Venezuela: Villagers of Cararabo tortured by security forces

On 26 February 1995 members of the Colombian guerrilla group, the ELN, crossed the border to Venezuela and attacked a naval base in Cararabo, Apure State. Eight Venezuelan marines were killed. Following the killings, the navy arrested 24 people from Cararabo and the surrounding area. Many of the detainees were tortured and ill-treated. One of them, Juan Vicente Palmero, is reported to have “disappeared”. It is alleged that he died during torture. The navy claimed that the villagers were involved in the attack but by 15 March 1995 all of them had been released without charge. In early April, four members of the navy were arrested in connection with the “disappearance” of Juan Vicente Palmero. However, as far as AI is aware, none of the officials involved in the arrest and torture of the other villagers have been brought to justice or suspended during interrogation.

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