State Department says investigation needed for death of jailed former Venezuelan minister

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State Department spokesman Ned Price on Thursday called for an investigation into the death of former Venezuelan defense minister Raul Baduel.

Baduel has been in prison since 2017 for allegedly conspiring to oust socialist Venezuelan President Nicholas Maduro, Reuters reported

“The recent death of Venezuelan political prisoner Raul Baduel reminds the world of the deplorable and dangerous conditions Venezuelan political prisoners face in the Maduro regime’s custody,” Price said at a press conference. 

Venezuela’s attorney general announced Baduel’s death on Tuesday saying he died from cardio-respiratory failure after contracting the coronavirus. 

The United Nations Human Rights office also wants a transparent investigation into Baduel’s death, according to Reuters.

The former general’s family is also suspicious of the death, since Baduel had one dose of the vaccine —  although it is still possible to die from COVID-19 after getting vaccinated.

Price also said the U.S. wants an immediate and unconditional release of all political prisoners that are currently held in Venezuela.

Baduel, who was once a Maduro confidant, was previously arrested on corruption charges in 2009 and parted ways with Socialist Party. He has been sharing a prison cell with his son, who was charged for participating in a failed incursion against Maduro. 

Venezuela has recently blamed the U.S. for delaying funds from International Monetary Fund (IMF) meant to help Venezuela combat the coronavirus.

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