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Extra Judicial Executions in Venezuela

By MIGDALIS CAŃIZALES, EL UNIVERSAL

The figures of victims of human rights abuses remain at 12 deaths, nine tortured people, 1,758 injured and 410 political prisoners, according to a report presented by D'Elsa Solórzano, legal advisor of the opposition alliance Democratic Coordinator.

Solórzano said that seven of the eight missing people were detained by individuals who are supposed to be members of the National Guard, the Military Police and the intelligence force Disip.

Witnesses have told the Democratic Coordinator that these seven persons were detained during the February 29 protests in the Los Ocumitos tunnel of the Central Regional Highway.

"After that, they were taken near Altamira (east of Caracas), where another protest was underway, and some of them managed to escape and reported the case in a very discrete way," Solórzano said.

The missing persons include Omar Arturo Morales, 28; Juan José Pérez, 27; Juan Ernesto Sánchez, 37; Andrés Bastidas Guedes, 32; José Luis Rodríguez, 33; Eduardo José Miranda, 30, and Julio César Gómez, 34.

"The military and Disip officers arrested all of them, and that is supported by the testimony of the eyewitnesses, who fear the law enforcement bodies because the prosecutors assigned by the Attorney General's Office have threatened them, searched their houses and limited their freedom of movement," the lawyer added.

Solórzano also mentioned the case of Miguel Pacheco, a 20-year-old activist of the oppositionist Acción Democrática party in the eastern region of Venezuela.

Pacheco disappeared, according to witnesses, after he was arrested by the National Guard during a protest in Universidad de Oriente in Sucre state, Solórzano said.

During his detention, Pacheco made phone calls to his girlfriend and secretary general of the university's students' union, saying that the National Guard had kidnapped him. He later was dropped at the district attorney's office of Puerto Ordaz, Bolívar state.

Tailored executions

Jesús Torrealba, member of the operating committee of the opposition alliance, pointed out that one person was executed last week in Caracas' 23 de Enero neighborhood.

"This is an execution where Disip officers are likely to act in combination with irregular armed individuals," Torrealba said. "This is the second victim of this type of crimes."

He also commented the figures of victims of human rights abuses remain at 12 deaths, nine tortured people, 1,758 injured and 410 political prisoners.

"Imitating the gorillas of South America, this government also has missing people, which is very serious because these are Venezuelans whose whereabouts nobody knows," Torrealba said.

Terror in the west

On Tuesday, another member of the Democratic Coordinator in Caracas, denounced that pro-Chávez authorities of the Libertador district in Caracas are developing "a terror campaign" against the popular sectors of the capital.

The proof of this campaign "is the execution of sport promoters of the Mayor's Office of the Libertador district. Besides, violent groups are threatening to loot shops in poor areas like Antímano, Caricuao and La Vega if new opposition protests occur," Torrealba said.

Oscar Pérez, a leader of the Gente de Sucre civil association, insisted in denouncing the attacks suffered by the residents of Sucre district, also in Caracas. A march took place in several streets of the district on Wednesday afternoon to protest against this situation.

Translated by Edgardo Malaver



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