A Country in Ceaseless Protest

Photo: AP / RNZ retrieved

During the first half of 2019, there were a total of 10,477 street protests in Venezuela. The figure comes from the Venezuelan Observatory of Social Conflict (OVCS), meaning an average of 58 protests per day, with political and social vindications as the core drive. The number of protests increased by 97% in comparison with the same period of 2018 and for the Observatory, the figure “evidences the gravity of the complex humanitarian emergency” and shows how human rights violations “have increased without the existence of effective mechanisms for vindication.” 4,777 protests were fueled by demands for the right to political participation, 4,169 by the right to housing and public services, 1,587 by labor rights and 697 by the right to food. The report highlights the increase of protests in low-income areas caused by the collapse of public services, in addition to restrictions to access medicine and food. Once more, the NGO recorded an increase in repression and the “use of extermination squads to repress,” made up of the Special Actions Forces (FAES), the National Guard and paramilitary colectivos.

Let’s talk about other human rights

This Monday, Cecodap presented a report titled “Violation of the Right to Identity of Children and Teenagers in Venezuela,” summing up the difficulties to obtain birth certificates, ID cards and, of course, passports, the most complex and costly document to get. In the words of Cecodap coordinator Carlos Trapani: “The state in Venezuela not only kills newborn children due to lack of medicines, they also kill children civilly, failing to guarantee their identification upon birth.” Also yesterday, the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) issued a report that proves how the number of undernourished people grew in Latin America in recent years, due to the decline of food security in Venezuela “where the prevalence of undernourishment increased almost four times, from 6.4% in 2012-2015 to 21.2% in 2016-2018,” which means that 6.8 million Venezuelans can’t get enough food. Meanwhile, in front of the UNDP’s offices in Caracas, various human rights NGOs held a protest to denounce torture in Venezuela and presented a request to the delegates of High Commissioner Michelle Bachelet, so that they verify the physical and psychological conditions of political prisoners.

Political prisoners

While Nicolás announced the new chiefs of the strategy regions to “strengthen all operational readiness” of the Armed Forces, the families of various political prisoners and victims of state repression were narrating their cases: Yudith Pérez, mother of clarinet player Karen Palacios (imprisoned in the National Institute of Female Orientation for her tweets), denounced her daughter’s psychological and physical condition. Her release was ordered on June 28th, but the state has ignored it. Meanwhile, lawyer Abraham Cantillo denounced the declining health of Aidismar Quintero (20), who has been in detention for 170 after attending a protest to demand better public services. Rufo Chacón’s mother, Adriana Parada, said yesterday that her son isn’t adapting to the loss of his sight, demanding that the regime give them passports to leave the country and adding that, despite the harassment she’s suffered thus far, she won’t allow that the case of her son, whom police shot with pellets in the face, to be forgotten.

Then, the dialogue in Barbados 

Despite the arrest of two members of caretaker President Juan Guaidó’s security team, allegedly for trying to sell five rifles, an event that Guaidó called a kidnapping, the opposition delegation returned to Barbados to continue the negotiations sponsored by Norway. Regime Communications Minister Jorge Rodríguez said that he’d take to the island the “evidence” of Guaidó’s team’s action, and this Monday he uploaded a video to claim that his goal is “a permanent dialogue for peace, for peaceful cohabitation and the constitutional and democratic resolution of political and social controversies,” seasoning his absurd cynicism with the claim that chavismo is following the words of the Pope, who asked the parties to urgently reach an agreement to end the suffering of Venezuelans. Once more, social networks are plagued by rumors and demands, by protests about the alleged uselessness of this exercise. Chavismo does all they can to confirm that they won’t concede anything, that they don’t have the will to find a solution and the opposition “deceives” citizens by continuing this process. Meanwhile, something as serious as the sale of another tonne of gold on July 12th (about $40 million)  was mostly ignored although it further reduces the country’s reserves.

Movements on the board

  • Juan Guaidó said that he’ll work cooperatively along with Greece, after talking with Primer Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis over the phone.
  • The Foreign ministers of the Lima Group’s member countries will meet in Buenos Aires on July 23rd, in advance of the meeting that will be held in Peru on August 6th to deal with the Venezuelan crisis.
  • Spanish Foreign Minister Josep Borrell urged the European Union to imposed targeted sanctions against those responsible for the death of Captain Rafael Acosta Arévalo, defending restrictive measures “for the people who have been involved in what we can call tortures followed by the death of a person (…) If they’re identified, sanctions must be levied against them,” said Borrell, explaining that sanctions can’t be an instrument to disrupt the hopes raised by the Oslo process, considering that it’s a priority for this process to continue.
  • Borrell also said that he supports the report issued by Michelle Bachelet, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights; he said that the legitimacy of Nicolás’s regime is in question, emphasizing that, like it or not, Nicolás still holds control over the Administration and the Army.
  • Mercosur’s Parliament (Parlasur) unanimously approved inviting High Commissioner Michelle Bachelet to talk about various topics, including her report on Venezuela.
  • Colombian Foreign Minister Carlos Holmes Trujillo started a visit to the United States to discuss matters related with the peace agreement and with the Venezuelan crisis in high-level meetings, including one with State Secretary Mike Pompeo, National Security Advisor John Bolton and Elliott Abrams, Special Representative for Venezuela.

Despite everything, in this version of the country, the Caracas Startup Week kicked off this Monday, and many people will share in over 160 activities their knowledge in favor of entrepreneurship and business in Venezuela. There’s always people with prospective, people who go on.

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