Caracas, May 25, 2022.- According to figures from human rights organizations and academic researchers, since 2015, there has been a significant increase in the number of executions perpetrated by members of the Venezuelan police forces, which occur in the midst of the deployment of repressive operations in popular neighborhoods in the main cities of the country.
In this context, organizations of relatives of the victims of police executions have emerged, demanding the State to open investigation and justice processes. In solidarity with their demands, we talked to Carmen Arroyo, member of Madres Poderosas and mother of Cristian Charris, young victim of a police execution.
When and for what purpose did you create the organization Madres Poderosas?
The organization Madres Poderosas was created in September 2021, with the objective of grouping us to fight together, because we know that alone we cannot fight, united we are stronger, united we advance a little more, we accompany ourselves to the Attorney General’s Office; because we know that crimes against humanity, such as police executions, are already systematic in the country, and the Venezuelan State goes out of its way to deny us the justice that we are demanding so much.
How many families who have been victims of police executions are members of Madres Poderosas and from which states of the country are they from?
At the moment the organization Madres Poderosas is made up of nine families, we are five from the state of Miranda, three from the Capital District, and one father from Barrancas del Orinoco, state of Monagas. But we know that there are families in the same situation as us in many other states of the country.
In Madres Poderosas we are the mothers and relatives of José Enrique González Paez, Genyil Chacón Pérez, Billie Mascobeto Molina, Richard José Briceño, Douglas Escalante Medina, Guillermo José Rueda Parra, Cristian Alfredo Charris Arroyo, Pablo Duques Carrasquel, Jesús Duques Carrasquel, Yordan Rivera Barrio, Jesús Medina Rivera, Josué Rivera Ramírez and Dani José Rivera. We demand justice for all of them.
What happened in the case of your son, Cristian Charris Arroyo?
The case of my son happened on September 24, 2018. My son was coming from the Turumo neighborhood from celebrating his birthday, number 26, he was going up the barrio stairs at dawn towards his father-in-law’s house, and twenty Faes officers came out of a thicket, without mediating words they shot him in the thorax, a single shot. Then they simulated a confrontation, following the common pattern.
What has been the response of the authorities to your demand for justice?
The response not only in Cristian’s case, but in all the cases is total impunity, we have no progress. There is a police officer with an arrest warrant for almost five years for the case of Guillermo José Rueda Parra, but the judge has not ratified that arrest warrant. In the case of my son, there are twenty Faes officers charged and under investigation, but all of them are free.
The nine cases are paralyzed, because every time we approach the Attorney General’s Office they give us a different answer, because what they want is for us to get tired so they can shelve the cases of our sons, but we are going to continue demanding justice.
How can the different political and social organizations support the struggle of Madres Poderosas?
How can society help us? The first thing is not to naturalize and legitimize these deaths, not to keep repeating that everyone who dies at the hands of the police is a thug and a delinquent and that the delinquent should be executed; because endorsing and legitimizing that the police kill people aggravates the situation of violence. So, the first thing society should do is to question this idea that the police kill people, the police should take care of and protect people’s lives.
For Madres Poderosas, society can also support us by joining our struggle, lending their professional and technical services, making themselves available to this struggle in search of justice for all the victims and their families.