Photo: CanalSur


On Wednesday the Carabobo Police headquarters was the setting of another mass prisoner death event. There are still no official statements on the matter, the national public media system hasn’t mentioned it and 13 hours after the incident, governor Rafael Lavaca wrote on Twitter about the start of a “serious” investigation. The unofficial death toll surpasses 70 people and over 30 others were wounded. The identities of the deceased remain unknown. NGOs specialized in penitentiary issues: Venezuelan Observatory of Prisons (OVP) and Una Ventana a la Libertad (UVL) have issued reports that may help in understanding such a huge amount of people dead and wounded in a preventive detention facility: by 2017, 90% of civilian preventive detention facilities were experiencing a 250.86% overcrowding rate. The prisoners’ relatives went to the police command to request information but they got no answers, which caused a protest dispersed with tear gas. The police officers also attacked several journalists who were covering the incident. OVP and UVL spokespeople held the Prisons Ministry and its minister Iris Varela responsible for this massacre, the latest of a sad and terrible trend which includes the massacres at Uribana prison in 2013 and 2014. Criminal lawyer Luis Izquiel wrote: “If the unofficial death toll of 80 casualties is confirmed, the PoliCarabobo incident would rank among the 5 worst massacres in Venezuela’s prison history.”

At 11:00 p.m. last night, imposed prosecutor general Tarek William Saab used Twitter to announce the appointment of four prosecutors to investigate the fire at Policarabobo headquarters in depth; to say that 66 men died along with two women “who were there as visitors” and report that they’ve practiced autopsies and the bodies were handed over to their families. Efficiency or nothing, Saab.

Switzerland sheds its neutrality

Yesterday, the Swiss Federal Council imposed sanctions against Venezuela and against seven high-ranking government officials for “human rights violations and the decline of the rule of law and democratic institutions,” which join the sanctions imposed by the European Union. In their statement, they confess being seriously concerned “by the repeated violations of individual freedoms in Venezuela, where the principle of separation of powers is severely undermined and the process in view of the forthcoming elections suffers from a serious lack of legitimacy.” The Federal Council froze the assets of the seven high-ranking officials and banned them from entering the country. They also froze the assets of companies and institutions; they banned the sale, supply, export and transport to Venezuela, of weapons and assets that could be used for repression, as well as any equipments that could be used to monitor and intercept phone and internet communications. The sanctions are effective immediately. Switzerland’s sanctions are crucial due to the country’s financial relevance. The fact that they’re shedding their neutrality evidences Europe’s stance against the Venezuelan government.

Officials sanctioned and why

Switzerland chose to explain the reasons to sanction each official:

  • Interior minister Néstor Reverol, because he’s “responsible for serious human rights violations and repression of the democratic opposition in Venezuela, including the prohibition and repression of political demonstrations.”
  • SEBIN chief Gustavo González López, because he’s “responsible for serious human rights violations (including arbitrary detention, inhuman and degrading treatment, and torture) and repression of civil society and the democratic opposition in Venezuela.”
  • CNE chairwoman Tibisay Lucena, because “her actions and policies have undermined democracy and the rule of law,” including facilitating the establishment of the ANC and failing to ensure the autonomy of the Electoral Branch.
  • Supreme Tribunal chief justice Maikel Moreno, because he “has supported and facilitated the government’s actions and policies which have undermined democracy (…) and is responsible for actions and statements that have usurped the authority of the National Assembly.”
  • ANC-imposed prosecutor general Tarek William Saab, because he “has undermined democracy and the rule of law (…) by publicly supporting actions against opponents of the Government.”
  • PSUV vice-president Diosdado Cabello, because he’s “Involved in undermining democracy and the rule of law (…) including by using the media to publicly attack and threaten political opposition, other media and civil society.”
  • Former National Guard commander Antonio Benavides Torres, because he’s “Involved in repression of civil society and democratic opposition in Venezuela, and responsible for serious human rights violations committed by the Bolivarian National Guard under his command.”

