MercoPress, en Español

Montevideo, September 26th 2018 - 13:33 UTC

Hundreds of arbitrary killings by Venezuela security forces, claims UN

Saturday, June 23rd 2018 - 09:05 UTC
Full article 15 comments

Venezuelan security forces have carried out hundreds of arbitrary killings under the guise of fighting crime, the UN's human rights body says. In the report it cites “shocking”accounts of young men being killed during operations, often in poor districts, over the past three years. Read full article

Comments

Disclaimer & comment rules
  • Jack Bauer

    And other than talking, what's the 'great' UN going to do about VZ ?

    Jun 23rd, 2018 - 10:34 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • golfcronie

    Nada old fruit.

    Jun 25th, 2018 - 06:19 am - Link - Report abuse 0
  • Jack Bauer

    Just what I thought.

    Jun 25th, 2018 - 05:13 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • arglands

    Well...you are Jack Bauer. You have 24 hrs. Go and fix it yourself...

    Jun 26th, 2018 - 01:20 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • DemonTree

    Lol. Jack Bauer carried out plenty of extrajudicial killings himself while fighting crime, so probably NOT the best person to fix this problem.

    @JB
    The UN has condemned Brazil in similar terms for the large number of people killed by the police, both on duty and off (as many are also members of the 'militias'). Do you want the UN to do something about that, too?

    Jun 26th, 2018 - 02:10 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • Jack Bauer

    @Arglands
    Well...I'm not the UN. It has had more than 24 months to fix it......what I'm getting at, is that it can't and won't fix it, so why interfere ?

    @DT
    Further to the above to Arglands, the UN gets together, blows a lot of hot air, issues joint declarations and then nothing happens... so what's the point ?
    In Brazil's case, I don't think it's a UN matter....because it's not the actual Federal government that is responsible for the killing (of drug dealers, innocent bystanders, as well as the cops), it's the result of decades of rampant corruption that has led to a 'war' and a state of complete bankruptcy of the State of Rio.....differently to VZ, where the killing - of innocent people - is governent sponsored.
    I've already mentioned what I'd like to see done - in Rio - but it would involve quite a bit of collateral damage...I suppose there are other solutions, but at every turn you encounter someone prepared to do nothing other than criticize those who want to, and all they achieve is the blocking of any possibility of progress....the same applies to the infamous “cracolândia” in the centre of São Paulo....the residents want it gone, the mayor wants it gone, the human-rights activists want it to stay....

    Jun 26th, 2018 - 06:43 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • DemonTree

    @JB
    I assume the point is to bring it to people's attention, and encourage or give justification to UN members to do something about it.

    In the UN report on Brazil they gave advice to the Brazilian government on how to improve the situation, so I guess it is a bit different to VZ. It was stuff like higher salaries for police, better forensics, an improved witness protection program and measures aimed at holding officers accountable for unlawful behaviour and the use of excessive force. None of that would be likely to cause massive collateral damage.

    It also says that 1 in 4 killings in São Paulo is done by the police. That's really not normal, even compared to the USA. As for cracolandia, I daresay the crackheads want it to stay, and the drug dealers too. How much power do the latter have in São Paulo?

    Jun 26th, 2018 - 08:36 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • Jack Bauer

    @DT
    “..the point is to bring it to people's attention, and encourage or give justification to UN members to do something about it.”
    That's about it....but the governments don't act on the recommendations, and the UN probably believes it (recommendations) justifies their existence.

    The crime problem in Brazil has reached a point where conventional measures won't do the trick...it's like trying to dry ice.
    I agree higher salaries for the police would incentivize them, but don't believe it would improve the situation. The attack on the drug dealers and the criminal factions in the prisons needs to be taken to a level never seen before.

