Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela
Republica Bolivariana de Venezuela
Joined United Nations: 15 November 1945
Human Rights as assured by their constitution
Updated 05 March 2013
28,047,938 (July 2012 est.)
Interim President since 05 March 2013
President elected by popular vote for a six-year term (eligible
for a second term); election last held 07 October 2012); note:
in 1999, a National Constituent Assembly drafted a new
constitution that increased the presidential term to six years; an
election was subsequently held on 30 July 2000 under the terms
of this new constitution; in 2009, a national referendum
approved the elimination of term limits on all elected officials,
including the presidency.
NOTE- Following the death of President Hugo Chavez Frias on
05 March 2013, Vice President Nicolas Maduro was elevated
to Interim President. According to the constitution, presidential
elections must be held within 30 days.
Next scheduled election: 05 April 2013
HEAD OF GOVERNMENT
According to the Venezuelan Constitution, the president is both
the chief of state and head of government
|DECLARATION OF HUMAN RIGHTS
Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, Arab, German, African, indigenous people
Nominally Roman Catholic 96%, Protestant 2%, other 2%
Federal republic with 23 states (estados, singular - estado), 1 capital district (distrito capital), and 1 federal dependency (dependencia
federal); Legal system is an open, adversarial court system, has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction
Executive: President elected by popular vote for a six-year term (eligible for a second term); election last held 3 December 2006 (next to be
held December 2012) NOTE- Following the death of President Hugo Chavez Frias on 05 March 2013, V ice President Nicholas
Maduro was elevated to Interim President. According to the constitution, presidential elections must be held within 30 days. Next
scheduled election: on or before 05 April 2013
Legislative: Unicameral National Assembly or Asamblea Nacional (167 seats; members elected by popular vote to serve five-year
terms; three seats reserved for the indigenous peoples of Venezuela)
elections: last held 26 September 2010 (next to be held in 2015)
Judicial: Supreme Tribunal of Justice or Tribuna Suprema de Justicia (magistrates are elected by the National Assembly for a single
Spanish (official), numerous indigenous dialects
Very little is known about the indigenous inhabitants of Venezuela prior to prior to the arrival of European explorers. Christopher
Columbus, upon seeing its eastern coast in 1498, referred to Venezuela as "Tierra de Gracia" ("Land of Grace"), which has become
the country’s nickname. The name "Venezuela" is believed to have originated from the cartographer Amerigo Vespucci who,
together with Alonso de Ojeda, led a 1499 naval expedition along the northwestern coast's Gulf of Venezuela. On reaching the
Guajira Peninsula, the crew observed the distinctive stilt villages (palafitos) that the indigenous Añu people had built over the water.
This reminded Vespucci of the city of Venice (Venezia in Italian), so he named the region "Veneziela". Alternatively, the Spanish
geographer Martín Fernández de Enciso, a member of Vespucci and de Ojeda's crew, states in his work Summa de Geografía that
the indigenous population they found were called "Veneciuela", suggesting that the name "Venezuela" may have evolved from a
native word. The Vespucci story, however, remains the most popular and accepted version of the origin of the country's name.
