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Political disappearances in Venezuela: Silvino Bustillos still missing

By Aleksander Boyd

London 07 Nov. 04 – Lat Sunday, whilst Venezuelans were voting to elect regional governors and majors, Colonel Silvino Bustillos was kidnapped from his home in broad daylight by a group of heavily armed men from the Division of Military Intelligence (DIM), commanded by National Guard Lieutenant Danny Alfredo Daniels Perez. To date no mention has been uttered by the regime’s officials in that respect.

The shocking bit of this issue is that related to the details of the kidnap, i.e. it is known where, when, how and by whom was Bustillos ‘arrested’. I have been trying to gather more information regarding this case in the Venezuelan media, alas to no avail. In light of the possibility of having broadcasting licenses revoked, once the Gag Law gets passed in the National Assembly, the prospect of upsetting Chavez is not something desired by the media, that has of late tone down criticism towards the regime.

Colonel Bustillos served many years, reaching the superior echelons of the army; he is a former Magistrate of Venezuela’s Martial Court, being the first army commander to openly criticise the Chavez regime owing to fraudulent electoral practices. Bustillos is also director of the Democratic Block (DB), which is an organization that has maintained throughout a policy of denouncing the electoral frauds perpetrated before and after August 15 and October 31.

On Thursday 4 of November, in a similar commando operation, government agents tried unsuccessfully to kidnap another director of the DB, namely Jose Manuel Ballaben. Both Bustillos and Ballaben are being legally prosecuted by the regime on trumped up charges.

Alejandro Peña Esclusa, from DB, called for public pressure to be made upon the regime, which is hell bent in crushing all political dissent. Following the results of last Sunday’s elections in which chavismo won 20 out of the 22 governorships of Venezuela, the regime has shifted gears and is now accelerating political prosecutions. This week top justice of the Constitutional Chamber of the Supreme Court, Ivan Rincon Urdaneta, handed to the National Assembly the new version of the Penal Code that renders illegal acts of protests as simple as pot banging.

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