Crime & Justice

Venezuelan NGOs denounce 1,414 extrajudicial executions in 2021

Caracas, Mar 14 (EFE).- Various Venezuelan state security bodies were to blame for at least 1,414 extrajudicial executions in 2021, although this was less than half the figure for 2020, according to a report presented on Monday by two non-governmental organizations within the South American country.

The figure represents a reduction of 1,620 executions from the previous year, when 3,034 such “murders” were carried out, according to the Venezuelan Program for Action Education in Human Rights (Provea) and the Jesuits’ Gumilla Center, the latter of which is an institution for research and social action founded in 1968 and run by the Society of Jesus in Venezuela.

“There is a decrease of more than 50 percent … The reduction seems positive but it’s still a very lethal figure. Ideally, in a state of law, there will be no extrajudicial executions. And 1,414, although compared with 2020 it may be a rather reduced figure, still remains alarming and lethal,” Alfredo Infanta, the human rights coordinator for the Gumilla Center, said at a press conference.

In that regard, Provea coordinator Marino Alvarado said that the figure “remains very elevated” and “reflects the high lethality with which the police and military entities in the country continue to act.”

“It’s clear that we’re dealing with a state policy. When the state is willing to control its police organizations, to orient them, results like those of 2021 can be achieved, with such a significant reduction being achieved in such a short time,” he added.

Of the 1,414 killings, 99 percent were men and the remainder were women.

“Recently, the Cepaz organization presented the report on femicide in Venezuela, where there were 290 victims (in 2021), and in our monitoring there are 14 female victims. That is, of the 290 femicides 5 percent are presumed extrajudicial executions,” Infante said, referring to the Justice and Peace Center’s Digital Observatory of Femicides (Cepaz).

The Gumilla Center coordinator said that the police entity that acted with the “greatest lethality” in 2021 was the Scientific, Penal and Criminal Investigation Service Corps (Cicpc), which was responsible for 347 of the killings, displacing the Special Action Forces (FAES) of the Bolivarian National Police (BNP), which in 2020 carried out the majority of the murders.

According to Infante and Alvarado, “thanks” to the reports prepared by different organizations including the Determination Mission looking into such acts in Venezuela and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, Michelle Bachelet, in which she called for the dissolution of the FAES, this body has “reduced its lethality.”

Following the Cicpc in 2021 in terms of numbers of killings, were the BNP with 198 and the FAES with 111, along with the Bolivarian National Guard with 152 and various municipal police forces with 119, according to the NGOs.

One hundred percent of the victims came from residential sectors, meaning, in Infante’s judgment, that local neighborhoods are being “subjected” to a continuing “caracazo,” referring to the popular protests that erupted in February 1989 and were harshly suppressed by the government and during which “a large portion of the population of the popular sectors was executed.”

“Today, that policy remains in place with the extrajudicial executions and the operations,” the NGOs said.

The human rights organizations also said that there is evidence of a “marked and growing internal displacement of whole families” in some of the residential zones, mainly in Caracas, during and after the police sweeps in those areas.

The NGOs also said that there is a “structural situation of impunity” in Venezuela due to the fact that “both the Attorney General’s Office and the Ombudsman’s Office, in many cases, have not opened appropriate investigations” into the killings.

EFE csm/sb/lll/bp

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