Protectors or Perpetrators?

March 23, 2017 OPINION/NEWS

AP photo



Ricardo Swire

Historically law enforcement in Venezuela has been bloody and heavy handed. A brutal response during 1989’s “Caracazo” symbolized failure of the old internal security apparatus.

Venezuela’s Committee of Families of Victims (COFAVIC) officially recorded a minimum five hundred residents in Caracas murdered by law enforcement. The 2006 National Commission for Police Reform was the government’s first major attempt to reform police procedure.

The 2008 “Organic Law of Police Service” set the National Bolivarian Police (PNB) in motion. The legislation mandated law enforcement training be removed from Venezuela’s military. In 2009 the National Experimental University of Security (UNES) took over police training. In 2013 Venezuela’s economy began spiraling downward, intelligence reports suggested some dedicated law enforcement admirers of the former deceased President became street enforcers and turned to crime. Such individuals detached from government control and joined a constellation of armed groups that kidnap, steal and kill.

In early 2013 renowned human right advocate Amnesty International accused rogue Anzoategui state police officers of torturing a protester. The NGO documented that Aragua state police “threatened to kill another member of the Barrios family, who are receiving protection, as ten of them have been murdered since 1998 in circumstances that suggest police involvement.” In 2014 the international organization Human Rights Watch documented a 103 page report labelled “Punished for Protesting: Rights Violations in Venezuela’s Streets, Detention Centers and Justice System.”

The text informed that Venezuela’s security forces allowed armed pro-government gangs to attack unarmed civilians. Some security forces members collaborated with gangs. 2015 statistics recorded names of 177 youths, murdered by Venezuela’s security forces. The same year intelligence records identified 13 police officers, assigned to the Body of Scientific & Criminal Investigations (CICPC), arrested for corruption. The cad law enforcers also extorted businesses operating in El Valle district of Caracas.

On December 30, 2016 Venezuela’s internal security figures identified 1,151 youths killed by the security forces, 162 deaths occurring during “police confrontations” and 21 in “Operation Liberation & Protection of the People” anti-crime swoops. New information suggests Venezuela’s armed forces have reverted to performing the role of law keepers and routinely execute commando style raids that resemble urban warfare tactics.










Ricardo Swire - Tuck Magazine

Ricardo Swire

Ricardo Swire is the Principal Consultant at R-L-H Security Consultants & Business Support Services and writes on a number of important issues.


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