Pro-Coup Venezuelan Soldiers Who Fled To The US Now Locked Up In ICE Detention Center

| Educate!

Above photo: Detainees walk toward a fenced recreation area during a media tour at the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detention facility, Sept. 10, 2019, in Tacoma, Wash. Ted S. Warren | AP

The Venezuelan soldiers who participated in the U.S.-backed coup attempt in April of this year and subsequently fled to the U.S. have been incarcerated in ICE detention camps ever since.  Telemundoa subsidiary of NBCUniversal, secured an interview with Major Hugo Parra, the highest-ranking of the handful of soldiers who answered self-declared President Juan Guaidó’s call to overthrow the government of Nicolas Maduro. After the coup ended in spectacular failure, Parra revealed that he fled the country, ending up in the United States on April 11, where he expected to be given a hero’s welcome for his part in the Trump-approved insurrection.

Major Hugo Parra, left, and first lieutenant Erick Molina cross the border into the United States where they surrendered themselves to immigration authorities on April 11, 2019. Photo | Raynell Martínez

Instead, he was immediately detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), first kept in a facility in Texas, then later transferred to the Winn Correctional Center in Louisiana. He has been refused all requests for bail or appointments to see a judge, one of nearly 42,000 people, most of them from Latin America, currently locked up in ICE prisons.

Parra told the pro-coup Telemundo:

I have fallen to rock bottom. I have lost everything: my family, my house. My actions were worth nothing. I don’t see any way out.”

Thus, his attempts to bring about a U.S.-backed far-right military regime in Venezuela ended ironically with him in the custody of a militarized authoritarian system he was trying to establish.

While top U.S. officials like Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Senator Marco Rubio specifically called on the military to rebel against Maduro, Parra said he felt totally abandoned by both the U.S. government and by Juan Guaidó, Washington’s handpicked successor to Maduro. Guaidó had promised to protect all military defectors, but, despite using Parra for public relations purposes, has diligently ignored his pleas for help. Guaidó’s ambassador to the U.S., Carlos Vecchio, likewise shunned the detained soldiers, according to Parra. “All the steps have been taken” the detained soldier lamented, so that Vecchio could support them with a lawyer but he has not been able to elicit anything.

When asked for a response, Guaidó’s Director of Consular Affairs in Washington, Brian Fincheltub, distanced himself from Parra: “Every day in Venezuela there are millions of emergencies and hundreds of cases like this that are happening,” adding that the resources of the diplomatic mission of the interim president in the country are limited and that they have restrictions to act “especially on immigration issues.”

Guaidó has attempted three coups this year, in January, April and November. All were backed by the United States. The last of the three was so unsuccessful that it was barely noticed even inside the country. Guaidó, someone that over 80 percent of Venezuelans had not heard of in January, has seen his popularity wane throughout the year as his increasingly desperate attempts to seize power continued to fail.

He had previously convinced Vice President Mike Pence that he commanded the loyalty of the majority of the armed forces in the country, but when Pence and Guaidó joined forces to call on them to rebel, only about 0.1 percent did so. Guaidó’s mentor Leopoldo Lopez also told international media at a press conference that if his party succeeded in ousting Venezuala’s government, they would ask the U.S. to come in and govern Venezuela formally.

Despite being generously bankrolled by the American taxpayer, their Popular Will party remains the sixth-largest in the country. Guaidó has also been the subject of multiple embezzlement scandals totaling over $90 million this year alone. It appears, therefore, that the U.S. government increasingly sees him as something of a charlatan who tricked them into supporting a series of hare-brained schemes bound for failure. As a result, media depictions of him have fallen from glowing in January to frosty by December.

Nicholas Maduro, the handpicked successor of late Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez,  won the country’s re-election in May 2018 in a vote that, on U.S. government orders, the more radical wing of the Venezuelan opposition refused to participate in. Since then, Washington has increased its economic warfare on the country.

Trump’s sanctions were declared illegal by the United Nations, who implored every member state to break them. In September of 2018, former special rapporteur for the United Nations, Alfred de Zayas criticized the US for engaging in “economic warfare” against Venezuela which he said is hurting the economy and killing Venezuelans. De Zayas compared the sanctions to medieval siege warfare.

