In an alleged assassination attempt on August 4 against Venezuela’s communist dictator, President Nicolas Maduro, drones armed with explosives failed to take the life of the socialist leader, but nevertheless injured several soldiers who’d been participating in a military parade.
One of several suspects accused of playing a role in the alleged assassination attempt was a city council member in Venezuela’s capital city, Caracas. 56-year-old Fernando Alban, a staunch Maduro critic, died suddenly “under mysterious circumstances” on Monday.
CNN reported that Alban was arrested Friday as part of a broader crackdown by Maduro’s regime on various opposition group leaders and human rights activists. Venezuela’s Bolivarian Intelligence Service has officially claimed that Alban committed suicide by jumping out of a ten story window of their headquarters building.
There are slightly different accounts regarding Alban’s death, as the Interior Minister of Venezuela — Nestor Luis Reverol — said via social media that Alban had thrown himself out the window while being transferred to court for an appearance, while the nation’s Attorney General — Tarek William Saab — claimed in a TV appearance that Alban had jumped out of the window after requesting permission to use a bathroom.
Suspicion of murder
Naturally, the Venezuelan officials’ claims are disputed by critics of the Maduro regime, who believe that Alban was tortured and murdered by the government.
Joel Garcia, Alban’s attorney, said the account presented by Saab was “completely false” as the high level of security inside the Intelligence Service’s building would have made it impossible for Alban to have been unaccompanied long enough to jump out of a window to his death.
The official story has also been sharply criticized by opponents of the regime outside of Venezuela. The secretary-general of the Organization of American States, Luis Almagro, directly attributed Alban’s death to the “torturing and homicidal regime.”
Even outgoing Republican Tennessee Senator Bob Corker, who is currently in Venezuela on a fact-finding mission, called Alban’s mysterious death “disturbing” and stated the Venezuelan government “has a responsibility to ensure all understand how that could have happened.”
Regime accused of mistreatment
The Venezuelan government has reportedly arrested and held as political prisoners hundreds of critics and dissenters, some of whom are alleged to have been mistreated or tortured, according to various opposition and human rights groups, as well as the United Nations.
Of course, Maduro’s socialist regime denies such claims and has asserted that everyone who has been arrested has been treated fairly and are in custody for legitimate reasons.
It remains to be seen if the real story behind Alban’s mysterious death while in custody of the Venezuelan government is ever made clear.
One thing that is fairly certain, though, is that few outside the reach of Venezuela’s socialist propaganda believe the official story surrounding Alban’s death, and the regime’s extraordinarily tough stance against critics and opponents raises suspicions that Alban may not have committed suicide as has been claimed.