Is there democracy in countries with political prisoners and exiles? Is there the rule of law in countries that use the judicial system to accuse, persecute, jail, and exile individuals whose innocence is presumed by law? Are the illegal persecutions, violations of human rights and torture acceptable methods of governing? How can defenselessness be stopped?
The executive controls all branches of government and the economy, nothing happens without the direct or indirect, legal or illegal intervention of those governing. People’s freedom of speech, opinion, and physical freedom are conditioned to not meddling with the government. Government officials accuse, persecute, arrest, torture, commit crimes, are involved in trafficking, amass fortunes, and are not afraid of anyone or anything because the government and the judicial system protect them. This is impunity.
People do not have any effective and realistic means to oppose the actions of the groups that subject them. There is no political opposition that represents the rights of the people because those who are not either in jail or in exile are “prudent”, are subjected and functional. There is no possible way to exercise an effective freedom of the press. There are not either any judicial, nor constitutional, guarantees because the regime controls judges who apply “despicable laws” established by the dictatorship’s legislative branch to institutionalize fear. This is defenselessness.
As certified by The Mechanism for the Recognition of People Held as Political Prisoners, there are 122 political prisoners in Nicaragua enduring harassment and torture and this past week this number has increased by a yet to be determined number. In Cuba, there are 140 political prisoners and the organization Prisoner Defenders certifies that this number grows each month, as well as the torture to the prisoners. In Venezuela, there are 302 political prisoners identified by the organization Penal Forum and there is severe torture verified by different international organizations. In Bolivia, there are over 100 political prisoners that now include former president Janine Añez, members of the military, police, and civic leaders who have endured beatings and have visible effects of torture.
Cuba’s dictatorship has exiled millions of citizens in the past 12 years. Venezuela’s dictatorship now has produced six (6) million exiles that refer to their situation as a “diaspora”. Nicaragua has over 100,000 exiles only in Costa Rica and thousands more throughout the world. As certified by the United Nations’ High Commissioner for Refugees (ACNUR in Spanish), Bolivia has over 1,200 exiles. Political prisoners and exiles, all victims of defenselessness and the use of the judicial system as an instrument for persecution and repression that provides -at the same time- guarantees of impunity for the crimes for which their victims are accused.
The essence for the dictatorships is to indefinitely keep themselves in power so they can enjoy impunity. An extraordinary example of this is Fidel Castro’s impunity in Cuba. After more than 60 years of crime of all kinds, Fidel Castro died of old age, unpunished and scot-free, just as how Raul Castro and hundreds of their Transnational Organized Crime’s inner circle hope to do, just as how Hugo Chavez did, also enjoying impunity.
Now-a-days the cases of persistent -but hopefully not definitive- impunity, are many, just as the Kirchner’s and their corrupted inner circle, the authors of “Lava Jato” and their criminal group from the Forum of Sao Paolo in Brazil, Evo Morales and his group of narco-politics that control Bolivia, as well as Nicolas Maduro and the criminal organizations that hold power in Venezuela, and Daniel Ortega and Rosario Murillo’s more updated group and their gang in Nicaragua, all under the direction of, and repeating methods from Cuba’s dictatorship. The conviction of eight (8) years in jail against Rafael Correa is the exception due to the recovery of democracy in Ecuador.
What is now happening in Nicaragua, has already happened and is also happening in Cuba, Venezuela, and Bolivia. It is extremely serious, but dictators know they are immune because they protect themselves by force, violence and fear and bet that the peoples’ defenselessness, along with the international solidarity, censorship, declarations, and some sanctions will be ineffective and be something they will be able to circumvent or deactivate.
*Attorney & Political Scientist. Director del Interamerican Institute for Democracy.
Published in Spanish by Infobae.com Sunday June 13, 2021.
“The opinions published herein are the sole responsibility of its author”.