Photo: El Universal

“We were sitting right next to them. The meeting took place in Uruguay’s Legislative Palace and half the room was occupied by Venezuelan government people, all wearing new shoes, some with the price tag still attached.”

Such was the scene last October, when the gochos landed at the 165° session of the OAS’ Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, in Montevideo. The chavista apparatchiks weren’t expecting Human Rights defenders from ULA’s Observatorio de Derechos Humanos (ODH-ULA) to make it all the way to Uruguay, but there they were, countering official lies with a good, andino dash of documentation.

ODH-ULA’s coordinator, Mayda Hocevar, got the right to speak at Uruguay’s Palacio Legislativo and took the meeting by storm, as she sat down next to bolichico fashion victims and introduced the results of Thought Under Threat. This report, made in a joint effort from several university-based Human Rights observatories, exposes all sorts of violations to academic freedom throughout the country. This was the first time that the issue was discussed at a IACHR hearing, and it was also the first time the IACHR heard the other side of the story.

With support from PROVEA, Civilis and UCAB’s Centro de Derechos Humanos, ODH-ULA published the First Report on Human Rights Violations in Mérida.

The hearing, requested by the government, was about educational rights in Venezuela. Having community representatives appear (ODH-ULA, Aula Abierta and La Universidad del Zulia’s Center of Human Rights) was a total shock to the regime, and their intervention was a huge victory for Human Rights advocates everywhere.

“In 2003,” professor Hocevar addressed the meeting in a kickass, assertive tone “a deliberate, systematic process of erosion to academic autonomy and freedom began, with the sole purpose of submitting higher education to an exclusive, sectarian political project (…) where discriminatory practices take place, based on political precepts and students are expelled simply for choosing to watch something other than government-run channels.”

Her voice took the meeting down a road the government wasn’t pleased with.

“They request a hearing only to speak wonders about the marvelous educational system Venezuela allegedly has,” professor Rojas, an investigator for ODH-ULA, said. “So they take their own civilian representatives, (eliminating the) risk of someone else going in the hearings and say what’s truly going on.”

This report is only a small part of ODH-ULA’s work. Putting up a fight since its creation in 2014 (driven by the Human Rights violations documented in the February protests), the organization works as a safe platform for victims to come forward with their complaints.

With support from PROVEA, Civilis and UCAB’s Centro de Derechos Humanos, ODH-ULA published the First Report on Human Rights Violations in Mérida. The report, based on interviews with victims, their friends, family, doctors and lawyers, documents violations from February to July of 2014.

We have jailed professors, like Santiago Guevara. His crime was writing an academic paper on economics during Chavéz’ period. He got charged with treason.

Right now, ODH-ULA’s main focus is the second report on Human Rights, titled “Mérida: Asalto a los Derechos Humanos 2017,” documenting violations from last year. “The report documents attacks to 33 residential areas, 12 cases of illegal intrusion into private homes, a systematic pattern of attacks to protesters by law enforcement and paramilitary forces, consisting of intentionally shooting at them with all sort of proyectiles (pieces of toggle, pellets, candles), the most serious attacks aimed at the protesters’ eyes: 22 people lost their sight (partially or totally) because of these systematic attacks.”

What ODH-ULA has accomplished in such little time is a reflection of its commitment towards university and academia.

To Rojas, academic freedom is under siege and there is a clear intention to silence all universities: “We have jailed professors, like Santiago Guevara, whose health has deteriorated, with no access to his lawyers or medical attention. His crime was writing an academic paper on economics during Chavéz’ period. He got charged with treason.”

When I asked Rojas why they feel so strongly about what ODH-ULA does, his answer is simple: “Autonomous universities are the last bastion of freedom in this country. We do these work for our university, and to make victims feel represented. That’s the most important reason behind what we do.”

ODH-ULA is located at a small venue in the heart of La Hechicera, one of many university complexes ULA built in Mérida. Their website is open for complaints and you can reach them here.

They make all of us Ulandinos so proud of our home.

