AMERICA/VENEZUELA - The Bishops on the murder of Oscar Pérez: "horrible massacre with extrajudicial executions"

Friday, 19 January 2018 violence   democracy   politics   international politics   hunger  


Caracas (Agenzia Fides) - The Episcopal Conference of Venezuela (CEV) defined the police operation, on Monday 15 January, as a "massacre", during which 9 people were killed, including former police officer Oscar Pérez, who had rebelled against the government of Nicolás Maduro. CEV sent to Fides a public declaration in which it "denounces the horrible massacre with extrajudicial executions and the death of civilians in actions perpetrated by military forces".
"This act puts us in front of the degradation and lack of respect for dignity and human rights that concern any person", says the document of CEV, in which the authorities are asked to look into this operation. The Venezuelan Bishops dispute "the lack of a peaceful resolution of the conflict in the face of a request for surrender, the absence of prosecutors in the proceedings and the use of armed civilian groups" in the operation, defended by the executive.
The Bishops ask the Prosecutor "to ensure the delivery of the bodies to the relatives", which has not yet happened after 72 hours from the police operation, "thus avoiding the cremation, without their authorization, in order to determine the cause of death".
Oscar Pérez had rebelled against Maduro last June, when he flew over Caracas with a scientific police helicopter and fired on two public buildings without causing injuries or deaths. At that moment, young university students demonstrated on the streets of Caracas and there were many dead and wounded (see Fides 23/06/2017). Since then, in a clandestine manner, Pérez recorded several videos calling for a popular uprising against the government of Maduro. Last month he forcibly entered, together with his men, in a military base where he stole weapons and criticized the soldiers for their loyalty towards Maduro. Before being killed, the former 36-year-old agent broadcast several videos on social networks in order to save the lives of "innocent civilians".
Although last night the Supreme Court of Justice appointed by the National Assembly condemned the actions of the police and the military, the news of the execution of Perez has generated confusion in Venezuelan society and a strange sense of remorse. Amnesty International has also condemned the fact and, together with other bodies for the defense of human rights, have asked the government of Maduro for clarification.
If the government of Maduro thought it would send a powerful message to the country on the risks that the possible followers of Pérez are running, the videos that continue to be seen on social networks concerning Pérez's request for surrender are provoking a completely opposite reaction. (CE) (Agenzia Fides, 19/01/2018)