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Venezuela: Anderson's murder still unsolved

Editorial - El Universal

05.12.04 | *Several political parties Monday expressed concern about the latest events in Venezuela amid investigations in connection with national environment prosecutor Danilo Anderson's murder.

*Jorge Sucre, president of opposition Proyecto Venezuela party, said President Hugo Chávez' government and its security bodies have abused citizens and violated human rights. "We are worried about some images we have seen, images of repression and indiscriminate raids."

*Opposition Solidaridad party leader Ernesto Alvarenga said "a persecution and repression policy is implemented" in Venezuela, adding that the government is trying to make the opposition give in.

*César Pérez Vivas, secretary general of opposition Copei party, said: "Unfortunately, the facts have shown that both the government and the Attorney General's Office are behaving in a way that is contrary to a normal judiciary investigation in a democratic society."

*Haydée Castillo, a former senator for opposition Copei party, and mother of lawyer Antonio López, a suspect in prosecutor Anderson's murder who was killed last week, Monday told local Unión Radio that she does not trust human justice but God's justice.

*She thinks that the people who killed her son, in an alleged shootout with officers of the Scientific, Penal and Criminal Investigations Corps (Cicpc) who linked him to a bomb attack that killed Anderson, are to be punished by God.

*This is the first time Castillo talked to reporters since November 23, when her son was killed and accused of involvement in Anderson's slaying and authorities raided her house.

*She and her husband were subsequently held by the Cicpc for questioning. According to Castillo, the couple's identity documents and a cell phone were seized during their arrest. She is also to report that electrical appliances and personal goods are missing from her house following search by authorities.

*The couple has no idea why Cicpc officers were after their son, and they do not understand why the authorities did not detain López Castillo at home or in his office, but they tried to stop him while driving his in his way to work.

*Haydée Castillo de López claimed that her brother saw her son's body. "He told me he (my son) had 18 gun shots. Apparently he was finished off with a shot at close range to the chin. He had gunpowder traces. His car received countless gunshots, but we have not seen it. We were isolated."

*"We never saw the Guevara brothers in our house. We do not know whether our son was a friend of them, but we never heard of them," claimed Haydée Castillo de López, a former Senator for opposition Copei party, and Antonio López Acosta, a former municipal comptroller.

*Interior and Justice Minister Jesse Chacón Tuesday rejected reports that lawyer Antonio López was executed by the state security bodies, and claimed that tests showed that López did shoot at police officers who tried to stop his car and question him.

*Chacón added that tests run on the bodies of López and Juan Pabón, an officer with the Cicpc who was killed in the shootout, showed that the two men shot their guns.

Chacón once again lashed out at "some media" that have tried to make people believe that López was "murdered."

*Secret police Disip officers Sunday captured Juan Guevara, a suspect in a bomb attack that killed prosecutor Anderson on November 18, and a cousin of brothers Rolando and Otoniel Guevara, who were already arrested in connection with the case.

*The authorities raided a motel in central west Portuguesa State and found Juan Guevara, newspaper "Última Hora" reported. Guevara was missing since last Monday, when, before his wife, Carmen de Guevara, authorities took him out of his house for questioning.

Police raid at a Hebrew school

*Daniel Snimack, president of the Hebrew community in Caracas, Monday expressed concern and alarm on a police raid at the headquarters of the Hebrew school and social club in the Venezuelan capital city, a move that is reportedly related to investigations in connection with prosecutor Anderson's murder.

*Even though Snimack admitted that some judiciary procedures are necessary, he claimed that authorities could have performed the search in a different way, as they were entering a building that is a school and a cultural and community center.

*"More than 1,500 students were at school when the raid started. It is easy to imagine their and their parents' anguish and alarm when they were told what was going on."

*According to Snimack, the operation -performed as instructed by the 34th Crime Control Judge Maikel Moreno- could have been completed differently "to avoid chaos, alarm and panic."

*Juan Bautista Guevara, who Monday was accused of being the man who planted a bomb that killed prosecutor Anderson, was taken to the 34th Crime Control Court on Tuesday for a hearing.

*Police sources have claimed that Juan Bautista Guevara was found in a motel in central western Portuguesa State, and that he carried a gun, grenade and U.S. dollars. The authorities added that Guevara had plans to cross the Venezuelan border with Colombia.

*He was arrested almost a week after his relatives reported him missing, and after Attorney General Isaías Rodríguez said that Juan Guevara was held by prosecutors for questioning in connection with the murder of prosecutor Anderson.

*The 34th Crime Control Judge, Maikel Moreno, launched an investigation against brothers Otoniel and Rolando Guevara for their alleged involvement in a bomb attack against prosecutor Anderson, under charges of terrorism, even though such a crime is not set forth under the Venezuelan legislation.

*Moreno ratified that the Guevara brothers are under arrest at the headquarters of the secret police (Disip) in Caracas. Prosecutors Turcy Simancas and Sonia Buznego indicted them for murder and conspiracy for planning the attack against Anderson.

*A car allegedly used to stage a bomb attack against prosecutor Anderson was found on Tuesday in downtown Caracas, and police corps cordoned off the area and blocked automobile traffic around the place.

*Antonio Pujol, director of the Police Department of the Libertador Municipality of Caracas, said the car may hold explosive material, and he called in special explosive taskforces from the secret police Disip and the Cicpc.

*Pujol indicated that people residing in the area reported that the vehicle was parked in the same place since Saturday night. The Police Department of the Libertador Municipality of Caracas verified that the vehicle was wanted in connection with Anderson's case.


*Juan Bautista Guevara told his relatives that he was tortured and given injections to prevent hematomas from appearing on his body.

*Guevara also told his wife, Carmen Medina, that he was held -for over a week- in a place where he could hear other people screaming, thus he assumed that other people were held there.

*Guevara was arrested by men who claimed to be police officers on November 20. A few hours later, Attorney General Isaías Rodríguez admitted that Guevara was detained for questioning. But authorities said that Guevara was found a week later in a motel in central western Portuguesa State.

*Given a number of mistakes and abuses reportedly committed during an investigation on the murder of the fourth national environment prosecutor Anderson, the Attorney General's Office has supposedly decided to remove the officers of the Homicide Department of the Cicpc from the case, and assign the inquiries to another security body, and that is the reason why the investigation is frozen, police sources claimed.

*The sources added that rivalries between police officers resulted in abuses such as an unsuccessful search at the Hebrew Club in Caracas, and the detention and transfer of Haydée Castillo de López and Antonio López, the elderly parents of lawyer Antonio López Castillo, who was killed in a shootout with police corps and was later accused of participating in a bomb attack that killed Anderson.

*Some other sources have questioned the correctness of the police operation where lawyer López was killed, as well as Cicpc inspector Luis Alberto Pabón.

*The sources claimed that some policemen do not want to continue working in a joint police taskforce as they find it abnormal the fact that the relevant inspections and planimetry tests at the places where suspects were killed were not timely conducted. They said that even though such tests are vital for the investigation, they were not performed.

*In addition, the sources indicated that the prosecutors heading the probe were not advised of a raid into the Hebrew Club in Caracas, where more than 1,000 children were cleared out.

*Sources at the Attorney General's Office explained that prosecutors Yoraco Bauza and Gilberto Landaeta, who are in charge of the enquiry, decided to reshuffle the police taskforce investigating the attack. They also decided to reassign the tasks pending among the members of a joint police taskforce that was originally created to deal with Anderson's case.

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