Human rights lawyer Alfredo Romero revealed today that a military tribunal in Caracas has charged nine army officers with treason, and that the individuals are being held in custody. Romero made the announcement through his Twitter account, and said that the accused appeared before the tribunal at 3:30 AM this morning.
The officers range in rank from sergeant to lieutenant colonel, and are all members of the National Bolivarian Armed Forces.
Below, the ranks and names of the nine individuals:
- Sergeant Yuleima Medina
- Sergeant Julio C. Gutierrez
- 1st Lieutenant Yeiber Ariza
- Lieutenant Colonel Henry Medina
- Lieutenant Colonel Eric Peña
- Lieutenant Colonel Deivis Marrero
- Lieutenant Colonel Juan C. Peña
- Lieutenant Colonel Victoriano Soto
- Lieutenant Colonel Iver Marin
Romero said that the officers were charged with “treason against the homeland and instigating rebellion”.
According to El Nacional, the officers were all members of a group of conspirators called “Movimiento de Transicion a la Dignidad del Puelbo” [Movement for the Transition to Dignity of the People], and were arrested in their barracks at bases around the country on March 2. Two of the arrested officers commanded army battalions in Caracas and San Cristobal, while the rest were posted to Carabobo, Barinas, and Guarico states.
The newspaper cited a journalist named Alonso Medina as saying that during the officers’ hearing this morning, the tribunal did not provide any details on the evidence against them, or what activities they are accused of having taken part in.
The arrests appear to signal a continuation of a regime crackdown on potential enemies within the military. Just last week, the army purged 24 officers–some of them retired–from its ranks for alleged disloyalty to the regime.
UNHCR Asks World to Step Up in Venezuelan Migrant Crisis
The United Nation Refugee Agency (UNHCR) issued a guidance note today on the Venezuelan migrant crisis in which it called on the countries of the world to help accommodate Venezuelans who have been fleeing the country in increasing numbers over the past several months.
Citing the “significant outflow of Venezuelans” to countries across the world, the document says:
… UNHCR calls on States receiving and/or already hosting Venezuelans to allow them access to their territory, and to continue to adopt appropriate and pragmatic protection-oriented responses, building on existing good practices in the region.
The document also recognizes that given the complexity and urgency of the situation, countries may be unable to absorb Venezuelan migrants under their respective migration schemes. With this in mind, the UNCHR suggests that countries may deploy special measures, including “temporary protection or stay arrangements” to adequately host Venezuelan migrants.
The guidance note also stresses that as a result of “the current situation in Venezuela”, countries receiving Venezuelan migrants should ensure that they “will not be deported, expelled or in any other way forced to return to Venezuela”.
The UNHCR’s guidance note comes on the heels of a week of activity from the organization regarding Venezuela. On Wednesday, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad al Hussein said during a meeting of the Human Rights Council that his office was considering the “possibility” that Maduro regime officials have committed crimes against humanity in their brutal repression of political dissent. He followed up his comments yesterday by formally requesting that the regime allow a UN mission into the country to assess the human rights situation.
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