Nate Jackson / July 8, 2019

Venezuela’s ‘Death Squads’ Enforce Socialist Dream

A new UN report says the government has killed nearly 7,000 people in the last 18 months.

So it turns out that socialism isn’t all that great for people — who knew? The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights issued a report on Venezuela noting that, between January 2018 and May 2019, Nicolas Maduro’s socialist-thug regime murdered nearly 7,000 people, often while tampering with evidence to frame the opposition.

With the caveat that the UN itself is hardly a paragon of human rights, its almost laughably named commission notwithstanding, the report paints a bleak picture:

Families of the victims described [Venezuela’s Special Action Forces] FAES breaking into their houses, taking their belongings, and exercising gender-based violence against women and girls, including forced nudity. They would separate young men from other family members before shooting them. According to their relatives, almost all of the victims had one or more shots in the chest. In every case, witnesses reported how FAES manipulated the crime scene and evidence. They would plant arms and drugs and fire their weapons against the walls or in the air to suggest a confrontation and to show the victim had “resisted authority.”

Death — often in the street to serve as a warning to others — wasn’t the only punishment, either. Reason notes, “In addition to extrajudicial killings, the U.N. report found that some 15,000 people have been arbitrarily arrested for political reasons since 2014, including around 2,000 in 2019 alone. Many of them were subjected to torture, including ‘electric shocks, suffocation with plastic bags, waterboarding, beatings, sexual violence, water and food deprivation, stress positions and exposure to extreme temperatures.’”

Investigators came to the painfully obvious conclusion that Venezuela’s “security” forces were actually “an instrument to instill fear in the population and to maintain social control.” That is the stock-in-trade of socialist regimes.

Just don’t forget that Bernie Sanders’s website still contains a 2011 editorial lamenting, “These days, the American dream is more apt to be realized in South America, in places such as … Venezuela.”

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