Venezuela was colonised by Spain in 1522. In what is now the city of Cumaná, Spain established their first permanent South
American settlement. At the time of the Spanish arrival, the indigenous people were mainly agriculturists and hunters living in groups
along the coast, the Andean mountain range, and along the Orinoco River. Nueva Toledo, the first permanent Spanish settlement in
South America, was established in Venezuela in 1522. An abortive plan for German settlement from German Habsburg lands, to be
financed through the Fugger bankers, never came to fruition. By the middle of the 16th century, there were still few more than 2,000
Europeans in what is now Venezuela. The opening of gold mines at Yaracuy led to the introduction of slavery, at first with the
indigenous population, then with imported Africans. The first real success of the colony was the raising of livestock, much helped by
the grassy plains known as llanos. The society that developed as a result — a handful of Spanish landowners and widely-dispersed
Indian herdsmen on Spanish-introduced horses — was so primitive that it recalls feudalism, certainly a powerful concept in the 16th
century Spanish imagination, and perhaps more fruitful economic comparison to the latifundia of antiquity. During the 16th and 17th
century, the provinces which constitute today's Venezuela were relatively neglected. The Viceroyalties of New Spain and Peru
(located on the sites formerly occupied by the capital cities of the Aztecs and Incas) were more interested in their nearby gold and
silver mines than in the agricultural societies of Venezuela. Responsibility for the Venezuelan territories shifted between the two
Viceroyalties. In the 18th century, a second Venezuelan society formed along the coast when cocoa plantations were established,
this time manned by much larger importations of African slaves. Quite a number of black slaves were also to be found in the
haciendas of the grassy llanos. The Province of Venezuela was under the jurisdiction of the Viceroyalty of New Granada (created in
1717). The Province was then transformed into the Captaincy General of Venezuela in 1777. The Compañía Guipuzcoana de
Caracas held a close monopoly on trade with Europe. The Venezuelans began to grow restive under colonial control toward the
end of the eighteenth century. The Napoleonic Wars in Europe weakened Spain's imperial power and the Venezuelans achieved
home rule after a coup on April 19, 1810, and later declared independence from Spain on July 5, 1811. The war for independence
ensued. On December 17, 1819 the Congress of Angostura established Gran Colombia's independence from Spain. After several
more years of war, which killed half of Venezuela's white population, the country achieved independence from Spain in 1821 under
the leadership of its most famous son, Simón Bolívar. Venezuela, along with what are now Colombia, Panama, and Ecuador, was
part of the Republic of Gran Colombia until 1830, when Venezuela separated and became a sovereign country. Much of
Venezuela's 19th century history was characterized by periods of political instability, dictatorial rule of the caudillos, and
revolutionary turbulence. Starting in 1870, Venezuela experienced increasing economic and political centralization. Antonio Guzmán
Blanco (1870-1888) took control over customs revenues through an alliance with regional caudillos and the financial sector.
Cipriano Castro (1899-1908) and Juan Vicente Gómez (1908-1935) founded a professionalized army with a centralized command
structure. These institutions were vital in ensuring that, in contrast to other oil abundant countries, Venezuela would experience
growing political stability as a result of the influx of oil revenues that occurred after 1920. The first half of the 20th century was
marked by periods of authoritarianism — including dictatorships by General Juan Vicente Gómez from 1908 to 1935, when
Venezuela became a major oil exporter. A military junta ruled after his death. Leftist Dr. Rómulo Betancourt and the Acción
Democrática (AD, "Democratic Action party") won a majority of seats in a Constituent Assembly to draft a new constitution in
1946. A well-known writer, Rómulo Gallegos, candidate of Betancourt's party, became Venezuela's first democratically elected
president in 1947. Within eight months, Gallegos was overthrown by a military-backed coup led by Marcos Pérez Jiménez, who
was himself ousted in 1958. Since the overthrow of Pérez Jiménez and the military's withdrawal from direct involvement in national
politics, Venezuela has enjoyed an unbroken tradition of civilian democratic rule, of which Rómulo Betancourt, president from 1958
to 1964, laid the foundation. In the 1960s, the AD and the Christian Democratic Comité de Organización Política Electoral
Independiente (COPEI) parties agreed to limit Venezuela's elections to an exclusive competition between these two parties, a
system known as puntofijismo. February 27, 1989 saw a wave of protests, riots and looting known as the Caracazo, where it is
estimated that thousands of Venezuelans were killed after the then-president Carlos Andrés Pérez, a member of the AD political
party, decided to suspend the constitutional rights of the citizens, thus allowing the armed forces to confront the rioters by violent
means. This led to the failed coup attempts of 1992. In 1998, Hugo Chávez, a leader of the February 1992 coup attempt, was
elected President, ending the era of political domination by the AD and COPEI. Hugo Chávez, a former paratroop lieutenant-
