Caruzo: Global Left Ignores Unending Brutality of Venezuela’s Police

TOPSHOT - Riot police clash with opposition demonstrators during a protest against the government of President Nicolas Maduro on the anniversary of the 1958 uprising that overthrew the military dictatorship, in Caracas on January 23, 2019. - Venezuela's National Assembly head Juan Guaido declared himself the country's "acting president" on …
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CARACAS – The Venezuelan socialist regime has transformed law enforcement agencies into a many-headed hydra of terror. The global media doesn’t seem to be calling for their defunding or even denouncing their heinous acts with the same fervor as they do to America’s police institutions.

I’ve lived in Caracas for most of my life, one of the most dangerous cities in the world. Residents must live in abject terror because, if the crime doesn’t kill you, the police and the rest of the regime’s security apparatus might.

Countless cases of police abuse have been reported in Venezuela, especially during times of protest. The abuse of power and uncontrolled police brutality go hand-in-hand with an authoritarian regime and ours is one of the worst cases. In terms of deaths caused by law enforcement officers per capita, Venezuela vastly outperforms the rest of the world. In 2018 alone, a staggering number of 5,287 killings were registered caused by as “resistance to authority.”

That number alone puts us at a rate of 1830.2 per 10 million people — higher than Syria’s 3,364 civilian deaths in 2019. If our homicide statistics are outperforming Syria’s, they definitely outdo America’s, but the media won’t ever tell you that.

Venezuela’s systematic law enforcement brutality is not limited to just the Bolivarian Police. DGCIM, the Directorate General of Military Counterintelligence, often tortures its captives. Pictures of its officials wearing skull-shaped masks have become widespread in recent years. You can imagine the intended effect of this in the population’s psyche as they walk past your streets — a man clad in that uniform with that visage does not bring good intentions.

SEBIN, the Bolivarian Intelligence Service, is yet another arm in this socialist monster. The Human Rights Watch organization released a report in 2018 where they detail the abuse they inflict on their victims, which ranges from electroshock to sleep deprivation and rape.

Its infamous headquarters, a repurposed subway administrative building that is now known as La Tumba (“the tomb”), is a monument to their human rights violations. Every time you walk or drive past it, you can’t fail to remind yourself that an underground detention facility operates in that very visible building, where “white torture” is applied.

FAES, the Special Action Force of the Bolivarian Police, is the newest and most recent branch. Created in 2017, it is known and feared for its extrajudicial murders, which now number in the thousands. Its members cover up their actions, manipulate evidence, and alter crime scenes.

Residents of the Venezuelan barrios (shanty slum areas of our cities) not only have to endure the worst aspects of the collapse of this socialist utopia, they have to live with constant fear of the Special Action FAES police officers, who keep them in line through sheer fear and terror, twisting the truth through their official reports so as to mask their murders.

The National Guard — which the regime added the Bolivarian prefix to (lest one forgets who they truly serve) – is not exempt of abuse. A few days ago, Eva Leal, a Venezuelan attorney, received a brutal beating at the hands of the Bolivarian National Guard (GNB) after she refused to pay a bribe. Venezuelans compared the way officers pressed her neck down on the ground to the case of George Floyd, whose Minnesota death at the hands of police prompted waves of riots in America. While she is thankfully still alive, she faced a military tribunal – which, given her status as a civilian, is itself a human rights violation – and may have escaped disappearance exclusively due to social media pressure.

Will the leaders of the Black Lives Matter organization raise their fists and elevate their voice in “solidarity” with Eva, and with the many countless victims of police and military abuse in Venezuela — all of which live through a far worse situation than the one they denounce the United States for? Of course not.

They are open supporters of this socialist regime — ideologically aligned and just as hateful of America as dictator Nicolás Maduro himself.

Will the corporate brands that have run large and loud campaigns in support of Black Lives Matter give us five minutes of coverage on this beyond inhumane reality that we live here? I don’t think so.

Lately, a new method of state-sanctioned law enforcement terror has become the norm. Forced disappearances, mostly targeted at the family members of dissenting voices, serve to quell and coerce individuals whom the regime feels uncomfortable with. These “disappearances” are state-sanctioned kidnappings that often end in torture, such as the case of Ariana Granadillo, a medical student tortured and disappeared for the sole crime of having family ties to a colonel.

As a public dissenter, this fate scares me – not because of anything I may personally endure, but because of my brother. He is innocent of any “counter-revolutionary” activity but, due to his mental condition, he is under my care ever since our mother passed away. The risk is always there for the authorities to storm our house one day and snatch either of us, potentially leaving him without the care he needs to survive.

Silence through fear, obedience through terror, such is life under an authoritarian socialist regime, and I’m afraid that the Chinese coronavirus has given the regime a carte blanche to further test out and refine their law enforcement abuses — to see what they can get away with. Eva Leal, the attorney, had her head cracked open for being caught driving home from work a few minutes after the local 3 p.m. – yes, 3 p.m. – curfew and refusing to pay a bribe.

I’m sure the worldwide left will step up and denounce these atrocities, and will protest and clamor for the defundment of Venezuela’s authoritarian police and military with the same fervor and enthusiasm that they’ve been denouncing America lately. So I’m just going to sit here and patiently wait for it, because they will denounce all of this anytime now, right? …right?

Christian K. Caruzo is a Venezuelan writer and documents life under socialism. You can follow him on Twitter here.

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