Forced detentions play a central role in the increasingly authoritarian efforts of Nicolas Maduro’s regime to control the Venezuelan population, discourage dissent and punish opponents, according to a new report by two human rights groups obtained exclusively by The New York Times.
Ariana Granadillo was one of the victims of the agents of the dictatorship, who entered her home with weapons but without a warrant and took her away.
During the following week she was confined, beaten, interrogated and almost drowned. Then they let her go almost as suddenly as they took her away. Granadillo claimed that her only “crime” was that her father’s second cousin was a colonel who was perceived by the government as a political opponent.
Investigators documented numerous abductions in which authorities arrived in unmarked vehicles, showed no identification or warrants, confiscated cell phones and computers, and said little when handcuffing and covering the heads of detainees. More than 20 percent of the victims reported that they had been tortured during captivity.
The US media investigation revealed that forced disappearances became a tool to weaken political rivals such as Gilber Caro, a deputy in the National Assembly, where the regime’s forces have imprisoned him three times since the beginning of 2017, despite his parliamentary immunity.
The United Nations Working Group on Forced Disappearances has asked the Venezuelan government for access for its members to visit and evaluate the practice in the country, the New York Times reported.