Philadelphia, July 21, 2016 (venezuelanalysis.com) – Venezuelan Attorney General Luisa Ortega Díaz raised criticisms Wednesday of the Maduro government’s Operation Liberation and Protection of the People (OLP), which she says has been met with numerous complaints of human rights abuses.
“What worries us about the OLP is the quantity of denunciations we have received at the Public Prosecutor’s office, above all concerning human rights violations,” she stated during an interview with the private news channel Venevisión.
The nationwide anti-gang operation was launched by President Nicolas Maduro last summer in a bid to restore state authority in areas of the country that have been taken over by armed criminal syndicates.
The OLP has, however, sparked numerous reports of human rights violations filed by human rights organizations and community groups, particularly in the Caracas neighborhood of Cota 905, which was the focus of a massive police and National Guard raid last July.
According to Ortega, a “high incidence” of state security personnel are currently facing criminal prosecution over these allegations, which include the destruction of homes, robbery, among other accusations of misconduct.
The top prosecutor went on to question the efficacy of the anti-gang initiative, pointing to the fact that insecurity levels have been increasing in recent months as the country undergoes a deep recession.
“We are facing an insecurity [problem] that continues to grow, and this has to do with the plans that have been implemented and the OLP,” she added, suggesting that the government’s new militarized policing model has not succeeded in reducing violent crime.
Last month, local United Venezuelan Socialist Party (PSUV) leader Elizabeth Aguilera, 43, was shot dead in Cota 905 by gunman allegedly linked to a criminal group operating in the area.
Venezuela’s forensic police, the CICPC, have indicated that the assassination may have been a revenge killing carried out by gang members in response to the grassroots PSUV leader’s cooperation with police authorities.