Our Voices

CNN: Forced Disappearances are Increasing in Venezuela

When John Jairo Gasparini drove his motorcycle into town to buy gloves and face masks to protect against the new coronavirus, his sister, Sugled Gasparini, didn’t realize it was the beginning of a nightmare that has yet to reach its conclusion.

Instead of returning home to El Hatillo, a leafy neighborhood southeast of the capital Caracas, Jairo was detained by the Venezuela Directorate for Military Counter-Intelligence (DGCIM in the Spanish acronym), one of the most feared forces in the security apparatus of embattled President Nicolas Maduro.

His disappearance was one of many in recent months at the hands of Maduro’s forces, according to a new report by Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights, which shows how the government has been using enforced disappearances as a tool of political repression.

In an interview with CNN, Sugled spoke of the anguish of not knowing what happened. She and her mother looked for Jairo in hospitals and morgues, and even among the large Venezuelan diaspora abroad. Sugled sent a picture of her brother through WhatsApp chats of migrants as far as Ecuador but heard nothing.

Sugled’s story is far from unique in Venezuela. According to the RFK report, enforced disappearances have become a pattern under Maduro. There were 524 such disappearances in 2019, up from 200 the previous year, according to Foro Penal, a Venezuelan human rights NGO, which gathered the data used in the RFK report. And there have been 235 in 2020, the RFK report said, with 14 of those people still disappeared as of May 31, 2020, the date of this report’s finalization.

Read the full article.

Module type not found: newsArticles