    Police who are accused of bad shootings are usually punished - either kicked off the force and/ or a (short) prison term - which just makes them all the more resentful...they risk their lives and when a criminal is killed, all hell is let loose...when a cop is killed, it's ignored.
    The fact is that most people in 1st world countries, haven't the slightest idea of what is really needed to fight crime here...as I said, it's reached a point where conventional methods are ineffective.
    The simple stat - that 1 in 4 killing s in SP is done by the police, does not tell the whole story.......does it mention that the killings are mostly due to shootouts between the police and the criminals ? does it say how many of the victims are truly innocent people caught in the crossfire ?

    The drug dealers are less powerful in SP than in Rio, for the simple reason that the “favelas”, where the criminals usually hide out, are not in the middle of the city, so in SP they (criminals) are/would be more vulnerable, plus the fact that SP has been better administered, and corruption has never been anywhere near the level it is in Rio.

    Jun 27th, 2018 - 06:03 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • DemonTree

    The UN does do other things besides recommendations, but its power is always going to be limited to what the members are willing to give it. Everyone would like to tell their neighbours what to do, but few are keen on interference in their own affairs.

    Given the police killed 4,224 people in 2016, there can't be much of a fuss over most incidents, nor much of a risk for officers of being punished. A more likely consequence is that the gangs target police officers in retaliation for the killings, which according to some reports is happening today. Anyway, I think it would a least be worth trying conventional methods first, since the alternative is likely a full on war between the state and the gangs, and the gangs are better funded and have more experience of violence. Besides, when the policce did try fighting fire with fire and formed the militias, they ended up turning to crime themselves and making everything worse.

    As for the victims, it doesn't say how many were innocent. Probably most were guilty of something, but that doesn't mean they deserved to die, or that innocent people don't have good reason to fear the police. We've seen cases in the US where those killed had committed serious crimes, some who were minor criminals, and some merely reached for their driver's licence a little too quickly. In Brazil there are additionally people killed by the milicias for opposing them, probably including Marielle Franco and her driver.

    I think the changes suggested by the UN were mostly aimed at making it easier to convict criminals, which would hopefully make the police try harder to arrest criminals rather than shooting them. And improving the witness protection program might make it easier to take down the leaders of the gangs, instead of the easily-replaceable foot soldiers.

    Jun 27th, 2018 - 11:30 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • Jack Bauer

    OK, so the with the UN it's a matter of “do as I say, not as I do”...
    Regarding the police killings, am not trying to portray the police 100% as victims, but the press does no favours by focusing only on the accidental or bad shootings...they habitually omit was goes against their objective, which is to demonize the police . The reason for the retaliations is that if a criminal is killed in a shootout, the drug gangs always look for revenge...nice state of affairs, where the outlaws don't accept the authority of the state. In the shootouts it's a matter of kill or be killed, and that philosophy applies to both sides...it's unfortunate that when an innocent bystander is killed in a shootout provoked by the drug dealers when the cops go into the 'favelas', it's always the cops that are blamed....so what's the solution ? let a criminal state exist within the legal state “, and that's it ? The cause of the shootouts is the criminality and the firepower of the criminals, which up to now is far superior to that of the normal police forces. But I suppose it's easy for the press to report what suits it, and omit what doesn't. One thing people who are innocent should learn - do not act aggressively or suspiciously when approached by the police....their trigger happiness stems from the constant stress they are under, being exposed to real death situations on a daily basis. Civilized countries have a hard time understanding this. The militias are no better than the drug dealers, or even worse, as their many members are cops and ex-cops, who have a duty towards society. Re Marielle, as they say here, ”if you go out in the rain, you're gonna get wet“...
    ”...by the UN were mostly aimed at making it easier to convict criminals”.....what happens in practise is the opposite...human rights activists are always ready to support the criminals, and laws that protect them, making justice a joke....the police arrest a criminal, justice sets him free in hours....

    Jun 29th, 2018 - 08:28 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • DemonTree

    Is the press in Brazil really so biased against the police? I don't see why they would want to demonise then. With police killing several people per day they can't be reporting on every case, so what sort of stories do you see? And do they report when police officers are killed?

