Venezuela: no to the State policy and the security forces that torture, repress and murder

We express our complete rejection of the torture, the murder of detainees, the incarcerations in terrible conditions and cruel treatment, the violation of due process, the arbitrary arrests, the political persecution and the generalised repression against the people. Two cases have shaken international and national opinion in the last days: the torture and murder of an army captain detained in the General Office of Army Counter Intelligence (DGCIM), under responsibility of the FANB and the government, and the penetration of a teenager´s by a shotgun shot at close range, fired by the repressive forces of the state (Poli-Táchira). The bourgeois state shows its repressive conditions that violate human rights, no matter who leads its administration.

The torture and death of captain Acosta Arevalo under custody of the DGCIM, independently of the reasons of his arrest, is proof of the level of degeneration of the security forces of the State in Venezuela, divorced from the Constitution, laws and human rights declarations. There are reports of torture of other soldiers accused of coup activities, such as Captain Emmy Da Costa, Captain Caguaripano and Colonel Mejías Laya, among others. Not long ago there was the scandal of the supposed “suicide” of Councilman Albán, an opponent detained in Sebin.

The other event that caused commotion, almost immediately after the death of Acosta Arevalo, is the gouging of the eyes and blinding of the young Rufo Chacón, when he was shot in the face in a bestial police attack in Táchira against a communal protest for the lack of domestic gas. This boy must be attended by the state in every health requirement and must be compensated for life for the mutilation that they caused him, beyond the immediate punishment of those responsible. Human rights violations are the work of the bourgeois state as a whole, at different levels, whether central, regional or municipal security organs, administered by the government or by the opposition; but over all of them is the responsibility of the Ministry of Interior and Justice, of the National Government and the institutional members of the Moral Power. The chiefs of the police bodies in charge of the guilty agents must be dismissed, as the family of the victim demands, and the entire chain of command that allows these barbarities to continue happening over and over again should be reviewed. Venezuelan society must urgently carry out an exhaustive revision of the police and security agencies.

The state plays its role as instrument of domination

The state, as a first reaction, usually denies or covers up the facts, to then offer “a deep investigation, to the last consequences no matter who falls” but almost always ends up doing nothing. And if there is a lot of pressure, maybe an official is charged as if there were no institutional responsibilities or intellectual authors; everything is classified as an “excess”, an “isolated event” or “individual abuses”… but that soon happens again. The Attorney General has just charged the officials allegedly involved in the death of the captain of “pre-meditated homicide”, without mentioning the torture as a cause.

These events have been the rule and true protocol of the police and the GNB at the orders of the government for a long time, having nothing to do with the “democratic order” and much less with “socialism”. At the award ceremony of Journalist’s Day, the president of the Republic said, with inappropriate language, that the detainees in the DGCIM were “singing like Pavaroti”. To which “rhythm”?

While this happens in the political field, in the social arena people are repressed for making fair demands. There are testimonies of relatives and neighbours of indiscriminate attacks and extrajudicial executions, especially through the FAES, as the usual way of acting against alleged delinquency, even going so far as killing (“de-registering”) the “targets” in front of their mothers, fathers, spouses and children, inside their homes; although later the reports describe a street “confrontation”.

Police and the military are pointed out by the people for the “troubles” in Alcabalas, extortion and blackmail, “toll” and “vaccination” charges, illegal confiscations, abuses of all kinds and other criminal acts. Repression and abuse are not used only against the political opposition; there is a regular use of the judicial and prison system for the kidnapping and extortion industry. Not few of the former “collectives” have turned into paramilitaries that intervene in the repressive action, with the sponsorship of the government or some bureaucratic sector high in power. This is “vox populi”; it is said on the streets, told in the neighbourhood, discussed in the family, rolls through social networks…

