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Venezuela: son of killed requests help from Amnesty International

By Massimiliano Biella

I understand Amnesty International probably receives tons of messages of the same nature everyday. However, I ask you to please dedicate all your efforts regarding my father's case. This is absolutely unacceptable. This happens daily in Venezuela where people live under the most deepest violation of the most basic human rights.

My name is Massimiliano Biella. I obtained your coordinates from your offices in Venezuela during my last and painful visit to that country. I was born in Venezuela but I currently live in Canada since 1999. I was on a business trip in Mexico City when I received a phone call from my wife (which was spending some time off in Venezuela by the time) telling me that I had to fly immediately to Caracas, her exacts words were "your father has been shot..."

For the first few seconds I could not believe what I was hearing. I was in total shock. Afterwards, with panic invading me, I asked "he's dead?? Is he dead???..." and the fatal answer was "Yes... "

Let me describe who my dad was:

Cosimo "Bruno" Biella was born in Italy on September 17th, 1937. He left his poor hometown of Scifi in Sicily at the age of twelve (12) years old. Misery and hunger were his first feelings due to the devastating consequences of the second world war. He was almost forced to leave his home because my grandfather and uncles were not able to eat everyday and everybody in the house had to work very hard for their piece of bread. So my father decides to go and try his luck in Milan with one of his youngest uncles. He goes and starts working in a hair salon sweeping floors in order to earn a living and support as much as he could back home. Those first years helping in a salon will later translate in a brilliant career as one of the world best hair stylists.

At the age of seventeen (17) he decided to move to the country that would take away all his years and finally his life. He raised five (5) sons. Jorge, Massimiliano, Bruno, Fabio and the youngest Fabrizio who is only twelve (12) years old.

My father achieved several goals in life, he became the best stylist in Venezuela, he attended seminars in London, France and Canada. All his goals were always under the most exceptional principles of moral and honesty. He was sixty six (66) years old and he was still planning to keep on working until God would decide he was not useful anymore. Those were his words when I talked to him the last time, a week before he was infamously shot.

A great man and a superb father. Let me describe you what happened the day he was killed, March 1st, 2004.


My father leaves Fabrizio's house located in Las Acacias, Caracas at around 9:30 pm. He was bound for La Urbanizacion Miranda where he lived with my mother and my brother Fabio. At 10:25 pm he calls my mom. Fabio, my brother picks up. My father says: "Fabio, the police (Municipal Police of Sucre) is diverting me. I am five minutes away from home. Apparently I can't go any further. The police says there is a riot outside the security gate located in the entrance of La Urbanizacion Miranda and neighbours and policemen are exchanging gunshots. Be careful, go to the entrance and let me know if this is true." This was his last phone call.

My brother Fabio drives to the security gate located at approximately 1.2 kilometres from my mom's house. It only took my brother three to five minutes to get to the place my father had asked him to go to. As soon as he gets there, he called my father's cellular phone and my father never answered. He was either being killed or asked to step out of his car.

My brother kept on calling and again, no answer from my father. He decides to stay and wait to see if my father would show up at the gate. But he knew, it was almost impossible because what was happening outside the gate was serious. The private security guards were inside the gate informing the residents that the only entrance and exit was closed because the police was firing at them. Nevertheless, my brother stayed in a safe area waiting for my father. Thirty (30) minutes later my mother called my brother to advise him that "Polisucre" had called to advise that my father had been shot because he resisted to an armed robbery and that he was terribly wounded in the operation room and that the doctors were trying to do everything possible to save him. My brother goes back and picks up my mother to take her to the hospital Perez Carreņo in Petare. This is the WORST hospital in the city.

My brother gets back to the entrance, this time accompanied by my mother to find out that the private security guards would not let them leave the premises. There still were gunshots being fired from the police to the neighbours. My brother asks for an escort. The neighbours calmed him down and allowed the police escort to take my brother and my mother to the hospital. According to my mother they were going extremely slowly considering my dad was about to die in an operation room. They finally get to the hospital and one of the doctors says that he was sorry but my father had arrived dead to the hospital and they could not do anything to save him. The policeman had lied to my mother and my brother. The agent knew my dad was dead before he even got to the hospital. And let me tell you something else, it was not a robbery, the doctor gave my mom all his belongings, money, credit cards and his wallet, even his watch which my brother has kept in his memory. My dad was taken to the hospital by these "Polisucre" agents and one of them drives my father's car to the hospital.

My father received one gunshot in his upper abdominal left side that went through his left lunge, liver, pancreas, stomach and finally exited the right wing cutting the aorta. This is according to the autopsy results. He died in 40 seconds to 1 minute after he received the gunshot. According to my family doctor's opinion, whoever did this knew what he or she was doing.

This all happened on March 1st, 2004 at around 10:30 pm.

This is SERIOUSLY ILLEGAL in Venezuela. If someone was found dead you must call CSI (policia tecnica judicial) and a pathologist and the forensic team have to authorize the removal of the body to the morgue. An investigation unit will secure the area and will trace for fingerprints, bullets, etc. This never happened because "Polisucre" moved the scene of the crime by illegally taking my father to the hospital, moving his car, etc.

I have not mentioned that POLISUCRE is a municipal police that answers to the mayor of sucre, Mr. Jose Vicente Rangel Avalos, son of the Vicepresident of Venezuela Mr. Jose Vicente Rangel, right hand of Hugo Chavez.


In memory of my father and in name of my family I respectfully request you to help us locate the person (s), organisms responsible for my father's brutal murder in order to avoid that another crime of this nature happens again in Venezuela or anywhere in the world. I know Amnesty International could put pressure to resolve this case and many others. I would like to know what do you need to make this happen. I would gladly supply you with evidence such as newspaper articles, death certificate and any other document. Please tell me what is that you require and I will make sure you have it immediately.

This crime and many other crimes in Venezuela can not remain unpunished. People are being tortured, apprehended and killed in Venezuela everyday, some people because they express their discontent with the government or are caught between a riot or even worst, others are just trying to get to their homes, like my father was.


Name of my father: Cosimo Biella known by his family and friends as Bruno Biella.

Citzenship: Italian

Age: 66

Place where this happened: 2 kilometers from La Urbanizacion Miranda. Point of reference: Urb. Terrazas del Avila

Date and time: March 1st 2004 between 10:30 pm and 11:00 pm.

I am attaching a picture of my father. I would like to thank you in advance for your cooperation.

Regards, Massimiliano Biella

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