The Foro Penal Venezolano (FPV), an NGO that works on behalf of political prisoners,  sounded the alarm during a press conference today about the Maduro regime’s “escalated aggression” against political figures in the country. 

Alfredo Romero, the head of the FPV, cited the likely killing of opposition politician Fernando Alban as well as the mob attack against Maria Corina Machado earlier this month as two examples of this increased level of aggression.

Romero also expressed concern about a nationally-televised speech that Maduro gave last night in which he seemingly threatened two opposition politicians with death. 

Speaking from the Miraflores Palace yesterday, Maduro spoke about gold mining in Bolivar state and launched into a vitriolic attack against National Assembly deputies Americo de Grazia and Andres Velasquez. 

Without providing any evidence, Maduro claimed live on television that de Grazia and Velasquez head a “gold mafias” that are causing environmental damage and leaving scores dead in the wake of fighting over territory.

Maduro called both de Grazia and Velasquez “traitors”, and said:

… they should be smothered, disappeared…

De Grazia reacted to Maduro’s comment on his Twitter account, saying that he considered it to be a death threat

At today’s press conference, Romero said:

It’s unacceptable that those who use physical and verbal violence do so protected by power in order to silence critical voices and neutralize political leadership that inconveniences them, with the ulterior objective of hiding probable crimes. 

Gonzalo Himiob, one of the FPV’s directors who was also present at the conference, spoke generally on the trajectories that authoritarian regimes tend to take in the persecution of individuals and groups. He said:

Persecution also begins with the dehumanization of the political adversary. This all becomes very worrying when you add impunity, and the hateful messages that accompany the official discourse…. 

Himiob also lamented the fact that Maduro and other regime officials routinely take to the airwaves to accuse individuals of crimes and assure that they are guilty, wholly undermining the criminal justice system. 

I am going to be specially busy this week, and may be unable to dedicate much time to the daily updates. 

Questions/Comments? E-mail me: invenezuelablog@gmail.com

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