January 28, 2019
Keymer Ávila | @Keymer_Avila
The Caracas Chronicles team recently interviewed me about the actions of the Special Actions Force (FAES) in the context of the current political conflict, which can be read at this link . I take some of your initial questions as a basis to offer an overview of this special group of the PNB.
Under what precept is this special tactical group founded and how does it operate?
The “tactical groups” or “special actions” are made up of troops previously selected and trained in assault and combat tactics, equipped with weapons and special equipment of a military nature, who must intervene only in extreme and high-risk situations, such as such as kidnappings, hostage-taking, armed confrontations , dangerous arrests, etc.
A common characteristic of this type of situation is that in these cases the preventive and investigative police are exceeded in weapons, both in quality and quantity, or they occur in places that are difficult for them to access. These groups represent the maximum expression of the intensity criteria in terms of the use of lethal force, handling of weapons of war , as well as the corresponding training, which is required in situations of maximum complexity, considered extreme and very exceptional.
The problem lies in the transfer of these exceptional situations to the routine practice of security forces in general, without subsequent accountability or justification for this type of intervention. Not counting, in addition, the modeling effect that these groups have on the rest of the institution of which they are a part, as well as on other bodies that, due to their powers, should not have groups of this nature.
Command groups in each police
According to our legislation, the only police force that can have this type of group is the PNB , the FAES is attached to this institution. So we must not lose sight of the fact that when the FAES acts, the PNB acts . Consequently, the responsibility for their actions lies directly with the Minister of the Interior and the President of the Republic. Despite the legal mandate, the scientific police (CICPC), the GNB and the political police (SEBIN) also have this type of commando group.
The FAES was activated on July 14, 2017 by the President of the Republic himself, with a clearly warlike discourse and political intention, to “ fight crime and terrorism ”. The FAES, then, is barely a year and seven months old and the PNB a decade old. Despite its brief history, they are already positioned as the second most lethal institution in the country after the CICPC , positions previously held by the extinct Metropolitan Police and the GN (FAN component).
In this way, the PNB, thanks to the operation of the FAES, is responsible for at least 32% of the deaths due to the intervention of the public force in the country. In 2016, before the creation of the FAES, the PNB was responsible for 22%; the following year, with only 6 months of operation of this tactical group, this percentage grew 10 points. We will detail this soon in an investigation we carried out for Provea.
The leading role that the FAES has been taking since the decline of the terrible campaign of the OLP has been significant, all the rationality and deadly practice of these militarized police operations is now monopolized by this group of the PNB.
What is your modus operandi? How do you commonly operate?
As I have already pointed out their training and ways of proceeding are essentially military, they should intervene only in extreme situations where a high fire capacity is required. They take a specific area militarily , as if they were an occupying army and generally “hunt” their targets. It is not a logic of citizen security in which a criminal must be prevented or detained within the framework of legality, no, in their case they understand that they have to “remove” “elements” that are not people but enemies.
The world of law disappears and the logic of war prevails , or even worse of extermination, because in war there are at least two sides with more or less equivalent firepower, but in these cases the asymmetry is total. In wars, it is expected that the number of wounded is similar to that of deaths or higher, and that both armies have casualties, but in these cases there are almost never any injuries, only the corpses of racialized youth from our neighborhoods are counted.
Nor is a similar number of fatalities belonging to the security forces observed, the majority of officials who are victims of homicide (73%) do not die in these contexts . In general terms, when we study the deaths at the hands of the State security forces, in these encounters, the relationship between police officers and deceased civilians is one for every 122; that is to say, that for every police officer killed in a confrontation, 122 civilians die.
The accounts of the witnesses and relatives are terrible, executions, false positives , simulations of confrontations , subsequent intimidation of relatives and neighbors so that they do not report, followed by a long and dramatic etc.
How many complaints do you have? Why are they singled out for these excesses?
Desde su nacimiento las denuncias por ejecuciones son cada vez más numerosas. En un seguimiento que hicimos con casos de prensa a nivel nacional la PNB tenía en su haber para el año 2017 al menos unas 363 personas fallecidas, el 32% de las víctimas totales a nivel nacional, pero esto es una muestra muy pequeña porque la fuente son los casos que llegan a los medios de comunicación.
Según cifras oficiales, en 2017 murieron 4.998 personas en manos de las fuerzas de seguridad del Estado, es decir, unas 14 personas al día. Lo que opera en el país es una masacre por goteo,de la cual la FAES de la PNB es una pieza clave. Si tomamos estas cifras pudiera estimarse que, posiblemente, las víctimas de la PNB rondaron aproximadamente las 1.500 personas, que es la cifra que representa el 30% del total nacional.
¿Por qué tanto exceso? Esa es la consecuencia cuando se tiene carta blanca para ejercer el poder de manera ilimitada, sin controles, consecuencias legales, ni responsabilidad ulterior, por tiempo prolongado. En Venezuela vivimos desde hace años en un estado de excepción que se ha convertido en la regla, ese es el marco perfecto para que opere la necropolítica, donde la administración de la vida y la muerte por parte de quienes detentan el poder se ejerce de manera discrecional, arbitraria, sin ningún tipo de disimulo.
¿A dónde recurren habitualmente las víctimas de sus excesos?
In principle, they must go to the Public Ministry and the Ombudsman’s Office , but these institutions lose more and more legitimacy and trust among people. When you talk to the relatives of the victims, it is common to hear how the prosecutors end up defending the officials, justifying the execution of these people. It’s a helpless state very large, these people are triple victimized: first they are victims of the political and economic system that excludes them and condemns them to poverty; secondly, they are victimized by crime and social violence; and thirdly, they are victimized by the penal system itself, which not only murders their children, but after their deaths stigmatizes them along with their relatives, who are later condemned to live an ordeal in search of justice.
Does the FAES have jurisdiction to control demonstrations or riots?
Although the FAES belongs to the PNB, this division does not have among its functions the control of demonstrations or protests, for this the PNB has another division specialized in Public Order, which has specific training and has non-lethal weapons for containment. of these types of events. They are differentiated spaces of the same body with very different functions, which should not be mixed or confused.
It is very delicate that the FAES be used to control demonstrations because they have neither the training nor the resources for it, and the consequences would be fatal, since their training is not for containment but for lethal attack.
In the events of recent days, various complaints have been made in this regard , this must be investigated, officials of the State security forces have been pointed out, among which the PNB and its FAES division stand out, as well as the GNB, in being involved in at least 36% of the deaths in recent days caused by political conflict in the country. This percentage is higher than what we observed in the conflicts of 2017 . In addition, on this occasion the number of daily deaths is alarming, in 2017 it was approximately 1 per day, now in just 3 days of conflict, between January 22 and 25, there were almost 30 .
Publicado originalmente en Provea.