Rocío San Miguel was going to travel with her daughter outside of Venezuela. On Friday night, at the Maiquetía airport in Caracas, a group of agents from the Nicolás Maduro regime approached her. Since then, the whereabouts of Rocío San Miguel, a renowned Venezuelan human rights defender, activist and specialist in military affairs, are unknown.
San Miguel and her daughter have been missing for more than 60 hours. Four family members join her: her daughter's father, two brothers and another relative. The Nazis called this sippenhaft: when the accusation or persecution against an enemy of the state extends to their relatives.
The regime accuses Rocío of being part of an alleged conspiracy to assassinate Nicolás Maduro. There are already more than 20 conspiracies, all invented with the sole purpose of purging dissent. Rocío did not represent a real threat to Chavismo. She was not recognized within Venezuela as a radical or uncomfortable voice of opposition. She was very moderate.
On the afternoon of February 12, ten years to the day when the Maduro regime murdered two students in Caracas during the 2014 protests, more than 200 non-governmental organizations published a statement demanding to know the whereabouts of Rocío San Miguel and her family. Her lawyers have visited all the torture and kidnapping centers of the dictatorship, and San Miguel is not in any of them.
For now, it is a forced disappearance in the style of the worst dictatorships. A disappearance that involves not only the target to be neutralized but also their daughter and other family members. The case is particularly cruel; Venezuelans are outraged, and non-governmental organizations cry out for justice.
However, one statement is quite depressing. The United States, which is supposed to be one of the main allies of the Venezuelan opposition, published a statement that we will no longer say lazy but collaborationist.
"The arrest of Rocío San Miguel of Citizen Control and her family members in Venezuela, continues a worrying trend of apparently arbitrary arrests of democratic actors," reads the X account of the United States embassy for Venezuela.
"We join the international community in urging the release of all political prisoners, an end to the detention of their innocent family members, and a return to the commitments set forth in the Barbados Agreement," the United States continued.
Embarrassing, to say the least. "A worrying trend of apparently arbitrary arrests of democratic actors." They couldn't say anything more unhappy. Rocío and her daughter have disappeared without any procedure, without fair treatment, and the United States dares to question the arbitrary and gangster-like nature of the kidnapping.
And, even worse, they propose to the regime that it respects some agreement from last October, which has been manipulated, trampled on and violated multiple times.
It is disturbing to note the apparent naivety of the White House and its officials in the face of the Venezuelan dictatorship. At this point, it is clear that Washington, D.C., cannot address an enemy like Maduro. They don't know how to do it. They do not know what to do.
A friend would tell me that in D.C., they are anything but naive. If there is no room for naivety, there is room for complicity.