Caracas, June 14, 2016 (venezuelanalysis.com) – Venezuelan police raided the offices of the Trotskyist political organization Marea Socialista (MS) Friday on the orders of a local court.
At approximately 11:00am Friday morning, officers of Venezuela’s criminal investigation body, the CICPC, showed up at the party’s national headquarters in downtown Caracas with a warrant to search the premises for “objects of criminalist interest”, including “counterfeit foreign currency”, “firearms”, “information storage units”, as well as “documentation related to financial transactions”.
The warrant was signed by Judge Denisse Bocanegra Diaz of Metropolitan Caracas’ 9th Criminal Court of at the request of the 123rd national prosecutor.
According to a press statement issued by MS, the police officials arrived at the offices heavily armed, offered no explanation of the reason for the search, and promptly departed a half hour later after failing to find what they were looking for.
MS founder Nicmer Evans confirmed that following the raid the organization had received two telephone calls from the director of the CICPC, who in the first call “claimed to be unaware of the operation and asked for explanations” and in the second “tried to justify that the cause for the raid was not related to MS”.
MS has repudiated the incident as a “grave violation of political liberties”, claiming that the raid is the latest in a series of “retaliations, threats, violations of privacy, firings, and limitations of social and political rights” that the organization’s members have suffered in the “last three years” and especially in the “last six months”.
MS has emerged in recent years as one of the most vocal leftist critics of the Maduro government, publically attacking high-level corruption, which they allege has corroded the revolutionary process.
Last year, the self-identified “critical” Chavista organization broke with the ruling United Socialist Party (PSUV) and filed for independent political party status in order to field its own candidates in December’s parliamentary elections.
The request was, however, denied by the National Electoral Council (CNE) on the grounds of the alleged unviability of the organization’s name.
This past Saturday, the Supreme Court admitted a lawsuit filed by MS against the CNE, demanding a reversal of the electoral body’s decision.
While MS has condemned the latest raid as well as the actions of the CNE as political persecution, the judiciary and the electoral authority are independent branches of government under Venezuela’s five-branch structure.
MS is not the only political organization that has been subject to raids by state security forces in recent months.
In March, a group of grassroots revolutionary organizations affiliated with the PSUV denounced a raid on their political space known as “El Castillete” in central Caracas by military counterintelligence officials.
The military authorities reportedly “caused damage to the property” as well as confiscated “pedagogical material, office supplies, projectors, informative material, and money from [the organizations’] finances”.
The organizations suggested that the raid may have been prompted by their “critical attitude” in support of the revolutionary process and their opposition to official corruption.