colonel who led an unsuccessful coup d'état in 1992, was elected President in December 1998 on a platform that called for the
creation of a "Fifth Republic", a new constitution, a new name ("the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela"), and a new set of social
relations between socioeconomic classes. In 1999, voters approved a referendum on a new constitution, and in 2000, re-elected
Chávez, also placing many members of his Fifth Republic Movement political party in the National Assembly. Supporters of Chávez
call the process symbolised by him the Bolivarian Revolution, and organise themselves in open, local, participatory assemblies called
Bolivarian Circles. Chávez has faced strong opposition to his policies. A business-labor general work stoppage was called in
December 2001, followed by an attempted coup in April 2002, and another general work stoppage in December 2002, shutting
down the state oil company PDVSA for two months and crippling the Venezuelan economy. In August, 2004, Chávez faced a
recall referendum, but 59% of the voters voted to allow Chávez to remain in office. During the run-up to the election, government
deputy Luis Tascón published on his web page the list and identity card numbers of those who had signed the petition to hold the
referendum against Chávez. A statistical study by Roberto Rigobón (MIT) and Ricardo Hausmann (Harvard University) said they
had found statistical evidence that the electoral council had manipulated the electoral audit. The Organization of American States
and the Carter Center certified the voting results as representative of the votes cast, and Jimmy Carter stated that in his opinion it
was fairer than the voting process in Florida during the 2000 US Presidential election. He was elected for another term in December
2006. In December 2007 in a constitutional referendum, Chavez suffered his first electoral defeat when the voters rejected
constitutional changes proposed by the president, some of which would have increased the power of the presidency. The
referendum saw a very high level of abstention by the standards of recent polls in Venezuela. However, in February 2009 Chavez
called another referendum, proposing the removal of term limits for all elected officials (previously, the constitution limited presidents
to two terms, and other officials also had term limits). The referendum took place on 15 February 2009 and was approved. The
2010 parliamentary elections saw a new opposition electoral coalition, the Coalition for Democratic Unity, win nearly as large a
share of the vote as the United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV), but only 65 seats compared to PSUV's 98. The election was
preceded by an electoral reform that favoured PSUV by giving more weight to the countryside. Hugo Chavez was reelected in
September 2012. Following the election he selected Nicolas Maduro as Vice President. As he was undergoing treatment for cancer
in Cuba, he received a special legislative waiver to not take the oath of office in a formal inauguration. On 05 March 2013, Hugo
Chavez died while suffering a prolonged respiratory illness following cancer treatment. Nicolas Maduro announced the death and
assumed the roles as Interim President. According to the Constitution, presidential elections must be held on or before 05 April
Source: Wikipedia: History of Venezuela
Venezuela remains highly dependent on oil revenues, which account for roughly 95% of export earnings, about 40% of federal
budget revenues, and around 12% of GDP. Fueled by high oil prices, record government spending helped to boost GDP growth by
4.2% in 2011, after a sharp drop in oil prices caused an economic contraction in 2009-10. Government spending, minimum wage
hikes, and improved access to domestic credit created an increase in consumption which combined with supply problems to cause
higher inflation - roughly 28% in 2011. President Hugo CHAVEZ's efforts to increase the government's control of the economy by
nationalizing firms in the agribusiness, financial, construction, oil, and steel sectors have hurt the private investment environment,
reduced productive capacity, and slowed non-petroleum exports. In the first half of 2010 Venezuela faced the prospect of lengthy
nationwide blackouts when its main hydroelectric power plant - which provides more than 35% of the country's electricity - nearly
shut down. In May 2010, CHAVEZ closed the unofficial foreign exchange market - the "parallel market" - in an effort to stem
inflation and slow the currency's depreciation. In June 2010, the government created the "Transaction System for Foreign Currency
Denominated Securities" to replace the "parallel" market. In December 2010, CHAVEZ eliminated the dual exchange rate system
and unified the exchange rate at 4.3 bolivars per dollar. In January 2011, CHAVEZ announced the second devaluation of the
bolivar within twelve months. In December 2010, the National Assembly passed a package of five organic laws designed to
complete the transformation of the Venezuelan economy in line with CHAVEZ's vision of 21st century socialism. In 2011,
Venezuela continued to wrestle with a housing crisis, higher inflation, an electricity crisis, and rolling food and goods shortages - all
of which were fallout from the government's unorthodox economic policies. The budget deficit reached around 5.2% of GDP in
2011, and public debt as a percent of GDP climbed steeply, despite record oil prices.
