Venezuela: Marea Socialista restates its demand for respect to the due process and rejects “informative manipulations” in the Carlos Lanz case

The leftist political organization Marea Socialista issued a statement in which it asserts and restates the reasons that led it to demand, in an initial statement, for what at that time it described as “arbitrary detentions”, when it spoke out about the manner in which the recent arrests for the Carlos Lanz case were conducted. In this second statement, they make a series of considerations and ground their doubts about the actions of the Venezuelan justice system, as well as what they perceive as “informative manipulations”. Here is the statement:

This makes us, once again, suspicious about the conduct of governmental institutions and agents…

Considerations of Marea Socialista on the official handling of the Carlos Lanz case

Why have we advocated for the respect of due process and why do we continue to do so?

When the arrests of those identified as possibly responsible for the disappearance and presumed murder of Carlos Lanz were made public, there was no certainty that the arrests had been conducted in compliance with all legal guarantees.

We know that it is common for Venezuelan security forces to act without judicial orders and with reprehensible methods, in an arbitrary manner and on the margin of the established legal procedures.

We were unpleasantly surprised when several people known in the spheres of leftist activism were implicated, as well as the marital partner of Carlos Lanz and one of his daughters. In addition, most of those arrested and detained were part of or close to organizations of the political current led by Professor Lanz, although at the same time they belonged or were closely linked to the PSUV.

Our reflex, then, was to demand respect for the rights of the detainees, since this is the usual practice that we maintain by principle, as a defensive response of the popular movement and leftist activism, and in prevention against the outrages and repressive actions that the Government and the institutions under its control usually carry out. The frequency and abundance of abusive and arbitrary practices of the Government and its repressive bodies, or of the Venezuelan judicial system, is a matter of public knowledge. Therefore, when such events occur, we are always on guard.

Previous experience with numerous cases makes this advisable, such as what happened – to name but a few examples – with the workers Rodney Álvarez, Rubén González and Eudis Girot or with Aryenis and Alfredo (young professionals of PDVSA). Cases in which they were arbitrarily arrested and imprisoned or even deprived of their freedom for years without being able to prove any of the charges against them, which is equivalent to saying that they were kidnapped by the State for a period of time.

This previous experience advises us to always be wary of the actions of the Venezuelan State, in view of the typical conduct of its government, its judicial system and its repressive bodies. In the face of such reiterative procedures, which do not show mere errors but a line of political action, we went out to demand that arbitrary detentions not be carried out and that due process be respected, which, moreover, is a constitutional right and not a crime. Our demand did not imply nor does it imply an opinion on the innocence or guilt of the detainees, for which it is appropriate to submit them to trial, as long as it is done in the appropriate terms, with the evidentiary elements that must support any accusation and judicial conclusion.

We perceive as something disturbing that, after two years of silence and apparent paralysis in this case, the action is now being taken in a way that looks rushed and does not generate confidence at all. First an accusation is issued against several people, including CL’s partner, her daughters, some workers, and Tito Viloria, who had been Lanz’s collaborator; all of this based on the “confession” of the alleged person in charge, by Mrs. Cumare, of organizing the plot to execute a crime by hitman. But this is done directly in front of the media rather than through the courts. And this confession lacks, up to this moment, the corroboration of the facts, since the location of the victim’s body, the murder weapon and the elements for the ballistic tests are still missing and the technical verification of no trace has been presented.

In the meantime, the information is presented in a way that gives the impression of obeying the intention of smearing or bad-mouthing, both the Search Committee of CL (due to the obvious membership of the wife of the disappeared), as well as those groups that exhibit some critical orientation or are not completely disciplined to the Maduro-Military-PSUV Government.

Thus, Tito Viloria is referred to as a “Trotskyist” militant, for belonging many years ago to an organization with that approach; but it is not said that he has been a militant of the PSUV since the existence of that party up to the present. Why is Trotskyism mentioned? Or is it that the aim is to take advantage of it to muddy political factors of the left that are uncomfortable to the government and to the party of which the accused is a militant?

A series of collateral and not relevant information is exposed in a strange way, so that while on the one hand the figure of Carlos Lanz is praised and honored, on the other hand, a monstrous image of a part of his family and intimate environment is shown, and the political activists that Lanz himself formed (members of the Search Committee or who have advocated for the same cause) are put under suspicion, without prudently waiting for the trial to take place.

The commission of acts of corruption, which would have taken place practically within sight of the victim, according to the official version, is pointed out without any inquiries being opened to pull the thread that could clear a possible corruption scheme in the INCES as a State institution, which should be, like many others, subject of social control, auditing and observation by the Controller General of the Republic (who, by the way, is from Aragua).

All of Lanz’s followers are disqualified in the public opinion, when it is natural and logical that if a political leader disappears, the sympathizers and friends organize together with the victim’s closest relatives. Therefore, there is no justification whatsoever for the comments and even a campaign to point fingers at, disqualify and almost criminalize those who raise their voices in favor of a proper investigation, respect for due process, and the truthful and timely information.

It is enough to see the display of messages of the usual tweeters and operators of the PSUV and the Government in the social networks, to realize that there is a whole line against all those who dare to doubt, even partially, the institutional versions and procedures.

The most recent actions, such as the “confession” of CL’s wife (Mayi Cumare), under questionable conditions from the legal point of view and in a media manner; followed by the release of one of Lanz’s daughters with MC, and of another daughter of the latter, make us wonder again why some people who are now released were subject to detention.

Doubts grow even more when this “confession” is given as if it were something conclusive that almost closes the case, when a confession is not exempt from subsequent verification and proof just because it is a confession, both MC’s and that of the initial informant. So, although we cannot affirm anything, we cannot avoid having the feeling that other mysteries are being hidden here, behind the presumed death by murder of Carlos Lanz.

And, for all these reasons, we believe that he should not be officially considered dead if the body and other elements associated with the crime have not yet appeared, despite the “confession” of the presumed culprits, since this would close the way to the possibility of not discarding other feasible hypotheses.

That is why we reject all the attacks we have been suffering for expressing our concerns about the case and demanding that it be handled with full respect for the rule of law, without making use of the issue, within a repressive scenario, for political campaigns of disqualification of leftist sectors that maintain critical or open opposition stances towards the Government, which has even extended to some media.

We are surprised that the Government did not show a clear interest in the search for the disappeared for two years, being such a relevant person and related to high spheres, but now it takes CL as its own icon, while it discredits the direct disciples of the political leader.

We also wonder how an expert in “covert operations”, “fourth generation warfare”, “intelligence” and “national defense” consultancy, for security forces and the FANB, did not realize in time the extent of the alleged corruption and the conspiracy that was being woven against him in his closest environment, in his own family circle.

For all these reasons, we believe that the CL Search Committee and all the activism that has been in solidarity with this cause, has the right to express all its concerns and questions, as well as its doubts. And, it also has the right and the duty to continue demanding the full clarification of the case, with valid evidence and to continue searching for CL until he is found or until his body is found if he is really dead. It is your right to remain vigilant and to make your demands so that the investigation and the corresponding trial of the case may be duly carried out, so that justice may be done and we may be free of all kinds of manipulations.

Respect for the constitutional rights and the due process.

Scientific and impartial iquiry of the disappearance and whereabouts of Carlos Lanz and the culprits of it and his alleged murder.

No to the usage of the Lanz case for smearing campaigns of the critical left-wing activism with informative manipulations. Right to rectification to whom it corresponds in the State media.