As the economy in the socialist paradise of Venezuela continues to hit new lows, more and more stories are emerging of acts of desperation and violence. The citizens have resorted to eating their pets and hijacking trucks just to feed their families. But worse yet is the most recent story concerning the forgotten ones locked away in the nations prisons.
Juan Carlos Herrera has just relayed his unfathomable story to Fox News this week. He told a reporter that he is devastated after finding out the fate that befell his 25-year-old-son, who was jailed in 2015 for robbery. Herrera says that when he was finally able to go to the Tarchira Detention Center to visit his son following a month long takeover by inmates that were protesting conditions and the lack of food, when he was informed that his son was beaten, dismembered and eaten by fellow inmates. The shocking claim became public on Oct. 10, when Herrera told the local media he made the gruesome discovery during a regular prison visit.
Herrera explained the alleged atrocity occurred during a month-long mutiny that had ended three days earlier. “One of those who were with him when he was murdered saw everything that happened,” Herrera told reporters. “My son and two others were taken by 40 people, stabbed, hanged to bleed out. Then Dorancel butchered them to feed all the detainees,” he added, referring to infamous inmate Dorancel “people-eater” Vargas, who has been in prison since 1999, for cannibalism.
“The inmate with whom I spoke to told me that my son was beaten with a hammer [in order] to force him to eat the remains of the other two boys,” Herrera added tearfully. Herrera declined a filmed interview with Fox News Latino due to safety concerns. Juan Carlos Herrera Jr. and one other inmate were unaccounted for when prison guards were finally able to re-enter the facility after calm returned and conducted a routine count. The Táchira mutiny had started as do many of the hundreds of mutinies that take place in Venezuelan prisons every year – so far this year there have been close to 200 riots, according to the non-governmental organization “Una Ventana a la Libertad” (A Window to Freedom).
On Sept. 8, a group of prisoners protesting overcrowded conditions took eight visitors and two guards hostage and demanded some of the 350 prisoners be transferred somewhere else (the Tachira Detention Center’s capacity is 120). A month goes by and finally, on Oct. 7, the government authorizes the transfer of 16 inmates. The next day, Herrera and Anthony Correa were nowhere to be found.
A police source who asked to remain anonymous confirmed to the media the claims of murder and cannibalism are true. “Two [inmates] are missing. They cut them up and fed them to several [of their fellow inmates], they made the bones disappear. Dorancel cut the flesh,” the source said. On Thursday night, the Minister of Correctional Affairs Iris Varela confirmed the disappearance but denied the cannibalism allegations. She said while she “understands the father’s pain,” she regretted that he’s being used to channel lies that can be “easily debunked.”
Humberto Prado, coordinator of the Venezuelan Prison Observatory (OVP) said the alleged atrocity would be nothing new in the country’s convulsed prisons. “Prisoners have been dismembered before and some inmates have forced other prisoners eat their [own] fingers. That happened in a detention center in El Tigre,” he told FNL. “But inmates die not only from that [kind of violence], there are many prisoners who die of hepatitis, cirrhosis or famine.”
He said the OVP will ask the Attorney’s General Office to start an investigation and will submit the case to the United Nations Human Rights Commission. “What hurts me most is that I cannot bury my son, I can’t give him a Christian burial,” Herrera said in the emotional presser. “I beg you to give me at least one bone so we can bury him and relieve some of this pain.”
Alex Vasquez contributed to this report.
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