Torture and horror in the prisons of Venezuela

The headquarters of the Bolivarian Intelligence Service (Sebin), in Caracas / EFE


The Venezuelan intelligence services commit crimes against humanity under orders from the highest echelons of the government to repress the opposition, the UN said in a report yesterday.

“This plan was orchestrated at the highest political level, led by President Nicolás Maduro,” Marta Valiñas, president of the UN Independent International Mission on Venezuela, said at a press conference.

“Our investigations and analysis show that the Venezuelan state uses the intelligence services and their agents to repress dissent in the country. This leads to the commission of serious crimes and human rights violations, including acts of torture and sexual violence,” Valiñas denounced.

The report’s conclusions show the role of the Bolivarian Intelligence Service (Sebin) and the Military Counterintelligence Directorate (DGCIM) in carrying out these outrages “in the execution of a plan orchestrated by President Nicolás Maduro and other high-level authorities to repress opposition to the government, including by committing extremely serious torture, which constitutes crimes against humanity,” the mission said in a statement.

The mission documented 122 cases of victims who were “subjected to torture, sexual violence and/or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment” perpetrated by DGCIM agents from 2014 to the present.


Among the torture methods are “beating with objects, electric shocks, suffocation with plastic bags and stress positions, as well as forms of psychological torture, such as ‘white torture'”, the text details.

These events took place at its headquarters in Boleíta, Caracas, and in a network of undercover detention centers throughout the country.

In Caracas, Provea, one of the most active NGOs in denouncing human rights violations in the country, denounced on Tuesday that two Sebin officials tried to enter its headquarters to “intimidate” relatives of detained workers who were giving a press conference. to demand his freedom.

“It seems very worrying to us since we believe that it is part of a higher escalation against human rights organizations and against those who today denounce the repressive policy of President Nicolás Maduro,” said spokesmen for the NGO.

According to the mission’s analysis and the information received, the authorities detained dissidents and opponents of the government. In some cases, Maduro and people from his close circle, as well as other high-level authorities, “participated in the selection of targets.”

The report also cites Diosdado Cabello, a powerful Chavista leader, as the author of orders to identify some of those detained by the Sebin.

The intelligence services “have tortured or ill-treated detainees – including opposition politicians, journalists, protesters and human rights defenders – mainly in the ‘El Helicoide’ detention center” in the Venezuelan capital. Former detainees in this center explained to the UN mission the terrible conditions in which they were found and that many prisoners “had to urinate in plastic bottles”, because they were only allowed one daily visit to the bathroom. There were “privileged” cells with better conditions for which detainees had to pay. (AFP)

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