CARACAS -- The Attorney General’s Office on Monday summoned as a defendant in a human rights violation case National Guard Colonel Bladimir Lugo Armas, the military man seen on video physically assaulting the President of Venezuela’s National Assembly legislative, the elected official he is tasked with protecting.
“Attorney 49 has issued a summons in the category of defendant against Colonel Bladimir Lugo Armas,” the Attorney General's office tweeted Monday morning in its official Twitter account. “The National Guard effective must appear before the above mentioned attorney’s office next Thursday July 13th”.
On July 5th, Venezuela’s Independence Day, Lugo allowed a mob to enter the National Assembly and assault lawmakers, journalists and attending dignitaries. Some 20 people were injured in the ensuing melee. Attackers were either government employees such as Oswaldo Rivero, the state-television anchorman who claimed responsibility for the assault, or government sympathizers armed with firearms (which they discharged), tear-gas grenades, pipes and knifes.
Also, a week before the assault on the Assembly, Lugo had physically assaulted the legislative’s President Julio Borges, in an incident caught on video and which has now become viral.
Lugo thus becomes the third high-ranking military or ex-military officer to be charged with human rights violations in just a matter of days. In late June, the Attorney General's office issued similar summons against Antonio Benavides, who until recently was general commander of the National Guard, and against Major Army General Gustavo Gonzalez, the sitting head of th SEBIN intelligence service. Gonzalez is the highest serving military official ever summoned by Fiscalia as a defendant.
Additionally, both Benavides and Gonzalez received special designations on the U.S. Treasury list for their involvement in human-rights violations in 2014.
According to local media, Lugo is fond of pushing people around.
“Lugo is on the record for attacking, on several occasions, journalists, women, lawmakers and demonstrators”, national newspaper “El Nacional” wrote Monday after news of the summons was made public. "Another case for which he is known for is when he pushed and tripped Antonieta Mendoza, the mother of Leopoldo Lopez.”
Also, “on December 2016, he attacked Rafael Hernandez, a journalist with NTN24. On that day, he beat up the journalist’s team and barred them from entering the office of the Vice President.”
The Venezuelan government has blocked Colombian news TV channel NTN24’s signal from being viewed in Venezuela. Not even by subscription.