13 July 2021
The Socialist International expresses its strongest condemnation of the arrest of the former vice president of the Venezuelan National Assembly, Deputy Freddy Guevara, a well-known political figure of Voluntad Popular (VP), a member party of this organization in Venezuela, carried out on Monday, July 12, by agents of the intelligence services of the Bolivarian regime (SEBIN).
While Guevara was traveling along a Caracas highway, the car in which he was traveling was intercepted by hooded State agents, who proceeded to kidnap him without showing any judicial document, description of charges or any accusation. This violent and illegitimate loss of his freedom was recorded and transmitted by Guevara himself via his mobile phone and the images and audios were immediately uploaded to social networks through which they have circulated profusely, provoking immediate reactions of astonishment and repudiation both in the country and abroad. It is also worth mentioning and condemning that the same day a situation of similar nature and gravity affected the president in charge, Juan Guaidó. These actions show the absolute disregard for human rights and for the basic guarantees of physical integrity and personal freedom that are characteristic of the Nicolás Maduro regime.
The SI considers unacceptable the statement of the Attorney General of the Republic, Tarek William Saab, dated the same day of the events, which, ignoring the essential procedural rights of any accused, links Guevara with extremist and paramilitary groups associated with the Colombian government. The Prosecutor anticipates that he will file charges for very serious crimes, such as terrorism, attacks against the constitutional order, conspiracy to commit a crime and treason. It is not the first time that Guevara has faced illegitimate accusations and political persecution, already in 2017 he had to take refuge in the Chilean embassy in Venezuela, where he remained until he was pardoned along with a hundred opposition activists in 2020.
The Bolivarian government, judicial and criminal prosecution and police bodies must immediately cease any act that violates the human rights of the inhabitants of Venezuela. The SI holds the Nicolás Maduro regime responsible for the physical integrity and security of Freddy Guevara and demands that he and all prisoners of conscience be released. Any trial that any Venezuelan faces must fully respect the presumption of innocence and the procedural guarantees. The criminalisation of political action, harassment and deprivation of liberty for merely opposing a regime that has distanced itself from all democratic norms, are unacceptable. In addition to their condemnation, these acts should mobilise the international community to stand in solidarity with the Venezuelan people and to act in support of respect for the fundamental rights of all Venezuelans.