La Tumba (Caracas)

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La Tumba
Caracas, Venezuela
SEBIN headquarters.jpg
La Tumba seen from Plaza Venezuela.
Coordinates10°29′43″N 66°52′57″W / 10.4954°N 66.8826°W / 10.4954; -66.8826
TypeOffice building, headquarters
Area3,689.89 m2 (39,717.6 sq ft)
Height16 stories above ground, 5 floors below.
Site information
OwnerVenezuela Government of Venezuela
OperatorFlag of SEBIN.gif SEBIN
Controlled byMinistry of Interior, Justice and Peace
ConditionIn service
Site history
Built2005 (2005)
In use2014 (2014)
Events2014–17 Venezuelan protests

La Tumba (The Tomb) is an underground detention facility of a tower in Caracas, Venezuela, that serves as the headquarters for the Bolivarian Intelligence Service (SEBIN). It was initially designed as offices for the Caracas Metro.[citation needed]

History[edit]

Design and construction[edit]

The initial project for an office tower and metro station was designed by the Central University of Venezuela's Andres Bello Foundation Fund for Development to serve as the Corporate Tower of the Caracas Metro. In 2003, a plot of land was awarded for the project near Plaza Venezuela, near the geographical center of Caracas where many offices and other important locations are found. In July 2005, construction began on the project with more than $18 million invested into construction.

Plans for the tower included a height of 16 stories as well as having 5 basement levels. The levels were to include an exit for the Zona Rental station where it was the meeting point of major arteries of the Caracas Metro; Lines L1, L3 and L4. The basement levels also had space for approximately 100 parking spaces.[1] The projected finish date was in 2008, though the use of the tower by the Caracas Metro was never realized.

SEBIN headquarters[edit]

La Tumba seen on the right, located in the center of Caracas among other prominent locations.

The Bolivarian Intelligence Service (SEBIN) eventually made the tower its headquarters following restructuring of the agency in 2013.[2] The detntion facility was then dubbed "La Tumba" by Venezuelan government officials since many political prisoners were held there by the government following the Venezuelan protests.[3][4][5][6]

Underground detention facility[edit]

The underground detention facility is located where the underground parking for the Metro Caracas were to be located. The cells are two by three meters that have a cement bed, white walls, security cameras, no windows and barred doors, with each cell aligned next to one another so there are no interactions between prisoners.[3] Such conditions have caused prisoners to become very ill, though they are denied medical treatment.[6] Bright lights in the cells are kept on so prisoners lose their sense of time, with the only sounds heard being from the nearby Caracas Metro trains.[2][3][5] Those who visit the prisoners are subjected to strip searches by multiple SEBIN personnel.[2]

Allegations of torture in La Tumba, specifically white torture, are also common, with some prisoners attempting to commit suicide.[3][4][5] Such conditions according to NGO Justice and Process are to force prisoners to plead guilty to crimes they are accused of.[3]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Torre Corporativa Metro de Caracas (actualmente SEBIN)" (PDF). Central University of Venezuela. Retrieved 29 July 2015.
  2. ^ a b c "Un calabozo macabro". Univision. 2015. Retrieved 28 July 2015.
  3. ^ a b c d e Vinogradoff, Ludmila (10 February 2015). ""La tumba", siete celdas de tortura en el corazón de Caracas". ABC. Retrieved 29 July 2015.
  4. ^ a b "UNEARTHING THE TOMB: INSIDE VENEZUELA'S SECRET UNDERGROUND TORTURE CHAMBER". Fusion. 2015. Archived from the original on July 29, 2015. Retrieved 29 July 2015.
  5. ^ a b c "Political protesters are left to rot in Venezuela's secretive underground prison". News.com.au. 25 July 2015. Retrieved 29 July 2015.
  6. ^ a b "Statement of Santiago A. Canton Executive Director, RFK Partners for Human Rights Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights" (PDF). United States Senate. Archived from the original (PDF) on July 29, 2015. Retrieved 29 July 2015.

External links[edit]