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20 COMMENTS

  1. Nice.

    Then again, when was the last time this “OAS’ Inter-American Commission on Human Rights”, whatever those clowns in suits get paid for, ever accomplished Anything, Anywhere, Ever?

    So a bunch of Chavistoide leeches got humiliated, and a bunch of useless Latin-American Bureaucratic leeches learned a bit about Kleptozuela’s disasters? Big deal.

    Sorry to burst many people’s bubbles, but when was the last time any similar international crap organizations, up to the OEA, ON, etc have DONE anything to criminal effect regime changes?

    Heck, for that matter, when was the last time another nation intervened to save a sinking ship — aka ‘shithole countries’ — anywhere in the entire planet? A flash stint in Panama in the 80’s? Bay of Pigs in the 60’s? A few covert CIA operations or drone bombs in Africa, the Middle East, Serbia or Asia, all complete failures?

    Key words: Doing anything, Anywhere.

    So dream on about any OAS or IACHR or OEA or even UN to DO anything about Klepto-Cubazuela.

    Dream on.

    • Poeta, as always your comments are the honest truth. Clowns in suits will not solve any of our problems. The only way this is going to end with this regime power is when the zombie apocalypse arrives and poor hungry Venezuelans start pointing the blame the right direction and start going Chavista hunting (which would be the ultimate poetic justice for these c*nts).

      I wish this country would grow a pair of nuts. But the vast majority of Venezuelans left here are pathetic and impotent to do anything regardless of social class. I pray Oscar Perez will become a symbol that might actually wake people up. Oscar is totally on the point in that this is a battle between the Venezuela with “valores” (values) and those without. This is the Archimedian point from which we should build a new Venezuela from the ashes of Kleptozuela.

      Poeta and others do a great job of explaining the honest truth of the “pueblo sin valores” and this is what needs to be explained to the world and will never make it through the filter of the leftist international media.

      The reason why this is so important is that rather blaming this all on corrupt politicians in CCS or regional geopolitical struggles, Venezuelans need to start pointing the finger of blame at themselves and then not repeat those mistakes (easier said than done because most people are either ignorant or mmgs sinvergüenza (“ballsuckers without shame” really hard to translate into English).

      Secondly, how often have your read in a sociology textbook where “stupid” is actually valid topic of analysis. They just want to blame everything on El Imperio, Capitalism or whatever and not look at how much of a basket case these “shithole countries” actually are–because it is politically incorrect to do so.

      So closet leftists–who rag on us for not being politically correct by criticizing el pueblo– please come to Venezuela and live here for a while. Not on vacation, but try to maintain a house or business. Heck, just trying to fix a car here will just show you how this is a completely dysfunctional country, where you can trust nobody because they are too incompetent and lack resources or they are robbing parts from your car to repair another. That is how it works here and this is the real backstory to why Venezuela is completely F*cked up.

      I know the zombie apocalypse is coming, but I am praying for a spiritual revival where the Venezuela with “valores” will rise up and condemn Chavismo to the dustbins of history.

      No hay nada en Venezuela, pero tengo fe.

      PS Hahaha now is the point that poeta will tell me to f*ck off and we are past the point where God cannot even save us here.

      • “Oscar is totally on the point in that this is a battle between the Venezuela with “valores” (values) and those without”

        The problem is that the vast majority of Venezuelans, the average pueblo-people clearly lack moral values. Heck, they’ll loot and even kill their own neighbors, as we see every month (world-record in murders), and if they’re half-decent, they’ll participate with Chavismo, become complicit and often downright corrupt themselves, first chance they get. Don’t they? Thus, Puro Guiso, everywhere, not just the Chavista thugs, at all levels of a broken society.

        Face it: Most of the best people who could left Kleptozuela. It’s almost impossible to live there and remain honest, with high moral values. Additionally, adequate moral values to coexist in society are based on proper Education, Real Education, as opposed to Chavistoide brainwash. That and decent family units, where children grow with a father and a decent family that instills and solidly inculcates those moral values.

