December 16, 2019
Keymer Ávila | @Keymer_Avila
Recently, a series of rumors, disqualifications and attacks against me and my investigations have been launched, through various networks , to which I had decided at the time not to attend because it was neither my debate nor my spaces. They involved me in those discussions surreptitiously and without consultation, possibly to hide his own mistakes from trying to use me as a scapegoat. But since the tangle of gossip, false information, propaganda, and partisan manipulation has reached an official medium like Ciudad Caracas , I consider it necessary to express my position in this regard, as well as deny several accusations that have been made to me:
- For almost 15 years I have dedicated myself to the study and critical analysis of the penal system in Venezuela, part of this work can be found in some 16 articles published in specialized peer-reviewed journals, as well as twenty other publications, book chapters, and technical reports. , all this academic work is public and freely accessible: https://ucv.academia.edu/KeymerÁvila ; https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Keymer_Avila .
- Several of these investigations have been formally assigned to the authorities related to the topics of analysis. They have also been asked in advance for their information and data to prioritize the information and official position, unfortunately I never receive any response from these communications.
- About three weeks ago a debate was generated among some sectors by a campaign initiated by an NGO that claims to be sympathetic to government policies, in which extrajudicial executions carried out by security forces in the country are denounced, a more than legitimate approach. It is a topic to which I have devoted years of research and publications . About the aforementioned campaign it is important to report three things:
- I do not have nor have I ever had any kind of relationship with that NGO, therefore the moments in which they decided to launch their campaign, as well as their formats, slogans, hashtags, and intentions are totally foreign and unknown to me.
- This NGO used for its campaign a small part of official data from different countries in the region that are found in a broader comparative study, carried out by the Monitor of the Use of Lethal Force in Latin America, whose Venezuela chapter is in my charge. .
- The aforementioned campaign has generated various reactions among sectors identified with the government , including attacks, disqualifications, false accusations, smear campaigns, witch hunts, among other tactics that seek to distract attention from the main problem: the deaths of poor young people from hands of the security forces.
- The Monitor on the Use of Lethal Force (MUFL), of which I am a part, brings together researchers and academics from five countries in the region: Brazil, Colombia, El Salvador, Mexico, and Venezuela . The institutions to which we are affiliated are the following: Violence Analysis Laboratory of the State University of Rio de Janeiro , the Brazilian Public Security Forum , the Ideas for Peace Foundation , the Legal Research Institute of the National Autonomous University of Mexico and the Institute of Criminal Sciences of the Central University of Venezuela. Each of these institutions with a clear track record, widely known throughout the region for their positions on the security policies of their countries, as well as for their research and academic work.
- In the MUFL, common indicators and methodologies were built to be able to measure, analyze and understand the use and abuse of lethal force in a comparative perspective, with a view to finding evidence that serves as an input for the prevention of abuses, as well as greater security. both of the citizenry and of the officials themselves .
- The chapter on Venezuela is my authorship, the main basis of the analysis is official information, which has always been prioritized. You can read the full report at this link and it cannot be reduced to an infographic : https://www.academia.edu/40204595/Uso_de_la_Fuerza_Letal_en_Venezuela . The data that caused a stir in the campaign three weeks ago is official, it can be consulted at these links, the source is the Minister of the Interior himself: https://twitter.com/NestorReverol/status/946081878158823425 ; https://www.instagram.com/p/BdNyMWLnllS/
- The regional comparative analysis is a collective product , it is not solely my responsibility. In this, official information was also prioritized. To make comparisons and contrasts, only information of the same nature was used. Official information was contrasted only with official information. Official information is traditionally precarious and unreliable . For those interested in my critical reading of the official figures for Mexico and Colombia in the framework of this study: https://efectococuyo.com/opinion/monitor-del-uso-de-la-fuerza-letal-en-america- latin/
- Why did the MUFL only work with the 2017 data? Because it was the full year closest to the start date of the project, April 2018. The results were published in August 2019, initially presented at UNAM, and then disseminated throughout the region. For more details about the MUFL: http://www.monitorfuerzaletal.com/
- My activity is academic and research, I am not a member of the Open Society Foundations, as has been falsely and irresponsibly stated in the Ciudad Caracas newspaper. This outlet did not contact me to verify this information or to verify my version of these accusations.
- It is worrying that false information and personal smear campaigns are used as a way to distract attention and try to cover up the social and institutional problems that we suffer as a country.
- Within the framework of the aforementioned campaign of these weeks, justifying and denialist speeches of the arbitrariness and unleashed institutional violence have also proliferated, which has increased in recent years. Official figures clearly establish that during 2018, 33% of the homicides that occurred in the country were the result of the intervention of state security forces. Every day 15 young people die from these causes in the country . These are the figures that the government itself gave to the High Commissioner for the United Nations in July of this year .
- In this context, discussing whether or not some of the deceased were involved in criminal activities is irrelevant, the death penalty does not legally exist in the country, a penalty that is in the process of extinction throughout the world; and if it exists, it must be the product of a judicial decision and not be administered discretionally by police and military on the street. The debate is about the proportionality of the use of lethal force by the security forces and its justification in specific cases where there are fatal results. The family members’ complaints and the general evidence indicate that in most of these cases it is not about confrontations but rather summary executions .
- Police officers are also victims of homicide, we have studied and documented this for years, seven out of 10 police officers who are victims of homicide are not in the exercise of their duties at the time of the event . Most of the deaths of the police and of the civilians who die as a result of their intervention are the consequence of irregular encounters, ambushes, assaults, hunts, where there is an unequal and asymmetric use of force by the parties involved. The deaths in the context of real confrontations are exceptional ( 7% of the total cases of the AMC , no more than 12% at the national level ).
- The instrumentalization of the pain of mothers whose children have been murdered is detestable and inexcusable. The same can be said in general for the exercise of the defense of human rights as a whole, especially when their violation and the implicit family drama are used as excuses to fight internal battles of a partisan nature, group rivalries, to win or not lose space. of propaganda, patronage or for a mere financial sense. It is one more symptom of the complex and deep crisis that we are experiencing, as Achille Mbembe points out, “a crisis of subsistence such that the value of all things is distorted, even that of life and death.”
To conclude and making it clear that I am far from trying to give lessons about what I could consider the best way to defend human rights, I suggest that those who get involved in this type of activity do so by genuinely highlighting the victims, regardless of who is responsible for the protection and/or violation of their rights. There are no good violators of rights, and no one should enjoy impunity in any way for their violation. In the same way, I consider it necessary from an ethic of human rights, to disperse their defense and protection; understand that the struggle for its full validity, it constitutes an objective of an infinitely higher importance than any prevalence of factions or domestic political currents or of the typical dynamics and alignments that characterize the political and geopolitical debate. This would be a reliable demonstration of coherence and responsibility, sine qua non requirements for the defense of the rights of all, especially those of the most vulnerable, the always excluded.
Publicado originalmente en Provea.