Parliamentary justice

With 57 votes in favor and the abstention of Cuba, the World Inter Parliamentary Union (IPU) approved the report made by that instance’s Human Rights Committee about the Venezuelan case. Lawmaker Delsa Solórzano explained that with the approval of this report, protective measures were issued for the 57 Venezuelan legislators who have been confirmed as victims of torture, intimidation, illegal and arbitrary arrests, violations against freedom of thought and speech, violations against freedom of association, violations against the freedom to move through their country, violations against parliamentary immunity and the government’s obstruction of the exercise of parliamentary duties. The resolution includes the commitment to work so that Venezuela can hold a free and democratic electoral process and also makes a special mention to the case of lawmaker Gilber Caro. The IPU approved sending an observation mission to the country. Meanwhile, Puerto Rico and MUD clarified that the offer made by this nation is not meant to facilitate dialogue with the government but with friendly nations that wish to cooperate for the recovery of democracy.

Abroad

  • U.S. State Department official Kevin Sullivan said that the American delegation in the Summit of the Americas will be large, adding that Venezuela’s situation will be a central matter and that the rest of their agent includes the fight against corruption and expanding commercial relations with the region. By the way, the new Peruvian president Martín Vizcarra confirmed that Nicolás is still banned.
  • The Kremlin confirmed president Vladimir Putin’s willingness to meet with Donald Trump, despite tensions caused by the poisoning of former spy Sergei Skirapl and his daughter. Russia restated that they will retaliate for the expulsion of over a hundred of their diplomats from U.S. soil, and that the retaliation will come at the right time.
  • Italian Foreign minister Angelino Alfano said that his country will donate 500,000 euros to the UN Refugee Agency to attend Venezuelans crossing the borders to Brazil and Colombia. Yesterday, the UN Refugee Agency and the Brazilian government opened a new shelter for Venezuelan families who migrated to Brazilian territory, calling it “a safe and dignified space.”
  • Canadian Foreign minister Chrystia Freeland and Employment minister Patty Hajdu released a statement backing the decision of ILO’s Administration Council to create a committee to investigate the violation of workplace regulations in Venezuela, urging the government to fulfill its obligations and saying that they’ll continue to work “to apply pressure on the anti-democratic Maduro regime and restore the rights of the Venezuelan people,” remarking that “Canadians will not stand by as the Maduro regime robs its people of their fundamental democratic and human rights, and denies them assistance to meet basic humanitarian needs.”
  • The Chilean justice found Sebastián Dávalos, son of former Chilean president Bachelet, guilty of tax fraud.

A year ago, the TSJ issued a couple of rulings against the National Assembly that sparked mass opposition protests and with them, the disproportionate repression that left us a sad count of citizens dead, wounded and arrested, defining a new stage for the dictatorship. Yesterday, with an unanswered prison massacre, Nicolás decided to prioritize the message for the Holy Week, declaring his love for llanero music and rock, proving once again that he keeps his sense of opportunity in the same pocket where he keeps his decency, if he ever had any.

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25 COMMENTS

  1. “Switzerland chose to explain the reasons to sanction each official:

    CNE chairwoman Tibisay Lucena, because “her actions and policies have undermined democracy and the rule of law,” including facilitating the establishment of the ANC and failing to ensure the autonomy of the Electoral Branch.”

    So even that fat cunt Tibisay has assets tucked away in Switzerland? It must be very profitable bending the pueblo over the table and going in dry. I blame her for this cluster fuck on a level surpassed by only El Galatico, Maduro, and Godgiven.

  2. Just 10 years ago I remember learning about the new fad for the monied to stash their wealth in Switzerland. It seemed another Caraqueno extravagance like fake-boob craze and the Johnny Walker 18 years en la playa.

    I sure hope the spawn of the Chavistas enjoying the spoils of their parents outside of Venezuela have their source for cash cut. As for those that were not named, I wish them sleepless nights.

    • “I sure hope the spawn of the Chavistas enjoying the spoils of their parents outside of Venezuela have their source for cash cut. As for those that were not named, I wish them sleepless nights.”