        Which is why I always reiterate that lack of Real Education is the fundamental root of all evil in Klepto-Cubazuela. Even more fundamental than the other major cause, Massive Corruption at All Levels, because Corruption multiplies among the ignorant without moral values a lot easier and faster than among educated people with moral strong values.

        IOW, you can curb or control corruption with a strong government and harsh penalties, but if you do not educate the populace and instill strong values, Chronic Corruption will come back in a second, first chance it gets. Conversely, if the people are better educated, governments can loosen up and be less obtrusive. The ideal on a real-well educated society would be no governments at all, no military, no cops, nothing, but we’re still hundreds of years away from that Utopia. One day..

    • Maduro would fully agree with these two clowns in their pyjamas and their keyboard rants about how giving a voice to victims of the regime at the OAS and other international forums, and documenting those violations, is a waste of time.

      These people at OHD-ULA are the kind of dogged, principled patriots whose actions prove the lie of these glorious internet clowns, whose idle little rants, to the extent that they have meaning at all outside a little circle of small minded and cowardly fellow travellers, only do the work of a dictatorship.

      Venezuelans are standing up to a dangerous and despotic regime and performing remarkable acts of courage, which the world should know about, and yet all these shits can do is sit in their own excrement and insult Venezuela and Venezuelans. They are Maduro’s best allies without even knowing it.

      • Canucklehead, are you throwing down a guarimba right now in Venezuela? or safe living the good life in Canada eh?

        Yes, “Gloria Bravo Pueblo” exists and I pray that one day I will be singing Gloria Bravo Pueblo and mean every word I sing once this shit falls. Hope you are here when it happens. It will be awesome…

        That said, hard to be an optimist when just walking around the streets here.

        Yeah, Oscar Perez is big news. Nevertheless, there are lootings every day around the country. Shit is always going wrong and in general everyday life is a royal pain in the ass here.

        Yes, politics plays a big part. But remember, THOSE VERY POLITICS ARE CONNECTED TO A SYSTEM OF VALUES (anthrpologically speaking) as well.

        We are in this mess because of the lack of valores expressed by a good majority of the Venezuelan people for much longer than 17 years. Poeta explains this really well and you see it in everyday life here. I hope this is what Oscar Perez was pleading to the “militares” before he got fried by an RPG. Why? Because this the fundamental problem in Venezeula: a lack of values. People rob, cheat and steal here and think nothing of it. Kleptozuela. Dont kid yourself, Venezuela is one of the most corrupt places on the planet and that is a hard cold fact. Corruption is a way of life and you cannot get around it. Yes sometimes it works in your favor as an individual, but it never works for society as a whole. This is why it is so bad now. These are the chains which we have to break ourselves from and only a Venezuelan with an insiders perspective would know. Our problem is cultural as well as it is political.

        If everyday Venezuelans rise up and overthrow this shit in 2018, I will eat every word I say. Until then, everyday Venezuelans– El Pueblo– need to have their noses rubbed in it for shitting on the floor for the last 17 years…otherwise they will keep shitting on the floor.

        It is all too easy just to blame it all on the politicians. Yeah, they should be swinging from ropes, but the millions and millions of Venezuelans who benefited from the corruption when the times were good–whether it was as innocent as saying “Hello” to Mickey Mouse in Orlando on their Cadivi travel cupo or some scummy businessmen robbing robbing divisas and selling them on the black market on an industrial scale– they need to know that money does not grow on trees and you cannot have a stable modern society built upon theft. For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction and that is what we are experiencing now. It is that simple and the vast majority of Venezuelans have been complicit with some scam in one form or another. This is what we have to come to terms with and overcome for the better.

  2. If the regime convened the meeting is because it expected to benefit from it , its because the review of the state of venezuelas higher education (on terms they hoped to control) in an international forum was something they valued and considered important……..the struggle is not just one between coercive force and its resistant victims but for the hearts and minds of institutions , because the measures that these institutions are taking HURT the regime of have the CAPACITY to hurt the regime not only in its reputation but in its finances , and those measures result from this other struggle for dominanting the image of what is happening in Venezuela !!

