Venezuela Violations of human rights in the context of peaceful demonstrations February 2014
From February 2, 2014 to date, Venezuela is in the midst of a strong repressive context expressed in conducts of extreme intolerance, criminalization and repression by state forces against peaceful protests, opposition party leaders, human rights defenders and journalists, identified in many cases as targets of war based on the assumption of their involvement in coup attempts directed from foreign countries. These conducts —with a pattern similar to the events of April 20131— occur this time more harshly than in the past, along with measures to censor independent media and calls for “peace” and “dialogue” issued by the Executive, which are not consistent with the excesses and repressive practices in cities across the country, the biased use of information about the causes of social unrest and serious acts of violations of human rights as a result of such practices. They are joined by repetitive discourses of intolerance, confrontation and threats issued by the highest State authorities through mandatory joint radio and television broadcasts (“cadenas”2) on national television, ignoring, disqualifying or criminalizing the legitimate complaints, claims and demands of protesters.
Venezuela´s Human Rights Situation in the Context of the Presidential Elections April 14-30, 2013
In the context of the Presidential elections called after President Chávez´s demise, a series of serious events took place between April 14 and 16, 2013, as a result of over 3,200 alleged reports of electoral irregularities. These events began the night of April 14, as soon as the Consejo Nacional Electoral (CNE: Spanish acronym for National Electoral Council) announced the results, giving the Government´s candidate, NicolásMaduro, a slight margin victory of less than 2% over the opposition candidate, Henrique Capriles. In the following days, the Government authorities omitted the enforcement of the rule of law, or the creation of a space fordialogue and understanding between opposing groups to discuss the controversies arising from the electoral results, by means of constitutional, independent, plural, impartial and transparent mechanisms. Instead, they ignored or manipulated situations of restriction or violation of human rights. The right to peaceful protest was in fact suspended by the Government, and the requests for an audit and recount of the votes were criminalized asattempts by opposition groups to stage acoup d´état.
Situation of human rights and democracy in Venezuela vis-à-vis the recent legislative actions.
The measures adopted by the national government in late 2010, represent a dangerous break with the rule of law. They portend profound changes for Venezuelan society and the nation’s democracy. In particular, the deputies of the National Assembly in just the two weeks prior to the conclusion of the Assembly’s term, passed —without the required consultation of the population—more than 20 laws that violate the Constitution and the international obligations of the Venezuelan government. These illegitimate laws and measures reveal the absence of checks and balances among the branches of government and the institutions that safeguard human rights; they demonstrate a precipitous attempt by the State to impose a system to restructure society that would close the door to our democratic way of life and exert control over the individual and society as a whole.