Nicolás Maduro’s illegitimate regime in Venezuela looks to communist Cuba, its neighbor across the Caribbean, to support its strong-arm tactics against dissidents and political prisoners.

Now there is concern that Cuban security forces and intelligence officers based in Venezuela actually have advised the Venezuelan secret police on techniques for torturing political prisoners.

In a December 2018 speech at a conference on human rights violations in Cuba, Organization of American States (OAS) Secretary General Luis Almagro stated:

“It is estimated that there are some 46,000 Cubans in Venezuela, an occupation force that teaches how to torture and repress, that performs intelligence, civil identification, and migration services.”

The OAS, like the United States and dozens of other countries, has denounced the Maduro regime as illegitimate.

Almagro decried Cuba’s “toxic effect on the rest of the region and the way in which it deprives its own people of their freedoms. … It is time to end the impunity the Cuban dictatorship enjoys.”

Kimberly Breier, the U.S. assistant secretary of state for Western Hemisphere affairs, asked on social media on February 1, “How many of Venezuela‘s 939 political prisoners have Maduro and his cronies tortured thanks to Cuba’s tutelage of the SEBIN and FAES? All of these political prisoners should be back at home now.”

SEBIN is the Bolivarian National Intelligence Service, Maduro’s secret police. FAES are the so-called Special Action Forces that Maduro reportedly has unleashed in raids on neighborhoods where residents have turned against the regime.

Breier cited statistics from Foro Penal, a Venezuelan human rights organization, that there are 939 political prisoners in Venezuela, and that 43 people were killed during the January 21–27 protests.