The Venezuelan Ambassador to the United States, Carlos Vecchio, today denounced the cruel and degrading treatment, in violation of human and fundamental rights, that Nicolás Maduro’s dictatorship is committing against the deputies of the legitimate National Assembly, Gilber Caro and Renzo Prieto, and asked the international community to intervene for their release.
Caro, kidnapped four times by the regime, and Prieto, kidnapped twice, have been unjustly and arbitrarily deprived of their liberty for 221 and 140 days respectively by forces of repression and persecution of the dictator Nicolás Maduro. During this process both deputies have been victims of torture and cruel and inhuman treatment.
“Congressman Caro is being subjected to cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment,” said Vecchio. “He sleeps in a small space on boards, without a mat, without light and without being able to wash himself. He has been beaten and does not eat well. They are denied natural light, food, water and necessary medical care. This is a crime against humanity.”
Caro is being tortured by the regime’s extermination group, known as the FAES (Special Action Forces), which is responsible for extrajudicial executions and human rights violations against the Venezuelan population, according to reports from the UN High Office for Human Rights.
“It has been reported that the deputy is being held under stairs in unimaginable conditions. He even had a bacterial infection in his stomach during his first detention and in the midst of the COVID pandemic19, he is even more likely to contract the disease,” the Ambassador added.
He also reported that “Congressman Renzo Prieto sleeps on the floor and his health is very deteriorated due to injuries to his spine, caused during his first imprisonment. He currently has no access to any kind of medical care.”
Like Congressman Caro, his colleague Prieto is in the custody of the FAES, which was labeled an “Extermination Group” by High Commissioner Michelle Bachelet. “Renzo is deprived of food and water and has no access to sunlight. He has lost a lot of weight and suffers from a problem in his spine,” explained Deputy Adriana Pichardo.
She added that in addition to his deplorable conditions of detention, Congressman Prieto is being held incommunicado, unable to see or speak to his lawyers. His case is six years old and the trial has not yet begun (been presented to court). The sentence for the crime for which he is being tried is less than the time he has been in detention, the deputy said.
“The dictatorship violates the right to defense of Congressmen Gilber Caro and Renzo Prieto as a method of torture and punishment against those who think differently from Maduro,” said the interim government diplomat in Washington. “They are honest deputies who are fighting for the restoration of democracy and freedom in Venezuela, and they have parliamentary immunity that the dictatorship does not respect.”
In addition to Gilber Caro and Renzo Prieto, there are still at least 382 political prisoners detained by Maduro’s regime, including Congressman Juan Requesens, Ismael Leon, and the head of the Office of the President of the Republic, Roberto Marrero, who have been arbitrarily detained for up to 721 days.
This Sunday, August 2nd, a webinar will be held to discuss the kidnapping of Roberto Marrero, in which will participate the Presidential Commissioner for Human Rights and victims of serious human rights violations, Humberto Prado, attorney Joel Garcia, a member of Roberto Marrero’s defense team, and his brother Reinaldo Marrero.
The interim government demands the immediate release of Gilber Caro, Renzo Prieto and all political prisoners for whom there are no grounds for continued captivity, and calls on the international community to intervene for their release.