The Norwegian government announced today that the Maduro regime and the opposition have agreed to establish a permanent line of communication, following three days of negotiations between the two sides on the island of Barbados.
The announcement came from a press release posted on the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs website, part of which reads:
We announce that the representatives of the main political actors in Venezuela are continuing the negotiations that were initiated in Oslo.
As part of this process, a negotiation table has been established that will work in a continuous and efficient manner to reach an agreed-upon solution within the framework of the Constitution. It is foreseen that the parties will carry out consultations in order to advance in the negotiations.
Norway’s announcement appeared to contradict an earlier assertion made by Minister of Communication Jorge Rodriguez, who had announced through his Twitter account that the talks had simply ended.
The two sides met in Barbados this week after firs sitting down in Oslo earlier this year.
Former SEBIN Chief Confirms Opposition Politicians Was Murdered in Custody
Cristopher Figuera, the former head of the Servicio Bolivariano de Inteligencia Nacional (National Bolivarian Intelligence Service, SEBIN), sat down for an interview with Spain’s El Pais in which he spoke on a variety of topics, including the suspicious death of opposition politician Fernando Alban.
Alban was arrested by regime authorities in October of last year after he spoke out against the Maduro government at a meeting of the United Nations in New York City. After spending just three days in regime custody, Alban died after he allegedly threw himself out of a 10-story window while in SEBIN custody.
In the interview that was published today, Figuera–who came to be the head of the SEBIN a few weeks after Alban’s death–told El Pais that the politician was murdered by his captors.
Below, my translation of the exchange between Alban and El Pais:
El Pais: You came to head the SEBIN after the death of councilor Fernando Alban. A few weeks ago a captain was killed, tortured, in the headquarters of the DGCIM [the office of military counterintelligence]. How systematic is torture at both organizations?
Figuera: I don’t have evidence to give you the level of detail that you’re requesting. Alban was thrown out [of the window]. There are some officers who have been detained, who are being processed [in court] for that event. In the case of the captain [Acosta Arevalo], that’s a painful, dramatic, abhorrent situation. Inside those organizations there are elements that work directly from Maduro to attack [and] terrorize whoever opposes them.
Figuera also said that the Venezuelan authorities are actively engaged in espionage targeting “everyone who does not agree with what Maduro says”. On the kind of activities that the authorities engage in, Figuera said:
[We conducted] persecution across the electromagnetic spectrum, telephone wiretapping, and perseguimiento en el terreno [literally, “chasing people on the field”, like trailing targets].
When Figuera was asked who specially inside the Maduro regime orders the torture of prisoners, Figuera said:
Maduro. Maduro is the one who orders the political persecutions. Everything that the report that has just been presented by the High Commissioner of Human Rights is true. It [the report] was a bit timid, because there are horrendous things that weren’t outlined in it.
The full interview can be found here.
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