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Thursday, 2 December, 2021

The Casla Institute reported patterns of torture in Venezuela

Methods of torture ranged from crude to sophisticated methods of sonic torture like the ones used in Cuba. As well as drowning and electric shocks, among others, were reported and specified in the annual report of the Casla Institute, an NGO directed by human rights lawyer Tamara Suju.

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The Casla Institute, directed by lawyer Tamara Suju, presented this Thursday, January 14, its annual report on crimes against humanity committed in Venezuela during 2020. Various patterns of torture as asphyxiation, drowning, and electric shocks, were highlighted.

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The methods ranged from crude (torture subjects had their heads placed inside bags full of human feces) to sophisticated sonic torture similar to those used in Cuba against US diplomats during the Barack Obama administration. Cuba advised the Chavismo predecessor, Hugo Chavez, on counter-intelligence methods. Such cooperation has only grown under Maduro. Once, he publicly lauded the Cuban Revolution for being a regime that had “taken a shit in the face of the Empire.”

The Casla Institute presented the report together with the Organization of American States (OAS) and was attended by the Secretary-General of the OAS, Luis Almagro, and the Vice President of the European Parliament, Dita Charanzova.

Suju detailed that 55 torture persons were asphyxiated with bags full of toxic gases (most likely bug spray) on their heads. Another 28 individuals had their heads placed inside bags with human excrement in them. Another 36 subjects were victims of different methods of drowning.

“The most common pattern was to immerse the head of the victims in containers of water or to put them in water storage tanks,” Suju said.

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According to the attorney, electric shock was also used as a method of torture in Venezuela during 2020: 44 people were victims of electric shock in different parts of the body, including their private parts.

Among the new patterns of torture, the Casla Institute mentioned the sound torture stands out, applied in the basements of the headquarters of the General Directorate of Military Counter-Intelligence (Dgcim), which has no natural ventilation, Suju stated.

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“It consisted of making what was initially described as whistles sound, resembling the sound of birds” Suju described. Noise escalated day and night for several days producing “insomnia, anxiety, crying and nervous breakdown in the detainees,” the lawyer explained, adding that the method used is reminiscent of what happened to the officials in the embassy from the US in Havana.

Almagro pointed out that documentation of each case is fundamental to erode the armor of dictatorial regimes, such as the governments of Cuba and Venezuela.

“With the support of the OAS, today for the fourth time, the Casla Institute presents its annual report, with more evidence of crimes against humanity in Venezuela, documenting the participation and responsibility of the Cuban regime in these crimes,” Almagro said.

Additional reporting by Carlos Camacho in Caracas.

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