Venezuelan Politics and Human Rights

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PROVEA’s Monthly International Bulletins

Hugo Pérez Hernáiz

The Programa Venezolano de Educación- Acción en Derechos Humanos (PROVEA), Venezuela’s leading human rights group, has published its latest monthly International Bulletin corresponding to developments in February 2014. This edition of the Bulletin published in English deals with causes of the recent protests in Venezuela. PROVEA argues that the context of these protests is the economic difficulties faced by the country: high inflation and scarcity of basic products. High crime rates are also mentioned as part of the scenario in which the protests erupted.

PROVEA also blames the heavy-handed response by the government to student protests on February 4 in the city of San Cristobal as a direct cause that sparked the spreading unrest. That day students were protesting because of campus insecurity: “The campus [of the Táchira National University] was raided and the arrest of 6 students awoke solidarity from other institutions of higher education.”

The bulletin speaks of a “chain reaction” in which government repression led to more protests: “State action to restore public order has been characterized by a disproportionate use of force and firearms, tear gas and mistreatment of people who are arrested. We understand the State’s duty to act [against] violence; however, there are international and national rules on how to proceed without causing violations of human rights. Now and then the Government actions run [against] the constitutional democratic control of public demonstrations.”

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Filed under PROVEA Plan de la Patria venezuelan protests

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PROVEA releases July International Human Rights Bulletin

David Smilde

Venezuelan human rights group PROVEA has released the July issue of Venezuela: International Bulletin on Human Rights. This issue looks at the paradox of scarcities at a time of increased consumption (see our coverage here), the right to strike, and the human rights implications of Venezuela assuming the pro tempore presidency of MERCOSUR.

The bulletin is published monthly in Spanish, English and French.

Filed under Provea human rights Mercosur

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PROVEA Releases June International Bulletin on Human Rights

Timothy Gill

Human rights group PROVEA (Venezuela Program for Education and Action in Human Rights) has released the third edition of its new International Bulletin on Human Rights.

The Bulletin is released in Spanish, Portuguese, French and English and covers the most important human rights issues of the month. This edition looks at labor unrest, the Venezuelan government’s denunciation of the American Convention on Human Rights, and several laws that may have an adverse effect on social protest, including the Law against Organized Crime and the Financing of Terrorism, which was passed in May 2012.

Filed under human rights provea venezuela

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PROVEA Releases Second International Bulletin on Human Rights

Human rights group PROVEA (Venezuela Program for Education and Action in Human Rights) has released the second edition of its new International Bulletin on Human Rights. The Bulletin is released in Spanish, Portuguese, French and English and the most important human rights issues of the month. This edition looks at the right to housing and the government’s housing mission, the conflict over indigenous land claims in Western Venezuela, and the need for dialogue in the post-electoral context.

Filed under Provea Yukpa Mision Vivienda 14A

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Provea’s 2012 Report: Civil and Political Rights

Timothy Gill

Last week Provea released its 2012 annual report on human rights in Venezuela. In a previous post, I outlined their findings regarding economic, social, and cultural rights, as they are presented in the 1999 Constitution. In this post, I review the report’s key findings concerning civil and political rights.

Perhaps the most important finding was continuing deterioration in citizen security. In 2012, official figures say there were 14,852 homicides, a number which continues at an upward trend. For Venezuela, this means a rate of 51 homicides per 100,000 citizens. This number rises to 23,506 homicides, or 78 per 100,000 citizens, when deaths occurring while “resisting arrest” and deaths under investigation are included (42). By comparison, in 2010, there were 13,080 homicides, 45 per 100,000 citizens. With the inclusion of those “resisting arrest” and deaths under investigation in 2010, the number of homicides rises to 21,080, a rate of 73 homicides per 100,000 citizens (407). Provea does not provide homicide figures for 2011 in this report. Until August 2012, 155 police and military persons were also killed while on duty. The report argues that the government has begun to address these issues through the Great Mission to All Life in Venezuela as well as establishing the Presidential Commission for Disarmament, which established a national gun registry to in order to reduce illegal gun ownership.

