Political Prisoners in Venezuela, Newsletter Nº 15

IACHR blacklists Venezuela and Cuba in HR special report

El Universal May 7, 2015

The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) once again blacklisted Cuba and Venezuela for several human rights violations, in its annual report published on Thursday.

In its 2014 report, the Commission, an autonomous body of the Organization of American States (OAS), kept the two countries in the chapter including the countries where there are «massive, serious, and systematic human rights violations,» Efe reported.

In Venezuela, systematically listed in that chapter since 2005, the IACHR found «that throughout 2014 the exercise and enjoyment of human rights was affected by legal and administrative restrictions.»

The IACHR pointed out that the anti-government protests that resulted in 43 deaths early in 2014 mirrored «hostility» towards political dissenters and human rights advocates, which have led to the weakening of democratic institutions in Venezuela.

Ex-presidents arrive in Venezuela on May 18 to support detained dissidents

El Universal May 12, 2015

Former presidents Felipe González, of Spain; Henrique Cardoso, of Brazil; Ricardo Lagos, of Chile; and Andrés Pastrana, of Colombia will arrive next Monday in Caracas to support detained dissenters, Omar Estacio, a defense lawyer of Caracas Metropolitan Mayor Antonio Ledezma, told Efe.

«Yes, it has been confirmed, on Monday at 8:30 am they will land at Maiquetía (international airport),» said Estacio referring to the arrival of González, who will be joined «on the same flight» by the other three former Latin American leaders.

Arbitraries Detentions since Feb 4th, 2014

3718 detentions
31 jailed for protesting

Source: Foro Penal
May 12, 2015

The Battered Freedom of Expression in Venezuela

May 8, 2015

On Wednesday, the Venezuelan government gave the world another sample of its retrograde and dictatorial nature, by preventing Venezuelan journalist and politician Teodoro Petkoff from traveling to Madrid to receive the Ortega y Gasset Journalism Award 2015.

Venezuela has become a prison for Petkoff, as also has for former opposition lawmaker María Corina Machado and many other Venezuelans who have been banned from leaving the country for spurious political trials against them.

The measure against Petkoff is the result of a lawsuit filed by Diosdado Cabello, the head of both the Parliament and the United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV), for publishing in his newspaper TalCual a story from Spain-based daily ABC denouncing the alleged ties of Cabello with drug trafficking. Apart from Petkoff, the lawsuit extends to shareholders, directors, editorial board and owners of TalCual, as well as to other media outlets such as daily El Nacional and La Patilla, a news portal. Read more

Rousseff: Brazil is «Tirelessly» Seeking Solution to Venezuela Crisis

May 7, 2015

Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff on Thursday directed a letter to Venezuelan opposition figures Mitzy Capriles and Lilian Tintori in which she thanked them for their efforts and said that Brazil “is tirelessly seeking a solution to (Venezuela’s) political crisis,” according to the text to which Efe received access.

Capriles and Tintori are in Brasilia, where they were received by members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, after the full upper house this week approved a censure motion against Venezuela for what it called the “arbitrary arrests” of opposition members.

Among the opposition members who have been arrested, the censure motion cited Caracas Mayor Antonio Ledezma and Voluntad Popular party head Leopoldo Lopez, the husbands of Capriles and Tintori who are in prison for participating in alleged “terrorist” plans supposedly aimed at toppling the government of Nicolas Maduro. Read more

Visual artists in Caracas expressed their condemnation of the human rights violations in Venezuela

Brazil’s Senate Tells Maduro to Defend Human Rights

May 6, 2015

The Brazilian Senate passed a vote of no-confidence on Tuesday against Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro over the “arbitrary detention” of members of the opposition.

The text, written by Senator Roberto Jucá of the Brazilian Democratic Movement Party (PMDB), “rejects” the arrests of the mayor of Caracas, Antonio Ledezma — imprisoned since February— and opposition leader Leopoldo López, who has been in jail for 14 months, as well as the detention of other dissidents.

The body approved the text on the eve of a visit by López’s and Ledezma’s wives, Mitzy Capriles and Lilian Tintori respectively, to the Brazilian Congress to present allegations of human-rights violations in Venezuela. Read more

Protest at Venezuelan lawyer’s detention

May 8, 2015

The International Bar Association’s human rights institute (IBAHRI) has called for the immediate release of a Venezuelan lawyer who was arrested in what the institute believes to be the latest in a series of attacks against the independence of the legal profession in Venezuela.

Tadeo Arrieche Franco has been held since being arrested on 8 February. He was acting on behalf of Dia Dia, which is being investigated by the Venezuelan government in relation to a new law, the Just Prices Act, which imposes prison sentences for ‘destabilising’ the economy. His trial is scheduled to start on 15 May.

Dia Dia owner Jose Vicente Aguerrevere has denied accusations of hoarding products to stoke public exasperation. Read more


Venezuela policeman jailed over teenager death in protest

May 9, 2015

A court in Venezuela has sentenced a policeman to 18 years in jail for the death of a teenager in an anti-government protest in February.

Police officer Javier Mora Ortiz, 23, admitted responsibility in the death.

The 14-year-old protester, Kluiver Roa Nunez, was shot in the head by a plastic bullet during a march in the western city of San Cristobal.

President Nicolas Maduro had condemned the incident and promised a full investigation.

The court in Caracas found Javier Mora guilty of murder. Read more

The Office of the Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression Presents its 2014 Annual Report

May 11, 2015

The Office of the Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights presented on Thursday, May 7 its Annual Report regarding the situation of this matter in the Americas during 2014, as part of the Annual Report presented by the Commission to the member States.

This is the sixteenth report produced by the Office of the Special Rapporteur, since it was created in 1998.

To access the full report, click here