A Murderous Dictatorship

Photo: Nicolás Maduro

This Tuesday, the National Assembly agreed to ask the United Nations Human Rights Council to create an impartial and international commission to investigate the complaints of torture and the death of corvette captain Rafael Acosta Arévalo. They also demanded Michelle Bachelet, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, the application of the Istambul Protocol to investigate reports of torture as a systematic pattern in Venezuela; they also asked their appointed officials to confirm the holding conditions and health status of detainees; a task that they also demand from the International Red Cross. Caretaker President Juan Guaidó approved a decree to promote Acosta Arévalo to Frigate Captain, after he died under custody of Military Counterintelligence Directorate agents (DGCIM). “This is a murderous dictatorship,” said Guaidó. Lastly, Parliament requested an “in loco” visit from the Inter American Commission of Human Rights.

Acosta Arévalo’s autopsy

The autopsy done on Acosta Arévalo’s body revealed that he suffered various polytraumas that damaged the kidneys, causing respiratory problems that ended up in a brain edema that killed him. According to the document revealed by journalist Eligio Rojas, the cause of death was: “severe brain edema due to acute respiratory failure, due to lung thromboembolism, caused by rhabdomyolysis for general polytrauma.” 

Alonso Medina Roa, Acosta Arévalo’s lawyer, said yesterday that the captain’s body remains in the Bello Monte Morgue and that Prosecutor’s Office hasn’t handed it over despite the insistence of his relatives. The lawyer said that they’ll take the case to international instances to act against the Venezuelan State for failing to guarantee Arévalo’s safety; he also condemned the fact that the Prosecutor’s Office didn’t include the crime of torture in the indictments, adding that he’ll carry out judicial actions against the officers involved in the tortures and that he’ll also ask an investigation on the DGCIM’s chain of command.

The case of Rufo Chacón

A teenager lost his eyesight due to the Táchira Police’s disproportionate use of force, which constitutes torture; however, the head of the institution, Jesús Arteaga, offered a press conference and treated it as an “isolated event” and that the security body is able and trained in matters of public order: “We never committed human rights abuses, we guarantee human rights,” he said. 

ANC-imposed Prosecutor General Tarek William Saab announced the arrest of officers Javier Useche Blanco and Henry Ramírez Hernández (with 23 and 26 years of service, respectively); that they’ll launch an “exhaustive” investigation of this aggression, and that the policemen “will be severely punished.” Dr. Luis Ramírez, had of Táchira State’s Health Corporation, said that Rufo was shot with 50 pellets in the face and had to undergo surgery to get a prosthetic to balance the disfigurement they caused him. Rufo’s mom, Adriana Parada, demanded justice, saying that human rights aren’t respected in Venezuela and that “we live in dictatorship.”

The non-country

  • Disconnected from reality, Nicolás followed the script of his TV show, focusing on the Venezuela Bella mission, a program to embellish a country without electricity, cooking gas or water: “We have free citizens, a democratic society, with problems that are faced with the truth,” was what he said out of the script where painting walls is a priority; adding that “the negotiations in Norway are going well.”
  • His Foreign Minister, Jorge Arreaza, offered a balance of his tour through Europe, claiming that Cuba and Turkey will assist Venezuelan patients waiting for transplants; thanking the Italian government for covering the expenses of patients living there, saying that they’re coordinating with that government to bring treatments.
  • Arreaza also said that he met with the director of FAO, to deepen the relation; with Spanish Foreign Minister Josep Borrell, and with the secretary for Relations with the Vatican State, both supporters of dialogue. He announced that they expect to receive the visit of special European Union representative Enrique Iglesias next week.

  • OPEC oil ministers agreed to extend oil production cuts to March 2020. Regime minister Manuel Quevedo merely uploaded pictures of the end of the 6th ministerial meeting.

  • The ANC presented a draft bill to create the tax on large patrimonies (of over 250,000 euros,) wish it would include them!

We, the migrants

The Chilean government believes that 300,000 Venezuelans could arrive to the country between this year and the next, which would double the number of migrants. Chilean Interior Minister Andrés Chadwick said before the Senate’s Human Rights Committee that the entry must happen orderly, in accordance with the law. 

Meanwhile, the National Human Rights Institute asked the government to guarantee the right to request visas and the refugee condition, flexibilizing the requirements according to the political and humanitarian circumstances in Venezuela: “We could observe the lack of humanitarian attention and also the human rights violations, especially in the rejection of refugee status requests by the Investigations Police at the border,” said their statement. And indeed, the Chilean Jesuit Service for Migrants said yesterday that “the crisis of Venezuelans [at the northern border] is intensifying.”

Movements on the board

U.S. State Secretary Mike Pompeo promised Guaidó his unflinching support on a phone call, according to his spokeswoman. Jimmy Story, U.S. chargé d’affaires in Venezuela, said to journalists: “Were those two DGCIM members the ones who made the decision [or torturing Acosta Arévalo]? I highly doubt it,” he said, adding that: “Everyone in the chain of command is responsible for what happened.” Yesterday, John Bolton also restated U.S. support for Guaidó and Parliament. 

Spanish Foreign Minister Josep Borrell spoke with Mario Isea, regime ambassador in Madrid, to tell him that Spain condemns the death of captain Acosta Arevalo, and to urge the authorities to open an independent investigation. Yesterday, we learned that Borrell will succeed Federica Mogherini as the European Union’s High Representative for Foreign Affairs. That’s terrible.

Torture and repression are a systematic pattern of the Venezuelan State, so important for holding on to power, that while Nicolás fakes the normality that we don’t have, his propaganda system is trying hard to persuade others that the torture that killed captain Acosta Arévalo and blinded Rufo Chacón came from isolated decisions of officers and doesn’t involve the chain of command. The patterns are documented. Crimes against humanity don’t prescribe.

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