Photo: League of Justice

A university student held in custody for six months and tortured with electric shocks applied directly to his testicles, another one brutally beaten with a baseball bat and raped by National Guard (GNB) officers, teenagers held in prison, isolated from their families for planning to rally against the government in social networks, people taken out of their homes, shot dead in the middle of the street by police officers. These are just some of the stories retrieved by the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (UNHCHR) after interviewing 150 people and reviewing over 200 documents, proving the Venezuelan regime’s despise for human rights.

The investigation, presented in a categorical 71-page report (available in Spanish and English), concludes that Nicolás Maduro’s regime systematically violates human rights as part of a complex apparatus to attack dissidents. After outlining the reasons that brought Venezuela to this point, the UNHCHR lists a series of bone-chilling findings.

The investigation, presented in a categorical 71-page report, concludes that Nicolás Maduro’s regime systematically violates human rights.

Security forces directly under the supervision of the Venezuelan State, the report reads, were responsible of at least 46 deaths during the 2017 protest cycle, but one year later only one of them is on trial, with investigations dramatically slowing down since Tarek William Saab was named Prosecutor General last August. According to families interviewed by the UNHCHR, the Prosecutor’s office blatantly ignores key evidence, like security camera records proving the disproportionate use of force by state institutions. In the rare cases where authorities actually emit an arrest warrant, the GNB and other repressive forces refuse to accept them, halting investigations. Accused officers are just transferred to another state or “kept in custody” in military or police facilities with no restrictions at all.

Most of the families interviewed by the UNHCHR had been contacted by members of the Truth Commission named by the National Constituent Assembly last year, a body denounced to “lack operational independence (…) whose members are not recognised by many sectors of the society (…) and without the transparency needed to do its job.” Some families were offered money by the commission, in retribution for the murder of their relatives.  All families refused.

According to families interviewed by the UNHCHR, the Prosecutor’s office blatantly ignores key evidence.

The report also touches on something rarely spoken of: Murders in the context of security operatives unrelated to protests.

Homicides rates in Venezuela rose from 73 deaths per 100,000 inhabitants in 2012, to 89 in 2017, and with it, so did extrajudicial executions, from 384 in 2012, to 2,379 in 2016 and 1,848 in the first six months of 2017. Most of these executions were carried out in the context of Operación Liberación del Pueblo (OLP for its Spanish acronym), the crime-fighting program launched by the government in 2015. OLPs involve the coordinated action of civilian security bodies like the National Police or SEBIN, with units from the GNB and the Military Counterintelligence Division, including an average of 500 officers per activity and the use of armored vehicles, drones and high-caliber firearms.

“At 4:00 a.m. in March, 2018, some 50 police agents broke into our house. They were all in black and wore a skull symbol on their jackets. They woke my 23-year-old grandson up, tied his hands with plastic ropes and took him. They told us to go to the police headquarters, but a few minutes later, we heard two gunshots. When we got to the street, the police officers were forming a circle around him, they threatened us and ordered us to get back inside. Later, the coroner told me my grandson was killed by two shots to his chest after being heavily beaten in the head.”

Stories like that are all over the UNHCHR’s report. In response to national and international critics, Maduro relaunched the program in 2017, adding the word humanistic to its name, obviously making it less horrible.

Homicides rates in Venezuela rose from 73 deaths per 100,000 inhabitants in 2012, to 89 in 2017, and with it, so did extrajudicial executions.

The Junquito Massacre, where Óscar Pérez and his team were killed in January, 2018, is also mentioned. The evidence gathered by the UNHCHR indicates that although the rebel group had attempted to surrender, state agents received orders of executing them, confirming what Pérez’ infamous videos suggested.

The illegal detention of 59 Colombian citizens in 2016, all held inside a single cell after being accused by Maduro himself of belonging to a paramilitary group, and the execution of 39 disarmed inmates in a prison in Amazonas, 2017, are also exposed.

Officers involved in these cases were never properly investigated.

There’s also room for regular attacks against freedom of speech and harassment to NGOs and dissidence in general. The approval of the Law Against Hate,” a document deemed “vague and discretional” with the sole objective of “imposing self-censorship,”  and the detention of Gregory Hinds, director of the Fundación Embajadores Comunitarios earlier this year, are shown as examples of this policy.

Finally, the document also addresses the government’s responsibility in the destruction of the health network and the increasingly harder access to food, unmasking the fraud that the Barrio Adentro program ended up being, the direct relation between the nationalization policies taken by Chávez’ administration and the generalised scarcity of food, and the CLAP bags’ true nature as a mechanism of social control.

There’s also room for regular attacks against freedom of speech and harassment to NGOs and dissidence in general.

It also numbers a series a recommendations that will surely be completely ignored by the government.

Upon the report’s publication, Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, declared that “Given that the state appears neither able nor willing to prosecute serious human rights violations, there is also a strong case to be made for deeper involvement by the International Criminal Court”, following the trail set a few weeks ago by the OAS.

