Proiuris has documented the murders of Heber Giovanny Escobar Garnica, Alfonso José Pérez Colmenarez, Alci Enrique Vázquez, Marweens Jeancarlo García Barrios, and Wilmer Agustin Quintero Cudris. His relatives have not received answers
Erick S. Gonzàlez Caldea
The 81st Prosecutor’s Office of the Public Ministry, which acted with exceptional speed against the officials of the Special Actions Forces (FAES) of the Bolivarian National Police allegedly involved in the murder of an escort of the Minister for the Penitentiary Service, Iris Varela, also has in charge of five other cases of alleged extrajudicial executions, all of which remain unpunished.
The cases of Heber Giovanny Escobar Garnica, Alfonso José Pérez Colmenarez, Alci Enrique Vázquez, Marweens Jeancarlo Garcia Barrios and Wilmer Agustin Quintero Cudris have been documented by Proiuris.
On September 27, 2019, two days after being detained by officials of the Bolivarian National Guard (GNB), Escobar Garnica, 34, was assassinated by the military, who assured that the death corresponded to a suicide, which occurred in a module of the PNB in Petare. Family members have not received any response on the progress of the investigations.
The murder of Pérez Colmenarez, 32, also remains scot-free. On March 4, 2020, he died at the hands of the FAES, in the Guamacho neighborhood, in Guarenas. To this date, his relatives are unaware of the course of the investigation that the 81st Prosecutor of the Public Ministry has had to carry out.
The alleged extrajudicial execution of Vazquez, 39, is also in a limbo. The FAES officials who killed him on January 27, 2020, in the Nuevo Horizonte neighborhood, in Catia, have not been held accountable.
The relatives of García Barrios, 26, are also interested in knowing the status of the investigation into the death of the young businessman killed by the FAES, on September 24, 2019, in the San Blas neighborhood, in Petare.
There is also no known progress in the tax investigation into the death of Quintero Cudris, 34, also murdered by FAES officials on September 25, 2019, in Antímano.
Proiuris has determined that 85% of the complaints of extrajudicial executions are not investigated by the Public Ministry and impunity fosters the systematic nature that the commission of this extreme crime has acquired in Venezuela.
In contrast, that same 81st Prosecutor’s Office of the Public Ministry, reinforced by the 49th Prosecutor’s Office with national jurisdiction, demonstrated with the case of the El Limón massacre that it is possible to carry out an effective investigation of the alleged extrajudicial executions, to identify those responsible and charge them with the crime of homicide, instead of classifying the facts as cases of resistance to authority.
The silence held by the Attorney General of the Republic appointed by the National Constituent Assembly, Tarek William Saab, on the demands of the victims relatives in irregular actions taken by the State security forces contrasts with his public pronouncements on the case where the bodyguard of Minister Varela; Wilmer José Yánez Carvallo, was executed.
FAES officials killed Yánez Carvallo in the early morning of June 11, 2020, in the El Limón neighborhood, located on the Caracas-La Guaira highway. In the same procedure, the elite body of the PNB also killed Arquímedes Martínez Fuenmayor, Andri González Narváez, Roger Blanco Narváez and Pedro Salcedo Herrera.
FAES officials Sandy Bracho, Juan Rondón, Kleiny Lemus and Antony Castellar were charged with the crimes of qualified homicide for futile motives, improper use of organic weapons and simulation of a punishable act, as reported by William Saab, the morning of this Monday, June 15, through a press conference.
The news of the El Limón massacre spread quickly through social networks, especially since one of the victims was an escort for the Minister of Penitentiary Affairs, Iris Varela.
Wilmer Yánez’s relatives denounced the excesses of the police action that coincide with several of the 16 patterns of extrajudicial execution at the hands of the FAES; but they also reported that the man was one of the minister’s escort.
In less than 24 hours, the Minister of the Interior, Justice and Peace, Néstor Reverol, demanded a formal investigation. He had never before proceeded against the FAES and, on the contrary, he always supported their actions, based on the repeated, public and unconditional support of Nicolás Maduro for the most fearsome group of the PNB.
Wilmer Yánez’s relatives denounced excesses in police action that coincide with several of the 16 patterns of extrajudicial execution at the hands of the FAES; but they also reported that the man was one of the minister’s escort.
For her part, Minister Varela thanked the Public Ministry for this unusual diligence: “In the midst of the pain and indignation we feel at the vile murder of 5 people, including our friend, Wilmer Yánez, we recognize the timely work of the Public Ministry channeling the justice necessary to that the aberrant behavior of these officials does not go unpunished ”.
Criminologists Luis Godoy and Javier Gorriño agreed to point out that political pressure made the difference in the case of the El Limón massacre.
Gorriño commented that the prompt investigation of the events is supposedly due to the fact that there is a video in which the officials are shown committing the excesses that are imputed to them. “This is the rumor that is running. However, it could also be due to the fact that one of the victims involved was close to Iris Varela,” he said.
Godoy added: “It can be presumed that if there is an incentive, it is linked to the fact that one of the victims had a connection with a high government treasurer; and that’s why they sent him to put more magnifying glasses into the case,» Godoy emphasized.
Both criminologists also agreed in warning that the practice of expert opinions to impute those responsible for an extrajudicial execution takes time.
“Not only is there an ATD, there are always hundreds in line. It is difficult to determine a specific time to have all the expertise ready, ”Godoy explained.
Gorriño, also added: “Each operation has its police record, in which the acting officials, the victim or victims, and the circumstances in which the events occurred are identified. In this type of case, the officers will always state that there was a confrontation, so they had to use their weapons for legitimate defense. Those involved in the execution would be in that act,» said Gorriño.