The Crackdown Against Venezuelan NGOs Continues: Convite is Raided

Convite has 12 years working for senior citizens and people who need medication; 19 of the 21 bodies of the Güiria shipwreck are found

  • Three weeks after persecution and harassment against Roberto Patiño and NGO Alimenta La Solidaridad, officials from the Fourth Control Court, which handles terrorism cases, raided the Convite Civil Association headquarters, with an order issued on December 10th, order 4CT-5-015-2020. They wouldn’t let Convite workers take a picture of the document and know what charges they’re being accused of, but they confiscated gear, supplies and financial documents. FAES officers took director Luis Francisco Cabezas for a statement. One of the vehicles used in the raid didn’t have a license. Cabezas’s legal team wasn’t allowed in the raid nor in the police office where he was “interviewed.” An important number of NGOs expressed their rejection for actions against Convite, an association which defends human rights of the elderly and provides medicine. They also condemned the use of courts and police that specialize in violating human rights to harass workers who help vulnerable people. 
  • This happened the day after the ICC Prosecutor Office declared that there’s reasonable grounds to believe that crimes against humanity have been committed in Venezuela. Meaning: the government wants to set the record straight that, despite the cases against them, they’ll do what they want. It bothers them that society found mechanisms to organize without the State, they’re angry some NGOs track, document and alleviate the complex humanitarian emergency and in addition, they want to show the UN that if they don’t handle the humanitarian aid, nobody does. Two hours after he was taken, the director and the administrator of Convite, were liberated. 
  • Among the many explanations for the fatal Güiria shipwreck of last weekend, a source told news outlet Crónica Uno that the boat was sent back by Trinitarian authorities because there were too many passengers. Trinidadian prime minister Keith Rowley denied that the Coast Guard returned the ship and said that they “never saw these traffickers or what they were carrying.” In Caracas, human rights activists and students protested outside the Trinidad and Tobago embassy for the deaths of at least 21 Venezuelans. Deputy Robert Alcalá reported that 19 out of 21 bodies have been recovered and ID’d: ten women, five men and four children. Only two men haven’t been identified, and another female body appeared floating on the Trinidadian coast yesterday. Officers were told about it by fishermen on the Paria Gulf. On Monday morning, Trinidadian police detained 25 more Venezuelans who arrived on the island. The group was split between the Santa Flora and Erin police stations and from there they’ll be taken to the Coast Guard base. 
  • The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights asked governments to stop returning migrants on sea when it’s unsafe, and to stop violating the non-refoulement principle and prohibit mass expulsions. They exhorted governments of Venezuela and Trinidad to coordinate and cooperate to protect the lives of migrants and refugees. 
  • The National Assembly approved an agreement to exhort international organizations to act on the Trinidadian government for the repeated violations of international conventions on migrant treatment, especially Venezuelans. 
  • HRW director for the Americas José Miguel Vivanco said that there hasn’t been justice for victims in Venezuela because human rights violations have happened with the “knowledge of the highest political, military and judicial authorities.” He told the ICC that the Judicial Branch is an appendix of the Executive so they’ll make efforts to “harass them with information about alleged investigations that only seek to delay the response.” 
  • Without a new Constitution, the National Constituent Assembly will cease working on Friday, December 18th, another imposition that served as a parallel parliament proving chavismo’s de facto power. Diosdado Cabello presented on Tuesday a sort of checks and balances speech, where he said he was proud of what the ANC did and that the reason for this imposition was never changing the Constitution: “We can say Venezuela is the most stable country in South America, and that’s thanks to many things, including the people’s conscience but also thanks to this assembly.” “Peace” is what those in power call the silence achieved with brutal repression by state security forces. 
  • Delcy Rodríguez reported 365 new coronavirus cases in Venezuela and five new deaths, for a total of 108,480 and 965 deaths they’ve admitted to. 
  • The UK reported the appearance of a new variation of coronavirus which has spread faster and has caused more infections. 
  • The Sputnik V Russian vaccine reached 91.4% efficiency rate in the last control of their clinical trials, on phase three of the provisional analysis.
  • The WHO asked all companies developing vaccines for COVID-19, including Russia and China, to supply their data in order to be evaluated and approve their emergency use. 
  • After deputy Nora Bracho’s intervention at the AN, the AN approved a state of alarm for the emergency in Zulia state. 
  • After 51 days of detention, the Public Ministry (Venezuela’s body of state prosecutors) formally charged journalist Ronald Carreño for the alleged crimes of conspiracy, illegal trafficking of weapons and association to commit crimes, as attested by his lawyer, Joel García. 
  • The National Institute of Civilian Aeronautics reported that operations to and from Simón Bolívar (Maiquetía), Caracas (Miranda) and Canaima (Bolívar) airports have been reinstated. 
  • PDVSA started loading oil from Nabarima, a floating station in the high seas, to the Inmaculada boat, which will take the oil to the tanker Ícaro, a process that could take weeks, said sources to Reuters. Nabarima has around 1.3 million barrels of oil. 
  • The slowest trio in the world decided to recognize Biden’s victory: Vladímir Putin, Jair Bolsonaro and Andrés Manuel López Obrador expressed their congratulations and with more or less words expressed their disposition to come to agreements and understanding with the Democrat leader. 
  • The Barlavento-Cape Verde Appeals Court rejected complying with house arrest for Álex Saab. The court said that the Cedeao Court doesn’t have the authority to determine what the Cape Verdean State has to do: “determining freedom or precautionary measures is up to the national courts,” said the Court. Let’s remember that Saab’s defense has a budget for propaganda and control of information. Don’t believe everything you read on the first news that you come across. Some of those, like house arrest, end up being false. 
  • The EU is still evaluating if there can be consensus on the AN elected in 2015: “The vision of the majority is that we must work for unity in the opposition and admit that there are several political actors with legitimacy for being involved,” said Mariano de Alba. 
  • AN deputies approved an agreement with which a diplomatic offense begins, in order to stop the “new parliament” from being installed on January 5th.

Naky Soto

Naky gets called Naibet at home and at the bank. She coordinates training programs for an NGO. She collects moments and turns them into words. She has more stories than freckles.