There’s no doubt that Maduro’s tyrannical rule on Venezuela consolidates with every minute, but as it does, it continues to destroy whatever international legitimacy it once had. The clarity with which this document describes Maduro and his cronies as human right abusers is uncommon for a United Nations’ report and can’t be taken lightly.

This won’t take Maduro out of Miraflores, but it’ll certainly be waiting for him when he leaves power, and that’s already a big win.

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25 COMMENTS

  1. Venezuela is a member of the UN Human Rights Council, which makes this report somewhat surprising, at least for me.

  2. Not Venezuela , it targets the entry of those Venezuelans who belong to certain government agencies that are considered guilty of certain civil rights violations ……..!! It doesnt apply to regular travelers who have no connection to the said agencies ……known to few is that the US govt keeps detailed files on people who have traveled to the US in the past ……., there are thousands of Venezuelans whose backgrounds have been vetted by US govt for years …….!!

    • I think you got it wrong.

      The court case allows the President to institute a total ban against certain countries if he so decides to implement that. That was the whole point of it.

      There has never been an issue, a legal argument with sanctioning certain state officials from certain countries.

      • Ira –
        Maybe this decision confirms that the executive branch has the authority to ban all travelers coming from a given country. I have not read the decision. But, there is no global ban on all travelers from Venezuela. Just targeted individuals. Just like the EU has done. For now, Delcy and Cilia will have to do their shopping somewhere other than Miami or Paris or Milan. I suspect this bothers them because they’re used to being jet-setters. Who wants to jet-set to shitholes?

        • The decision says the President has the right to ban ALL travel from these countries, and VZ is one of these current seven.

          The decision also says that tomorrow, the President can add additional countries, for the sake of national security, because the courts don’t have the intelligence that the Executive does to challenge his assertion.

          And the President can, at will, remove countries from the ban at any time.

          Now…

          There has been no reporting on why VZ is different than Iran in this regard, whose all citizens ARE banned. Yes, there’s a legal mechanism that an Iranian can go through to say “I’m not a threat,” but that’s a hell of an obstacle.

          Just saying that the SCOTUS gave, or rather confirmed, the enormous power of the Presidency, and Trump now has the power to halt the issuance of all visas in Venezuela, and to suspend current visas.

          Whether for national security or not, Trump can claim that, and The Magnificent Orange Bastard* is just the guy to do that to ratchet up the tension.

          The whole point of this going to the Supreme Court was the issue of blanket bans. Targeted bans to individuals and their families were never in question. They’ve always been legal.

          *Magnificent Orange Bastard copyright 2018 MRubio.

    • Only certain Venezuelan government officials and their families seeking to enter on business or tourist visas are affected.

  3. Im referring not to the courts decisions but to the actual presidential measure , the principles which the sentence outlines are broad but the executive measures to which it applies have their own particular scope which differs from country to country…….!!

    • There hasn’t been any reporting or real news on how Venezuelans will be treated under these new conditions. That’s all I’m saying.

    • Bill, the decision is a judicial review of a Proclamation made by the President pursuant to powers conferred on him under a piece of legislation which has been on the books for a long time which states, among other things:

      “Whenever the President finds that the entry of any aliens or of any class of aliens into the United States would be detrimental to the interests of the United States, he may by proclamation, and for such period as he shall deem necessary, suspend the entry of all aliens or any class of aliens as immigrants or nonimmigrants, or impose on the entry of aliens any restrictions he may deem to be appropriate.”

      The majority of the court determined that the Proclamation was rationally connected with a legitimate national security objective pursuant to this broad discretion delegated to the President by Congress. The decision details the exceptions, limitations and waivers that apply to each country, the dissent noting that the “handful” of Venezuelans and North Koreans affected is “symbolic”.

      In the USA, the power to restrict entry of foreign nationals is delegated to the President by Congress, that power is very broad, and that power has been around and has been exercised against all manner of foreign nationals for a long time. The exercise of such powers can withstand review in the face of the bigoted and xenophobic ravings of a President (as referenced in both the majority and minority opinions) with careful planning by lawyers and state department officials, a significantly altered scope, waivers and exceptions, and after two previous attempts that did not withstand judicial scrutiny.

      This decision endorses under the Proclamation already existing, specific exclusions from entry into the USA under specific conditions, of a handful of Venezuelan government officials and their families. Among others.

  4. Ira is correct in that all citizens of the seven countries on the list are affected. Five Muslim countries plus North Korea and Venezuela.