    “nice state of affairs, where the outlaws don't accept the authority of the state”

    That's kind of implied by them being outlaws. I guess the problem is that in some ways they have become more powerful than the state, so what you have is more like a war with two sides than law enforcement, and the criminal side is better funded. Until the government can reduce the amount of money going to gangs, that isn't going to change.

    “it's always the cops that are blamed....so what's the solution ? let a criminal state exist within the legal state “, and that's it ?”

    Well, are the police achieving anything by going into the favelas and holding shootouts with gangs? If the criminals continue regardless, what's the point of causing more deaths? Probably what they should be doing is infiltrating the gangs and trying to take down the people at the top, and improve the justice system so those who are guilty stay in jail. Then there wouldn't be so many on the street to engage in shootouts with police. The UN recommendations were never followed, so we don't know if they would have helped.

    I've heard the same advice RE dealing with the police from Americans; is America not a civilised country now?

    As for Marielle, it's true she took a risk by speaking out against the militias, but if no one does then how can it ever change? As a politician it was kind of her job to fix problems in society, and she was one of the few brave enough to address this one (and one of the few trying to fix anything at all). I expect there will be even less now.

    Jun 30th, 2018 - 09:27 am - Link - Report abuse 0
  • Jack Bauer

    @DT
    Don't know whether biased coverage of police killings is intentional, but is no doubt influenced by the HR activists....it's well known that when a notorious street criminal is arrested, or killed, the activists are the first to arrive at the police precinct to either guarantee his physical integrity, or to demand a thorough investigation of the killing, i.e., presuming, in the latter case, that if the police shoot anyone - even when they are shooting back - it is 'naturally' a bad shooting....and the press reinforces it. And usually before the shooting is clarified, you have the press interviewing the mother of the dead criminal, who swears he wasn't armed, 'n was innocent....in the case that the criminal is arrested (for a robbery/homicide) - and probably knocked around a bit by the police - the victim is of no interest...a complete inversion of decent values.
    The press usually issues a short note that one more cop was killed on, or off, duty. So far in 2018, in Rio alone, 55 cops have been killed.
    “Implied by them being outlaws”...yes, but where is it normal for the 'outlaws' to be better armed than the cops ? which encourages them to disrespect the police.
    “are the police achieving anything by going into the favelas ?” No...'n that's my point. If the criminals arrested, they're usually free hours after because the justice system seems to work in favour of the criminals. An effective intelligence system would help, but even that is prejudiced by corrupt cops. One thing is clear, the legal State is losing the war. Keep them in jail...yes, excellent idea, but with overcowded prisons ?
    The main problem here, besides the criminality, is that the police are understaffed, badly paid, badly trained and inadequately armed, which contributes to a low percentage of cases solved. In Brazil, most systems work as vicious circles, with nothing capable of breaking them. Re Marielle, agree
    America may be 1st world, but sure has some social problems similar to the 3rd world.

    Jun 30th, 2018 - 10:24 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • DemonTree

    If you're describing them accurately these HR activists must be the most energetic and hard working people in Brazil! And yet the police killings are only increasing; 4,224 in 2016, that's over 11 per day on average. Do you really see reports on them every day? And how many officers have been charged with a crime or fired from their jobs?

    I found this while looking for stats on police killings: https://www.economist.com/americas-view/2014/03/20/serial-killing

    It mentions that 3 police officers who got in trouble for shooting a bystander and putting her in the boot of their car had killed 69 people between them while on duty. If any of those deaths were investigated then obviously nothing came of it.

    “where is it normal for the 'outlaws' to be better armed than the cops ?”

    In Latin America, unfortunately. I gather that in Mexico there are entire towns run by the drug gangs. The authorities have given up trying to keep order, and anyone who speaks out against them is murdered. They brought the army in to help but it doesn't seem to be doing much.

    If police going into favelas is getting people killed (criminals, cops and bystanders) and not achieving anything, then yes I think they should stop. Focus on other issues like corruption and lack of prison space, and have the police try to build trust with the favela residents who aren't criminals. Even if it doesn't work, at least less people will be dead.