    This is the reason why what this NGO did is important , it drew blood on the regimes reputation easing the way to later measures which will scale the magnitude of the international attacks on the regime ….with consequences which cumulatively can have an impact on its continued survival .

    The regime is loudly complaining about the sanctions that so many countries and international institutions are taking against it and its leadership and their ill gotten wealth , that means that the sanctions are hurting , and these sanctions are the result of efforts by both independent NGO;s and others ( in the press for example) to reveal to the world the magnitude of the persecutions and atrocities the regime perpetrates against its people and Venezuelas free institutions !!

    Paid regime trolls here and in other social spaces (by the last count some 600 paid trolls working in the country ) try to discredit these efforts as futile , and if they dare, to falsely accuse those who oppose the regime from an established political base as corrupt …….!! The intiative of these NGO’s to reveal to the world the regimes true face as repressors and violators of human rights is valuable and to be encouraged …great article !!

      • I don’t know if you know anyone who has been a political prisoner, or you’ve read about the experience of being one, but it may interest you to know that regimes that hold people and torture them for political reasons do so not to convince those people that their opinions are wrong, but to convince them and those around them that what they say doesn’t matter, nobody knows, and nobody cares.

        You are doing Maduro’s work even if your payoff is just a feeling of smugness.

        • Como duele la verdad, huh? I’m still waiting for any examples of what these bogus, habla-paja international associations ever DO. Take your time. .

          • Even for rogue states these international bodies and their investigations and decisions have all kinds of impact. If you are a lawyer arguing a case for asylum, if you are an international corporation doing some due diligence, if you are in government looking at policy or trade, if you are a church group lobbying your government to take action, if you have the power to impose sanctions, if you are a journalist, if you vote, if you want to change opinion, if you are prosecuting a criminal, and if you are a political prisoner who might wake up tomorrow free or dead, depending on who knows about you and is speaking out on your behalf, these are a few instances in which international law can have an impact on your world. There is good reason why the regime started denigrating the OAS and the IACHR a few years back.

            This work you dismiss may help a friend of yours or a relative. It writes history from the point of view of the truth. If you were family of a victim, you’d want that history in writing. It may help put some bad people in prison. Is has done so.

            Make no mistake- this regime is very bad but it is still constrained by international opinion and pressure. They aren’t yet systematically throwing dissidents out of airplanes and rounding people up in stadiums to torture and kill them. They aren’t going into towns and killing all the men and systematically raping the women. But for the crimes the regime is committing …some of those people are going to pay a price, because someone collected the evidence.

            This work has a hell of a lot more impact than sitting on your ass bloviating about something you haven’t bothered to look into.

          • For a specific example of interest to Venezuelans, check out the work of the CICIG in Guatemala. With international assistance, two former Guatemalan presidents, higher ups and military people have been prosecuted for major crimes, one- Efrain Rios Montt- being convicted of genocide and crimes against humanity. And we’re talking about Guatemala here, a small country where a major war and a major genocide took place not that long ago.

          • Oh so two FORMER presidents in Guatemala were once prosecuted, with some help from CICIG? Awesome!

            Maduro’s days are numbered then!

    • Great analysis Bill. I hope you are right.

      If you live here it is very hard to see light at the end of the tunnel. Many people are just walking around in a daze with their heads down here because they think the final nail was already in the coffin with the constituyente. This is going to take a long time to resolve and international pressure is just one aspect of this. But ultimately this will come down to Venezuelans taking the streets (and this time not with guarimbas and protests (though that would help speed things up)) but with a zombie apocalypse where poor and hungry barrio people make this country ungovernable. That is the only way I see this ending for “the good”.