Source: CIA World Factbook (select Venezuela)
The Marcos Pérez Jiménez government fell in 23 January 1958, ending the last dictatorship of the 20th century in Venezuela and
spawning a democratic period. The country adopted a new constitution in 1961. Two political parties prevailed during the following
decades: the social democratic Democratic Action (AD) and the Christian democratic COPEI during the period known as the
fourth republic. This system came to an end during the 1998 election when current president Hugo Chávez won thus beginning the
fifth Republic and the left-wing Bolivarian Revolution.
Most of the political opposition boycotted the 2005 parliamentary election. Consequently, the MVR-led bloc secured all 167 seats
in the National Assembly. Then, the MVR voted to dissolve itself in favor of joining the proposed United Socialist Party of
Venezuela, while Chávez requested that MVR-allied parties merge themselves into it as well. The National Assembly has twice
voted to grant Chávez the ability rule by decree in several broadly defined areas, once in 2000 and again in 2007. This power has
been granted to previous administrations as well.
In 2008, the government expelled the US-based Human Rights Watch, which was criticizing the government Human rights record.
There is a history of tension between church and state in the country. The Catholic Church has accused Chavez of concentrating
power in his own hands. In its 2009 Easter address to the nation, the bishops said the country's democracy was in "serious danger
In 2009, when an opposition mayor was elected in Caracas, the capital, the government gave control of his budget to an appointed
official. Hugo Chavez was reelected in September 2012. Following the election he selected Nicolas Maduro as Vice President. As
he was undergoing treatment for cancer in Cuba, he received a special legislative waiver to not take the oath of office in a formal
inauguration. On 05 March 2013, Hugo Chavez died while suffering a prolonged respiratory illness following cancer treatment.
Nicolas Maduro announced the death and assumed the roles as Interim President. According to the Constitution, presidential
elections must be held on or before 05 April 2013.
Source: Wikipedia: Politics of Venezuela
Claims all of the area west of the Essequibo River in Guyana, preventing any discussion of a maritime boundary; Guyana has
expressed its intention to join Barbados in asserting claims before the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea
(UNCLOS) that Trinidad and Tobago's maritime boundary with Venezuela extends into their waters; dispute with Colombia over
maritime boundary and Venezuelan-administered Los Monjes islands near the Gulf of Venezuela; Colombian-organized illegal
narcotics and paramilitary activities penetrate Venezuela's shared border region; in 2006, an estimated 139,000 Colombians sought
protection in 150 communities along the border in Venezuela; US, France, and the Netherlands recognize Venezuela's granting full
effect to Aves Island, thereby claiming a Venezuelan EEZ/continental shelf extending over a large portion of the eastern Caribbean
Sea; Dominica, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines protest Venezuela's full effect claim
Current situation: Venezuela is a source, transit, and destination country for men, women, and children trafficked for the purposes
of commercial sexual exploitation and forced labor; Venezuelan women and girls are trafficked within the country for sexual
exploitation, lured from the nation's interior to urban and tourist areas; child prostitution in urban areas and child sex tourism in resort
destinations appear to be growing; Venezuelan women and girls are trafficked for commercial sexual exploitation to Western
Europe, Mexico, and Caribbean destinations
Tier rating: Tier 2 Watch List - Venezuela is placed on the Tier 2 Watch List, up from Tier 3, as it showed greater resolve to
address trafficking through law enforcement measures and prevention efforts in 2007, although stringent punishment of offenders
and victim assistance remain lacking (2008)
|HUMAN RIGHTS STATEMENTS, ANALYSIS AND CRITIQUES
2011 Human Rights Report: Venezuela
Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor
2011 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices
May 25, 2012
Venezuela is a multiparty constitutional republic. In 2006 voters reelected President Hugo Chavez Frias of the Fifth Republic
Movement party. International observer missions deemed the elections generally free and fair but noted some irregularities. In
September 2010 voters elected 165 deputies to the National Assembly. Voting on election day was generally free and fair with
scattered reports of irregularities. However, domestic election observers and opposition political parties criticized both the electoral
law, claiming it violated the constitutional principle of proportionality, and the government’s partisan use of state-owned media.
