Bolivarian Intelligence Service
|Servicio Bolivariano de Inteligencia Nacional
Seal of the Bolivarian National Intelligence Service
El Helicoide building in Caracas - old headquarters of SEBIN
|Formed||June 2, 2010|
|Minister responsible||Miguel Rodríguez Torres|
SEBIN, the Servicio Bolivariano de Inteligencia Nacional ("Bolivarian National Intelligence Service"), is the premier intelligence agency in Venezuela. It was established in March 1969 with the name of DISIP, Dirección Nacional de los Servicios de Inteligencia y Prevención ("National Directorate of Intelligence and Prevention Services"), by then-president Rafael Caldera, replacing the Dirección General de Policía (DIGEPOL). SEBIN is an internal security force subordinate to the Ministry of the Interior. As of October 2009, the Minister of the Interior and Justice of the Venezuelan Government is Tarek El Aissami, appointed by President Hugo Chávez.
The Venezuelan political police has an extensive record of human rights violations, from its foundation as hard-line dictator's Marcos Pérez Jiménez's police, who were in charge of torturing so-called "enemies of State", to its role as a base of operations against post-Revolution Cuba for the Central Intelligence Agency and Cuban exiles such as Luis Posada Carriles (who headed the Counterintelligence division), to recent allegations of torture and murder of political opponents. In their 1997 and 1998 reports, Amnesty International details human rights violations by DISIP, including unlawful detention of Venezuelan human rights activists.
Change of name
On December 4, 2009, Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez, during a swearing-in ceremony for the high command of the recently created Bolivarian National Police (Policía Nacional Bolivariana), announced the change of name of DISIP, with immediate effect, to Bolivarian Intelligence Service (Servicio Bolivariano de Inteligencia, or Sebin).
Spying on Jewish community
In January 2013, 50 documents were leaked by the "right-leaning" Analisis24 showing that SEBIN had been spying on "private information on prominent Venezuelan Jews, local Jewish organizations and Israeli diplomats in Latin America". Some info that was gathered by SEBIN operations included office photos, home addresses, passport numbers and travel itineraries. The leaked documents were believed to be authentic according to multiple sources which included the Anti-Defamation League, that stated, "It is chilling to read reports that the SEBIN received instructions to carry out clandestine surveillance operations against members of the Jewish community".
2014 Venezuelan protests
Seven SEBIN members caused the first deaths of the 2014 Venezuelan protests on 12 February 2014 after shooting at unarmed, fleeing, protesters several times in violation of protocol, which resulted in the deaths of Bassil Da Costa and Juan Montoya. Days later on the 17 February, armed SEBIN agents illegally raided the headquarters of Popular Will in Caracas and held individuals that were inside at gunpoint. According to El Nacional, SEBIN had raided facilities of reporters and human rights defenders several times. It was also stated that SEBIN occasionally intimidated reporters by following them in unmarked vehicles where SEBIN personnel would "watch their homes and offices, the public places like bakeries and restaurants, and would send them text messages to their cell phones".
|This section does not cite any references or sources. (June 2014)|
This federal entity could be considered the only security agency in Venezuela that never participates in any direct involvement with the general public. The DISIP doesn't patrol the public roads, arrest civilians or do regular law enforcement work like police departments, doesn't participate in any police raids, joint task forces or operations not related to the ministry of interior and justice. Is an agency that combines their counterparts of the FBI, CIA, Secret Service and US Marshal core work, such as counterterrorism, intelligence, counterintelligence, government investigations, background investigations and provides protection/escort for high-ranking government officials, among other federally mandated duties. Officers of this agency are rarely seen in public wearing their full black uniforms; you would possibly see them providing protection within few federal buildings throughout the country.
"Simon Bolivar" satellite
The communications satellite "Simon Bolivar" released in 2008 was intended to achieve "absolute and secure handling of information" in the areas of telephony, data transmission and access to Internet for the DISIP. This would followed by the purchase of a second satellite "territorial observation and monitoring" which are still used today.
- "Posada Carriles and his self-exiled Cuban cohorts held top positions in the DISIP during the late 1960s and early 1970s, utilizing the Venezuela intelligence division as a platform to wage their war against the Cuban Revolution. Venezuela became home to the largest Cuban exile community outside of Miami, and the base of operations for numerous terrorist activities that resulted in the death and injury of hundreds of innocent civilians in Cuba and abroad." - Venezuelanalysis, 29 June 2005, Venezuela Rejects CIA, But Opens Doors to FBI & DEA
- CIA declassified document 926816, October 13, 1976
- Human Rights Watch World Report 2001: Venezuela: Human Rights Developments
- HRW World Report 1999: Venezuela: Human Rights Developments
- Letter to President Hugo Rafael Chávez Frías (Human Rights Watch, 12-4-2004)
- 1997 AI Report
- 1998 AI Report
- Venezuelan Disip to be now designated as Bolivarian Intelligence Service. ABN Accessed on December 4th, 2009
- Filar, Ray (5 February 2013). "Venezuela 'spying' on Jewish community". The JC. Retrieved 5 June 2014.
- "Venezuela spying on its Jews, documents reveal". The Times of Israel. 31 January 2014. Retrieved 5 June 2014.
- Neuman, William (26 February 2014). "Venezuela Accuses Intelligence Officers of Murdering 2". The New York Times. Retrieved 11 June 2014.
- "Foreign journal provides identity of shooters". El Universal. 19 February 2014. Retrieved 21 February 2014.
- Gupta, Girish (17 February 2014). "Venezuelan security forces raid major opposition base". USA Today. Retrieved 18 February 2014.
- "Abogados denuncian que el Sebin realiza seguimientos para amedrentarlos". El Nacional. 19 May 2014. Retrieved 20 May 2014.