Venezuelan Government Uses Arbitrary Arrests, Torture, and 'Death Squads' to Keep Order, U.N. Finds

A new report from the U.N.'s High Commissioner for Human Rights finds a "shockingly high" number of politically motivated extrajudicial killings.


A new report by the United Nations' human rights watchdog paints an unpleasant picture of repression and economic collapse in Venezuela. President Nicolas Maduro's government, it says, punishes dissidents with arbitrary arrests, torture, and even murder.

The report was written by Michelle Bachelet, the U.N.'s high commissioner for human rights. Bachelet served as Chile's left-wing president from 2014 to 2018, and she generally declined to criticize the Venezuelan regime while in office.

Venezuelan security forces killed 5,287 people in 2018 for resisting arrest during raids, according to the government's own numbers. Another 1,569 were killed from January to May of this year. Independent counts put the number of people killed by police even higher.

Hundreds of these killings were committed by the Special Action Forces (FAES). Created in 2017—in theory to target organized crime—this group was described by the U.N. investigators' informants as a "death squad" and an "extermination group."

U.N. officials spoke with 20 families of men killed by the FAES. According to the investigators, police would raid homes at night, kill the young men they encountered, and then plant guns and drugs at the scene to frame the victims. At least six people were killed by the FAES for their role in anti-government protests, U.N. investigators found.

The investigators expressed concern in their report that the FAES and other security forces were being used as "an instrument to instill fear in the population and to maintain social control."

The New York Times reports that Bachele was given remarkable access to the country. She spent three days meeting with government officials, including Maduro himself. Her investigators visited the country for two weeks in March, collecting evidence and interviewing officials, witnesses, and victims.

In addition to extrajudicial killings, the U.N. report found that some 15,000 people have been arbitrarily arrested for political reasons since 2014, including around 2,000 in 2019 alone. Many of them were subjected to torture, including "electric shocks, suffocation with plastic bags, waterboarding, beatings, sexual violence, water and food deprivation, stress positions and exposure to extreme temperatures."

The report also says that hyperinflation and food shortages have left millions of Venezuelans without access to sufficient nutrition, and that the government's food aid is often withheld from opponents of the regime.

U.S. sanctions—first applied in March 2018—are worsening the situation, according to the report. But "the economy of Venezuela, particularly its oil industry and food production systems, were already in crisis before any sectoral sanctions were imposed."

It is not news that Venezuela is a destitute country governed by an authoritarian socialist regime. But this latest report offers new details about just how much violence the Maduro government is willing to employ to stay in power.

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  1. So, Maduro is Literally Trump, I guess

    1. Maybe trumps first year. Hes been way worse since. We dont have any journalists left in america.

  2. Well, they literally asked for this by voting for a socialist. No sympathy from me. Starve to death for all I care.

    1. MADuro got 67.8% of the vote, so 32.2% of the people do not deserve this fate.

      1. MADuro got 67.8% of the vote, so 32.2% of the people do not deserve this fate.

        Government and citizenship doesn’t work that way.

        1. “MADuro got 67.8% of the vote, so 32.2% of the people do not deserve this fate.”
          “Government and citizenship doesn’t work that way.”

          Certainly Democracy works that way, just like when two wolves and a sheep vote on what’s for dinner. Chavez convinced enough people to give his government socialist power over the economy (it’s hard to say what the actual legitimate vote totals really were given their propensity to cheat). Our government is a Republic, where leaders are democratically elected, and where the Bill of Rights prevents the government from implementing laws treading on our individual rights, like the right to keep our property provided we pay our taxes.

          Socialism always ends like this. When the government provides everything, there’s nothing to gain by working and so people don’t. Then poverty ensues, forced, i.e. slave, labor follows. As does physical oppression of the opposition to socialism.

    2. They have mine. Human suffering is often self-inflicted to some degree, and besides this wasn’t a unanimous collective decision.

      1. Stalin got 99.999% of the vote

    3. The last elections were obvious sham elections. Sympathy from morons like you is worthless.

      1. It was the first election that counts.

    4. Why should you have if your daughter marries a guy who beats her and the kids and locks up the refrigerator, and sleepz with their daughter, if you told her don’t marry that bum and she did it anyway! She made her decision! And if he ends up beating her to death, no sympathy.

    5. Actually, they voted his ass out but he refuses to step down.

  3. When you’ve lost the UN, you’ve lost everything worth winning.

    1. What is going on in here? Is everyone in this comment thread a troll?

  4. But Putin tweeted at us!

    1. lol they are still talking about the Mueller report. The libs are so pathetic.