The repressive virus has proliferated from the entrails of the state, destroying its connection with the people, characteristic of the early stages of the Bolivarian process. We still wonder about Alcedo Mora, a forced disappearance. We remember the assaults against the Yukpa of Cacique Sabino. The repression is also used, to a greater or lesser degree, on working-class, popular and peasant activists who protest against the government’s practices and policies. There is the case of iron mine worker Rodney Alvarez: imprisoned without trial for many years and now with a very long process, when there are collective testimonies that point to the real author of the crime, attributed as retaliation for his struggle and to cover-up someone belonging to pro-government unionism. Another leader of the iron miners, Rubén Mendoza, was imprisoned for protesting. We cannot forget the case of the Mitsubishi plant years ago; the murder at point-blank range of workers in the automotive plant in 2009, by the Anzoátegui police, during the administration as governor of the current Attorney General.

The social and political protests in previous years and in 2017 left dozens of deaths and hundreds of wounded, which are not justified as the price of the contention of the opposition´s violence in the streets, because there has been many reasons to protest in Venezuela for a long time. That was not exclusively a selective repression against right wing criminals who burned people in the guarimbas, but it was applied indiscriminately.

We fall short in the examples. And while these events occur, the media in which these allegations are published remain arbitrarily blocked by the state, as is the case of the alternative webpage Aporrea and other websites.

This behaviour became the norm in the country; a repressive format that acts or is allowed to act, in which the government cannot ignore its responsibility or deny that it is the result of its conduct. And this is nothing less than the establishment of a militarized and corrupt police-state, which has been placed above the democratic institutional framework and the legal regulation. It is all a thread of conduct that already adds numerous cases and denotes a state policy, which is instituting torturing and murderous practices in Venezuela, which our people have risen against in different chapters of our history, though today the government does it with the excuse of facing conspiracies or confronting imperialism.

We could demand a thorough cleansing and restructuring of the repressive bodies, but it would be useless, because the damage is rooted in and linked to the Venezuelan state character and very particularly to its profile under the current political and military leadership. Instead of shedding the repressive inheritance of the Fourth Republic, it now amplifies it. It cannot be otherwise when the state remains an instrument of class domination and oppression. Because, throughout what we knew as the Bolivarian revolution (currently extinct due to reformism, corruption and betrayal), the working class and the people failed to establish and consolidate power, opening the path to totalitarian dispossession by a new caste or class, that is mixed with other sectors of the bourgeoisie and global capitalism.

The violation of rights cannot be justified

We are against those who organize coups or promote the invasion of countries with phone calls to Trump, but also reject the use of torture, degrading and cruel treatment and murder as a method to treat supposed cases of conspiracies and even of “terrorism” and magnicide plans. Nothing outside the guarantees of the Venezuelan Constitution can be allowed of the government. The supposed participation in terrorism, conspiracy, preparation or attempts of a putsch does not justify the government violating due process and human rights. But these practices are not only used in those cases. They are a recurrent tool of the state and the government to confront political opposition, no matter its sign. The violent and armed repression against protests of the oppressed people stricken by the crisis, is unjustifiable as well as reprehensible.

Repression intensifies because there was a reverse “sharp turn” and we are facing a right-wing “Stalinoid” government

Repression is also a typical response against those who denounce and rebel against what ended up being a reverse “sharp turn”, with a sharp shift towards another version of right-wing politics, under the rhetorical speech of false “socialism”. This is what the governing bureaucracy applies at the service of military disputes, mafias and circuits of the criminal economy, the embezzlement of the nation, the destruction of labour rights, the creation of semi-slave labour, delivery of resources to predatory extractivism and giving our sovereignty to emerging imperialisms, as well as covered up privatizations, among other manifestations of a counterrevolution, which is what we have today.

In all cases of rights violations, the “investigations” generally do not solve anything if the military, police or senior officials are involved. Rarely does a “scapegoat” even appear to contain public pressure. Therefore, we require independent investigations, with broad participation and plural composition, including experts and human rights organizations to investigate and report in accordance with the Venezuelan Constitution, laws and international conventions.

