May 13, 2021

Venezuelans report to the IACHR in Bogotá the violations of human rights in their country



Venezuelan citizens reported on Wednesday in Bogotá to a delegation of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) the violations of human rights of which they were victims in their country and for which they had to flee to other nations, mainly to Colombia.

The mission, led by the president of the IACHR, Esmeralda Arosemena de Troitiño, arrived in Bogotá a day after the Copa airline did not allow them to embark in Panama to Caracas for what would be their first visit in 17 years to Venezuela, and tomorrow he will move to Cúcuta, Colombia’s main border crossing with that country.

In Bogotá, the entourage, in addition to Arosemena by the Executive Secretary of the IACHR, Paulo Abrão, and Commissioner Francisco Eguiguren Praeli, met with victims, journalists and social organizations, as well as with ex-deputies, magistrates of the Supreme Court of Justice ( TSJ) and members of the Venezuelan Prosecutor’s Office in exile.

Among the complaints they received behind closed doors is that 129 deputies were subjected to torture, threats, arbitrary arrests and breach of procedural guarantees during investigations, among others, according to the IACHR.

DEATH OF CAPTAIN ACOSTA

Another testimony heard was that of Waleska Pérez, widow of Venezuelan Navy captain Rafael Acosta Arévalo, who was arrested for Venezuelan military counterintelligence on June 21, 2019 and died in jail days later.

Pérez, a beneficiary of precautionary measures of protection of the IACHR, denounced to the mission the “disappearance, torture and murder” of her husband, whose death was confirmed on June 29 by the governor Nicolás Maduro and caused the condemnation of different countries.

The Maduro Government had denounced three days before the dismantling of a coup d’etat against him, allegedly planned for 14 months, and accused Colombian President Iván Duque of being a promoter of these actions.

On June 27, the Venezuelan attorney general, Tarek Saab, announced the opening of an investigation by the Public Ministry against 14 civilians and military personnel, including Acosta Arévalo, for his alleged connection with that plan.

PRESS CENSURE

The IACHR delegates also spoke with two journalists from the Armando.info portal who denounced the threats and censorship they have been subjected to after investigating an asset laundering network that obtained millions of resources for the fictitious export of food to Venezuela .

Reporters, who are exiled in Colombia as dozens of their colleagues, also warned that they are victims of judicial harassment.

OTHER CLAIMS

The mission also heard the lawyer of the family of Councilor Fernando Albán, who died while in the custody of the Government and who, according to the official version, committed suicide.

The lawyer denounced “serious irregularities” in the investigation process of this case.

Albán died on October 8 of last year at the headquarters of the Bolivarian National Intelligence Service (Sebin), where he was detained after being accused of participating in a failed drone attack against Maduro.

In the hearings were also social organizations that expressed concern about the migration crisis, the situation of pregnant women and the risk faced by Venezuelans to be victims of human trafficking.

The IACHR had been invited to Venezuela by the head of Parliament, Juan Guaidó, recognized as interim president of the Caribbean country by more than 50 countries, but the Maduro regime clarified last week that “at no time” had authorized a visit from the Commission, which is based in Washington.

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