At least nine people people were killed today during a supposed police operation in the Viasa Tower in La Candelaria, Caracas. According to Caraota Digital, officers with the National Bolivarian Police (PNB) ransacked through the building in search of a group of armed suspects starting at about 2:00 PM this afternoon. The operation began shortly after the suspects allegedly shot a PNB officer named Jose Antonio Canales Aleman and stole his firearm.
As of the writing of this update, Venezuelan media is reporting that Canales is in hospital in “delicate” condition.
According to witnesses, the PNB rushed into the building, attacked anyone they found inside, broke into apartments, and stole pocesessions. In the video below, a woman tells Caraota Digital that her husband was inside the building when the operation occurred, and that she does not know what his current status is:
They [the PNB] went upstairs, breaking down doors and throwing everything on the ground. They were searching through the babie’s things, throwing his diapers on the floor. They kicked pregnant women (…) there are children up there, and we don’t even know what’s happening to them. Twelve year old children. They’re killing everyone, one by one, and they’re not saying anything.
I just came here with my husband from Guatire, and they took him away, and they [the police] haven’t told me anything. Everyone tells me that he’s dead, but no ones. They’ve taken out more than twenty dead people out of there, without telling us anything. There are no thugs in there, just workers.
Telephones, jewelery, they [the PNB] took everything! They’re thieves!
The images below show the PNB precense near the building today:
Below, a video from the scene:
Venezuelan police forces are notorious for their contempt for human life and civil rights. Earlier this year, RunRun.Es published an investigation that found showing that police security operations under the Operacion Liberacion del Pueblo [Operation Liberation of the People] resulted in at least 560 deaths in recent years.
NGO: 235 Political Prisoners in Jails Today
The Foro Penal Venezolano (FPV), an NGO that provides legal services to politically-persecuted persons, provided one of its regular updates today on the number of political prisoners in regime jails, saying that the figure stands at 235.
That number is dwarfed, however, by the number of individuals under some kind of legal sanction for political reasons, which today sits at 7,498. Rather than keeping a political prisoner in jail, the Maduro regime will sometimes choose to place them under judicial sanction, which typically includes barring them from leaving the country and forcing them to appear before a judge at regular intervals.
Caracas Hospital Turns Down Medecins Sans Frontiers Donation
Workers at Caracas’ Hospital Universitario released a letter today saying that the facility’s board of directors refused to accept medical donations from Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF), an NGO that provides medical assistance to regions across the world.
According to Margot Monasterios, a journalist and secretary of the Hospital Universitario’s workers’ syndicate, said that the decisions to turn down the donation was politically motivated, since in its letter of rejection the Ministry of Health said:
[We] reject any action directed at compromising the integrity of the Venezuelan people, and we recommend that those who want to help ask for an end to the sanctions, which is the reason why the country’s [ability to] purchase medicine has been compromised.
The international community’s sanctions against the Maduro regime are overwhelmingly targeted at named regime officials, and generally seize their assets abroad and ban their entry into sanctioning countries. While the U.S. does have sanctions on specific types of Venezuelan government bonds, the medical crisis affecting the country began long before these sanctions took effect in 2017, and is the result of decades of mismanagement and corruption at every level of the Venezuelan government.
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