“Torture persists in Venezuela and only in 2019 the cases increased by more than 526%,” warned the presidential commissioner for human rights (DDHH) of the interim government of Venezuela, Humberto Prado, while the Venezuelan ambassador to the United States, Carlos Vecchio, emphasized that “Nicolás Maduro and his torturers must be brought to justice for the crimes against humanity perpetrated against Venezuelans.”
On the occasion of the United Nations International Day in Support of Victims of Torture, Prado highlighted how this inhumane and degrading acts continue be a common practice in the South American country run by Maduro’s regime.
“Since Maduro’s arrival in 2013, 72 people have died from torture in Venezuela, according to figures from the NGO PROVEA, which also indicates that between January and December 2019, cases of torture increased by 526.6% compared to the previous year. The security forces CICPC, DGCIM and PNB have had greater participation in these crimes that have been executed in official detention facilities or military zones,” Prado said.
Ambassador Vecchio recalled that “Captain Rafael Acosta Arévalo; Council members Fernando Albán and Carlos García; and Rodolfo González “El Aviador”, are just some of the victims who died during Nicolás Maduro’s dictatorship and its practice of torture as a policy of State Terrorism to maintain himself in power.
Prado explained that by 2020, Provea provided figures that encompass the regime’s systematic torture: 5,232 violations of personal integrity, 852 victims of cruel treatment, 1,033 injured, 1,804 illegal searches and 810 threats and harassment. According to the Casla Institute, in 2019, 53 per cent of the victims of torture were civilians and 47 per cent military personnel.
He added that “in some cases, officials have carried out these practices in clandestine centers intended for this purpose. A study that interviewed victims of human rights violations in Venezuela found that 100% of the cases of torture had occurred in detention centers or military zones.
Prado noted the importance of investigating cases of torture and punishing those responsible. “In Venezuela there is a high margin of impunity in cases of torture, which encourages the repetition of such practices. In view of this, it is essential that the State should take steps to investigate, even ex officio, acts that could constitute torture, bring the alleged perpetrators to justice, and apply the appropriate sanctions.”
The commissioner recalled that, in addition, “every victim of torture has the right to enjoy full reparation for the harm suffered, which, depending on the specific case, may include measures of various kinds, including: restitution, compensation, rehabilitation, satisfaction.”
In the opinion of the presidential commissioner for human rights, “Maduro’s regime has standing commitments to prohibit torture. Among them, he highlights the need to ratify the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment. Ratification of this instrument would allow independent national and international bodies to carry out regular, unannounced and unrestricted visits to all types of establishments where people are deprived of their liberty.”
Vecchio emphasized that the report of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, has persistently confirmed the terrible violations of human rights in Venezuela, and Maduro must be held accountable for the crimes against humanity perpetrated against the Venezuelan people.