Radio Fe y Alegría | Keymer Ávila: “In Venezuela there is a drip massacre”

May 5, 2023 | 0 Comentarios

8 de diciembre de 2016

Javier Barrios

Lawyer, professor at the UCV, with a Master’s in Criminology and Criminal Legal Sociology, researcher and professor. Keymer Ávila, thank you very much for attending us on Radio Fe y Alegría, in the program “A Fondo”

We are reviewing this event that occurred in Barlovento, it is referred to in the media as the security operation “Operation Rondón”, which has left some thirteen people as victims. The Attorney General of the Republic, Luisa Ortega Díaz, has requested that all security operations being carried out in the country be reviewed. How are you observing this fact? which at least touches on issues of security, crime and human rights again.

Yes, it is a very unfortunate event that must be taken into account to rethink and also to denounce all the practices and policies that have been implemented, especially since one year and five months ago, with operatives such as the “OLP” . However, the discussion that revolves around pointing out whether or not what happened in Barlovento is the product of an OLP could be the least important, because beyond the acronyms what must be questioned is the specific institutional praxis, but also the systematic and reiterated regardless of those acronyms, because today they are the OLP, but tomorrow it could be any other name that comes to mind. You yourself have just mentioned the “Operation Rondón” that nobody knows about.

What happens when we focus only on the “PLOs”? -that they must also be denounced- By concentrating only on the OLP we could, inadvertently, be covering up all the deaths in the hands of the security forces , because not all the deaths that occur in the hands of the security forces are by the PLO. So, it is important to denounce the PLO, but to know that the phenomenon transcends them. Obviously the OLPs have an extremely negative impact on the institutional praxis of all security forces.

Barrios: However, here in this incident in Barlovento there is an interesting aspect to analyze: military personnel are being identified as suspects in this massacre. An action by the National Police or officials who are more trained for public order, of citizens, is always different than the military official who is qualified and trained for war, to defend territories, defend borders and not for these actions to confront criminality.

That is the way it is, and in that sense the case of Barlovento is emblematic for questioning or pointing out all the things that should not be done in criminal policy. And what is most striking is that in this case it was not even the National Guard -which exceptionally has citizen security tasks-, it was the Army ! citizen security and police work, with the security of the nation and the work of the military institution . Citizen security has to do with the integrity and civil rights of people, who are responsible for these functions are the police, who have a civilian character. That is from the Constitution, passing through our entire regulatory block and is also in what was designed in the so-called ” New Police Model “. In contrast, the security of the nation has to do with the protection of the territory, our borders, our sovereignty, all also linked to an abstract idea of ​​the Nation-State, a task that corresponds to the military.

The formation that the military has is a war logic of friend-enemy, the enemies are eliminated, they are exterminated. In contrast to the citizen security situation, where there are conflicts between civilians, whose maximum expression is crimes and when someone commits a crime, they must be prosecuted in accordance with the laws and in such a case, a criminal sanction is applied, but not it is physically eliminated as occurs in war and that is the problem when the civil and military spheres begin to be confused in terms of citizen security, because when the military begin to carry out citizen security tasks, all citizens become enemies and in this framework, we all lose and the insecurity of all citizens, rather increases.

And just as I told you, that although the PLO must be denounced, it must not be overestimated, because we could be, without wanting to, making the entire phenomenon invisible; We must also denounce the militarization of citizen security, but with this we must also be careful, because with this it could be understood that all the deaths in the hands of the security forces are consequences of the actions of military bodies and it’s not like that either. There are state police, municipal police and national police forces (PNB, CICPC), which are also involved in this type of event. In such a case, what must be denounced is the warlike logic that breaks all legal and institutional limits, to turn citizen security work into a kind of war, with fatal consequences for anyone.

We are analyzing the massacres, in this case the one in Barlovento but the one in Cariaco is also included in this context and we have a question: the motivation, what motivates or what could be behind all this?

Yes, a very interesting question that gives us a lot of cloth to cut. The man asked what could be the motives? In this state of the investigations, I believe that anything we can say regarding mobile phones can be conjectures, speculations, which would contribute very little, we must wait for the results of the investigations. Although Sandoval launched several reasonable hypotheses, the problem there, as we pointed out at the beginning, is that when so much power is given, in an unlimited way, to the police and the military to do their will without any kind of consequences, when that happens, the results may be what we are seeing. He touched on an important aspect, which is the innocence of the people who were victims of the Barlovento event, of course, that makes it reprehensible, condemnable, but neither should we focus solely on the quality of the victims’ innocence, because even if they are not innocent, this type of act cannot be legitimized or allowed. Because the death penalty does not formally exist in the country, a penalty that is certainly in the process of extinction throughout the world, and if the death penalty did exist, it would be the consequence of a trial and a decision by a judge, The police and military on the street would not administer it. So, legitimizing a death due to the innocence or not of the victims must also be eradicated, not only from the public debate, but also from the speeches of State officials. You can’t emphasize that they were innocent, so if they weren’t innocent, were they dead? you have to be careful with that because the rights have to be for everyone,

But note that there is a matrix of opinion or what has been for a long time before this event, that Barlovento is an insecure area, with a lot of crime, assault on houses, looting, assault on transport units. Well, they practically broke into houses and stole food, that is, there is an environment, a matrix of strong insecurity. Then someone writes: “Well, why are they complaining now if they were asking for a strong hand in Barlovento? Now that they put a heavy hand, the bad guys are the military?