 

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Filed under provea human rights venezuela

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Provea Releases 2012 Report on Human Rights in Venezuela: Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights

Timothy Gill 

Last week Provea released its annual report on human rights situation in Venezuela for the previous year (January – December 2012). In it, Provea addresses economic, social, and cultural rights as well as civil and political rights, as they are outlined in the 1999 Constitution. In this post, I outline the report’s key findings concerning economic, social, and cultural rights, and, in a later post, I will review the report’s key findings concerning civil and political rights. 

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Filed under provea human rights venezuela

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PROVEA and Government Continue to Spar

Hugo Pérez Hernáiz

The Defensora del Pueblo, Gabriela Ramírez continued the critical exchange between the Maduro government and human rights NGO PROVEA over the latter’s contention that the Barrio Adentro health modules (CDIs) supposedly vandalized and burned down by opposition supporters showed no sign of such attacks.

In an April 20 press conference, Ramírez said that “PROVEA has devoted itself to disclaiming the denunciations of the attacks on health centers. By doing so they are acting against their own principles as a human rights organization.” Government news bureau Agencia Venezolana de Noticias suggested that the web page of the Defensoría would soon publish a chronology of the attacks with graphic proofs. Ramírez has sent links through Twitter to several pictures that she claims are of damaged CDIs. In a national cadena at noon on April 23, Ramírez’s declarations against PROVEA were repeated, accompanied by images of CDIs allegedly burned.  The images of the claimed attacks can be seen at the web page of the Defensoría del Pueblo.

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Filed under Human Rights Provea

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Yukpa Chief Sabino Romero Killed

David Smilde and Hugo Pérez Hernáiz

Sunday March 4 at approximately 7:00 pm Sabino Romero was shot dead while traveling on a road of Perijá, Zulia state. His wife Lucia Martinez has also hurt but survived the attack. Romero was on his way to vote in a local Head Chief election.

Sabino Romero was a known Yukpa leader engaged in the indigenous struggle for land rights. He often denounced the complicity between local government authorities and landowners against the indigenous of the Perijá area.

Romero was part of a conflict over land concessions that began in 2008. In recent years the Yukpa have organized to demand a homeland as stipulated by the 2005 law on indigenous peoples. However there are powerful economic and strategic interests are at play. The land is a key agricultural area, sits on top of massive coal fields, and is nestled between Maracaibo Lake and the Colombian border. As a result the Yukpa are sandwiched between local economic interests including ranchers and their armed defenders, and the government which has hedged on conceding strategic territory.

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Filed under Yukpa Provea Indigenous rights

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Second Hearing in Provea and Homo et Natura Trial to be Held Tomorrow

Hugo Pérez Hernaíz

Tomorrow, February 18 at 9:30 local time, hearings will continue in the Provea and Sociedad Homo et Natura trial, at the 8th Tribunal of Protection of Children and Adolescents of Caracas. According to a note published on Provea´s web page, tomorrow the tribunal will hear an exposition by Provea Director Marino Alvardo, a reply by the Public Attorney, Doris Santiago, a counter reply by the defending lawyers and then again a final response by Santiago.

Provea and Sociedad Homo et Natura are on trial for their support of a protest carried out by members of the Yukpa indigenous group at the Supreme Justice Tribunal (TSJ) in July, 2010. The Yukpas protested with their families, including children, against land grabs, murders and judicial pursuit of their leaders. On July 27th 2010, Public Attorney Ramón Liscano (he has since been replaced by Doris Santiago) accused the human rights organizations that supported the Yukpas of endangering the lives of 47 children and adolescents that participated in the protest at the TSJ.

News can be followed on Twitter at #JucioContraProvea

Filed under Provea Homo et natura Yukpa trial