Their Daughters Were Mercilessly Ripped From Them And Now These Women Are Seeking To Solve These Murder Mysteries
In Venezuela, a group of women has taken it upon themselves to seek justice for thousands of people who have been murdered by government forces, as many suspect to be the case.
These women, many of whom have lost family members, are on a mission to uncover the truth about the killers and expose the truth behind hundreds of unsolved murders.
Nobody knows exactly who these killers are, but almost everybody shares the same suspicions.
#Faes stopped shopkeeper in El Valle and left him dead at Pérez Carreño
Most activists suspect President Maduro has been using Special Action Force (FAES), a masked paramilitary force, as a way to silence protests across the country’s barrios. Sometimes the murderers wear balaclavas, sometimes masks, sometimes they show their faces. Whenever these forces arrive, the people flee.
In a recent interview with CNN, one woman describes the night these men came for her husband. According to her, the men grabbed her husband from a poor neighborhood in Caracas, while he was visiting her and their three children.
“It was horrible, they had no compassion for our little girl, nothing. They just took him as they struck him. They put him in the van and they hit him, and they hit him, and they hit him,” she goes onto say.
Yarleidys never saw her husband again.
These barbaric methods of capture and murder have left people feeling angry and afraid.
Translation: Corrupt wretched assassins
Venezuela has been racked by violence and it’s estimated that more than 8,000 people have been killed in extrajudicial killings between 2015 and 2017.
One woman, Aracelis Sanchez, 51, lost her son when he was shot just outside their home in 2013. She believes the men who executed him were members of the same forces.
Yet so far, no one has been prosecuted for the killing.
However, there is strength in numbers.
After her son’s murder, Sanchez went to a government office to report it. In the office, she met another woman whose son had also been killed. From that moment, a women-led movement was born.
Today, a group of more than 100 mothers and wives have joined her and started a group called Orfavideh, the Organization of Relatives of Victims of Human Rights Violation.
Although speaking out in a country where violence is rampant, especially violence against women, Sanchez leads the group in their activism. Not only are they working to solve countless unsolved murders but they also help each other through the grieving process. They also help each other in their lawsuits against the state. Unfortunately, they have yet to win any convictions but they are determined to keep trying.
Oftentimes, they speak out very publicly.
They have helped bring greater attention to the issues and since their involvement, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) assigned a five-person team in Venezuela to investigate the killings.
This team also linked the FAES to more than 200 killings.
“I think that this is terrorism, that (the government) inflicts on the people of the barrios so that the people do not come out and protest,” says Carmen Elena Arroyo, an Orfavideh member, told CNN.
In an interview with CNN, she says her son Cristian wasn’t particularly political. “Everyone knew him, and everyone liked him.”
Cristian was a successful barber in Petare and was returning from celebrating his 25th birthday when he ran into FAES members. What happened next is unclear. But he ended up dead.
“Soon the barrios won’t have any young men left,” she says.