EspañolThe number of political prisoners in Venezuela is still alarming. Though some have been released recently, many remain in jail as a form of latent, ongoing repression. There are still 214 political prisoners being held by Nicolás Maduro’s regime, according to list published by the Venezuelan Criminal Forum.
Another 7,174 people have limited freedom in Venezuela, but are not in prison. Most of them are awaiting criminal proceedings due to political motivations.
Venezuelan Criminal Forum’s list was supported by Secretary General of the Organization of American States Luis Almagro in a tweet.
— Luis Almagro (@Almagro_OEA2015) January 2, 2018
Though the NGO is dedicated to defending political prisoners, they are not official collaborators with the Venezuelan opposition. Some on the left have accused it of “colluding” with the opposition, as represented by the Democratic Unity Roundtable in order to create a list that spins information in their favor.
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At the beginning of December 2017, Executive Director of the criminal forum, Alfredo Romero, accused MUD of taking a “ghost” list to meetings with the regime in the Dominican Republic. According to Romero, it was an inflated list designed to make it look like the MUD was liberating more prisoners than it was.
Cuidado con listas “fantasmas” (que nadie sabe quienes son) de #PresosPolíticos, que alteran incluyendo PP desconocidos (por ej 380), y luego dicen que liberan a algunos números q nadie sabe quienes son, con el objeto de cantar victoria falsa m. Zapatero es experto en sta farsa.
— Alfredo Romero (@alfredoromero) December 13, 2017
“Each and every time that there has been a dialogue between the government and the opposition, there are more political prisoners, and both sides use these prisoners, who are not even political leaders, as playing pieces in a negotiation whose objectives are unclear,” the relative of one prisoner said in a letter last year.
— CaraotaDigital (@CaraotaDigital) November 23, 2017
These accusations are corroborated by Tamara Suju, the Executive Director of the Casla Institute, who tweeted an alarming message about opposition member Luis Florido. He allegedly wrote to her asking if he’d be included on the list that would be given to the Maduro regime.