Human Rights Activists Under Siege

Melanio Escobar is an honest man, a good father, and a stubborn human rights activist. We had a chat last year in the midst of the student protests, due to his viral coverage of the imprisonment of thousands of protesters. I was impressed by this well spoken ex-punk rocker and journalist with a name that would fit comfortably in the García Marquez Universe.

Early this week, Melanio accompanied human rights NGOs, Provea and Espacio Publico, to file a claim against the President of the Venezuelan legislature, Diosdado Cabello, for divulging private communications between these two NGOs during his TV show.

Yesterday afternoon, he tweeted a most disturbing thread:

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Melanio reports that a man wearing dark clothes on a Black Kawasaki has been following his ex-wife and son since the day the claim was filed. He approached the relevant authorities to seek protection for his family, and made Diosdado Cabello responsible for anything that could happen to them.

How well grounded are Melanio’s worries? Well, he just came from picking a righteous fight with one of the most powerful men in the country, a man who has been signaled by media around the world as being the subject of a drug trafficking investigation by US authorities, a man who would obtain private communications illegally and broadcast them on his own show in open TV just for the sake of fueling hate. When you think about the absurd events that had to take place so I could put together that last sentence… damn.

We have the obligation to stand by these people, watch over them, spread the word. It’s the least we can do.

(Image featured in the thumbnail by Alejandro Cremades/Clímax)