Spanish – After 12 days of silence following a massacre at the Llanos Prison (Cepella), the Nicolás Maduro dictatorship announced the arrest of the prison director and five officials. There have been several contradictions and a lack of information about the incident which left 47 prisoners dead.
Chavista prosecutor Tarek William Saab noted that the massacre stemmed from the “actions of negative leaders” during the visit to the prison. However, his statements contradict those of Prison Minister Iris Varela, who reported an alleged “escape attempt.”
Saab admitted that the events in the Guanare prison took place because of complaints from prisoners being ignored, without clarifying that it was a protest for food. He also blamed other armed prisoners for the killings and not the officials who allegedly fired at them.
— Tarek William Saab (@TarekWiliamSaab) May 13, 2020
The illegitimate Chavista prosecutor also omitted that Cepella is a prison built for 750 inmates, but that its current prison population is close to 2,500.
A Reuters report revealed that a massacre took place in Guanare state on May 1 after guards began stealing food from prisoners’ relatives brought for the inmates. When the prisoners complained, the guards reportedly began shooting at them. According to Reuters, the guards executed several of the wounded prisoners on the ground.
The Chavista Ministry of Penitentiary Affairs had argued that what had happened was a mutiny due to an escape attempt, a fight among the inmates, and a confrontation with the guards. Varela said the prisoners’ version of the protest out of hunger was “absolutely false.”
“Everyone died or was injured inside the prison facilities. In other words, they were massacred by gunfire coming from the uniformed personnel since, given the high number of dead or injured victims, the disproportionate reaction used by the officials towards the prisoners is evident,” according to a document from the Venezuelan Prison Observatory (OVP).
“At the time of the tragedy, 2,500 people were incarcerated on the premises, which, according to international standards, implies 333 % critical overcrowding,” adds OVP.
Venezuela’s prisons are among the most violent in the world, according to OVP records. In 2011, a massacre occurred at Rodeo I that left 22 inmates dead. A year later, in 2012, there was another similar event at Yare II, which resulted in 25 deaths.