Venezuela Wants Colombia to Return Three Military Deserters Who Called for Rebellion against Maduro

By: Angelo Florez de Andrade - Apr 24, 2017, 11:05 am
Venezuela Wants Colombia to Return Three Military Deserters
Venezuelan Foreign Minister Delcy Rodriguez urged the Colombian government to hand over the soldiers. (Twitter)

EspañolVenezuela wants Colombia to hand over three former soldiers who crossed the border after allegedly deserting.

Venezuela Foreign Minister Delcy Rodriguez urged Colombia President Juan Maunel Santos this weekend to return the three lieutenants, as well as to not deny them shelter.

Who are the deserters?

Jose Alejandro Michael Sanchez, Angel David Mogollon Medina and Alfredo Jose Rodriguez — the first military deserters in Venezuela since the start of President Nicolás Maduro’s regime in 2013.

In April, several Venezuelan media outlets released a video showing the three lieutenants refusing to acknowledge Maduro as Commander in Chief. The officers also stated they did not recognize the legitimacy of the military command of the Bolivarian National Armed Forces, while criticizing certain sectors of the opposition for forming secret agreements with the dictatorial regime.

They said they believed the repressive actions of the Venezuelan government could lead the country to a civil war, and invited other members of the armed forces to get rid of their passive attitude toward Maduro’s administration.

The escape

According to Foreign Minister Rodriguez, the three soldiers fled to Colombia in March and have applied for political asylum.


She urged her Colombian counterpart Maria Angela Holguín to hand over the deserters. She also allegedly approached the Colombian Defense Minister Luis Carlos Villegas to return the officers.

“In the interest of the best cooperation between the two countries,” she said, “we insist on the return of these military deserters.”

Rodriguez added that “political asylum is not guaranteed to army officers or deserters.”

Her statements come amid difficult political tension between Colombia and Venezuela. Maduro has accused Colombia of being a failed state, and that the peace process with the guerrilla group FARC couldn’t have happened without Hugo Chavez.

Meanwhile, Venezuela remains in a political, economic and humanitarian crisis.

So far, the Colombian government has not responded to requests for the return of the soldiers.

Angelo Florez de Andrade Angelo Florez de Andrade

Angelo Flórez de Andrade earned a bachelor's degree in International Affairs from Del Rosario University, Colombia and a master's degree in Political Science from the University of Gothenburg, Sweden. He has taught at several institutions in Colombia.

Cubans Denounce Castro Regime’s Persecution of Religious Groups

By: Karina Martín - Apr 24, 2017, 10:45 am
Patmos Institute

Español Five Cubans representing religious faiths went to the International Bureau of Religious Affairs of the United States Department of State to report violations of religious freedom on the Caribbean island. Felix Llerena and Yiorvis Bravo, Cuban residents, as well as Yoaxis Marcheco, Mario Felix Lleonart and Raudel Garcia, who live in the United States, denounced arbitrary arrests, interrogations and the demolition and confiscation of places of worship. Read More: Trump's Refugee Ban Could Affect Cuban Doctors Fleeing Serfdom Read More: Cuba's Ladies in White Claim Normalization Made Repression Worse We exposed the violations of religious freedoms on the island, especially against the apostolic movement, the demolition of church buildings, and the outlawing of more than a thousand churches of the Assembly of God throughout the territory," Llerena said. The group of Cubans, all coordinators of the Patmos Institute, an independent project that aims to be an open discussion forum on Christianity, denounced that the Cuban regime harasses various religious groups and calls them "illegal." This is the case of Jehovah's Witnesses, who "have been considered illegal in Cuba for more than three decades." The government also considers both pastors and "all" churches of the apostolic model and their places of worship to be illegal. Likewise, the Cubans denounced, before the officials of the United States Department of State, the dissemination of rumors and misinformation about religious leaders; as well as against the Patmos Institute. googletag.cmd.push(function() { googletag.display('div-gpt-ad-1459522593195-0'); }); Members of the Patmos Institute thanked the US Department of State for welcoming them. Tweet: The Patmos Institute thanks the Department of State for today's meeting with five of our coordinators and for receiving urgent reports about Cuba. Cuba has long claimed freedom of religion, while in practice cracking down on many religious faiths deemed a threat to state power and control. With the recent death of Fidel Castro, the government has showed signs of loosening its tight restriction of civil society. However, many human rights groups have criticized Raul Castro for continuing the government's repressive policies. Source: Martí Noticias.

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