A report to the United Nations Human Rights Council published Friday alleges widespread violence against citizenry by the police and military. Based on 558 interviews with victims and witnesses of abuse, Venezuela is accused of taking the lives of thousands of people in an attempt to maitain social control.
The report was released to press members before its official presentation to the council.
A BBC reporter assigned to the story has explained: “The report paints a dark picture of Venezuela, in which unmarked black vans arrive in poor neighbourhoods, masked officers get out, round up young men and shoot them.
The Australian Broadcasting Company provides more detail from the report:
Families of 20 men had described how masked men dressed in black from Venezuela’s Special Action Forces (FAES) had arrived in black pickups without licence plates.
In the accounts, the death squads broke into houses, took belongings and assaulted women and girls, sometimes stripping them naked.
The number of people killed while “resisting arrest”, according to official government statistics, was 5,287 last year and had already reached 1,569 by May 19 this year.
By contrast, there were roughly 1900 arrest-related deaths throughout the entire population of the United States during 2015-2016. Venezuela’s population is approximately 32 million, compared to the US’ 327 million.
The report’s release follows a case of a sixteen year old blinded after being shot ifor attending a protest complaining of shortages of cooking gas. According to Reuters, the police shot more than fifty rubber bullets into his face.