Alfredo Romero, the executive director of the Foro Penal Venezolano (FPV), provided an update today on the use of military tribunals to process civilians in Venezuela Romero said that since last year, that number has risen to 803.
Romero explained that the latest victim of this tactic is a 21-year-old woman named Ariana Granadillo. Romero said that Granadillo is a university student in Tachira state who has been arrested at anti-government protests three times this year. The last time that she was arrested, she was taken to a military tribunal for prosecution.
Douglas Rico, the director of the Cuerpo de Investigaciones Científicas, Penales y Criminalísticas [Scientific, Penal and Criminal Investigation Service Corps] (CICPC) posted an image of Granadillo along with some information about her case on his Instagram account four days ago. In the post, Rico says that Granadillo is being charged with “military rebellion”:
The use of military tribunals to process civilians is a relatively new phenomenon in Venezuela which started in earnest in the first half of last year. Because military tribunals operate under a veil of secrecy given their martial nature, the Maduro regime is effectively able to use them as secret courts. On top of this, the procedural rules that govern military tribunals are starkly different from those used in civilian courts, which makes their navigation by defendants a kafkaesque endeavour.
For example, the crime with which Granadillo was charged–“military rebellion”–does not exist in the criminal code, which applies to civilians. It does exist in article 476 of the military criminal code, however, although that document is only supposed to be applied to members of the armed forces.
Maduro Hurls Insults at VP Pence
Speaking during a televised address today, Maduro hurled insults at United States vice president Mike Pence in response to his visit to Brazil this week. During his time there, Pence met with Venezuelan migrants and spoke on the crisis in Venezuela.
Maduro gave his assault on Pence a twist, and suggested that the reason why he is currently on a Latin American tour is because he is planning to run in the 2020 presidential election. Maduro said:
That obsessed sick person, the obsessed sick person named Mike Pence, Mr. Mike Pence, he’s going around Latin American and he’s come to campaign because he’s already a presidential candidate in the United States. Mike Pence is doing an electoral campaign and he’s looking for votes in Florida.
Maduro Doubles Down: I’m Not a Dictator
During the same address, Maduro reiterated that he is not a dictator, despite evidence to the contrary. Half-jokingly, Maduro spoke on his physical resemblance to Josef Stalin, saying:
The world says that I’m a dictator (…) they say that I look like Stalin, that I’m the Caribbean Stalin. If I turn my head this way, they say that I’m the Caribbean Stalin.
Maduro then repeated a claim that he made recently: that Venezuelans simply would not allow themselves by a dictator, and would remove him from power if any came along. Referencing the 2002 coup d’etat that saw Chavez removed from power for approximately two days, Maduro said:
What dictatorship? In Venezuela we have a democratic people who wouldn’t abide by a dictator. The last person who tried to be a dictator lasted 47 hours: Pedro Carmona Estanga. We shoved him out of the way.
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