Raúl Baduel in an image from 2008 (Photo: AFP)

He was one of the soldiers most loyal to the late former President Hugo Chávez. His fierce actions allowed the former Venezuelan president to return to power after the short-lived coup in 2002. He was even Minister of Defense between 2006 and 2007. But over the years the general Raul Baduel became a staunch opponent of “Chavismo” and he served several years in prison, where he died on Tuesday from coronavirus, according to the official version.

His death is wrapped in a sea of ​​doubts. His family insists that the military man was not ill. And this Wednesday the United Nations demanded a “independent investigation”To clarify the causes of his death.

Who was Raúl Baduel

Baduel was a well-known military man in Venezuela. As commander of a base in Maracay (200 kilometers west of Caracas), helped restore Chávez after the April 2002 coup which briefly removed him from power. In 2004 he was appointed Commander General of the Army and, in 2006, Minister of Defense.

But since 2009 he was in prison after opposing a Constitutional reform promoted by Chávez. He first served a nearly eight-year sentence for corruption. He was released conditionally on August 12, 2015. But two years later he was imprisoned again for crimes against the independence and integrity of the country. In 2018 he was demoted and dismissed from the National Armed Forces.

His death was announced on Tuesday by the attorney general of Venezuela, Tarek Saab, on his Twitter account. “We regret the death of Raúl Isaias Baduel from a #Cardiorespiratory strike as a result of Covid19: while the corresponding medical care was applied and received the first dose of the vaccine,” he wrote.

Raúl Baduel in an image from 2008 (Photo: AFP)

What did Raúl Baduel’s family say

His death caused a strong questioning in the country. His relatives said that they learned of the death of the soldier with the announcement in networks and denied that the general had the virus. “The regime murdered my beloved and brave dad @RaulBaduel”Wrote the daughter, Andreína Baduel, on Twitter.

“We recently had the faith of life from him, IT IS FALSE that he had COVID-19,” he said.

Two of Baduel’s sons have also been arrested under allegations of conspiracy, the first of them Raul Emilio, which is now at liberty. While, Josnars Adolfo Baduel He was arrested for his alleged participation in a maritime incursion in May 2020 known as “Operation Gideon” that sought the removal of President Nicolás Maduro from power. He is still under arrest.

The UN claim to clarify the death of Raúl Baduel in Venezuela

One day after the official announcement of Baduel’s death, the United Nations demanded a “independent investigation”Around the death of one of the soldiers closest to Hugo Chávez.

”We deeply regret the death in detention of Raúl Baduel. We call on Venezuela to guarantee an independent investigation, ”the office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), Michelle Bachelet, wrote on Twitter.

The UN also requested “medical attention for all detainees” and demanded “that alternative measures to detention be considered and those in arbitrary detention be released.”

Doubts are growing around the death of a soldier close to Higo Chávez and who became a staunch opponent
Doubts are growing around the death of a soldier close to Higo Chávez and who became a staunch opponent

What the government of Nicolás Maduro said about Baduel’s death

After the UN declaration was known, the Venezuelan government condemned Bachelet’s declaration in a statement from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in which it did not mention Baduel’s name even once.

“In the country there are no people arbitrarily detained. Each and every one of the persons deprived of liberty is subject to criminal proceedings conducted by the organs of the justice system, with all the guarantees, ”the note said. In addition, he assured that “all private persons are guaranteed the enjoyment of their human rights, including the right to adequate medical care.”

”Venezuela regrets that the OHCHR systematically gives in to pressure from those sectors that intend to continue using the issue of human rights for political purposes, while making invisible the structural reforms adopted by the Venezuelan State to strengthen the rights of persons deprived of liberty ”, He concluded.

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