Venezuela: Former General Raúl Baduel died of covid-19 |  Hugo Chávez's former defense minister was in prison

The former Venezuelan general, Raul Baduel (Photo), died this Wednesday in prison due to a cardiorespiratory arrest caused by the coronavirus. Baduel was Commander General of the Venezuelan Army between 2004 and 2006 and was also Minister of Defense between 2006 and 2007. The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), which depends on the United Nations Organization and is under the Directed by Michelle Bachelet, she regretted the death of Baduel and asked the Venezuelan authorities to guarantee an independent investigation.

The attorney general of Venezuela, Tarek William Saab, confirmed on Tuesday the death of former defense minister, Raúl Isaías Baduel. “We regret the death of Raúl Isaías Baduel from a cardiorespiratory arrest caused by Covid-19,” he wrote on his Twitter account. “The event originated while the corresponding medical care was being applied and the first dose of the vaccine was received”Saab added.

The former minister’s military and political career began its rise after he commanded the operation in April 2002 to free then-President Hugo Chávez after the coup that deposed him for 36 hours. Baduel later commanded the Venezuelan army, between 2006 and 2007 he was also head of the Defense portfolio. After his retirement, the former general publicly opposed the project to reform the Constitution promoted by the president. The reform proposal lost the referendum.

Baduel was arrested in 2009 on charges of corruption, after a year he was sentenced to almost eight years in prison. In 2015 he was granted conditional freedom, although it was withdrawn in January 2017 after accusations of having infringed it. Shortly before his sentence was served, the former minister was charged with new crimes: treason and military rebellion. In 2018, through a decree of the current president, Nicolás Maduro, the then general was demoted and dismissed from the Armed Forces.

Meanwhile, the OHCHR, Michelle Bachelet, regretted the death of Baduel and asked Venezuela to guarantee an independent investigation. He also asked that medical attention be guaranteed for the detainees, as well as the consideration of alternative measures to detention. For the Venezuelan opposition Baduel was a political prisoner. On repeated occasions, family members and humanitarian organizations such as Amnesty International asked for the “Physical and mental integrity”
of the former general, they also denounced that he was held incommunicado and that he was not allowed to see his relatives and his lawyer.

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