Deadly Raid Puts FAES Operations Under Scrutiny

A raid in Caracas where eight people were killed has put the spotlight on the special police group FAES. Along accusations of using excessive force, it has started to expand operations

Photo: VTactual retrieved

Over the weekend, a special raid took place in Ciudad Tiuna, the housing complex located near the premises of Fuerte Tiuna, main military installation in Caracas. Press reports indicate that eight alleged criminals were killed on site and 23 people were arrested.

The relatives of several victims who witnessed the raid shared details on the police operation with El Pitazo (which was published on Tal Cual, because of the recent developments regarding their own website):

“Around 4:00 a.m. on Saturday, September 8, 500 members of the tactical group of the PNB (Bolivarian National Police) dressed in black and wearing ski masks, entered the housing complex located in the sector Las Mayas….

Between blocks 28 to 36, officers trespassed the homes without a court warrant, as established in Article 211 of the Organic Penal Procedural Code (COPP). The individuals wanted by the authorities were taken to floors near to their apartments and were executed facing the walls, according to their relatives, who spoke from the Bello Monte morgue…”.

The individuals wanted by the authorities were taken to floors near to their apartments and were executed facing the walls.

Back in May, a similar operation in Ciudad Tiuna left three dead and seven others detained.

Both operations share another thing in common besides the place: The presence of the FAES (Special Actions Force), the tactical group of the Bolivarian National Police Corps, which is considered by human rights NGOs like Provea as responsible of arbitrary and extrajudicial killings.

A relative of one of the people killed, wasn’t surprised about what happened with the special group: “They come every three months. This time, they took too long. They were one month late.” Another said that the officers yelled repeatedly that they were acting “under presidential orders”.

This action from the FAES group is considered as an evolution of the State’s security strategy, which began with the OLP (People’s Liberation Operation) back in 2015 with the Battle of Cota 905. Those awful results were registered in several reports and harrowing accounts.

The officers yelled repeatedly that they were acting “under presidential orders”.

But the government considers that FAES is doing quite a good job and earlier this year, Interior Minister Nestor Reverol announced that the group would expand its scope beyond Caracas. First came the states of Aragua, Miranda and Tachira. Later in July, other three states were added: Guarico, Lara and Zulia.

Last month, FAES made its formal debut in Lara with an operation in Las Sabilas neighborhood  (north of Barquisimeto) that left three dead and eight arrested citizens. One week later, another incursion caused three casualties in Sarare, near the border with Portuguesa State. Last week, six delinquents died in a shootout with FAES in La Lucha neighborhood (western Barquisimeto). According to the official account, the situation ended this way because the criminals (who were part of the gang known as Los Torombolos) refused to surrender.

Is the deployment of the FAES in Lara State a sign that the PNB will eventually replace the local police force? There’s no evidence of that in the latest statements by both the commander of the Lara State Police José Calatrava and the State Secretary for Public Safety, Kleyder Ferreiro. But in the larger picture: the dreadful atmosphere surrounding FAES and the alarming number of dead bodies that it leaves behind indicate that the issue of high criminality rates in Venezuela and the human rights concerns deeply linked to it have not diminished in the wake of the current socio-economic crisis or the migrant wave caused by it.