Opponents have accused Maduro’s regime
of the authoritarian oppression of
any dissident voices during a four-year
recession that has left 87 percent of the
population living in poverty, according
to a group of leading universities.
Amnesty International’s new report,
Venezuela: This is no way to live,
highlighted violence carried out by security
forces during operations against
criminals in impoverished neighbourhoods
of Venezuela’s biggest cities.
Investigators found that “8,292 extrajudicial
executions took place in the last
two years between 2015 and 2017,” with
“4,667 (22 percent) of the homicides in
2016” carried out by security officials.
“State officials, adopting military
methods, use force in an abusive and
excessive manner, in some cases intentionally
killing during security operations,”
the human rights organisation
said in a statement.
“In cases documented by AI, victims
were unarmed. Autopsies revealed bullet
wounds in the neck, throat, head.
They were killed while on their knees
or lying down,” said Esteban Beltran, director
of Amnesty International Spain.
“The number of murders in Venezuela
is greater than those in many countries
Venezuela’s murder rate is 89 per
100,000 inhabitants, three times more
than crime-wracked neighbour Brazil,
said Mariana Fontoura Marques, director
of international justice policy at Amnesty
Insecurity “was one of the major reasons
Venezuelans gave for leaving the
country,” she added.
Food and medicine shortages and hyperinflation
the IMF says will reach one
million percent this year have also contributed
to the mass exodus. The UNsays
some 1.6 million people have left
Venezuela since 2015, heaping pressure
on several nearby countries struggling
to deal with a mass influx of migrants.
“When analysing the state’s response
to the crisis of violence in Venezuela,
Amnesty International, in addition to
identifying different flaws in government
policies, is extremely concerned
at the authorities’ support for the intentionally
lethal use of force and extrajudicial
executions targeting mostly young
men living in poverty,” the report’s
authors wrote in their conclusion.