SEBIN enforcers fundamental to Maduro’s toolkit of repression

miami heraldTyrannical regimes generally employ repressive domestic intelligence directorates to keep the opposition at bay. In Venezuela, the Bolivarian National Intelligence Service (Servicio Bolivariano de Inteligencia Nacional — SEBIN), under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Popular Power for the Interior, Justice and Peace, is President Nicolás Maduro’s preferred tool of repression.

Established in 1969 and known until 2009 as the National Directorate of Intelligence and Prevention Services, the SEBIN, technically, is to Venezuela what the FBI is to the United States. Its mandate is to detect, predict and combat external and internal threats that may affect Venezuela’s national security. Unlike the FBI, however, the SEBIN, with extensive guidance from skillful Cuban intelligence officers, persecutes, threatens, arrests, tortures and eliminates political dissidents. …

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During the last several decades, the United States has invested billions of dollars in trying to help the governments of Latin America and the Caribbean deliver better lives for their citizens. This has meant helping them increase internal security by combating the illicit growing and trafficking in narcotics and the activities of terrorist groups, as well as helping them to shore up their democratic and free market institutions.

Unfortunately, in recent years, continued progress in these areas has been threatened, not least by the radical populist governments in Venezuela, Bolivia, and elsewhere. These governments have instituted retrograde agendas that include the propagation of class warfare, state domination of the economy, assaults on private property, anti-Americanism, support for such international pariahs as Iran, Russia, and even transnational criminal organizations.

We are a group of concerned policy experts that fear the results of these destructive agendas for individual freedom, prosperity, and the well-being of the peoples of the region. Our goal is to inform policymakers and international public opinion of the dangers of these radical populist regimes to inter-American security.