There were instances in which elements of the security forces acted independently of civilian control.
Concentration of power in the executive branch continued to increase significantly. An Enabling Law enacted by the outgoing
National Assembly in December 2010 (less than three weeks before newly elected members took office) gave the president broad
authority to decree laws for a period of 18 months without consultation or approval by the elected National Assembly. The law
responded to the president’s request for authorities necessary to deal with the emergency created by floods in late 2010. Using this
authority President Chavez decreed 26 laws, including a number of provisions restricting fundamental economic and property rights.
The principal human rights abuses reported during the year included government actions to impede freedom of expression and
criminalize dissent. The government harassed and intimidated privately owned television stations, other media outlets, and
journalists throughout the year, using threats, fines, property seizures, targeted regulations, and criminal investigations and
prosecutions. The government did not respect judicial independence or permit judges to act according to the law without fear of
retaliation. The government used the judiciary to intimidate and selectively prosecute political, union, business, and civil society
leaders who were critical of government policies or actions. Failure to provide for the due process rights, physical safety, and
humane conditions for inmates contributed to widespread violence, riots, injuries, and deaths in the country’s prisons.
In addition, the following human rights problems were reported by nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), the media, and in some
cases the government itself: unlawful killings, including summary executions of criminal suspects; torture and other cruel, inhuman,
or degrading treatment; prison violence and harsh prison conditions; inadequate juvenile detention centers; arbitrary arrests and
detentions; corruption and impunity in police forces; corruption, inefficiency, and politicization in a judicial system characterized by
trial delays and violations of due process; political prisoners; interference with privacy rights; restrictions on freedom of expression;
corruption at all levels of government; threats against domestic NGOs; violence against women; anti-Semitism in the official media;
trafficking in persons; violence based on sexual orientation and gender identity; and restrictions on workers’ right of association.
The government sometimes took steps to punish lower-ranking officials who committed abuses, but there were no investigations or
prosecutions of senior officials for alleged corruption or abuses.
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5 October 2007
COMMITTEE ON THE RIGHTS OF THE CHILD
Forty sixth session
CONSIDERATION OF REPORTS SUBMITTED BY STATES PARTIES UNDER ARTICLE 44 OF THE CONVENTION
Concluding observations: VENEZUELA
2. The Committee welcomes the submission of the State party’s second periodic report despite its long delay, the detailed written
replies to its list of issues (CRC/C/VEN/Q/2/Add.1) submitted in a timely manner and regrets the technical problems with the
translation on time of the replies. The Committee appreciated the dialogue with the high-level, multi-sectoral delegation. The
Committee notes that the State party’s report did not fully comply with the guidelines for the submission of the reports.
B. Follow-up measures undertaken and progress achieved by the State Party
3. The Committee notes with appreciation the adoption of many legislative (and programmatic) measures taken with a view to
implementing the Convention, including:
a. The Constitution articles 75, 76, 78 (1999) recognising children as subjects of rights;
b. Child and Adolescent Protection Act (LOPNA) (2000);
c. Special Computer Crime Law (2001)
d. Organized Crime Act (2005)
e. Law for the Protection of Children and Adolescents in Places for Internet, Videogame and other Multimedia use (2006);
f. Community Council Law (2006);
C. Main subjects of concern and recommendations
1. General Measures of Implementation
(arts. 4, 42 and 44, paragraph 6 of the Convention)
Committee’s previous recommendations
5. The Committee notes that several concerns and recommendations made upon the consideration of the State party’s initial report
(CRC/C/15/Add.109) have been addressed. However, it regrets that some of its concerns and recommendations have been
insufficiently or only partly addressed, including those related to discrimination, definition of the child, data collection and
cooperation with NGOs.
6. The Committee urges the State party to take all necessary measures to address those recommendations from the concluding
observations of the initial report that have not yet been implemented or sufficiently implemented, particularly in relation to
discrimination, definition of the child, data collection and cooperation with NGOs and to provide adequate follow-up to the
recommendations contained in the present concluding observations on the second periodic report.
