It is night in Caracas. Three men face a wall full of graffiti, resting their arms against it, aloft, in silence. Another, wearing a bulletproof vest, threatens them, while moving a baseball bat in his hands. She slaps the first on the calf, who writhes in pain. “Run,” he says.

The second is defended with the word: he claims to be 61 years old. You hear the voice of someone confirming that the man “had nothing.” “Safe conduit!” Shouts another. They laugh before letting go without reprimand.

Immediately, another more robust man hits with a bat up to four times the glutes of the third. Someone accuses you of being a car thief. They insult him. “He didn’t scream,” “he’s used to it,” they are heard to say.

The one in the vest approaches, mocking. It is positioned as if waiting for a pitch against home plate. “The batter is preparing, the swing is preparing, daddy, peanut, roast!” Shouts another when he firmly strikes his rear.

“Hands are missing!” Is heard. They force the young man to stretch them, palms up. They give him a loud hit on them. He complains of pain. “Thanks, Dad,” she says to the man on the bat after allowing him to back off.

The scenes are part of a two-minute video, released this Wednesday by the Venezuelan non-governmental organization Provea.

“Alleged groups or civilian officials beat and torture citizens for allegedly failing to comply with quarantine measures in Caracas. Impunity favors cruel abuses of this nature, ”wrote the NGO, one of the oldest human rights defenders in Venezuela.

The beating of civilians, which totals 658,000 reproductions on Twitter, was recorded in recent days on Calle Trece de Julio, in Lídice, Libertador municipality, Caracas, Marino Alvarado, one of the directors of Provea, confirmed to the Voice of America.

“We don’t know the exact date, but it was a few days ago. They are collective, ”he said, referring to armed civilian groups that sympathize with Chavismo.

In a previous interview with the journalist César Miguel Rondón, Alvarado denounced that the video is one of several that the same groups have broadcast to threaten people with violent retaliation if they do not respect the prevention and quarantine measures for the new coronavirus in Venezuela. .

Tarek William Saab, attorney general appointed by the mature National Constituent Assembly, announced that the Public Ministry appointed two prosecutors to investigate and punish those who participated in the violent act.

“These events (are) linked to cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment against citizens in the middle of the public highway,” Saab wrote on Twitter, a message duplicated by Alfredo Ruiz, Ombudsman, an instance of the Venezuelan citizen power called to defend human rights.

Designated by the UN

Provea questioned whether there is a substantive solution to the violence of a political nature after the announcement of the formal investigations. “Actions of this nature will continue to be repeated if those directly responsible and who are the managers are not penalized. Will there be results? ”Asked the NGO.

The event occurs three weeks after the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, again denounced the violent actions of the Chavista groups.

The former president of Chile indicated in another update of her report on Venezuela before the Human Rights Council that her office documented “attacks by pro-government armed civilian groups (called armed groups) against political opponents, protesters and journalists.”

Bachelet warned in his document that “the security forces did nothing to prevent these attacks.”

The interim government of opposition leader Juan Guaidó rebuked the groups recently. Two weeks ago, Humberto Prado, its commissioner for human rights, accused the president in dispute, Nicolás Maduro, of encouraging them to “carry out acts of persecution, repression and stigmatization for political reasons.”

Maduro has publicly demanded the support of these armed groups during hours of political pressure, such as during the Great Blackout in March 2019.

“I make a call to all the social power, to all the popular power of Venezuela, I make a call to the collectives. The time has come for active resistance, ”said the Chavista ruler.

The collectives date from the presidency of Hugo Chávez. They were born with the purpose of defending the so-called Bolivarian revolution. They are generally armed and often repress oppositional demonstrations. Their leaders describe them to the press as “security rings of the people, of the homeland.”