As the near-daily Venezuelan protests continue, the military's strategic command chief, Vladimir Padrino, admitted today that 97 military and police officers are being investigated for "cruelty and torture."
But he stressed that there are 22,000 officers, so it's "only" 0.4 percent of them that might have done terrible things.
The protests began in February. Demonstrators oppose the rule of President Nicolas Maduro, who assumed control of the country after the death of Hugo Chavez and has done nothing to fix the country's broken economy. Both sides are in the middle of peace talks, but nothing has come of them yet.
Last month, the country's attorney general Luisa Ortega said there were at least 60 investigations into human rights abuses by security forces, and that 15 police officers have been arrested. Like today, Ortega insisted that most of the officers were following the law. But that's small consolation for anyone who has encountered one of the officers who wasn't.
At least 41 people have been killed and 650 more injured, with causalities on both sides. Protestors have accused the Venezuelan security forces of being excessive in their attempts to squash the riots. Padrino insists that no soldier has been ordered to harm or kill anyone and all have been told to use non-lethal force on protestors. Yet at least 26 people have been killed by a firearm.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.
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