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Freedom In The World 2012 Report
Political Rights Score: 5
Civil Liberties Score: 5
Status: Partly Free
President Hugo Chávez Frías sought treatment for an undisclosed form of cancer in 2011, fueling speculation about his future as
the country’s dominant political figure. Meanwhile, several contenders jockeyed to emerge as the opposition’s unity candidate for
the 2012 presidential campaign. Harassment of nongovernmental organizations and journalists persisted, and criminal violence
continued to rise on the streets and in the prisons.
In 2011, the opposition began its primary campaign for the 2012 presidential contest, setting a primary election date for February
2012. Miranda state governor Henrique Capriles maintained a lead in the polls throughout the year, with Zulia governor Pablo Pérez
and well-known politician Leopoldo López running second and third, respectively. In September, the Inter-American Court of
Human Rights ruled that López, who was on the comptroller’s list of disqualified candidates, must be allowed to run due to the
absence of any formal charges against him. However, Venezuela’s Supreme Tribunal of Justice (TSJ) ruled in October that the
Inter-American Court’s binding decision could not be carried out because, in the court’s interpretation, it conflicted with the
Venezuelan constitution and violated Venezuelan sovereignty. While López remained in the race, it remained unclear whether he
would be allowed to take office in the event of an electoral victory.
Also during the year, it was revealed that Chávez was being treated for an undisclosed form of cancer. After weeks of rumors
surrounding an operation he underwent while visiting Cuba, allegedly to remove a pelvic abscess, Chávez acknowledged in late July
that he was indeed being treated for cancer, though he refused to divulge specifics. The government insisted that Chávez’s
prognosis was excellent, and he made clear his intention to run for reelection in 2012. Critics bemoaned the lack of transparency,
particularly given Chávez’s personalized style of rule and the absence of a clear line of succession within the PSUV.
Unstable social and economic conditions continued to pose difficulties for the government. Though the economy grew at a rate of
4 percent, inflation remained at 27 percent, electrical blackouts struck parts of the country in early 2011, industrial production
stagnated, and shortages of some food items continued. Legislation passed in November that allowed the government to set prices
on consumer goods seemed to increase shortages. Meanwhile, according to local rights groups, violent crime reached
unprecedented levels despite the introduction of a new military anticrime unit, the People’s Guardians. In June and July, the forcible
suppression of a riot in one part of the El Rodeo prison complex led to a month-long standoff in another part; the conflict ended
without the massacre that prisoners’ family members feared, though the episode cast new light on Venezuela’s horrifically violent
Relations with the United States were stable but tense, and the United States remained without an ambassador in Caracas
throughout the year. Venezuela’s improved relations with Colombia since 2010 have indirectly aided its ties with Washington.
Although Venezuela continued to reject cooperation with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency, it extradited an accused Colombian
drug kingpin to the United States in December. The bilateral friction is also attributable to Chávez ’s creation of ostensible leftist
alternatives to U.S.-backed regional trade pacts; his weapons purchases from Russia; and his rhetorical support for and economic
cooperation with Cuba, Iran, and other nondemocratic states. In December 2011, Venezuela hosted the first meeting of the
Community of Latin American and Caribbean Nations, a new regional body that pointedly excludes the United States and Canada.
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13 September 2012
Venezuela’s break with regional human rights court ‘an affront to victims’
The Venezuelan government’s decision to denounce the American Convention on Human Rights and therefore pull out of the Inter-
American Court constitutes an affront to the victims of human rights violations, Amnesty International said.
On Tuesday, Secretary General of the Organization of American States (OAS) José Miguel Insulza confirmed having received the
Venezuelan government’s request to withdraw from the Convention and the Inter-American Court of Human Rights – which the
OAS oversees – within a year.
The move means victims of human rights violations in Venezuela will be barred from bringing complaints before the regional court.
“This move is an affront to the victims of human rights violations and to future generations of Venezuelans who will no longer be
able to access this regional body when their rights are not respected in their own country,” said Guadalupe Marengo, Deputy
Americas Programme Director at Amnesty International.
“Having access to an international body like the Inter-American Court is a right that all Venezuelans had up until now, but the
government has decided to cut off that important lifeline.”
