Thursday, April 15

Maduro detains two journalists and two activists in Apure


Caracas

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The Bolivarian National Guard (GNB) detained two journalists and two human rights activists for 25 hours on Wednesday in the Venezuelan state of Apure, bordering Colombia, where they had traveled to report on the armed conflict that began last 21 March between various dissident groups of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) and the Bolivarian National Armed Forces (FANB). The correspondents of NTN24 were forced to delete the audiovisual material collected, and from 5:00 p.m. (11:00 p.m. Spanish time) communication with Rafael Hernández and Luis Gonzalo Pérez, as reported by the media, which has an office in Caracas, and whose content is available in Venezuela online.

Venezuelan journalists, who work for Colombian television NTN24, traveled from Caracas to the scene to cover the armed fighting. While Juan Carlos Salazar and Diógenes Tirado, belong to the Fundaredes team and were in Apure monitoring the situation. All were detained for 25 hours by alleged National Guard officials.

Quickly, the press workers began a massive campaign to denounce the arrest of the four men, and recalled that the work of the press during armed conflicts is protected by International Humanitarian Law. The complaint through social networks reached the accounts of the Public Ministry and also those of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle bachelet; that of Human Right Watch and the OAS.

International appeal

In a statement issued before their release was known, Fundaredes denounced that they lost complete “communication with them from the moment of their arrest. We do not know what state they are in and where. We demand that the Venezuelan State guarantee the life and integrity of these Venezuelans who, while carrying out their work, are now in the condition of disappeared. We call on the universal and inter-American protection organizations to be alert to these events in a context of internal conflict, between the armed forces and the irregular armed groups FARC.

In eleven days of conflict on the Colombian-Venezuelan border, a score of wounded and two Venezuelan Army officers have been killed. What’s more, the number of displaced persons to Colombia has exceeded 6,000 people, according to data from the director of Fundaredes, Javier Tarazona.

The conflict has become relevant due to the apparent presence of two dissidents from the FARC, who have been protected by the Chavista regime, and who intend to take control of La Victoria, a town in the Apure state. But in their attempt, they have encountered another sector led by FARC guerrillas who took control of the area a long time ago.

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