The impunity and the political negotiation

Impunity reigns, but so does the use of prisoners as chips in political negotiations, as we see in the “dialogue” between the government and the right wing opposition with the escape of Ivan Simonovis, the author of serious human rights violations like the murders of Llaguno Bridge for which was judged. He was chief of Security of the mayor’s office when the coup of April 2002 took place. They released the person who personifies the violation of rights, characteristic of the traditional Venezuelan right committed to regaining power through coups and interventions.

For “tactical” reasons and bowing to imperialist pressures, “justice” is applied in a discriminatory way: they imprison and torture alleged putschists, but do not mess with Guaido despite the fact that he is involved in crimes just as severe or even worse. But he is not imprisoned for attempting a coup nor for “authorising” the invasion of the country, using his condition of self proclaimed “president”. Because he is part of the negotiation and there is an imperial threat, they do not mess with him for now.

A call to social and political organizations for the defence of democratic and human rights

Because of what we previously said, we call on social and political organizations linked to the working class, communities, rural workers, the political tendencies that consider themselves revolutionary, to take with determination an active denunciation of the repression, torture, murder, disappearances and arbitrary arrests. We also call on them to defend the free press. We want to carry out international campaigns, with other revolutionary organizations of the world in defence of human rights and the democratic liberties in Venezuela, that must be exercised without allowing manipulations at the service of power elites and to justify interventionist plans or imperialist invasions of Venezuelan sovereignty.

It is necessary to denounce that the coup, conspiracy and adventurist actions mounted by the right and the group of Guaidó, and the secret negotiations without the people, only bring more repression and give the government excuses to continue its abuses. And while they negotiate, the agenda does not contemplate the suspension of austerity measures that unload the crisis on the backs of working people while the big businessmen and speculators take advantage of the government´s measures to deepen savage capitalism in Venezuela.

This state is irreformable and we must create a new correlation of forces to destroy it and replace it with the leadership of the working class

The bureaucratic lumpen-capitalist and neo-bourgeois state, that arose from the appropriation of profit by the political and military power, does nothing but reproduce or worsen the vices of the Fourth Republic and the oppressive regimes that have opressed the Venezuelan people. This state and its corrupt, bourgeois and bureaucratic administrators have no remedy, they are not reformable. The neo-bourgeois bureaucracy, devouring and wasteful of the national income, which weaves a mafia web in the institutions and in the economy, destroys any real expression of the people’s power, of democratic rights and freedoms, of work and labor rights, of freedom of information and expression, of education and culture, of social life, of all harmony with the common good. These new rich and the old bourgeoisie, who want to return to power, must be replaced by a democratic state of workers and the people through the revolutionary struggle of the working class, the people, peasants and the socially committed intelectuals.

For that, the independent social and political reorganization of the workers and the people is essential; to enhance the capacity for mobilization around working-class and people’s demands to defend human and democratic rights, as well as the national sovereignty against the imperialist powers and interests that negotiate the country with the bureaucracy and capital. A task that we address with the construction of Marea Socialista as a political reference of our class and in the unitary articulation of the resistance to the crisis caused by the embezzlers, the exploiters and the semi-colonial appetites that hover over the resources of the Venezuelans.

Crime and impunity have direct and intellectual authors, the political leaders. The later cannot investigate or punish the former because they are part of the same plot at different levels. If we demand that the state agencies take on the tasks imposed by the Constitution, it is by forcing them, through the people’s action, aimed at stopping the attacks, but without any expectation of reforming those who play the role of servants of a bureaucratic-military oppressive caste, of a class as exploitative as the classical bourgeoisie that disputes for control of the country. If we, the people, do not change this, there is no other destiny other than to subject us to a worse degeneration.

For now, in the face of what we witness and suffer now, we have to rekindle indignation; we must raise angry voices and stand up in protest, organizing and reactivating without fear the exercise of the independent control of the citizenship itself, to defend ourselves from the outbursts and abuses of the state apparatus. Organic and mobilized unity is essential for the defence of our human and democratic rights, to create from there the correlation of the people’s forces, with its own conscience and interests, a necessity for the transcendental changes that can only be achieved with a new revolution in Venezuela.