Prisoners Roam Free Inside Venezuela's Most Notorious Prison

A video has emerged online, featuring a group of men, identifying themselves as inmates. The prison is the headquarters of Venezuela's spy agency.

Presidential Election

Venezuela is crumbling.

Major companies are pulling out of the country.

Workers are also leaving.

Pregnant mothers are fleeing crisis-hit Venezuela to have their babies in Brazil.

Videos have emerged online, featuring a group of men, identifying themselves as inmates, who have taken control – the El Helicoide facility in Caracas. The prison is the most notorious in the country and is also the headquarters of Venezuela's spy agency.

The inmates claimed they took over the facility following the beating of an incarcerated individual, Gregory Sanabria, during a fight with other prisoners. The men also cited torture and human rights abuses as reasons for the take-over of the prison.

"This has been taken over peacefully by all the political prisoners and all the prisoners who are abducted here, who are tortured daily," a man says in one of the videos.

Although prison authorities released a statement, saying they retook control of the prison, the inmates rejected the claim.



Joshua Holt, an American citizen from Utah, who was detained at the facility while honeymooning in Venezuela, also posted a video message, saying he feared for his life.

"Helicoide the prison where I am at has fallen the guards are here and people are trying to break in my room and kill me. WHAT DO WE DO?" he says in the video.

The alleged incident came on the eve of the presidential elections, which the opposition has denounced as "fixed."

Despite having the greatest oil reserves in the world, Venezuela has remained an impoverished country. And the situation is only deteriorating with time.

After Hugo Chavez, Nicolas Maduro's reckless leadership has brought the country to the brink of collapse, especially in the form of a massive food crisis. In 2017, Venezuelans reported losing on average 24 lbs in body weight last year and almost 90 percent now live in poverty, according to a university study released in February.

Thumbnail/Banner Credits: Roman Camacho/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

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