Political Prisoners in Venezuela, Newsletter Nº 12

Human-Rights Commission Demands Protection for López and Ceballos

April 21, 2015

The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) has called on the Venezuelan government to urgently adopt “the measures necessary to preserve the personal integrity of Leopoldo López and Daniel Ceballos.”

In a resolution issued on April 20, responding to a request made on August 23, 2014, the regional human-rights body also requests that Venezuela “ensure that their conditions of detention are adjusted to meet international standards.”

The commission’s Precautionary Measure 335-114 indicates that “despite expressions of concern” by multiple UN human rights bodies and the IACHR, to date both political prisoners “continue to be deprived of freedom” in the same conditions as before. Their treatment includes confinement in punishment cells, isolation, restrictions on family visits, and unexplained disciplinary measures, according to those who requested the precautionary measure last year. Read more

Interview with Irwin Cotler

nationalmagazine.ca April 20, 2015

Irwin Cotler is leaving the House of Commons at the end of his term but he isn’t quitting his day job fighting for the rights of political prisoners. National recently sat down with the Liberal MP and former minister of justice to discuss a range of topics for our upcoming print issue. Below is an excerpt, in which we discussed his human rights work defending, among others, Venezuelan politician Leopoldo López, Iranian senior cleric Ayatollah Hossein Boroujerdi, who advocates the separation of religion and government and imprisoned Saudi blogger Raif Badawi.
N: You built a career defending political prisoners. How did that initially inform your decision to go into politics?

IC: I was reminded of that [recently]. I was speaking at a gathering in Ottawa outside Parliament Hill, which should have been covered by the media and was not. It was the 21st anniversary of the genocide in Rwanda. You know, one million Tutsis were murdered in a period of three months. Read more

Arbitraries Detentions since Feb 4th, 2014

3718 detentions
43 jailed for protesting

Source: Foro Penal
April 21, 2015

EU pays special attention to Venezuela, Colombia and Cuba

El Universal
April 21, 2015

The foreign ministers of the European Union assessed on Monday the EU relations with Latin America, and advocated closer political and economic ties with the region under more «equal» grounds. They focused particularly on Cuba, Colombia and Venezuela.

Regarding Venezuela, sources said that the EU wants to «keep in touch» with that country and «seek the release of political prisoners.» «All the countries that have taken the floor have voiced concern,» from the political and economic points of view, about the situation in Venezuela, said Spanish Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation, José Manuel García-Margallo. The diplomat also recalled that «more than half a million EU citizens» live in Venezuela and that «European investment accounts for 45% of total foreign investment» in the South American country. Read more

Declaration of Panama about Venezuela from the Former Heads of Government and State

We who sign this document, former Ibero-American heads of Government and State, invited by the Democratic Initiative of Spain and the Americas (IDEA, by its Spanish acronym) and concerned by the course that the serious institutional, political, economic and social alteration affecting our Venezuelan brothers and sisters without distinction is taking, declare the following:

Democracy and its effective exercise, the foundation of solidarity among all States, consists of respecting and guaranteeing human rights, exercising power according to the Rule of Law, separating and making the public authorities independent, political pluralism, free and fair elections, freedom of expression and of the media, the integrity and the transparency of the government, among other standards, according to what is stated at the Declaration of Santiago de Chile adopted by the Organization of American States in 1959, later expanded and developed by the Interamerican Democratic Charter of 2001. Read more

The surreal world of Venezuela’s queues

bbc.com April 20, 2015

In Venezuela many basic goods are in short supply. The government blames America and Europe, which it says are out to destroy its economy. Others say the government has brought the problems on itself. The BBC’s Ian Pannell experienced the sometimes surreal art of extreme queuing in Caracas.

The least one can expect from a creditworthy foreign correspondent is that he or she can have a decent stab at making sense of the world. In Venezuela this is more than the usual challenge. Read more

Colombian Senate calls for release of Venezuelan political prisoners

El Universal
April 16, 2015

During a plenary meeting of the Senate, the Colombian Congress demanded the release from jail of Venezuelan opposition political leaders Leopoldo López and Caracas Metropolitan Mayor Antonio Ledezma, «so as to draw a road map that consolidates an agreement of transparency and warrantees ahead of the upcoming (Venezuelan parliamentary) election,» read a press release issued by the Colombian Senate.

The text, signed by the various political groups in the Senate, except for the Democratic Pole, warned that «the (current) political and economic situation in Venezuela has become a serious emergency, with all democratic principles, independent institutions, freedom of speech, private entrepreneurship, and press freedom are seriously threatened.» Read more

Venezuelan newspapers at risk of closure, says press group

April 16, 2015

Several Venezuelan newspapers are at risk of imminent closure, the Inter-American Press Association warned Thursday, accusing leftist President Nicolás Maduro of impeding access to newsprint and discriminating against publications critical of his government.

IAPA, which represents editors and publishers from around the Americas, noted recent announcements that El Correo del Caroni, El Impulso, El Carabobeno, El Nacional and El Regional del Zulia “will stop publishing in the coming weeks.”

“Once more we hold President Maduro responsible for restricting the freedom of the press and the public’s right to information, by means of a special mechanism of persecution and discrimination,” IAPA’s president Gustavo Mohme said in a statement. Read more

Chilean Senate to intercede for Venezuelan political prisoners

El Universal April 16, 2015

With 30 votes for, one against and four abstentions, the Chilean Senate approved on Tuesday afternoon a draft agreement which condemns human rights abuses in Venezuela and requests, among others, freedom of political prisoners in Venezuela.

Under the initiative, Chilean Minister of Foreign Affairs will be requested to «seek the release of all political prisoners in Venezuela, of all those who, for being democratic representatives or think otherwise have been imprisoned.» Read more


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