- BBC News World
Former Venezuelan Defense Minister Raúl Isaías Baduel died this Tuesday in a Caracas prison.
This was confirmed in a message on Twitter by Attorney General Tarek William Saab, who explained that Baduel died of a cardiorespiratory arrest as a result of covid-19.
According to Saab, the death occurred “while the corresponding medical care was being applied and (having) received the first dose of the vaccine.”
Baduel’s family said they learned of his death through Twitter.
“I have not received a call from anyone in the government,” his wife Cruz Zambrano told the EVTV internet television channel.
Zambrano was skeptical that her husband, whom she had last seen four weeks ago, had contracted covid.
“Not true,” he said, pointing to his recent vaccination.
Baduel, who was considered a political prisoner by the opposition and by human rights organizations, was detained at “El Helicoide” in Caracas, one of the headquarters of the Bolivarian Intelligence Service (SEBIN).
Baduel assumed the Defense portfolio between 2006 and 2007, under the presidency of Hugo Chávez. However, in 2010 he was convicted of “crimes against military decorum, theft of funds and abuse of authority.”
After almost 7 years in the Ramo Verde military prison, in 2015 he was granted a measure of probation with restrictions, although in 2017 it was revoked.
According to the newspaper El Nacional, that same year the retired general finished serving his sentence and had to be released, but a day before the government of Nicolás Maduro accused him of treason and instigation of rebellion, for which he was still in prison.
After the news of Baduel’s death was known, the self-proclaimed “president in charge” of Venezuela, Juan Guaidó, accused the Maduro regime of having “assassinated” him.
“General Raúl Baduel was assassinated by the dictatorship. He was kidnapped, tortured and denied medical attention. After twelve years of brutal suffering, Baduel is the tenth political prisoner to die at the hands of the regime,” Guaidó said on his social networks.
Close to Chávez
The general on some occasion attributed his situation to the fact that after being one of the closest collaborators of the late Hugo Chávez, he became one of its most prominent critics, opposing the constitutional reform promoted by this in 2007.
He was a classmate of Chávez in the military academy and was also part of the group of four military founders of the 200 Bolivarian Revolutionary Movement, the germ of the Fifth Republic Movement, the party with which Chávez became president.
He even became the one in charge of leading the operation “Restitution of National Dignity”, with which President Chávez returned to office after the coup of April 14, 2002.
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Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.