Felipe Cuevas, a Chilean political activist, returned home after being released from a Venezuelan detention centre, where he had been held since Thursday. Cuevas was arrested for taking pictures in an area where photography was not allowed, and failing to provide identification when prompted by security forces.
Cuevas made it back to Chile today, where he spoke about his experience while in custody:
I was held at gunpoint, and I was not told why I was being detained. When I was taken to the detention centre (…) I was not charged with anything. I asked why I had been detained, but no one clarified it for me.
They asked for my I.D., and I handed it to them. They didn’t understand that in South America, an I.D. acts as a passport. So, they kept asking me for my passport but I just gave them my I.D.. Later, they found out that an I.D. is indeed valid [as a passport].
The situation in which I found myself inside the detention centre was really delicate. While I was not physically abused, I was harassed psychologically. I was held in a room measuring 2 by 5 meters, and there were 19 of us there. All 19 of us slept there, in brutal conditions. Obviously, the room was full of cockroaches and bugs.
Cuevas, who represents UDI – a Chilean group sympathetic to the Venezuelan opposition – also expressed his relief upon returning to Chile:
I’m very happy to be back in my country with my family and my friends. For a minute, I thought that I would not have the chance to see them again.
His experiences under Venezuelan detention mirror those of the thousands of Venezuelans detained for protesting since February. Human rights abuses and gross violations of legal rights are not uncommon in Venezuela.
Border with Colombia to Partially Close
The Venezuelan border with Colombia will be partially closed starting this Monday. From then on, the border will be closed during the night. Maduro announced the measures today as an attempt to try to curb the flow of contraband into Cuba. Maduro said:
The border will be closed from 10:00 PM til 5:00 AM.
Maduro also threatened private industries, saying:
Any company paralysed by a bourgeois should be taken over by the working class.
He once again accused private enterprises of waging an “economic war” against Venezuela, and opined that workers should be able to take over any private company deemed to be hostile to Venezuela.
Maduro made the comments during the Primer Congreso de la Clase Obrera [First Congress of the Working Class]. Below, pictures from the event:
A sign spotted in the crowd, with the translation below:
Neither economic war nor fascism will stop socialism.