Very good reflection, the consequence of heavy-handed demands is this type of event and here it is neither a heavy hand nor a soft hand . Here there must be hands and behind those hands there must be a brain and behind that brain there must be an institution and there must be laws. Our situation of insecurity is great, the main indicator is the homicide rate, which in Venezuela is one of the highest – by the way, there is a brutal opacity on the part of the State with this type of figures, fortunately the Public Ministry has been reporting the last two years about them. But we cannot, due to the state of insecurity in which we are, go crazy, nor give him a blank the military and police to do their bidding, because when they do their bidding, insecurity increases. With this event, for example, you have to ask the audience: do you think that with this case in Barlovento you are now safer? Do the families of Barlovento feel safer with the presence of the military and the police in their homes? streets? Who do you think the people of Barlovento fear more now: crime or the police and military?

The State cannot be allowed to end up behaving like the crime it intends to combat. Crime is stopped, controlled, reduced with greater institutionality, with the application of laws. The fact that one denounces Human Rights violations or police and military excesses should not be interpreted as a request for inaction on the part of the State. On the contrary, one wants a greater intervention of the State, but a legitimate intervention, a legal intervention. An intervention not only criminal, the State must intervene in its entirety, it must intervene in conflicts in a timely manner, it must satisfy the basic needs of the population, it must contain the violence in a timely manner, it must give proportional responses, and in the cases that it must repress, it must do so, but within the framework of the law, because when we allow the State to become a criminal, then we do remain vulnerable, not only with crime, but with respect to the State itself. So in that state we would be triple victimized: by the socioeconomic situation, crime and the State itself.

We must be careful with the ways in which we are going to demand the intervention of the State. We must demand that the State protect our lives, our integrity, this should not translate into excesses on the part of the officials of the State security forces.

Allow us, Professor Keymer Ávila, we are going to make contact with Joanne González from Cumaná, to look a little at everything that was the situation in Cariaco. Go ahead, Joanne.

Joanne Gonzalez : That’s right. Good morning Xavier. Good morning, to all of Venezuela. Still here in Cariaco, in what is known as the massacre of this sector, where eleven people died. Doubts about the investigations that are being carried out continue, until now it has been a little quiet due precisely to this case of Barlovento, and the eyes have stopped being on the side of Cariaco and have gone the other way, until now what was being done in this case has practically cooled down. As we already know, there are five people detained, including two belonging to the Bolivarian National Guard, specifically the Conas; who are justly charged in this case, where eleven people died in this area of ​​Sucre state.

The neighbors continue demanding, asking for justice for their relatives and some cases have been linked, they have just held protests in an area where a sand company is located, because they link part of these actions to the owners or to some relationship of these people with these murders.

Well, any questions that you can generate for our guest, Joanne?

Joanne González : Well, the question is exactly what people here are asking themselves, how to prevent the security forces from continuing to attack in the future, who without a search warrant, without fighting words, attack people who are anywhere ? In this case it was the turn of the inhabitants of Cariaco who are living under a trauma right now, who do not want to leave their homes precisely because they do not know who are more criminals, if the friends of others or the different security forces.

Thank you very much, from Cumana for this intervention. What does Keymer Ávila say?

Ávila: Look, first, as citizens we have to be careful when we are going to demand greater security. Security must be a means, an instrument, not an end in itself. One asks for security to protect his life, one asks for security to protect his personal integrity, one asks for security to have more freedom. If in search of security they are going to take my life, they are going to deteriorate my personal integrity, they are going to take away my freedom, then you better not take care of me. So, what people should ask for is that their right to life, integrity, and freedom be respected. Security policies can never mean a reduction or violation of rights, that in the first place. We as citizens have to be very tactical in how our demand for criminal policies will be, how the State will intervene in the problem we have. Secondly, we have to denounce, I know that there is an institutional crisis in the country and that on many occasions, Reporting can be risky, but forms of organization must be sought, both among the people affected and between them and the institutions. We must try to build institutional alliances. Reporting cannot be stopped. You have to go in parallel, not just to an institution, you have to go in parallel to the Public Ministry, to its Directorate of Fundamental Rights, which is on Avenida México, in the case of Caracas and in the case of the rest of the states of the country, they have to go to the superior prosecutor’s offices or look for the Fundamental Rights Prosecutor of their state; go to the Ombudsman’s Office, and in parallel, go to NGOs that work on Human Rights, such as the Support Network for Justice and Peace, COFAVIC, Provea, all of this in parallel. Right now, this last week, the Domestic Policy Committee of the National Assembly has been very active, also go to the National Assembly, go to the institutions because as citizens what we have to demand is greater institutionality. We have to demand that the political leadership, on both sides, respond, that they take responsibility, because the state security forces must have political control, in terms of high politics, not partisan, but political-institutional control. Politicians also have to stand up for these kinds of events. I believe that in these three edges: see what our demands for greater security for our rights are like; the complaint before the institutions, not only of the State, but also, to civil society organizations; and the claim to the political leadership, They are like three large areas in which we can become active. In addition to the citizen comptroller in the citizen security organs.

Barrios: Well, Keymer Ávila, very kind of assisting us, in this dialogue with Fe y Alegría and the “A Fondo” program. Thank you so much.

Thank you very much Xavier. I also wanted to leave an idea in the air: although the cases of Cariaco, Barlovento, Tumeremo , are scandalous because a large number of victims are achieved in a single event, it should not be lost sight of the fact that here is a trickle massacre. In January, the Attorney General spoke of two hundred and forty-five people killed in the hands of the State security forces. What has happened to those cases? In a follow-up that we have carried out in the press, we have already counted a thousand people, so far this year, killed in the hands of the State security forces. So here there is also a trickle-down massacre that must be reported, we must take advantage of these painful events to also make visible the enormous number of cases that are occurring in the country.

Complete interview with Keymer Ávila conducted by Javier Barrios in the program “A Fondo”, broadcast by the National Network of Radio Fe y Alegría on   December 1, 2016.

The program can be heard at the following link:

Publicado originalmente en: Provea

Entradas relacionadas

También puede leer: