Picture: El Helicoide in Caracas, EFE
University professor and chavista activist Aidaliz Guarisma was arbitrarily detained on August 10 in the andean city of Mérida by the Bolivarian National Intelligence Service (SEBIN). The officers arrived at her house in plain clothes, in a vehicle without license plates, and without a warrant took her away. According to her mother, Milagros Guarisma, in a report published by the Human Rights Observatory of the Universidad de los Andes, on the night of August 12, a man in civilian clothes showed up at her house to deliver Aidaliz Guarisma’s wallet and clothes, as well as a handwritten letter informing her mother that she would be transferred to Caracas and asking that the arrest not be reported.
Twelve days later, Milagros Guarisma received a call from her daughter, who stated that she was in Caracas, more than 500 kilometers from Mérida, in El Helicoide prison. In this SEBIN-run prison there is a notorious history of human rights violations. Initially conceived as a modern commercial center in the 1950’s, its construction was never completed and since 1985 it began to be used as a barracks for the political police, then called DISIP, and as a detention center. In 2009, Chavez changed the name of the DISIP to SEBIN.
On August 26 Milagros Guarisma was contacted by someone who identified himself as the designated public defender and that Aidaliz Guarisma was accused of self-corruption, disclosure of improper information and association to commit a crime. It remains unclear to which events or acts these alleged charges are related.
The case reflects the arbitrary methods of Maduro’s civil-military regime. An arbitrary arrest, without a warrant, carried out by alleged officers without identification or uniform, followed by incommunicado detention. The fact that the victim was asked to instruct her family not to denounce the facts, by means of a letter, is similar to the methods used by kidnappers, not to those used by legal courts.
Aidaliz Guarisma is a professor of Performing Arts at the Universidad de los Andes. In her twitter account she describes herself as a member of Tatuy TV, a chavista organization, and Tarima Teatro, a theater group, although her most recent tweets are from 2019. She has also worked in government institutions such as CENDITEL.