  5. This is SOCIALISM! This what AOC and the LIB MEDIA want!

    We MUST BUILD THE WALL and keep these CRIMINALS out!


    1. Exactly wrong. If things are bad in Venezuela, the Koch / Reason solution is to encourage the country’s entire population to immigrate to the US.


      1. Literally they’re solution! Koch and Soros have not only teamed up together to fund TreasonNN, they’re openly waging war against AMERICAN VALUES!

        Thank goodness Trump is beating back the God-less heathens at the border and throughout America!

        1. Your cynicism is just evidence of your profound ignorance.

          1. They’re coming for you next – I hope you’re ready to defend yourself.

        2. Crusty v. OBL is like a better than Tony v. John, without the rage-fueled sexual tension.

          1. I cannot English today.

      2. Five million, or about 15% of the country has already fled, increasingly on foot with nothing but a suitcase.

    2. This is SOCIALISM! This what AOC and the LIB MEDIA want!

      No, this is not what they “want”; they want equality, justice, and endless wealth for everybody. Even the most die-hard socialist or communist has good intentions. However, Venezuela or worse is what any attempt at implementing socialism invariably ends up turning into. Every single time.

      1. “…endless wealth for everybody except the wealthy.”
        Edited for clarity.

    3. We’ve already MAGAed. Now we gotta KAG.

  6. This is just “cleansing the state of the kulaks and wreckers.”
    No socialist can object; this is the path to creating a true socialist state which has never been tried before.

    1. Uh, that particular path has been tried about 100 million times

      1. I mean “achieved” not “tried.”

  7. The Washington Post even had an article about this. Of course, it was a reprint of an AP article, and the only way you could find it was to use their search function to look for Venezuela.

    The BBC website’s lead story about the Chinese removing Muslim children from their parents hasn’t made the Post yet.

    The Post’s new slogan is “Democracy Dies in Darkness” and they’re apparently working hard for an early death.

    1. The Post’s new slogan is “Democracy Dies in Darkness”

      The second, secret, half of the slogan is “and We’re the Pillow.”

    2. Democracy is already dead in China and Venezuela. The Post has moved on.

  8. to the surprise of no one who has read any history whatsoever

  9. Why publish this news about the behavior of a fake-socialist (actually capitalist) government, if not to discredit the *real* socialism, which is humane and beautiful! /sarc

    1. Yeah! Cuz, like, Denmark.

  10. That report was an embarrassment.

    It mentioned the United States by name just once in a footnote.

  11. UNHRC published a similar report on the not-so-DPRK in 2013/14 under the Obama administration. No one did shit. The UN has all but neutered itself. As members of the P5, PRC and RF constantly undermine meaningful action.

    1. Were North Koreans protesting?

      1. Of course they are protesting! They have been boycotting food and refusing to grow to full height for decades….

  12. A new report from the U.N.’s High Commissioner for Human Rights finds a “shockingly high” number of politically motivated extrajudicial killings.

    Shocking to who? Not anybody who has even a basic grasp of histort.

    1. Histort. Hmm. Mansplaining law?

  13. “Venezuelan Government Uses Arbitrary Arrests, Torture, and ‘Death Squads’ to Keep Order, U.N. Finds”

    The Contras moved to Venezuela after Republicans stopped sending American taxpayers’ dollars to fund right-wing butchery . . . and they turned lefty?

    1. “The Contras moved to Venezuela after Republicans stopped sending American taxpayers’ dollars to fund right-wing butchery . . . and they turned lefty?”

      Anyone but a half-educated asshole bigot knows full well that lefties are masters at butchery.

  14. “Venezuelan security forces killed 5,287 people in 2018 for resisting arrest during raids…”

    Looks like he’s already got Pinochet beat in the body count in a single year. Anyone want to try to predict the total at the end of this one?

  15. If you want to lead a country you have to kill people. Maybe not as many as they kill in North Korea but Maduro hasn’t so it’s ok. We get a good trade deal with Venezuela. They have a beautiful coast. Just imagine the resorts we could build.

    1. Imagine your embarrassment once you grow up and read the steaming pile of shit you’ve posted.

  16. […] Venezuelan Government Uses Arbitrary Arrests, Torture, and ‘Death Squads’ to Keep Order,… […]

  17. I think you linked to the wrong UN report.

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