      That said, the direction we need to head is to start following the jet set Chavistas at every stop and counter their narrative that it is all flowers and roses in Venezuela. THIS WILL TAKE MONEY AND ORGANIZATION!!! Therefore, you have to start funding NGOs who will bring Venezuelan activists (in Venezeuela or in the diaspora) to protest and tell the truth of Venezuela and (most importantly) to give these c*nts a hard time wherever they go. So, to make this happen more frequently, it starts with logistics and people and institutions actually throwing down some cash.

      The international left, so embedded in universities and institutions world wide, needs to know that the Chavistas habla puro paja y roban todos!! (just talk bullshit while they rob everything). Once this happens, this regime is more lonely and isolated by the day.

    • Bill Bass; …… ” to reveal to the world the regimes true face” This is the reason (I guess the only reason) why I believe in particiating in elections. If huge crowds of obviusly opposition crowds show up to vote and the official candidate “wins”, we have a reason/right to complain/rebel/etc. If the opposition candidate wins and the government assigns someone to oversee his/her we have a reason/right to complain/rebel/etc.. If the winning opposition candidate is forced to be sworn in in front of the ANC, we have a reason/right to complain/rebel/etc. If we don’t vote, that’s the end of it. Nothing happens afterwards and it’s life as usual.

  3. OT: checkout Maiquel Moreno at The Hague…he’s taking pictures with everyone. Monday he gets officially sanctioned by EU though the info leaked a few days ago. Lots of people suckered into those pictures

  4. One thing history teaches us is that anything can happen when least expected , specially when pressure rises and is put on flat broke regimes which cant get a dime from anybody because of those pressures . the pressures are two fold , international pressures which are now only starting (we all know they will scalate) and the internal pressure from people who are fed up with their worsening living conditions ……, hyperinflation at 2700% per year is battering the govts reputation day by day .Does anyone think that such hyperinflation has no consequences ……..seat down and learn…!!

    Fueling those pressures is the regimes now hopeless reputation as a human rights violator, as the agent of repressive policies , and probably most of all as an economic basket case.

    I dont go for predictions , I dont depend on favourable predictions to believe that whenever possible the regime must be struck again and again any place that can hurt them, such strikes dont have to be death blows , in time they add up , you never see it coming but they create fracture points that under certain stresses spread , deepen , rip apart their defenses so they become more and more vulnerable to inner decomposition and ultimate destruction .

    Its like people who smoke a pack a day , and nothing happens , then one day they notice a lump or start wheesing when they climb a stair , and a shot time later they are dead.!!

    International pressure is just part of the story …..look at the whole picture ….look at whats happening to Pdvsa , look at our declining oil production , look at whats likely to happen when there is no more money left !! there is lots of room for worsening circumstances to throw the regime down a hole…….!!

    Why do you think they want an early election ………because when the flood is unleashed there will be no chance for them to even attempt to survive.

  5. Plenty of room to get worse?..
    Who stands to benefite the most of a falling regime?
    It’s not the olposition
    Who has all the infrastructure in place ..controls tthe military…propaganda…collectivos…..an election is going to change that?…Can you imagine them walking away!?!?!?.
    Some military Guy will walk to the podium and introduce his Co Rulers from Cuba….their brotheres…..some Bolivarian bull shit…just another link in the chain.

  6. People think that military men love power , they do but not the burden it imposes on those that hold them to try and keep order and peace in a country thats falling apart ……they like having power but not the risks and problems that come with it and the possibility that if they lose power they will be made responsible for all thats happening …..they will prefer someone else to take up the burden …provided they can be assured of not being pursued or prosecuted for their past delinquencies .

    The military are not wed to cuba like chavez and maduro , they have their own fisth to frie , they went along because it suited them and allowed them to pursue their preferred interests but they have no particular reason to sacrifice their personal comfort to uphold an ideology they do not share ……..do you really think that someone like Diosdado is going to threaten the loss of his fortune to do cubas bidding …?? get real …if Maduros hold on power falls apart most military will want out of the power game and throw the hot potato on someone else…..!!

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