Nicolás Maduro’s corruption and support for violence both inside and outside of Venezuela carries on a year after he subverted the nation’s democracy by assuming an illegitimate second term as president.
“Maduro has engaged in activities that have now caused millions of people to have to flee Venezuela,” said U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. Over 21 percent of Venezuelans are undernourished, according to The State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World 2019 report.
On January 15, pro-Maduro thugs attacked cars carrying National Assembly members to their weekly parliamentary session at the Federal Legislative Palace in Caracas. They fired on the cars, shattering their windows, and battered them with crowbars. Rather than reprimand these actions, Diosdado Cabello, a captain in Maduro’s armed forces, publicly praised them.
This happened a week after Maduro’s guards physically prevented Interim President Juan Guaidó and opposition leaders from entering the National Assembly building to hold a parliamentary election.
Maduro lets terrorist organizations run rampant in the country
Under Maduro’s watch, Iranian terrorist groups have cells in Venezuela, which then bleed into neighboring countries. “Hezbollah has tentacles all over South America,” Pompeo said in January in Jamaica. “FARC and the ELN take refuge today in Venezuela.” The FARC, also known as the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, and the ELN, the National Liberation Army, are guerrilla organizations that kidnap and kill innocent civilians.
Maduro congratulates special police force for extrajudicial killings
United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet’s update to the U.N. Human Rights Council on December 18 detailed how extrajudicial police killings destroy lives in Venezuela and called for the irregular security forces to be disbanded.
Maduro’s response? Two days later, he held a press conference to congratulate the forces that have carried out the killings and promised to strengthen their presence throughout the country.
Maduro’s gold mines continue to damage indigenous population
Venezuela’s gold mines — including those owned by Maduro himself — uproot and devastate indigenous people whose land is taken by mining companies. At the World Economic Forum, Guaidó called for more sanctions on the Maduro regime to control gold mining, calling the enterprise “blood gold” and asking the international community to protect Venezuela’s indigenous population.
Maduro detains National Assembly members in torture facilities
Maduro also quietly jails and tortures legislators. National Assembly member Gilber Caro has been missing since December; his lawyer recently discovered that Caro is being held in state custody.
Similarly, Ismael León went missing on January 21 after the National Assembly’s session. His lawyer later found out that León was being held at The Helicoide, an infamous prison and torture facility. He is now under house arrest.