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.