“I continue fighting for your freedom”: Lieutenant Franklin Caldera has been detained for three years – TalCual

The Fact-Finding Mission on Venezuela has denounced the abuse and torture to which First Lieutenant (Ex) Franklin Caldera Martínez has been subjected. His relatives maintain that he was kidnapped on Colombian soil and involved in other military conspiracies to add more time to prison. The soldier’s father asked international organizations to “raise the tone” in their claims

On February 11, 2021, a group of officials from the General Directorate of Military Counterintelligence (Dgcim), accompanied by alleged members of the ELN, deceived and intercepted Army First Lieutenant Franklin Caldera Martínez in a remote sector of the city of Cúcuta (Colombia). ) and they transferred him via trail and under threats to Venezuela.

Disappeared, subjected to torture, with health problems and judicial delay. That has been the officer’s situation in these years of imprisonment, says his father Franklin Caldera Cordero, director of SOS Freedom Familyan organization dedicated to supporting Venezuelan civil and military political prisoners.

The first lieutenant, his father explained, managed to escape on February 23, 2021, but the next day he was recaptured in an operation carried out on the Gran Mariscal de Ayacucho highway, between Caracas and Guarenas. In this operation, he was shot at point-blank range in one of his knees and a penetrating puncture wound in the other, which made it impossible for him to walk for months.

Currently, the soldier is being held at the Dgcim headquarters. He was accused of the crimes of terrorism, criminal association, treason, escape (although until that moment his capture had not been recognized), conspiracy and theft of weapons. He was also involved in Operation Gideon.

The Fact Finding Mission, when referring to the illegal actions of security forces during the detention, which includes short-term forced disappearances, has exposed the situation of Caldera and his family in two of its reports. He even identified Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Granko Arteaga as one of the Dgcim officials who directly participated in the young man’s arrest.

*Read also: IACHR issued precautionary measures in favor of human rights activist Franklin Caldera

Caldera’s father said that it has been three years of “pain, anguish and despair” for the entire family, who must mobilize every week to guarantee food, personal hygiene items and medicines. “I remain firm fighting for his freedom and for the freedom of more than 200 political prisoners.”

He listed that political prisoners face the violation of laws, including the Constitution, as well as the right to due defense. «Every day they make an arbitrary arrest, a forced disappearance, among many crimes. “All the people who think differently than them, all the people who want to see change in Venezuela are considered terrorists or traitors to the country.”

«How could we describe you when in 1992 you had two coup attempts? In which, by the way, there was a lot of disappearance of weapons, damage to private property, damage to State property, many deaths. What do we call that? “Isn’t that terrorism or treason?” Caldera Sr. asked himself in a video.

He asked Venezuelans to “seek peace” for the country, and also asked international organizations to “raise the tone” in their demands. «We Venezuelans are suffering at the hands of the government of Nicolás Maduro Moros. “They do not even respect the will of Venezuelans when we decide to vote for a candidate for the presidential elections.”

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