    As for America, I suppose crime there has the same roots as in Brazil and Mexico: drugs, poverty and inequality. Their police and better trained and better armed, and they have a high conviction rate due to coercive plea bargaining, plus none of those issues are as bad in America as in Brazil.

    Jul 01st, 2018 - 09:21 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • Jack Bauer

    @DT
    When it’s to defend criminals, HR’s energy seems endless.
    Re police killings, considering 30 shootouts/day, in Rio alone, 11 kills p/day on average - presumably all over Brazil - sounds reasonable. And again, the 4,224 are only 6% of the roughly 65,000 killed by criminals every year. You can’t help seeing the TV reports…they’re all over the news.

    Don’t know how many cops are tried and/or convicted, as only the really high profile cases get a lot of attention.

    The accidental shooting of Claudia da Silva Ferreira 'n what happened to her after, while allegedly being helped, is horrific, but the sad truth is she's just another victim of a similar reality all over Brazil…usually caused by criminals. As to the later accusations against the 3 cops, that they were responsible for 69 deaths in 14 years, comes to 1.6 kills/cop/year -most cops who stay in the force and live long enough, and face daily shootouts, probably have similar records. The other side of the coin, is that in your BBC link there is little or no mention of the number of deaths caused by the criminals, just a brief mention of the PCC, worst criminal faction in SP.
    I admit it’s not easy for you, or any other person living in a relatively safe city in Europe, to fully grasp the fact that what’s going on IS (as the report states) an undeclared war...and the people's relative insensitivity to the killings by cops, is because most know someone who has been a victim of criminals. Just 10 days ago, one of my gym instructors was shot through his left thigh (bad aim ?) while going home after work (by bus), by a couple of young assailants - apparently they were pissed off becos his rucksack only contained dirty clothes.
    Brazil, like Mexico and several countries in Central America are plagued by street crime, drug related or simply robberies gone wrong Your suggestions are easier said than done, especially when Congress couldn’t care less abt toughening the laws against criminality....HRs at work ?

    Jul 02nd, 2018 - 03:13 am - Link - Report abuse 0
  • DemonTree

    If every cop is killing 1-2 people per year, every year, that suggests to me they are not suffering many/any negative consequences. If they were they'd take more care not to kill, or quit and find another job if that made it too dangerous.

    As for Claudia da Silva Ferreira, it's not so shocking she was accidentally shot, given the environment, but very shocking that the police seemingly tried to cover up her death rather than helping her. You can't blame the criminals for that. And the fact police killings fell after they were forbidden to provide first aid (making it harder for them to destroy evidence or finish the job) suggests many are deliberately committed for revenge or through frustration rather than necessity.

    There are articles that talk about the murders in general. This one is about all of Latin America but is quite interesting as it suggests the low conviction rate is one one of the main causes of the high murder rate:

    https://www.nytimes.com/2017/07/15/opinion/sunday/latin-america-murder-homicide.html

    According to that Mexico has only 4 judges per 100,000 people, and over 20 murders. They increased the number of police officers, but there aren't enough judges to convict all the criminals arrested, forming a bottleneck in the system. I very much doubt your human rights protesters would object to increasing the number of judges to ensure more speedy trials, or improving witness protection so people aren't afraid to testify. However, the politicians probably don't want to spend the money, and prefer quick but ineffective measure like sending in the army.

    You're right, I don't know what it's really like there. I have friends who've been mugged, but I don't know anyone who has been shot. Another friend is a policeman and even he has rarely encountered guns. It's understandable that people don't sympathise with the criminals, but that doesn't mean the police violence is actually helping. You want them to do what works, not what sounds good, right?

    Jul 02nd, 2018 - 09:46 pm - Link - Report abuse 0

Commenting for this story is now closed.
If you have a Facebook account, become a fan and comment on our Facebook Page!