Five days after he was arrested without a warrant and held incommunicado in an undisclosed location, National Assembly deputy Juan Requesens has finally spoken to his family. The news broke through his sister, Rafaela Requesens, who posted an official statement on behalf of her family on her Twitter account.
Requesens was arrested on Tuesday along with his sister after Maduro implicated him in Saturday’s drone attack. While his sister was released after a few hours in custody, Requesens remained behind bars, presumably under the authority of the regime’s political police, the SEBIN.
Later in the week, Minister of Communication Jorge Rodriguez played a short video clip showing Requesens naming some individuals that the regime had named as co-conspirators in the drone attack. The regime argued that the clip was evidence of an admission of guilt.
Hours later, images leaked onto social media showing Requesens in captivity looking distraught and wearing nothing but feces-smeared boxers, a testament to the horrific conditions in which he is being held.
The Requesens’ family official statement on their recent communication with Juan is below, along with my translation:
Today August 12, in the morning hours, we were contacted via telephoned from a CATNV [a state-owned telecommunication company] line by Juan Requesens. During this call, Juan talked to us about his current state and asked us for some personal hygiene items.
We want to stress emphatically that we do not know under which conditions Juan made this call, since we consider it strange that 120 hours after his kidnapping by the SEBIN we were denied every possibility to see him to account for his physical state, [or allow him to] contact his lawyers. On the contrary, on his physical state we only know that which the entire world found out through social media in the video, something which has made us extremely worried about his physical and psychological safety.
We want to stress that we have a right to see Juan in person, that he has a legitimate right to a defense that must be respected and that he [has a right] to contact a lawyer. [We would also like to] express our total rejection of this type of action which confirm that Juan Requesens is a hostage of the regime of Nicolas Maduro and that he is being used and manipulated, in violation of his free will, to try to create an unreal account of respect for his human and constitutional rights. Juan Requesens’ detention is UNCONSTITUTIONAL, since only the National Assembly can strip him of his parliamentary immunity; ILLEGAL, since he was not committing a crime at the time of arrest; and lastly, this is a FORCED DISAPPEARANCE, since we were not informed of his condition, he was not given legal assistance and we do not know his location.
As of the time of the issuing of this statement (12:45 PM) we do not know his physical [or psychological] status, or that of the health of Juan Requesens because the regime is keeping him hostage which is why we continue to demand that we be allowed to see him.
Regime TV Personality: “Bloodshed” Had Maduro Been KIlled
Mario Silva, arguably the most prominent pro-regime personality on Venezuelan airwaves, spoke on last week’s drone attack in Caracas, and on what he imaged the country’s reaction to Maduro’s killing would have been.
During his show, Silva said that had the two drones that exploded near to Maduro managed to kill him during his speech last week, the reaction on behalf of the Venezuelan people would have been “uncontrollable”.
As he often does during his television program, Silva took some creative liberties to imagine what a foreign military intervention against Venezuela would look like, playing to a key pillar of the regime’s mythos. Silva said:
[If there were] an an imperialist multilateral intervention [involving] other countries like Colombia, then I don’t know what word to use other than “genocide”, because the people would take to the streets and they would not return to their homes until they protected the revolution. I’m being serious.
Specifically on the drone attack, Silva said:
This magnicide, if it had taken place–today there’d be bloodshed all over Venezuela.
Silva also directed words at the political opposition and all of their supporters, saying:
… you [the opposition] don’t seem to understand. It’s not through violence… it’s not through magnicide that you will reach power. You will not be able to touch the Miraflores [Presidential palace]. And each day, the perception that this revolution will last 200 years solidifies. Maybe even more.
Silva is known in Venezuelan households for his crass, aggressive attitude, as he often resorts to crude insults and naked threats against regime opponents. In 2013, he was forced off the airwaves after a leaked audio recording showed him speaking about Maduro in negative terms. He returned to television in 2015.
His program airs each Saturday on the state-owned VTV network.
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