It would be one of the greatest prison tragedies in the contemporary history of Venezuela. The official pronouncement took time, but at eleven o’clock at night the illegitimate general prosecutor of Venezuela, Tarek William Saab, confirmed that at least 68 people had died in the General Command of the Police of Carabobo, 130 km from Caracas.
Early Thursday morning, information began to circulate about an alleged “mutiny” at the headquarters of Policarabobo in Navas Espinola, Valencia. “There was a riot in the cells of the General Command (…), leaving two officials injured and five prisoners dead,” journalist Andrews Abreu wrote in the morning.
From the photographs of the incident, one could notice an intense smoke. Then it was confirmed that the site had burst into flames. “First parties attribute the fire in cells of the command to a conflict between detainees. There were two injured custodians trying to calm him down. Afterward, they lost control, “journalist and member of the Venezuelan Organized Crime Observatory, Javier Ignacio Mayorca, wrote on his Twitter.
— Heberlizeth González (@Heberlizeth) March 28, 2018
The relatives of the detainees went to the General Command to demand answers. They wanted to know who had died and why. They asked for what any grieving family member would: explanations. The dictatorship responded with repression.
Throughout the afternoon, unofficial information began circulating. The figures were frightening: between 60 and 80 dead. Coupled with this, images of burned prisoners appeared.
One of those who reacted to the tragedy was the legitimate Attorney General of Venezuela, Luisa Ortega Díaz. In her Twitter account, she wrote: “Very serious what is happening with the prisoners in the Carabobo Police Headquarters. The Government of Venezuela dismantled the State to control and manipulate official information on human rights violations. The relatives of the victims deserve the truth. ”
Of the dozens of deaths, they blamed, first, the dictator, Nicolás Maduro; also to the Minister of Penitentiary Affairs, Iris Varela; and the governor of the Carabobo state, Rafael Lacava. The latter waited more than twelve hours to pronounce himself.
“Great dismay at the events of Navas Spinola today. A serious and in-depth investigation has been initiated to find the causes and those responsible for these regrettable events. We are with the relatives in their pain and needs, “said Lacava.
According to the journalist Román Camacho, the riot began at dawn on March 28. It is said prisoners caused a fire that went out of control. Sources that spoke to Reuters claim it was the police that smeared the prisoners with gasoline. It is not well known if all the deaths are the result of the fire. Some of the information hhighlights +that among those who died there were also police officers.
Until now it is known that they are, at least 68 dead. The illegitimate prosecutor, William Saab, said at 11 o’clock at night: “The Public Prosecutor’s Office informs the public that in the face of the terrible events that took place in the Carabobo State Police Headquarters, where 68 people died due to a fire; we have appointed 4 prosecutors to clarify these dramatic events. ”
It would be, for now, one of the most atrocious prison tragedies of recent years – and one of the worst tragedies or massacres, in general. It adds to the 1992 Catia massacre, where 63 died; to that of Uribana, in 2013, with 61 deaths; and in 2014, 33; to that of Amazonas in 2017, where 38 died. And this one is only surmountable by the so-called Sabaneta Massacre of 1994 when 108 prisoners died from their burns.