Political Prisoners in Venezuela, Newsletter Nº 19

UN questions «legality and conditions» of detention of dissenters

El Universal
June 15, 2015

The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, deplored on Monday the detention conditions of peaceful demonstrators in Venezuela and put the legality of the measure into question.

«In Venezuela, I am seriously concerned about the legality and conditions of people who have been detained for peacefully exercising freedom of expression and of assembly,» he said in his opening statement at the 29th regular session of the UN Human Rights Council.

«Some have been on hunger strike for weeks now, which adds to our concern,» Al Hussein remarked.

«They should be promptly and unconditionally released,» the UN high commissioner stressed. Read more

Desmond Tutu Slams Nicolás Maduro over Human-Rights Violations

June 12, 2015

South-African Archbishop and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Desmond Tutu has called on the Venezuelan government to release its political prisoners, and condemned widespread human-rights violations in the country, in an opinion piece published in Spanish daily El País on Thursday.

“The human-rights situation in Venezuela is particularly somber. Even more concerning that the economic and security situation is how the government responds to its people’s frustrations,” wrote Tutu, a key leader in the anti-apartheid movement in the 1980s and 1990s.

“I believe in the church, in mercy and compassion. It’s not too late for [President Nicolás] Maduro to change his course of action. In 2016, the catholic church will celebrate the Holy Year of Mercy, which, according to the Vatican, ‘serves as an invitation to follow the example of the Father, who asks us not to judge or condemn, but to forgive and give love with no limits,’” he continued. Read more

Mission of the Eurochamber to visit Venezuela in July

El Universal
June 16, 2015

A mission of the European Parliament (EP) plans to travel to Venezuela in mid-July to confirm on site the observance of human rights and hold meetings with authorities and representatives of the civil society, sources of the Eurochamber told Efe.

Spaniards are expected to comprise almost the entire delegation, composed of a maximum of 12 Euro-deputies, including the president of the EP Sub-Committee of Human Rights, Elena Valenciano (PSOE), and the number two of the People’s Party at the Eurochamber, Luis De Grandes, sources noted, as quoted by Efe. Read more

Arbitraries Detentions since Feb 4th, 2014

3765 detentions
31 jailed for protesting

Source: Foro Penal
June 16, 2015

Jailed Venezuela opposition leader Daniel Ceballos ends hunger strike after 20 days

Fox News
June 12, 2015

Jailed Venezuela opposition leader Daniel Ceballos has called off his hunger strike after 20 days.

His attorney, Juan Carlos Gutierrez, said Thursday that Ceballos’ demands had been partially met. He was striking with fellow jailed opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez to demand that the government set a date for parliamentary elections and release jailed politicians like themselves who human rights groups consider political prisoners.

Ceballos’ lawyer and wife had warned that his health was deteriorating badly. On Wednesday, Venezuelan Episcopal Conference president Diego Padron said Ceballos was having trouble with his kidneys. Read more

Sign the Petition to Support Leopoldo López and Other Hunger Strike Participants

Change.org June 8, 2015

Leopoldo’s sisters, Adriana López Vermut and Diana López, released a petition today appealing to international organizations, including the Organization of American States and UNASUR to intercede for the human rights of Venezuelan political prisoners.

The petition specifically calls for the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) to be able to enter the cells of the Venezuelan political prisoners and ensure they receive appropriate treatment. They also visit the locations where there are detainees holding a hunger strike to verify that their treatment is appropriate and that they are receiving proper medical attention.

Click here to sign the petition and thank you for your continued support: http://chn.ge/1FMmJRw

European Council President Challenges Venezuela Over Human Rights After Summit

Wsj.com June 12, 2015

The political crackdown in Venezuela was notable for its absence during the public discussions and declarations of solidarity at a summit between European and Latin American leaders earlier this week.

But European Council President Donald Tusk broke that silence on Friday, making it clear that Venezuela had been a big topic behind closed doors of the EU-CELAC Latin America summit. Mr. Tusk said he was unhappy that the summit’s final “declaration,” joined by 61 nations, didn’t take a firmer stand against human rights violations in Venezuela.

“I am not fully satisfied by the language of our declaration, but as you know, the declaration is something like a compromise among more than 60 countries, from the European and Latin American sides,” Mr. Tusk told reporters. Read more

Venezuela’s Last Hope

Foreign Policy June 10, 2015

Just over thirteen months have passed since Leopoldo López, the most prominent and charismatic leader of Venezuela’s embattled democratic opposition, stood on the pedestal of the statue of José Martí in a commercial district in eastern Caracas. He had just addressed a huge crowd of cheering supporters, calling for a continuation of the nonviolent, nation-wide protests aimed at bringing down the regime of President Nicolás Maduro. He pledged never to leave the country (despite a secret offer from the government to depart into exile) and to carry on the fight for democracy in Venezuela. He announced that he would, then and there, surrender to the authorities (to face charges relating to the deaths of two protesters a week earlier), and that his “incarceration would be worth it if it woke up the people.” He closed with a promise: “Very soon, we will have a free and democratic Venezuela!” Then he waved goodbye and climbed down.

Two officers of Venezuela’s Bolivarian National Guard grabbed him by the arms and hustled him through the surging mass of people until they reached an armored vehicle. Read more

Felipe González: “Venezuela is a country heading towards destruction”

El Pais
June 12, 2015

Former Spanish prime minister Felipe González could have spoken louder, but his message could not have been clearer. “When you confront a dictatorship, you know what to expect, but not when you confront a betrayed democracy,” the ex-Socialist Party leader said on Thursday during a news conference in Madrid to talk about his visit to Caracas. “Venezuela is the kingdom of arbitrariness and President Maduro is taking the country towards destruction.”

González traveled to the Latin American country last Sunday to advise the defense teams of incarcerated opposition leaders Leopoldo López and Antonio Ledezma. López has started a hunger strike, while Ledezma is under house arrest after undergoing surgery.

González underlined that the situation in Venezuela was “unsustainable” and that there was “a growing concern throughout Latin America over what is happening. Everyone is worried, except Maduro.” Leer más

We will never tire of demanding our rights

June 08, 2015

On May 30, the Venezuelan people came together to pray for a better Venezuela and to demand an end to the authoritarian rule suffocating our nation.

Today in Venezuela we live in fear because of the insecurity that defines our lives under the regime of Nicolás Maduro.

Our desperate economic situation has resulted in shortages of food, medicine and even toilet paper, and Maduro relies increasingly on tools of unprecedented repression.

This year in Venezuela, we are supposed to have parliamentary elections, but while June is upon us, the relevant electoral authorities have yet to set a date. Read more

Jailed Venezuela opposition leader Lopez refuses to go to court, citing hunger strike

Fox News
June 10, 2015

Jailed Venezuelan opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez is refusing to attend his court dates, citing his deteriorating health due to 17 days of fasting.

Lopez has been on a hunger strike since May 24. His attorney Juan Carlos Gutierrez said that on Wednesday the former mayor declined to leave his cell to attend a court date.

Lopez has been jailed for 15 months on charges related to a sometimes bloody 2014 anti-government protest movement.

Gutierrez says Lopez is stable and conscious, but has lost more than 20 pounds. Officials have not confirmed his fast. Read more


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