As Venezuela’s socialist dictator Nicolás Maduro struggles to keep the country afloat and remain in control, the more violent he gets.
According to a recent report by the research center CASLA Institute, there have been at least 190 cases of torture on political dissident by the state government in 2018.
“I have never seen so much evil as the one reflected in these denunciations,” said Tamara Suju, CASLA executive director.
Those who have not shown support to Maduro’s regime have been subjected to “beatings, rape, psychological torture, and electrocution.”
“One of the cases reported was that of Sorbay Padilla (wife of the colonel registered with the National Guard Oswaldo Valentín García Palomo) who was captured in February in the city of Caracas along with three members of his family. Padilla argued that she was tortured for four days to reveal the whereabouts of her husband who is opposed to the regime. She reported that she was sprayed with tear gas and received electric shocks, fainting several times what made her beg to be killed. Finally, she was abandoned on a road near her home,” writes Venepress.
The report which was presented this week to the Organization of American States (OAS,) claims that several of the torturers were of Cuban descent. There is believed to be 46,000 Cuban agents in Venezuela all in support of socialist ideals and are working to keep Maduro in control.
There was an increase (61.3 percent) in torture cases on military personnel, suggesting that Maduro is losing control in the army ranks. The year before, the same report found that most of the torture incidents were against civilians.
Suju said this may be a strategic move to send a strong message because “when you detain and torture one officer, you torture them all … that message gets to the troops.”
CALSA holds the secret police (SEBIN) and the General Directorate of Military Counterintelligence (DGCIM) responsible for most of the torture cases.
“When we describe Venezuela as an open-air concentration camp, where those who live there are subject to all sorts of arbitrary abuse, systematic repression, and state terrorism, that is not just a slogan,” said Suju to the OAS. “This is the way to describe the system in place in Venezuela.”
With the help of the CASLA Institute, which has denounced Maduro before the International Criminal Court, OAS is building a case against the Maduro regime to present to the International Criminal Court (ICC.)
“The question to the International Criminal Court would be: do these cases of torture not have the possibility of achieving international justice?” said Luis Almagro, head of the OAS and secretary general to Voice of America. “Do they not have before the ICC the possibility of collecting these accusations, analyzing [them], processing these testimonies?”
Back in May, Almagro accused Maduro’s regime of “the systematic, tactical, and strategic use of murder, imprisonment, torture, rape, and other forms of sexual violence as tools to terrorize the people of Venezuela in a planned campaign to crush opposition to the regime.”
He also said that “torture can not go unpunished.”
Author note: Venezuela is already a demolished country, and Maduro is desperately trying to keep control by using fear tactics. It’s tough to say what will emerge from the ashes. But this brutal dictatorship will never look like the beautiful country that it had been in the past.