Punishment For The Abusers

For Thursday, May 31, 2018. Translated by Javier Liendo.

Photo: El Universal

Canada’s government announced this Wednesday new sanctions against chavista officers that it deems “responsible for the worsening of democracy in Venezuela,” increasing the amount of sanctioned Venezuelan officers to 70. For Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland, these sanctions are a message that the Venezuelan regime’s anti-democratic behavior has consequences and they show Canada’s commitment to defend democracy and human rights across the world. The measures against these officers include asset freezes and dealings prohibitions for Canadian persons to do business with them. The sanctioned individuals are:

  • From the ANC: Tania Valentina Díaz González, Carolys Helena Pérez González, Cilia Adela Flores de Maduro, Ramón Darío Vivas Velasco.
  • From the TSJ: Christian Tyrone Zerpa, Fanny Beatriz Márquez Cordero, Malaquías Gil Rodríguez, Jhannett María Madriz Sotillo, Indira Maira Alfonzo Izaguirre.
  • From the CNE: Carlos Enrique Quintero Cuevas, rector suplente y general secretary Xavier Antonio Moreno Reyes.
  • Others: Fidel Ernesto Vásquez Iriarte, general director of the Vice-president’s Office; Libertador mayor Erika Farías Peña; and Carlos Alberto Rotondaro Cova, former chairman of the Social Security Institute (IVSS).

Against political apartheid

The Inter American Court of Human Rights unanimously recognized that layoffs for signing in favor of the recall referendum in 2004 in Venezuela, constitute human rights violation: “the Venezuelan State is liable for the violation against the political rights and freedom of thought and expression of citizens Rocío San Miguel Sosa, Magally Chang Girón and Thais Coromoto Peña. Likewise, it found that Venezuela is liable for the misuse of power and political discrimination involved in the arbitrary termination of their employment contracts,” the Court’s document says. 14 years ago, many Venezuelans who worked as public servants were victims of discrimination for requesting the activation of the Constitutional mechanism against then president Hugo Chávez. These individuals were identified through the infamous “Lista Tascón,” named after late lawmaker Luis Tascón, who requested the CNE the names of all those who signed for authentication purposes. Once granted, the CNE’s list was leaked across all the public administration and was used to lay off or exclude citizens based on their political tendency. This is a great victory for the human rights movement, for trade and labor unions and for the many victims of political discrimination in Venezuela.

Challenging

Henri Falcón submitted before the Supreme Tribunal of Justice a measure challenging the results of the May 20 elections, where Nicolás was “re-elected.” Repeating like a mantra that today he’ll talk about everything he talked about yesterday, he announced the creation of a new opposition platform made up of the parties Avanzada Progresista, Copei, MAS, Movimiento Ecológico and Bandera Roja, a coalition that he hopes will raise “collective awareness.” His challenge, backed by 34,000 ballots, is focused on how the government and PSUV used bribes to buy votes, as well as irregularities such as assisted vote, red stations, carnet de la patria scans, the closing of voting centers at the behest of PSUV and even reports that some witnesses were barred from entering voting centers. These elements would serve as evidence that the electoral process is invalid, and that the Constitution was violated on May 20 along with the agreement of electoral guarantees. According to journalist Eugenio Martínez, Falcón’s challenge “is based on the same criteria used by PSUV to challenge parliamentary elections in 2015.”

Back then, the TSJ ruled the suspension of all effects of vote tallying, adjudication and proclamation.

Simultaneously

The Democratic Unity Roundtable (MUD) announced its third relaunch with a brand-new set of regulations which, among other details, replaces the general secretariat with the Leadership Board, composed of a representative of each one of the parties with larger parliamentary presence (Acción Democrática, Primero Justicia, Voluntad Popular, Un Nuevo Tiempo, La Causa R and Movimiento Progresista) and one representing the coalition’s minority parties.

Lawmaker Simón Calzadilla clarified that decisions will be adopted by consensus of the majority and that in this relaunch, there will be nine work groups: study of power; coordination with the Broad Front; opposition to the government’s administration; political communications; prospective; electoral tasks; governability and proposals; organization and activism; and international affairs. All of this segmentation seeks to accomplish a more efficient structure.

Abroad

  • Cuban president Miguel Díaz-Canel came to Venezuela to visit chavismo’s seven temples: the National Pantheon, the ANC, the Cuartel de la Montaña, etc.; naturally, he was granted an order in the name of some independence hero. Nicolás announced new assistance agreements for Cuba, as if Reuters’ report of $440 million spent on oil for the island, amidst this humanitarian crisis, had been a dream.

  • Foreign Minister Roberto Ampuero said that the Chilean government is willing to study the recommendation made by the OAS to accuse Venezuela before the International Criminal Court for human rights violations, explaining that the interesting part is that, in the ICC, “responsibility is personal, it doesn’t dilute (…) When the ICC acts, it determines guilts and they are linked to individuals,” adding that they’re going to study the cases to keep substantiating them and that they have the best disposition to do it because it’s about tremendously serious human rights violations.
  • Colombian president Juan Manuel Santos thanked the European Union for their plan in assisting the flux of refugees fleeing from Venezuela. For Santos, Nicolás has caused the worst humanitarian crisis “ever seen.”
  • Eurochamber Speaker Antonio Tajani said that the stability efforts made by Santos “are at risk due to Venezuela’s worrisome situation,” and this risk is that the situation intensifies and “escalates into a true refugee crisis.”

  • Upon leaving his meeting with indecisive president Lenín Moreno, José Miguel Vivanco, Human Rights Watch’s director for the Americas, called Ecuador to join the stream of international condemnation for human rights violations in Venezuela, encouraging the country to publicly speak out in “cases as dramatic and serious” as ours.
  • The same day that the OAS agreed with the Inter American Commission on Human Rights and the Nicaraguan government to create a group to investigate the violence that’s taken place since April 18, and amidst the holding of the demonstration called “The Mother of all marches” during the Nicaraguan Mother’s Day, shots were fired in Managua’s University avenue, resulting in many people wounded. Following the live narrating of journalist Wilfredo Miranda Aburto (@PiruloAr on Twitter) was pure anguish. So far there isn’t an official version or a balance of people injured.

The period to declare Income Taxes expires this Thursday, May 31.

Caracas Chronicles is 100% reader-supported. Support independent Venezuelan journalism by making a donation.