A South American country where “gay is more serious than corrupt” for gay soldiers.

A South American country where “gay is more serious than corrupt” for gay soldiers.

After several reforms, most recently in September 2021, the Code keeps this article immovable, despite activists calling for its repeal before Parliament, by a majority of Chavists.

Soldiers of the Bolivarian National Armed Forces, Venezuelan Army.  File photo.
Soldiers of the Bolivarian National Armed Forces, Venezuelan Army. File photo.

Caracas (AFP) .- Captain Jose was abandoned in the corner due to years of pressure. Lieutenant Raphael’s trial was opened and he was expelled. Both had a clean record in the Venezuelan Armed Forces, but homosexuality led to their persecution, discrimination and humiliation..

“Actions against nature” they can Three years imprisonment and dishonorable releaseAccording to the current Organic Code of Military Justice, which forces homosexual soldiers to hide.

After several reforms, As of September 2021, the code keeps this article real despite the request to cancel Made by activists in front of Parliament, with an official majority.

“It was more serious to be gay than to be corrupt,” Jose said. As this 36-year-old National Guard captain was asked to call.

There are corrupt soldiers, thieves, drug dealers, with procedures that impose sanctions on them and then continue to work as if nothing had happened.“, – says Jose, who keeps a photo on his mobile phone, which shows his naked place. “The pressure was such that my hair fell out.”

The The armed forces are accused of systematic human rights violations In control of the protests, which his leadership denies.

The “The first question they ask you in the introductory interview is ‘What is your sexual orientation: gay, bisexual or heterosexual?’ “If you do not answer that you are heterosexual, you are excluded, this is where the first filter starts,” said Rafael, a 37-year-old expelled army lieutenant.

Venezuelan soldiers guard beaches near La Guayra.  File photo.
Venezuelan soldiers guard beaches near La Guayra. File photo.

Polygraph test

Jose’s Nightmare began in 2017. When a “large group of soldiers” was investigated to determine who was gay.

Neither married nor had children, mandatory requirements for promotion to higher grades. While many get married to save a careerJose refused and secretly had a relationship with the man. He was detained for four days. “These were the worst four days of my life” Tells with tears. “Do you have a girlfriend?” – he remembers being asked endlessly, cruelly.

On the last day of the investigation, I underwent a polygraph test.I was locked in a room, tied to some cars, practically without clothes, with pacifiers on my fingers and hands. “They asked me the most intimate things,” he recalled.

“How can we have a widow here?” He says, they repeated to force him to sign a document where he admitted he was gay. “Because they did not have solid evidence (…), they dedicated themselves to my humiliation.”

He was never given the right to command troops. He spent months locked in a shed where he only kept time. “The commander of this unit told me that he hated bassoons, that he did not want to be with me.

Eventually, he was tasked with managing Commando’s Twitter account.

I was so frustrated I decided to go“- says Jose, who is now exiled to Spain.

Trial for homosexuals

For Raphael, who asks for the privacy of his real name, It was a chance meeting at his apartment that cost him his career. His companion, another soldier, tried to kill him after he became intimate after a night of drinking.

They told him Request a write-off to avoid “humiliation”.

“The investigation is underway that you are gay and there can be no gays in the armed forces,” he said, adding that he had been answered under the Code of Justice.

“You will see, you will do it the easy way or the hard way” Recounts what they were told, remembers the humiliations that Included anorexic forensic examination without their consent. He was summoned by the military prosecutor’s office to report that he was being investigated for “homosexuality.”

If he does not agree to the release, he should be tried and sentenced to two to three years in prison. “You have two options: ask for release, or we will consider it,” the report, which was referred to the military court. Raphael agreed to go to trial.

Despite this, He was expelled from disciplinary proceedings and the trial was not held because he was already from the Armed Forces. This is a common tactic to avoid litigation by administrative removal, he told the agency. AFP A former military justice official, also under reserve. “They are trying to formulate an investigation so as not to say in the end that they were released because of their homosexuality,” he added.

Raphael He was so devastated that he thought of committing suicide. He hopes to file his case in the High Court of Justice (TSJ) and achieve a dubious reinstatement in office.

Which comes Is to declare the unconstitutionality of this article by the reform or judgment of the Constitutional Chamber of the TSJ (…).“As it happened in Colombia and Peru,” said lawyer Kelvi Zambrano, a non-governmental organization from the Coalition for Human Rights and Democracy.

However, in these countries, as well as in other Latin America, While it is not illegal to be a gay military man, it is not tolerable. Discrimination goes beyond barracks in Venezuela.

My mother will not accept me, she will die without acknowledging that I am gaySays Raphael. “He is one of those people who says, ‘I would rather have a gangster son (culprit) than a stony son.’

Source: La Nacion