Edmundo “Pipo” Rada, an opposition politician with the Voluntad Popular (Popular Will, VP) party, was found murdered earlier today after he went missing yesterday. Rada’s badly-burned body was found on the side of a highway in the Sucre municipality of Miranda state. Rada had also been shot twice in the back of the head. His head was wrapped in plastic.
It is not clear at this time who the perpetrators of Rada’s murder were.
Rada worked in the Petare neighbourhood of Caracas, one of the city’s poorest areas. In late September, he had planned the visit of opposition leader Juan Guaido to the area, and accompanied him on a tour of Petare.
Speaking on Rada’s killing today, Guaido said that he believed that the regime’s Fuerzas de Acciones Especiales (Special Actions Force, FAES) were responsible for the murder, which he considers to be “a message” from the Maduro regime.
Freddy Guevara, the national cooridinator for VP, said in a tweet that Rada is a “martyr” in the struggle against the Maduro regime. Guevara said:
They’ve killed Pipo. He was our brother in this struggle. He fought from every beginning on every field, march, protest, campaign, or street. He was a leader in Petare. They killed him for fear of his work in one of the largest slums in Latin America. This is very hard.
Edmundo “Pipo” Rada is a martyr. Another martyr in this fight. They will not be forgotten, and neither will their struggle. Pipo, brother, your steadfastness and dedication will always be remembered. Your family, party and neighbours are proud of you. We’re always with you, bud. This is so painful.
Guaido called for an independent inquiry into Rada’s killing, pointing out that the attorney general’s office is entirely at the service of the Maduro regime and cannot be trusted to undertake the task.
Venezuela Elected to UN Human Rights Council
Venezuela was elected today to a seat at the United Nations Human Rights Council, alongside 14 other nations including Libya, Philippines, Qatar, and Brazil. Maduro celebrated the “great victory”, saying that he considered it vindication against the “persecution campaign” that he claims the United States is running against the country.
The development disconcerted human rights activists and organizations alike, given the Maduro regime’s egregious and continued human rights abuses.
Human rights lawyer Tamara Suju called the Council’s member states “shameless” for electing Venezuela, and said:
While thousands die and flee [because of] dictators, they applaud the tyrants.
Suju also pointed out the fact that the International Criminal Court (ICC) is currently investigating allegations that the Maduro regime has committed crimes against humanity in its brutal repression of dissent since 2013.
Philippe Bolopion, the Human Rights Watch representative at the United Nations, said of Venezuela’s election:
What does it say about the world in which we live, that a majority of UN nations voted today to elect the abusive government of Venezuela to the Human Rights Council, when they could have made another choice?
Bolopion called the election “an insult to the victims of abuse around the world”, and continued:
Just this July, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet released a report in which she denounced the Maduro regime’s systematic human rights abuses, including a sustained campaign of arbitrary detentions, torture and murders “as part of a policy of social control”.
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