    • That is not the case. Here is how Chief Justice Roberts, writing for the majority of the Court, describes the effect of the presidential Proclamation on Venezuelans:

      “The Proclamation imposed a range of restrictions that vary based on the “distinct circumstances” in each of the eight countries. Ibid. For countries that do not cooperate with the United States in identifying security risks (Iran, North Korea, and Syria), the Proclamation suspends entry of all nationals, except for Iranians seeking nonimmigrant student and exchange-visitor visas. §§2(b)(ii), (d)(ii), (e)(ii). For countries that have information-sharing deficiencies but are nonetheless “valuable counterterrorism partner[s]” (Chad, Libya, and Yemen), it restricts entry of nationals seeking immigrant visas and nonimmigrant business or tourist visas. §§2(a)(i), (c)(i), (g)(i). Because Somalia generally satisfies the baseline standards but was found to present special risk factors, the Proclamation suspends entry of nationals seeking immigrant visas and requires additional scrutiny of nationals seeking nonimmigrant visas. §2(h)(ii). And for Venezuela, which refuses to cooperate in information sharing but for which alternative means are available to identify its nationals, the Proclamation limits entry only of certain government officials and their family members on nonimmigrant business or tourist visas. §2(f)(ii).”

      What “alternative means” are available to identify Venezuelans is anyone’s guess. Maybe the State Department has a Whatsapp monitoring section.

      • You don’t understand this at all, do you?

        The thrust of today’s ruling gives the President ultimate authority, and only in the event of ridiculously egregious behavior on his part can it be ever challenged. And it can only be challenged in the Supreme Court.

        Lower courts no longer have any authority over it.

        Should I write it for you in Crayon so you can better understand?

  5. Guys…

    This is from a news article last year:

    Senior officials said Venezuela, the troubled South American country, was added to the list because its government won’t say whether its citizens pose a public safety threat. It also “fails to share public safety and terrorism-related information adequately.”

    “It’s clear that we have a very uncooperative government,” one official said.

    But the new order bars only a handful of Venezuelan government officials and their families, including officials involved in “screening and vetting procedures” at Venezuela’s Ministry of the Popular Power for Interior, Justice and Peace; the Administrative Service of Identification, Migration and Immigration and other agencies.

    In addition, the order states, Venezuelan visa holders will be subject to “appropriate additional measures to ensure traveler information remains current.”

    (end article quote)

    This is the policy that was instituted last year vis-a- vis Venezuela and it has not changed. Normal travelers are not affected.

    Having said that, new visa requests are being much more carefully scrutinized than before.

  6. So, now Trump has the power legally to prohibit entry to the U. S. of all citizens of any given country, or blanket power, as opposed to targeted individual sanctions currently. Venezuelan citizens in general have not been prohibited entry so far. Venezuela is on the list with Iran/et. al. due to the rumored hundreds of Venezuelan passports issued to Iranian/FARC/other possible terrorists.

    • NET, you got this all back to front. In order to support his case, POTUS had to take the position that the inability to reliably identify Venezuelans from Venezuelan government documents did not present a significant security risk to the USA necessitating a blanket ban.

      I take this to mean that bad Venezuelan dudes can be reliably identified by their pastel colored sweaters.

      • Obviously, the inability to properly vet/identify as terrorists, or not, those questionable individuals indiscriminately issued Ven. passports by the Ven. Rogue Regime is the reason for the blanket ban authorization option.

  7. If I lived in Venezuela I would want to emigrate. However, mass emigration can hollow out countries, for example, Cuba and weakens resistance to despotism. How many generations does it take to recover from madd emigration. Imagine the difficulty Venezuela will experience attracting the necessary human tallent to run your national oil company.

  8. Fuck malandros, kill them all, kill their families, wipe them out for all i care.

    Is very telling how CC have made several articles complaining about the human rights of malandros when most murders in Venezuela are commited by those malandros. Of course , no one gives a flying fuck about an honest person who dies in the hands of a malandro that wanted to steal his cellphone, but journalist cry cocodrile tears if that malandro dies in a fight with police.

    The victims of crime are the real silent genocide, while you worry about the comparatively small minority who are part of the protests and the human rights of murderers. This is vomitive and tipical leftist behaviour

    • What? since when can you conflate protesters and murderers as one and the same?. It’s true that the OLP normlaly goes to a barrio and it ends up killing people that may or may not be criminals (god knows the government won’t admit any wrongdoing) but this isn’t even about them, this is about protesters being tortured, and how os car perez’ group was murdered (a group that didn’t murder anyone, unlike, say, the group chavez was part of).

      And even in the “normal” OLP operatives there’s nothing to cheer for. OLP is an opaque process, like everything the government partakes in, and they are lying prone, besides, it has done nothing to reduce murder rate. For example, recently yordano’s brother was murdered, and soon after the government killed someone and claimed it was yordano’s murderer, meanwhile, Douglas Rico (director of CICPC) said ballistics didn’t match. It’s highly likely the government did murder a criminal, but that’s just an example of them lying on who they murdered, if they can murder someone and pin a crime on them I don’t know why you’d think they wouldn’t pin a crime in an innocent as well.

      If the murder rate of venezuela has quintupled since chavez came into power it’s because the government is doing something WRONG and just like the “changes” they’ve been doing in the economy, they are inconsequential for actually improving the situation, the country needs accountability, not less.

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