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In Venezuela: Extrajudicial Killings in the Thousands per Year

In Venezuela: Extrajudicial Killings in the Thousands per Year

In Venezuela, it is not uncommon for black-clad government thugs to appear out of nowhere and arrest or execute innocent civilians.

Sometimes, the thugs wear Halloween masks while they conduct their dirty work.

Between 2015 and 2017, more than 8,200 journalists, political opponents, protestors, and innocent civilians were killed by government forces.

Thousands more were injured or thrown in jail.

Bravely investigating these crimes is a group of more than 100 women whose sons and husbands were executed without cause. The group was founded by Aracelis Sanchez, whose 20-year-old son was shot and killed by police troops at their home in 2013. 

“We have to denounced [the killings], we have to document it,” says Sanchez. “We know we are not in a time of justice, but it has to be done because if we stay quiet, we allow the same thing that happened to us, to happen to others.”

In response to complaints about extrajudicial killings and other human rights violations, the UN this year sent a five-person team to investigate. According to the investigation, the Venezuelan government is now using its Special Action Force (FAES) to murder opposition supporters. 

So far, the group has been linked to more than 200 extrajudicial killings.

FAES claims the deaths resulted from ‘armed confrontations’ with civilians, even though most of the victims were unarmed.

“I think that this is terrorism, that [the government] inflicts on the people of the barrios so that the people do not come out and protest,” argues Carmen Elena Arroyo, whose 25-year-old son was killed by FAES in 2018. “Soon there won’t be any young men left.”

The extrajudicial killings in Venezuela are conducted by a biased and corrupt government with no concept of separation of powers, under the eye of a dictator who offers bags of food in exchange for votes. 

Desperately fighting to change the situation is Juan Guaido, the opposition leader who declared himself President in January. Guaido has widespread support from the US and others, but efforts to oust rival President Nicolas Maduro have been derailed by Russia. 

Last week, Guaido urged Maduro aides and members of the military to desert in the name of the Venezuelan people – who are suffering from lack of food, medicine, and basic supplies. More than 3 million people have fled the country since 2014.

“We would like to no longer see kids dying in our country. We would like to no longer see politically motivated murders, or [those] caused by crime and violence,” Guaido told ABC News. “We would like to see hospitals full of medicine…We would like to recover the oil industry that was ransacked and is sadly lost because of corruption.”

Guaido is an advocate for peaceful change, but based on the deteriorating conditions in Venezuela, he says he is open to outside military intervention.

“The United States stands firmly with you in your quest for freedom and democracy,” promised Sec. of State Mike Pompeo, who has repeatedly stated that military intervention is still on the table. 

In response to the turmoil, Maduro on Saturday urged his troops to “be ready to defend the homeland with weapons in your hands if one day the US empire dares to touch this territory.”

Editor’s note: In a society under complete collapse it is ironic that Maduro believes some of his most intelligent and capable citizens are disposable.  But every brutal dictator knows that if you kill off any potential leaders of opposition groups it is much more difficult to mount a rebellion.

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  1. Adrian

    All the leading networks should send their top reporters to Venezuela to get the real stories…

  2. Big Ed

    Socialism anyone? It seems that sooner or later all socialist countries get to this point-the people don’t care for it, due to lack of food , lack of health care and medicine, lack of clean water, a total absence of amenities and general violence caused by a clash between embarrassed leaders and disgruntled citizens. At some point the government has to begin jailing and/or killing citizens. We currently have one of our political parties which is devoted to socialism and they will say that it will be different here, because they know how to implement it. Believe me, very shortly after start up, the jailing and killing will begin here, just as it has everywhere else socialism has been tried.

  3. kim

    Attention all you Socialism Lovers, you think this same thing won’t happen to you? You’re as naive as a toddler if you believe that! All your sit-ins, walk-outs and rallies would soon put you in the crosshairs of a tyrannical govt under Socialism. In fact, all of you that believe everything you want should be free, you will be the first of those disillusioned by what Socialism truly is. The politicians that pander to you with the promise of free everything will be the same politicians that kick you to the curb as soon as they achieve their goal. Your dream of a Utopian society will soon become a nightmare and by that time it will be too late, the damage will have been done and you will find yourselves much worse off than you THINK you are now.
    I have a novel idea… All of you that believe Socialism is the answer, go live in Venezuela for about 3 months. I suggest to you, you will be eager to return to the land of the free and the home of the brave. If you are not so inclined, you truly are too far gone to help.

  4. Kate Gilbert

    There is no end to Evil as it keeps reappearing in every Nation one way or another. God be with the Peoples of Venezuela and may one day the man who calls himself Maduro will step down, realizing he is headed, if he has not already, in the shoes of Adolf Hitler.

  5. Redtailedhawk

    USA does not need to be in another foreign conflict. Thos sounds like a civil war in venezuela. Let the people there take care of it.

    • Knobby

      Let the Venezuelan people take care of it with…..What? Sticks and stones?
      During WW2 The US air dropped thousands of cheap, stamped-steel 2-shot, double-barreled derringers over rural areas in France, Belgium, Spain, Italy, and maybe Poland. Each pack also contained 10 rounds of .45 ACP ammo. This is where the civilian “resistance” movements against the Nazis got their start. From this start, they cut communication lines, stole better weapons, and started making life for the occupiers miserable.
      Would this approach work today?
      What if one out of every 3 times the thugs break down a door to kill a civilian, one of them does not make it back? Would that slow them down?
      I don’t know, but I know a plan like this would kill someone’s political career here at home. Too bad the Dems are afraid of firearms and not the really bad actors. It takes a good guy with a gun to counter a bad guy with a gun.
      Maybe the Gun Owners of America or some private group would step up to fill the void.

  6. Marilyn Z

    Just when you think it can’t get any worse, it does. I have worried about the poor people of North Korea since I was a little girl and my uncle fought there. Cuba has also been a problem but this in Venezuela is just as bad as N. Korea to my thinking. I cannot imagine the horror these people are experiencing and to think this happened in just a few years. This is a great example for the socialists of this country…just that fast you can go from the top of the heap to the very bottom. Anyone who supports AOC, Bernie or any other socialist is just asking for this to befall our wonderful country. Trump will win the next election, but what about the one after that?