By Samuel Morales Escuela.
The United Nations Fact-Finding Mission for Venezuela informed this Wednesday, September 16, the preliminary results on the violations of human rights in Venezuela since 2014. It pointed out that since the first anti-Maduro protests in 2014, headed at that time by Leopoldo Lopez, worried violations have occurred, including crimes against humanity, committed by regime security officials.
El Pitazo summarizes the keys of the UN Mission 411-pages report, news that monopolized trending topics in Venezuela:
- The Mission provided an overview of its findings regarding extrajudicial executions, forced disappearances, arbitrary detentions, rape and torture, and other cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment, carried out by the Maduro regime since 2014.
- The Mission sent official correspondence to the government on six occasions, between January and August 2020, for its cooperation but received no response.
- The UN interviewed more than 400 victims, relatives, lawyers, and witnesses with direct knowledge of the incidents. They also interviewed former government officials and members of the security forces.
- The documented violations took place “amid a gradual breakdown of democratic institutions and the rule of law in Venezuela from 2014.″
- The UN points out that the economic and humanitarian crisis has caused the emigration of more than five million people.
- The National Assembly (NA) legislative has been continuously obstructing, since a coalition of opposition parties won more than two-thirds of the seats in December 2015, a separate crime against the humanity, as well as a violation of the Venezuelan Constitution and several international treaties to which Venezuela is a party.
- Maduro, according to the report, has decreed over 25 states of emergency measures since 2016, the period during most of the crimes mentioned occurred, nullifying the Assembly and authorizing him to take broad economic, social, and security measures. The government has made at least 27 changes to the security framework, passing laws, plans, and policies through executive orders that have bypassed the legislative process.
- It denounces that the national executive responded with repressive tactics and measures to the opposition attempts to change the government in 2014. The Mission investigated 110 cases related to these violations, identifying common patterns.
- Social activists and political leaders who have led the protests, as well as opposition politicians and militaries officials, have been accused of coup plotting or other types of conspiracy.
- People associated with the main targets of repression have also been targeted, including family members, friends, and colleagues, or human rights defenders.
- Between January 2014 and July 2020, the NGO Criminal Forum recorded 3,479 cases of politically motivated detentions, of which 902 (26%) were selective (arbitrary) detentions, the rest took place in the context of protests.
- Six opposition mayors were detained between April 2014 and December 2017, for periods ranging from 72 hours to more than four years.
- Since 2014, the Supreme Court of Justice (TSJ) has requested that the lifted of the immunity of 32 elected opposition lawmakers from the National Assembly. The judicial body accused the parliamentarians of being in a permanent state of committing crimes, conspiracy, instigation of insurrection, civil rebellion, contempt of court, and hate crimes. Six members of the NA were then arrested and detained.
- Between 2014 and 2020, Nicolás Maduro denounced 19 coup attempts against his regime, a new record in Latin America of more than three coup attempts a year in a single country.
- As a result, the UN reports, from 2018 onwards, Maduro regime forces began arresting civilians linked to the military accused of plotting, such as family members, friends, neighbors, and associates, also increasingly become victims of the repression.
- The Mission investigated 33 cases (21 men and 12 women) in which it found reasonable grounds to believe that the Sebin national intelligence service arrested, detained, and arbitrarily tortured or mistreated people for political reasons.
- A former Sebin officer told the Mission that orders determining who would investigate often came from President Maduro and Diosdado Cabello.
- Sebin fabricated evidence in several cases by, among other things, planting false evidence on victims, especially firearms, or distorting the results of home or car searches.
- The arrested persons were taken to the Sebin headquarters in Plaza Venezuela or the El Helicoide building, both in Caracas. Once there, officials interrogated the arrested persons without the presence of a lawyer.
- Sebin agents tortured or subjected the detainees to cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment. Torture and ill-treatment generally took place during the first days of detention.
- The report denounces that National Assembly lawmaker, Juan Requesens, was given psychotropic drugs to induce a confession during detention. A video of Requesesns confessing to trying to kill Maduro went viral in social media during the first days of his arrest.
- The UN stressed that the forensic examination of Fernando Alban, a Caracas councilman who died while in Maduro regime custody, raised doubts about his alleged suicide.
- The Mission investigated 77 cases in which the Dgcim arrested, detained, and tortured current and former military officers and civilians associated with them.
- The Dgcim has increasingly used unofficial or clandestine facilities since 2018. There are at least 24 documented cases of torture, which took place in these facilities between 2018 and 2019.
- The Public Prosecutor Office identified 505 people killed during the polemical Operaciones para la Liberacion del Pueblo, or OLP, vast and bloody police operations with the same initial as the PLO in Spanish (the Palentine cause is close to the heart of Maduro). In that operation, 502 men and three women, including 27 teenagers, were killed during those operations to free the people. In the 140 cases examined by the Mission, 413 people were killed (306 men, including 16 minors, and three women).
- The UN reported that agents from two police forces – the PNB/Faes and the Cicpc – committed extrajudicial executions during security operations outside the context of the OLP.
- A pattern of shots at close range in vital areas, including the head and chest, with one or two shots fired, was documented in almost all deaths.
- The Mission identified a pattern of reports that police were attempting to cover up the killings by simulating confrontations.
- Between January 2014 and December 2019, there were 61,295 protests. The Mission examined 97 cases where human rights violations occurred during these demonstrations.
- The Mission reviewed more than 70 videos filmed at demonstrations, none of which gave any indication that the security forces attempted to take non-violent measures, such as dialogue or warnings, before taking such action.
- In the cases investigated, 403 people were arrested, mistreated, and tortured during arrest and transfer to detention centers, as well as in detention. They included beatings, sexual violence, and electric shocks.
- The Public Prosecutor Office took some steps to investigate the killings, particularly before the change of Attorney General in 2017 (Luisa Ortega turned against Maduro, denounced crimes against humanity, and was forced to flee the country that year. The Maduro-controlled Supreme Court then appointed Tarek William Saab, a founder of the ruling party PSUV, as Attorney General, violating the Constitution). However, of 165 cases of killings in 2014, 2017, and 2019 protests, only five have resulted in a conviction and sanctions.
Several figures opposed to the government of Nicolas Maduro have celebrated today the realization of the report that represents the international formalization of multiple denunciations made in the last years in Venezuela.