      I’d sure love to see CC “chronicle” some of the traceable stolen money parked outside the country in the form of bank accounts, property, companies, etc.

    • Stashing illegal money in Switzerland was more of a 1980s/90s thing. These days the swiss gov’t doesn’t turn such a blind eye mainly because they US won’t allow it.

      These days thugs choose more obscure places like tiny islands in the Carribean etc.

      Besides if they did have any money in Switzerland i’m sure they got it out years ago, this is all really just symbolic.

  3. I’d sure love to see CC “chronicle” some of the traceable stolen money parked outside the country in the form of bank accounts, property, companies, etc.
    ——–

    I’ve been rooting for that for ages. Investigative journalism that specifically lists the details of what, by who, and all the rest. Reporting is amusing. But the real journalistic work requires digging down to specifics.

    • Absolutely Juan Largo, and can there be any doubt that CC is on the receiving end of all kinds of information from well up the line in chavismo? Sure, some of it could be false leads, etc, or geared to trying to get a rival chavista out of the way, but that’s where an organization like CC could really shine. They’ve got the reputation. Why not put it to good use exposing some of this?

      • There is a ton of spanish language stuff on this already. But very little in English, ZERO. It is as easy as developing partnerships with other blogs and translating their posts/memes/videos in English.

        Most gringos not familiar with Venezuela cannot grasp the concept of the Boliburgues, Enchufados or Bolichicos, or even poetas concept of Kleptozuela (spot on). Stuff like that really puts this shit into context. And hey, what is going on in Venezuela, is just a franchise from Cuba who have their tenticles all over Latin America and almost a century of experience impovershing a country while generals, politicians, narcos and enchufados live in luxury.

        It is time for douchebag gringos with Che Guevara tshirts on college campuses (who fight for “social justice and equality”) to wake the f up. Wish they would come and spend Semana Santa here now. Hey Obama, Danny Glover, Sean Penn, open invitation to come to Venetur Margarita and try to enjoy a vacation here right now…time to take a dose of your own medicine.

  4. I dont remember a latam regime which has been the subject of such universal measures of condemnation as the current Maduro regime ……, only the most thugish regimes of the world show them any tolerance , they are pariahs , maybe even more despised and attacked than the Cuban regime ever was , the chinese are clearly keeping their distance , the russians are frying too many fish to try and give them any real help , meantime the country is collapsing on all fronts , they are as impopular as any regime ever was in Venezuela , even Marcos Perez Jimenes was more popular , the recent measures and statements from the Swiss are the cherry on top of the cake of Sh…t that they are being offered as recognition of their utter lack of legitimacy….

    • Russia and Cuba. The failed, rusting detritus of a long-ago cold war, and these are the role-models for Venezuela. As the saying goes, you can’t make this stuff up.

      • Lorenzo Russia did something Venezuelan didnt do , In fact Venezuela was the only oil country that didnt do , it created during the good times reserves to help it pay its way during the low price times , also they didnt destroy their oil industry as Venezuelan govt has done so they are not all that bad …Cuba despite its tiff with the US Govt never lost much of its ‘revolutionary cuteness’ and remained friendly with Canada and Western European countries . It retained some of its early ideological vedette credentials which is not the case in Venezuela, we are reknowned as a true basket case , as the country with the worst govt ever !! The neutral swiss entering the fray on the side which condems the Venezuelan regime is proof that we have gone further in our pariah status than any latam nation and very few in the world. For one thing we had the resources to remain at least a normal country but the excesses were so great that we have become the biggest Sh..t hole ever……!! so lets not compare ourselves to Cuba or Russia !!

  5. Further to that conversation Juan Largo, I don’t know how many chavistas read this site, but I bet that number would increase exponentially if CC started casting some sunlight on where the stolen money is hidden around the world, who’s in charge of it, and an idea of the amounts at play.

    I’m betting law enforcement would pay attention as well.