The U.S. has had moderate success in drumming up international support for its handpicked successor to Maduro, convincing around a quarter of the world’s countries to support Guaidó. Three-quarters of the world’s countries still recognize Maduro as the legitimate president of Venezuela.

If throwing key collaborators in their coup attempts in ICE prison camps becomes a common policy, the U.S. might find even fewer Latin Americans willing to risk overthrowing their own governments.

Alan MacLeod is a MintPress Staff Writer as well as an academic and writer for Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting. His book, Bad News From Venezuela: Twenty Years of Fake News and Misreporting was published in April.

  • voza0db

    Lots of FUN! They sure deserve the USofT welcoming…

  • Blaine

    ” no more indifferent friend, no worse enemy”

  • eight.of.wands

    When you samba with Satan, things never end well….no matter how long the music plays and the liquor flows and the party dazzles, the dancing WILL stop, you’ll be the very last to know, and not one single chair will be left untaken….and then there you stand, my friend, naked and alone in your party hat, amidst a dead silent roomful of your suddenly seated accusers, abusers and executioners…..if you can’t think eight moves ahead, don’t play chess…..or dirty politics…

  • mwildfire

    Nonetheless, this surprises me. There have been Latinos who did things like blow up Cuban airliners or deal drugs who have been given a cushy retirement in the US, as long as they were on the Right side. And Trump is the one who insisted on pardoning the nastiest war criminals! But I guess–they were Murican white boys.

  • Infarction

    Every now and then justice does prevail.

  • eight.of.wands

    …you may wanna mention that to Sirhan, Ray and Oswald…

  • Walt

    EXCELLENT! Could not have been stated better and more clearly. I suspect
    that Satan has a special room for Mr. Trump and his fellow creeps.

  • ingamarie

    Why am I not surprised? The United States has a dreadful habit of backing charletons of one sort or another……..remember the troops they financed in Syria near the start of the war, most of whom deserted, I believe to Isis, within weeks? The Taliban was another fav pick of the borons in Washington…….but seriously, the shenanagins in Venezuela take the cake, as this article proves. Hilarious in one sense, but that they had any success at all with a pop up selfie taker proclaiming himself the leader of a country, isn’t funny. That in the end the US dumps their willing dupes should surprise no one either.

    That my own ‘liberal’ government bought into the scam……..and that none of our msm to my knowledge has made the UN condemnation widely known… a disgrace. It is deeply shaming and Canadians of honest social conscience should be outraged that our government played any part in this sham………..Venezuelans go hungry and without needed medicine because of this international farce in three acts….wish the international court would get involved.

  • ingamarie

    Maybe American covert operatives feel cheated? Perhaps they drank the koolaid of their own ideology and assumed everyone in Venezuela was secretly pining for a real dictator to run things……….I think its hard for men like Trump and his boys to imagine anyone with belief in another kind of society might be chosen by the people……….but if they’d done their research, they might have discovered how many people are better off for the Bolivarian Revolution….don’t think they believe in doing to much deep digging though..unless its for someone else’s resources…lol

    Maybe they feel suckered by Guido and his little clutch of supporters?

  • eight.of.wands

    that’s assuming neocons AND neolibs (the pretend adversarial “right” and “left”) either don’t understand how a socially progressive society benefits EVERYone (including them!!) or don’t believe that people around the world know what’s good for them….both assumptions are incorrect….the warlords of the upper class understand EXACTLY what would benefit the common good of humanity….that’s why they mobilize every weapon, at any cost, to murder it wherever and whenever the merest hope dares to breathe….greed, megalomania and brute force (the 3 pillars of all wealth aristocracy) are predicated on the subjugation of everybody else, throughout history….no war has ever been fought on principle….wars are manufactured because rulers want what other rulers have, so they trick their people (subjects) into dying to win it for them, plain and simple….sorry to burst so many bubbles…..but if we don’t know, we can’t grow…

  • Jon

    “convincing around a quarter of the world’s countries to support Guaidó.” What I want to see is a serious effort to pressure government to rescind such support, one by one.

  • Jon

    All of whom were patsies to deflect attention from the true conspiracies.

