Their True Colors

 We’ll get started with this week’s Venezuela : Down The Rabbit Hole segment “The Three-Headed Monster” in just a bit but first…Merco Press reports that university professor and activist, Maria Fernanda Rodriguez, was arrested after participating in a meeting with UNHCHR (United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights), Volker Turk, in Caracas. She was released hours later, a common Chavista intimidation tactic.

 Turk is in Venezuela to review the Human Rights situation and meet with members of the Maduro regime as well as Human Rights defenders and activists, victims of Human Rights violations, indigenous leaders, and members of the UN operating in Venezuela. According to his office, Turk will make a statement upon leaving the country. The arrest and arbitrary detention of Ms Rodriguez tells us a lot about the Chavistas, about who they really are. Even though Turk is there to review Human Rights the Chavistas can’t help themselves and violated the Human Rights of Ms Rodriguez by detaining her without cause or due process. They always show their true colors although in this case it could have been worse. It’s not uncommon for the Chavistas to make people simply disappear. Is it any wonder why Mr Turk is waiting until he leaves to make a statement?

 This is happening as Maduro’s National Assembly is  in the process of passing a bill to regulate NGOs in Venezuela. Many people believe it will severely hamper NGO operations in Venezuela due to threats and intimidation and may cause some to cease operations all together.

 Diosdado Cabello, the second most powerful man in Venezuela (some say number one), took the opportunity to pay lip service to the regime’s cooperation with the UNOHCHR (Turk’s office) and to claim there has been international uproar over NGOs being mechanisms for US imperialism and to finance subversion, destabilization, and persecution of what they refer to as “uncomfortable governments”. As usual, there has been no such uproar, except for Chavista propaganda.

 Taking place in the background of all this is the investigation by the International Criminal Court (ICC) into Human Rights violations and possible crimes against humanity committed by the Maduro regime and high ranking Chavistas (including Maduro himself). Come to think of it, we haven’t heard from the ICC in a while…

 Then we have La Prensa Latina reporting that thousands of supporters of Venezuela’s Maduro regime staged protests in 10 of the country’s 23 states calling for an end to international economic sanctions and especially those of the US.

 Governors, mayors, and lawmakers headed the protests in which the crowds chanted slogans backing the so-called Bolivarian Revolution. Government officials from the ruling PSUV (Chavista) party blamed the Venezuela opposition for the delay in obtaining the $3 billion in frozen assets for the agreed-upon UN-managed humanitarian fund. You have to wonder how many of those thousands of people would be protesting if not for the Chavista MO of extorting attendance at rallies and protests under threat of withholding their CLAP (Maduro’s totally fraudulent government food program) boxes?

 Then we have Reuters reporting that a failure at a reformer in Venezuela’s Cardon Refinery, a key unit for making gasoline, has halted operations and the unit will be out of service for 25 days.

 It seems like there’s a report every week about a production stoppage at one Venezuela refinery or another for one reason or another. It’s going to be difficult to increase production, as Maduro has promised (then again, he promises that every year), even with the help of the Iranians. Call me crazy but I think you need refineries to increase production.

 And we have Aljazeera reporting that a court in Kenya has found a Venezuela diplomat guilty of murdering the Latin American nation’s acting ambassador about 10 years ago in her Nairobi home.

 Dwight Sagaray, who was the First Secretary at the embassy, was found guilty of killing Olga Fonseca in July, 2012, along with three Kenyan nationals in an apparent power struggle. Venezuela waived Sagaray’s diplomatic immunity following the crime.

 Well, in light of the visit to Venezuela by UNHCHR, Volker Turk, it’s perfect timing for this week’s Venezuela : Down The Rabbit Hole Segment…so let’s do it…

 Chapter 14 – The Three-Headed Monster…

 Fernando Alban, an opposition politician, plunged to his death after only three days in custody. The official cause of death was ruled suicide. The first “official report” said the subject appeared despondent and asked the officers watching him to use the bathroom and then threw himself out of the bathroom window on the 10th floor of the holding facility. The report was soon revised when they were informed that the bathroom had no windows.

 Captain Rafael Acosta, a Venezuelan naval officer, was wheeled into court for a hearing after about a week in custody. The judge suspended the hearing when Captain Acosta appeared unresponsive and could only weakly utter one word…”help”. He couldn’t move, had swollen hands and feet and many lacerations, bloody fingernails, and presumably other injuries that weren’t visible. He was remanded to the prison medical wing and a day later was dead. The initial “official report” listed suicide as the probable cause of death. The officers said he sustained his injuries when he threw himself off a balcony. Again, the report was soon revised when they were informed that his injuries were not consistent with a fall. There were also conflicting reports by Chavista officials that he died in court, that he died before being wheeled into court, etc.

 The only thing unusual about these two stories is that there were actually details made public. Similar suspicious circumstances are rumored and reported all the time in Venezuela. The reason investigations either go nowhere or investigations are more or less forgotten is simple…fear. Fear of what exactly…? That would be the three-headed monster. No, I’m not talking about the GNB, PNB, and the ‘colectivos” (National Guard, National Police, and the government-backed gangs on motorcycles) that are infamous for repressing protests, among other things. I’m talking about SEBIN, DGCIM, and FAES, the three main government security services. The secret police.

 More tomorrow….

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