Venezuela: The Amparo massacre: four years on

Index Number: AMR 53/005/1993

Over four years after the killing of 14 peasants by a joint police-military unit at Cano La Colorada near El Amparo, the case has still not been resolved. The security forces claim that there was an armed encounter with a group intending to blow up industrial installations. However, two survivors and local inhabitants say that the men were local fishermen and farmers attacked while out fishing. Initial military investigations contained serious irregularities but, despite later forensic findings, the military courts have issued a series of contradictory rulings largely based on the initial investigations. In February 1993 4 soldiers and 11 police officers were found guilty of excessive use of force in defending themselves but subsequently had their sentences halved.

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