Ecuador authorities vow to regain control of prisons amid wave of violence
By: MELIA JOSE
June 23, 2019 at 6:32 PM EDT
In this Sunday, June 23, 2019 photo provided by Proceso, a crowd of around 500 supporters of Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido react during a political rally outside the Presidential Palace in Caracas, Venezuela. Guaido has called for an indefinite strike throughout the Latin American country in an attempt to force a vote on his country’s disputed presidential election. (Proceso via AP)
CARACAS, Venezuela — In Venezuela, prisons have never been places of peace.
For decades, crime has been a way of life for Venezuelans. And when you’re caught, there’s usually not a whole lot you can do — your crime has been committed, and you’re a prisoner to the law.
Now, it appears, that peace is ending.
More than 50 prisoners were killed in several riots in the last 24 hours in several prisons across the country, according to the local human rights office. The protests reportedly began with an uprising in the central city of San Cristobal, where inmates seized control of the prison on June 20, where they had been held without food or medication. They also took the authorities hostage, demanding safe passage out of the prison, and demanding the release of jailed opposition leader Juan Guaido.
Guaido has called his protest a hunger protest.
Guaido’s decision to seek refuge in the Venezuelan Embassy in Colombia has caused the crisis to escalate. More than 60 other prisoners have joined the protest, said the human rights office, which was able to obtain the names of some of the prisoners, as well as a description of the events, as well as the motive for their protests.
The demonstrators say their rights have been violated and they will not let themselves be treated the way they have been.
“They should let us out and let Juan Guaido come back to Venezuela,” said one protester