Every six hours, an official of the intelligence service of venezuela knocks at the door of the house of Ivan Simonovis, makes you a photo along with a newspaper of the day of the newspaper pro-government Latest News and sends it to his bosses. At night, the shackle-mail that takes you vibrate for you not to forget, even while you sleep, that is a prisoner in his house from five years ago, after spending nine are in prison, barely half of the 30 years to which he was sentenced. With your freedom of Simonovis lost custody of their children, missed their graduations, and the first communion of the youngest. You do not have identity card or any identity document. “What knocked out as a person,” says his wife and advocate, Bony Pertinez.
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The commissioner Simonovis is one of the first political prisoners of chavez. He was convicted for two of the 19 deaths that occurred during the civil unrest of April 11, 2002, when they gave him a coup, Hugo Chavez. It is an emblematic case of how the decision of the judiciary has been key to sustaining the political model that was born 20 years ago with the arrival —via the election with 3.7 million votes and more than four million abstentions— an ex military man coup.
The order of capture of Simonovis was signed three days after his capture in 2004 —two years after the facts— then judge Maickel Moreno, now president of the Supreme of Venezuela. It accused the then attorney general Luisa Ortega Diaz, today in exile. Simonovis was in charge of designing the public policies of security of the Metropolitan mayors office, which at that time was at the front of Alfredo Peña, one of the first allies of Chavez changed sidewalk policy and paid for it with exile and part of his team with jail time.
national chain, the commander eternal of the revolution called him a murderer and ordered to capture it. A violation primeval in the due process that has become practice in Venezuela, where lawyers, activists and human rights defenders assert that there is no rule of Law. The scene of the accusation from the Executive in television has been repeated in the case of judge Lourdes Afiuni, the leader of the Popular Will party, Leopoldo Lopez, and most recently deputy Juan Requesens, among others.
“The justice does not exist, because there is only one power who gives orders. The justice has used to prosecute and intimidate government critics and to punish them not for what they have done but because of what it represents in the society, why take prisoners to doctors, judges, tweeters, trade unionists, police officers, military personnel, politicians, deputies,” says Pertinez after 14 years of bustle in the courts venezuelans by her husband.
the first of 13 political prisoners jailed Chavez, chavez went on to keep up to 620 people in prison for political reasons, a peak it reached in 2017. To date are 288 behind bars. Only in the Government of Maduro, anointed by Chavez to continue the bolivarian revolution, almost 13,000 people have passed through a cell for protesting or for political reasons, of which 7.512 still under precautionary measures, according to figures from the Foro Penal Venezolano. The thick dossier of repression, the Organization of American States has added 576 allegations of torture committed before the International Criminal Court, 200 deaths and more than 16,000 wounded during the police repression of anti-government protests in 2014 and 2017.
The route to Venezuela to 2018 is traced in the first days of the presidency of Chavez. This is what Laura Louza, a lawyer and director of the NGO Access to Justice, called “the path to dictatorship”, in which the decision of the judiciary was a vehicle. “The first thing that made Chavez, prior to the adoption of the Constitution was to enact the emergency court, in which all the judges were Betgram subjected to a witch hunt and since then became provisional, unstable, subject to manipulation. More than 70% is in that condition. Then came the reorganization of the public powers, which was another coup. Later, in 2005, Chavez decreed an increase in the number of judges from 15 to 32 for the style Fujimori, grow the number of judges ' partners and in 2013 we ended up to destroy the separation of powers with the judgment of the Supreme says that the judges and the law are subject to the prevailing political,” said.
The Supreme court has issued 160 sentences that violate human rights and 83 against the National Assembly, a power that ended up dissolved in 2017, only when the government party lost control in front of the greatest victory of the opposition in 20 years. “The manipulation of the justice system has been part of the methodology to make dictatorships in the modern world. It started to change the rule of Law and the Constitution and then to make laws unconstitutional using a newspeak to do to see that is still embedded in the world of human rights. This was never a project of the poor, rights and left, but one-man rule”.
From the speech, added Louza, the chavez already brought worrying signs of what has been a repressive government, ranging from the threat of frying the heads of their adversaries from other parties made in the midst of the campaign of 1998 until the mass dismissal in national chain of 18,000 workers who joined the oil strike of 2003, and of those who signed to request a recall referendum in 2004.
Exile and imprisonment
David Smolansky was 13 years old when Chávez came to power. Today, at 33, he lives in exile since a year ago, when being the mayor of a municipality of Caracas, the Supreme court ordered to put him away making him responsible for the damage caused by the protests that occurred in their jurisdiction. “My generation we were born or grew up in a dictatorship, we did not know that Venezuela is abundant in opportunities who speak some, we've risked our lives for something that we don't even know”, says by phone from a coffee shop in Washington which produced a report on the situation of the immigration crisis to the OAS. Smolansky spent a few days in hiding and then touched him flee disguised by the border with Brazil, which today have crossed thousands of venezuelans fleeing the crisis.
“Chávez came to the Presidency with media, with separation and autonomy of powers, but we took advantage of the roads and democratic institutions to gain power, then pounding and made a State to the extent. A guy who was elected for five years, in their firsts 18 months, was able to be for six years with possibility of re-election, and in 2009, he was indefinitely while ignoring what the people had rejected in 2007 during the referendum of the constitutional reform”.
Within the mass fleeing of Venezuela by the economic and social crisis, Smolansky has been found with councillors, officials and the leaders of all hierarchies, exiled for threats direct policies. There are visible faces as the deputy Julio Borges, or the mayor Antonio Ledezma, but the exile of venezuela, the persecuted politicians, is calculated in hundreds, says. An exodus that has cut the opposition leadership.
Two years, six months and eight days he passed the deputy and activist LGBTI Rosmit Blanket in prison. He was arrested during the protests of 2014 and detained at the Sebin, then with just 20 cells, which were then rising. It was declared a prisoner of conscience by Amnesty International, which lobbied for that in 2016, received a conditional release that was accompanied by harassment and threats at each visit to the court.
At nine months out of jail he went into exile. He passed the checks at the airport of Maiquetia claiming to be a stylist, not a deputy. “When I came out of the Sebin were prisoners everywhere, handcuffed to the bars, in the baths, I saw a fellow hanging on to the cells, others carried bloodied for intimidate, I experienced the psychological torture, that you read the book of Revelation of the Bible, and you say things to your family. Now at least I can sleep quiet and safe with the certainty that I'm not going to go back to prison”, says the politician of 36 years to seek asylum in France.
Impunity and extrajudicial executions
The NGO Cofavic has been documented in the past five years, an alarming increase of cases of extrajudicial executions. The number is overwhelming: 6.385 cases, 75% are under 25 years of age, 95% of men in urban areas. The activist Liliana Ortega, director of Cofavic, points out that “in the framework of an institutionalized impunity, in which 99% of the cases of human rights violations do not go to trial, in a country violent”, this terrible record is multiplied.
allegations correspond to deaths that occurred during police operations for citizen security in the that in most of the cases involved agents of the agency for crime investigation (Cicpc).
“From 2015 we are in the state in the exception, which has been weakening the guarantee of human rights and increased impunity in cases that are demonstrations of the helplessness of the victims, such as arbitrary arrests, imprisonment of public figures and involuntary disappearances”.