    My experience in this country is that everyone knows just about everything that’s going on with those immediately around them, and many of them know just about everthying that’s going on with many others who are not immediate family. For its size, this is the “smallest” country I’ve ever seen. There are no secrets in Venezuela. He who has money brags about it, constantly.

    Come on CC, why not? Wanna make a difference? As I’ve said before, hard for daddy to keep his mind on screwing the populace when the wife and kids are screaming from abroad that they suddenly don’t have access to the checking account.

    • Why won’t CC report any of this? Maybe because the list would include muddy figures who are complicit w/ the dictatorship and they won’t criticize any oppo by name… curious?

  6. Rubiocito, my sense of this is that it wouldn’t be that hard to get started. There could be a list of Chavistas (politicos, military, et al) offered on this site. Click on a name and be directed to a page for a given person where people can submit whatever they know about X, Y, or Z. That goes into a data bank where someone from CC could vet the submissions and start working up an intel doc that listed the specifics on the person targeted. If I know nothing else about Venezuela it’s the mania for chisme, or gossip. Once the program got some little traction, I can imagine all kinds of documents and photos and leaked and damming material would start being submitted from many sources, especially WITHIN the military and Chavismo. Many have grudges these days and they only need a place to air them out. Conveniently leaking secrets is an old art form confirming what Franklin said long ago: Three can keep a secret if two of them are dead.

    • A fine idea indeed, Juan Largo. True investigative journalism and, as Quico has said before, CC’s job is to chronicle what’s going on in the country.

      Chronicle this, Quico.

  7. “The unofficial death toll surpasses 70 people and over 30 others were wounded. ”

    And who really feels sorry for them? Good riddance, probably, in most cases, not all. Heck, I dunno if I feel sorry for the remaining 28 million prisoners in Kleptozuela, many of which voted for Chavez AND Masburro repeatedly, many who are complicit, corrupt, enchufados or pathetic leeches.. Gotta admit one often thinks “que se pudran en su propia mierda, y que la gocen”. Then again, it’s not their entirely their fault to be so utterly ignorant, under-educated, devoid of moral values, and highly corruptible. I often blame the previous MUDs for that.

    • This was a police detention center. The people there haven’t been tried or convicted. Some of them could be detained protestors, for all we know.

  8. “If the unofficial death toll of 80 casualties is confirmed, the PoliCarabobo incident would rank among the 5 worst massacres in Venezuela’s prison history.”

    Colombia, Brazil and the rest of the world got lucky Klepto-Cubazuela didn’t imitate its master Cuba in expelling their undesirable criminals and assassins from their prisons en masse, as Fidel did with the infamous “Marielitos” refugee waves to Miami a few decades ago. Guess the lovely Iris Varela and other thugs figured they would be repelled this time around.. Instead, they get to stay “in jail” with pools, bolas criollas, drugs, whores and countless other amenities.

    • Poeta, man, you should try to be a consultant for this narco klepto regime.

      I would love to see them try to do a boat lift to El Imperio–full of malandros on pineros (small fishing boats)- and then run out of gas somewhere between Los Roques and Jamaica. And of course they forget to bring enough water or food provisions. You should talk to Chucky Varela that they need to commandeer pineros from the fishermen (that way they piss off the fisherment and the scumbag GNB will be navigating the pineros) and tell Chucky that this “will be a great way to stick it to the gringos like Fidel did” (though doomed to failure from the start, but blind ideologues like her would eat this shit up).

      But hey, now this narco regime can only feed the thugs once a day and, consequently, probably more mutinies are on the way…led by the prawns.

      Only a complete social implosion on all fronts (even scumbags who are better off dead) will bring this regime to an end.

  9. “By the way, the new Peruvian president Martín Vizcarra confirmed that Nicolás is still banned”.

    ‘Who cares’, says Cabello and the Sinister Rodriguez brothers: “El Pueblo no sabe ni lo que es es la Cumbre De Las Americas, NPI !! La unica ‘cumbre’ que conocen es cuando les mandamos un Clap con leche chimba”.

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