Saturday, June 28, 2008

Remembering the Venezuelan Political Prisoners ( Translation )


Source:  Megaresistencia

I am going to post a translation of a recent online article from Diario de América written by Venezuelan dissident in exile Mercedes Montero which presents her list of some 27 political prisoners now held by the Chavez regime.  (I know she writes "25" but she actually has two more.)  And as a final note of my own, Martha Colmenares insists that there are two important political prisoners whose names need to be added to this list; Gregory Umanes and Louis Chacin, both arrested in 2003.

Mercedes Montero is a Sociologist and specialist in Organizational Development who has been an active spokeswoman for the Venezuelan resistance to Hugo Chavez since her self-imposed exile in 2005.  She has been a regular contributor to Diario de América and you will find her work also followed closely at sites such as Megaresistencia (see 2nd post), Martha Colmenares, and others who publicize the still-unfolding tragedy of Chavez's rule in Venezuela.

We do not hear much about Venezuela's political prisoners.  They are much less well-known than those in Cuba, and even the cause of the Cuban prisoners of conscience is not as widely-recognized as it should be, in my opinion.  But I submit that the Venezuelan story is worth knowing by all lovers of freedom and democracy.


Non-governmental organizations have denounced these cases before the Human Rights Commission of the OAS

Let us not forget the political prisoners and the persecuted

Let us remember that all these people are innocent, their only crime has been dissenting or fulfilling their duty

By Mercedes Montero

Let us remember that they all have been denied justice, they have not had formal judgement, nor due process.

Let us remember that all their human rights have been violated.

Let us remember that their families have suffered the insufferable.

Let us remember that on multiple occasions different non-governmental organizations have denounced these cases before the Human Rights Commission of the Organization of American States (OAS), the European Union, the Holy See, and they have sent communications to the United Nations (UN), but they continue to be prisoners.

Let us remember most of all that in Venezuela the rule of law has ceased to exist, that there is no separation of powers, and that everything depends upon the Executive Authority.

List of the 25 Venezuelan Political Prisoners


The first eight have been prisoners for five years in the case of the events of April 11, 2002, they still have not been sentenced.

1.  Agent (Metropolitan Police) Erasmo Bolivar, arrested illegally on April 19, 2003.
2.  Distinguished (Metropolitan Police) Luis Milina Cerrada, arrested illegally on April 19, 2003.
3.  1st Corporal (Metropolitan Police) Ramon Zapata Alonso, arrested illegally on April 19, 2003.
4.  1st Corporal (Metropolitan Police) Arube Perez Salazar, arrested illegally on April 19, 2003.
5.  1st Sargeant (Metropolitan Police) Rafael Neazoa Lopez, arrested illegally on April 19, 2003.
6.  Sub-Inspector (Metropolitan Police) Marco Hurtado, arrested illegally on April 19, 2003.
7.  (Metropolitan Police) Hector Rovain, arrested illegally on April 19, 2003.
8.  Sargeant-Major (Metropolitan Police) Julio Rodriguez, arrested illegally on April 19, 2003.
9.  Silvio Merida Ortiz, arrested illegally on November 6, 2003, sentenced unjustly in the case of the bombing of the Spanish Embassy and Colombian Consulate to 9 years, 4 months in prison, and was tortured.  His state of health is precarious.


10.  Raul Diaz Peña, arrested illegally on February 25, 2004, sentenced unjustly to 9 years 4 months in prison in the case of the bombing of the Spanish Embassy and Colombian Consulate.  His state of health is precarious.
11.  Captain Otto Gebauer, illegally held since November 11, 2004, sentenced to 12 years, 3 months in prison, only for the deed of being seen mourning and praying for his life to the chief executive.
12.  Juan Bautista Guevara Perez, illegally detained on November 20, 2004 and sentenced to 30 years in jail in the case of the murder of Danilo Anderson.  In spite of the fact that Inspector Hernando Contreras stated that the testimony given by star witness Giovanny Vasquez does not deserve credibility and a falsity of evidence and documents existed, justice has not been done.
13.  Ivan Simonovis, illegally arrested on November 22, 2004, in the case of the events of the 11th of April, 2002.  Continues unsentenced in the longest trial in history.
14.  Otoniel Jose Guevara, illegally arrested on November 23, 2004,
15.  Rolando Jesus Guevara, illegally arrested on November 23, 2004.  Both brothers were sentenced to 27 years in prison.  The same observations apply to them as to Juan Bautista Guevara Perez.
16.  Lazaro Forero, illegally arrested on December 3, 2004.
17.  Henry Vivas, illegally arrested on December 3, 2004.  These last two citizens are prisoners in the case of the events of the 11th of April, 2002.  The same observations apply to them as to Ivan Simonovis.


