23 de Enero Colectivos Accuse Venezuelan Police of “Abuses” Following Shootout

Grassroots revolutionary groups have accused state security forces of replicating repressive policing practices seen under Venezuela's Fourth Republic. 


Caracas, October 10, 2016 (venezuelanalysis.com) – Several revolutionary organizations in the Caracas barrio of 23 de enero issued statements denouncing alleged police abuses last week following a shootout with state security personnel on Thursday morning.

The confrontation took place between members of the local colectivo “La Piedrita” and Venezuela’s elite investigative police, the CICPC, operating in the barrio under the government’s national anti-gang initiative, Operation Liberation of the People (OLP). 

While details remain murky, journalist Roman Camacho has alleged that the shootout occurred after police attempted to arrest a member of the group, provoking an armed standoff. 

Although the shootout left no reported deaths, 12 alleged gang members were killed in confrontations with police in the course of the OLP deployment in 23 de enero that Thursday.

La Piedrita and other colectivos have, however, accused the police of replicating repressive policing practices seen under Venezuela’s Fourth Republic when state security personnel were responsible for the torture and disappearance of scores of left-wing activists. 

“We are in revolution! And we shouldn’t permit abuses, nor mercenary police who have massacred us for decades as did the DIGEPOL, the DISIP, the DIM, and the Metropolitan Police, to whom Chávez gave a conclusive response,” the organization stated, referring to the diverse state security bodies that were either disbanded or reformed under the former president.

The colectivo Monte Piedad issued a statement on Friday accusing the police of being “infiltrated” by right-wing forces seeking to “sabotage” the Maduro government and sow “confusion” among its supporters.

“That police functionaries have attacked colectivos and revolutionary social leaders… makes us think that it wasn’t a miscalculation… [but rather] a preconceived plan to measure the response capacity of the organized population, especially when everybody knows these are areas and organizations that are deeply committed to the Bolivarian Revolution,” the communiqué reads.

The Venezuelan Communist Party (PCV) also issued a statement voicing its solidarity with the colectivos who it affirmed were “attacked by corrupt mercenary sectors acting in the heart of the state security bodies.”

PCV General Secretary Oscar Figuera recalled that the party has had similar experiences, referring to the case of Eudis Perozo. 

Son of the communist campesino leader Aristóbulo Perozo, the young community activist was killed during a raid on their home carried out by state security personnel operating under OLP.

The past few months have seen several police raids on leftist political organizations. For example, in June, the CICIPC raided the national office of the dissident Chavista party Marea Socialista.

Likewise, in March, revolutionary grassroots groups denounced a raid on their political space in central Caracas, known as “El Castillete.”