  • ingamarie

    For sure, your basic assumptions likely hold……..but that doesn’t mean that the majority of folks supporting neoliberal ideas understand the extent that class warfare is conducted by the elites, against everyone else.

    there are far too many lower middle class and working people who support these old white men…….and younger men of colour who want in……too many good people who don’t want to believe that the real enemy is usually their own leaders.

    What’s more, your analysis can seem cynical……….every person in leadership is an elite dedicated to universal aristocracy…..and hopeless…….if we’ve never had folks at the helm who cared about the entire society……..where do we start turning the Titanic around.

    So I’ll stand by my sense that a lot of little regional loyalties, and religious scruples, and simplistic ideas about good and evil are also bubbling in the mix. Authoritarianism for example, persists in many families………..and the big boss is seldom rich, entitled, or in charge of anything much. He still succeeds in producing citizens that kowtow to central authority, and he still votes for these goons……….thinking they have his interests at heart.

    Which in the microscopic sense, they do………since that old dad who knows best and who knows everything, is their base. Breaking the hold the elites have on our communities is going to take more than ideological truth……….many real changes must happen on the ground………where things get muddy.

    The good news is…its on the ground where the people can also hold out…….and sometimes win. Venezuela is a case in point.

  • Mensch59

    Off topic — sorry about this — did the Tyee announce any intention to drop its comments section?

  • eight.of.wands

    you’re right, i oversimplify the forces in play, mainly to disturb ALL of our verrry deeply ingrained misconceptions, fantasies and fallacies regarding the secret mindset and motives of the upper class….the global wealth aristocracy spoon feeds us constant PR of their benign magnificence (Bezos giggling, Dianna bemoaning land mines while dating an international arms dealer, W clearing brush) becuz we dare not learn that HW was see eye eh in 63 and probly in Dallas, or grandpappy Prescott funded Hitler during the war through shell companies requiring FDR to intervene….some real patriots there…

    Cynicism?….only if one were subjectively imagining the world around them…..Socrates was neither a cynic nor a skeptic, just a clear-eyed honest observer of his times, which eventually pissed off all the wrong ppl for all the rght reasons….when you’re crushed for being right (like Assange) and honored for being wrong (like Murdoch) should we consider these to be anomalies?….or guaranteed outcomes by deeply entrenched design?….now Bezos giggling isn’t so cute any more, is it?

    The old aphorism “ignorance is bliss” should more truthfully state “ignorance is temporary bliss” until our illusions, beliefs and comforting conventional “wisdom” are unceremoniously shattered, one way or another….

    Enlightenment is bliss….it is the only useful starting point for any worthwhile action in this world… wear a smile wherever you go, for everyone you meet…..not because so many many problems don’t exist….but because we do…

  • ingamarie

    Only until the new year………their moderators needed a break apparently… we can be back up and conversing/squabbling together in 2020….I’m so addicted to the ideas we share I upped my monthly contribution the other day. Happy New year.

  • ingamarie

    Yes, yes and yes………but I hope I don’t offend you when I suggest you are still thinking like a man………looking at the big picture of immoral power and naming it……….my point is that colonialism isn’t just for Africa and Indigenous folks everywhere………it has been inserted and judiciously maintained inside many ordinary and essentially good people’s heads….patriarchy still rules in too many workplaces and private dwellings…….and that system of gender preference also maintains a status quo that normalizes some kinds of violence, and easily looks away from crimes against children, women, public service workers and the marginalized.

    Taking bwana out of all our heads and belief systems is also necessary…….and the ruling junta does what it can to make sure that doesn’t happen…….most religions aid the ruling juntas…the Catholic church being but one example.

    If we see what the UK is doing to Assange now….and the indifference of most of the media to his destruction….for telling us the truth about American war crimes nearly 10 years ago….we can see how determined, fascistic and unforgiving they are………..also how many supposed civil organizations must be complicit……… do we wake good people up to the reality we already sleep walk through………without scaring the bejesus out of them, as me old dad used to say??

  • RickW

    .I’m so addicted to the ideas we share
    Succinct, ingamarie!

  • ingamarie

    Yes…Happy New Years Rick, and we’ll be seeing you, verbally that is, in the coming weeks.

  • bccarver

    another tyee cult doomer spews it`s propaganda. LOL

  • bccarver

    white men have made the planet habitable for billions , even useless cows like you . Your children should be embarrassed.