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PUBLIC AI Index: AMR 53/007/2003

UA 130/03 Fear for Safety
09 May 2003

VENEZUELA Miguel Díaz Loreto (m)
Dinorah María Díaz Loreto (f)
Jairo Alexis Díaz Loreto (m)
Bladimir Díaz (m)
Alexandra Gualdron (f),
Enmary Cava (f)

Dinorah María Díaz Loreto, Jairo Alexis Díaz Loreto, Bladimir Díaz, Miguel Díaz Loreto, Alexandra Gualdron and Enmary Cava are all family members from the town of Cagua in the State of Aragua. They have been subjected to escalating death threats and harassment in recent months, allegedly by agents of the Aragua State Police and Amnesty International is seriously concerned for their safety. The family members have been pressing the local authorities to carry out an exhaustive investigation into the killing of brothers Robert Díaz Loreto and Antonio Díaz Loreto and their father Octavio Ignacio Díaz, who were killed in suspicious circumstances, by agents of the Aragua State Police on 6 January. Since the investigation into the killings began the family members have reportedly been subjected to systematic harassment and death threats. The most recent incident took place on 26 April when police agents entered the house of Miguel Angel Díaz Loreto reportedly without a warrant. They wanted to arrest him for his alleged involvement in a recent crime. As a result of the police operation, Miguel Angel was temporarily detained by the police. Whilst also in temporary custody during the operation, Dinorah María Díaz was reportedly told by one of the police agents that he would kill all of her family, if they continued to pursue an investigation into the deaths of Robert, Antonio and Octavio Ignacio Díaz. Miguel Angel was also urged to stop supporting the case.

Many Venezuelan states, including Aragua, Bolívar, Anzóatequi, Portuguesa and Falcón, have a history of extra-judicial executions carried out by the police and a failure to protect witnesses and family members of the victims. Both the Inter-American Court of Human Rights and the Inter-American Commission of Human Rights have intervened in several of these cases, requesting that local authorities and the Venezuelan state investigate these crimes and provide protection to those involved. However, the measures requested by the Inter-American System have not, in most cases, been carried out effectively.

In December 2002, Cesar Emilio Machado was reportedly assaulted and threatened by the Municipal Police in Girardot, city of Maracay, Aragua State in order to prevent him from testifying in a trial against the Municipal Police (see UA 32/03, 29 January 2003, AMR 53/004/2003)