18.  Lieutenant Colonel Humberto Quintero, arrested illegally on January 12, 2005 and sentenced to 3 years and 8 months in prison, his crime the capture of Rodrigo Granda, Chancellor of the FARC.
19.  General Felipe Rodriguez, arrested illegally on February 6, 2005, unjustly sentenced to 10 years, 4 months in prison in the case of the bombings of the Spanish Embassy and the Colombian Consulate.


20.  General Delfin Gomez Parra, arrested illegally on December 3, 2006, stated: "I still cannot understand what are the reasons why they insist upon continually accusing me for deeds which I have not committed, I have not appropriated money that is not mine, I have not stolen from the nation, I have not been paid profits that do not belong to me and only God knows that what I am saying is true, I am only looking ahead to that Divine Justice that is unstoppable and relentless."
21.  Colonel Ricardo Alfonso Cedeño, illegally detained on December 3, 2006.


22.  Eligio Cedeño, illegally held since February 8, 2007.  The trial has begun.  All his assets were frozen.
23.  Diana Mora Herrera, illegally detained since April 26, 2007.  Continues without a trial.
24.  Luis Alberto Rodriguez Villamizar, illegally detained since April 26, 2007.  Has been accused of belonging to a group financed by the CIA that operates in Venezuela to "destabilize" the government, they have described him as a terrorist and traitor to the country, adding moreover that he is "convicted" and "confessed."  They still have not been tried!
25.  Jose Rafael Ramirez, illegally detained since April 26, 2006.  Arrested for presumed extortion of businessman Wilmer Ruperti.  One judge gave him relief: they dismissed the judge and he remains in prison.
26.  Jose Alberto Sanchez Montiel (Inspector Mazuco), prisoner for seven months, all actions carried out in his defense have been conveniently disqualified, his case should have been heard in Maracaibo -- the State of Zulia -- but was transferred to Caracas.


The journalist Leocenis Garcia, who has been denouncing administrative irregularities in the state-owned oil company PDVSA, is the latest political prisoner of the regime.

As I always express it, God moves mountains, I am sure that sunlight will return to shine on Venezuela and these people who have paid so dearly for the deed of dissenting or having fulfilled their professional, civil, or human duty will have justice done and will go out in freedom.

It only remains for me to ask my fellow countrymen let us not forget the politically persecuted and imprisoned, let us show solidarity with them and their respective families, that we support the legal complaints carried out for their defense, that we pray to keep their morale strengthened, because among all of us they have been singled out to carry a very heavy burden on their shoulders.

Mercedes Montero

This is a worthwhile story I intend to address more in the future.  For now, I at least have their names up for view.



Martha Colmenares said...

Que buen trabajo, Jacobo, te estamos muy agradecidos. Se lo haré llegar a Mercedes, igual lo enlazaré. Un gran abrazo, Martha

StJacques said...

Tú has hecho un montón de excelente trabajo para dar a conocer la difícil situación de los presos políticos de todo el mundo también Martha.

Voy a seguir esta cuestión más en el futuro.

Un abrazo,


Mercedes Montero said...

Señor St Jacques, mil gracias por la traducción de mi artículo, realmente siento que me ha hecho un honor. Pero aún más le agradezco el apoyo que representa para los presos políticos la publicación en Inglés sobre su situación, que otros países conozcan lo que lamentablemente sucede en nuestro país.


Mercedes Montero

StJacques said...


¡Con muchisimo gusto!

Por favor, no dude en ponerse en contacto conmigo en el caso de que usted encuentra cualquier cosa que cree que merece la publicidad a una audiencia angloparlante.