Leaving the Court
Promoting and protecting the human rights of all without discrimination is the cornerstone of the rule of law and allows states to
ensure that all people can live with dignity, regardless of their gender, race, ethnic origin or any other condition.
Regional and national human rights systems were created to guarantee everyone a route to pursue justice and reparation for human
rights abuses when national justice systems have failed them.
The regional human rights system – made up of the Inter-American Commission and Court of Human Rights – is a necessary
complement to national protection measures throughout the Americas. Over the years, thousands of victims and their relatives
across the continent have seen it as their only chance to obtain justice after national justice systems have failed them.
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Venezuela: Concentration and Abuse of Power Under Chávez
Critics Targeted by Government
July 17, 2012
The concentration of power under President Hugo Chávez has taken a heavy toll on human rights in Venezuela, Human Rights
Watch said in a report released today.
The 133-page report, “Tightening the Grip: Concentration and Abuse of Power in Chávez's Venezuela”, documents how the
accumulation of power in the executive and the erosion of human rights protections have allowed the Chávez government to
intimidate, censor, and prosecute critics and perceived opponents in a wide range of cases involving the judiciary, the media, and
“For years, President Chávez and his followers have been building a system in which the government has free rein to threaten and
punish Venezuelans who interfere with their political agenda,” said José Miguel Vivanco, Americas director at Human Rights
Watch. “Today that system is firmly entrenched, and the risks for judges, journalists, and rights defenders are greater than they’ve
ever been under Chávez.”
Human Rights Watch’s last major report on Venezuela, released in September 2008, documented how democratic institutions and
human rights guarantees had suffered during the first decade of Chávez’s presidency. Since then, the human rights situation in the
country has become even more precarious.
While many Venezuelans continue to criticize the government, the prospect of facing reprisals – in the form of arbitrary or abusive
state action – has undercut the ability of judges to adjudicate politically sensitive cases, and forced journalists and rights defenders
to weigh the consequences of disseminating information and opinions critical of the government.
Chávez and his supporters in the National Assembly have taken dramatic steps to ensure their political control over the Supreme
Court, which has been packed with political allies since 2004. After legislative elections in 2010 reduced the Chávez majority in
Congress, they rushed to change the law governing the process for appointing justices and then re-packed the Supreme Court
before the newly elected opposition legislators took their seats.
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TRANSLATED FROM SPANISH BY GOOGLE TRANSLATE
Tuesday, 2 October 2012
President Chávez: We must all learn to live in peace
President Chavez said that all Venezuelans must learn to live in peace and democracy, to qualify this system as the realm of social
conflicts that must be regulated through mediating institutions and not through confrontation and hatred.
"To have a democracy we live every day all live in peace," the president reiterated, to answer the query of journalist José Vicente
Rangel, on their supposed power of polarization and hatred because they are factors that favor.
This is a construction sectors have been doing that hate me without reason because they are poisoned, stressed the head of state
will try to convince expressing to live under the Constitution and laws in order to contribute to the development of the country.
"Enough to know me, what is my spirit, what my personality, what are my values, I love peace (...). I'm a subversive to peace, is
lying all this plot that have been building that I whipped up hatred, "he said.
Since we arrived the Government has promoted reconciliation, reconciliation of interests and coexistence, and managed to stop an
impending civil war in response to the inability of a government leadership to mediate with all sectors of the country, said the
President to be Asked if he was the man that promotes reconciliation.
Currently, Venezuela live in a climate of peace, said the head of state, except for some sectors that "always go with a card up his
sleeve and who have much power to influence these groups."
He said that in the period 2013-2019 will continue all personal and political efforts that are necessary to continue reconciling
Venezuela, and thus rule out the scenarios of violence fostered by those adversan me.
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Community leaders trained in electoral
The Deputy Ombudsman held a deployment Merida state for civil servants in the state for the purpose of training citizens on
"Voting Rights" and disseminate the legal and political foundation electoral processes, in addition to the importance thereof.
The training process was carried out between June and September, in coordination with the General Directorate of Legal Services,
for a total of 865 people trained in 16 of the 23 municipalities of the state of Mérida, with the participation of community councils
Women members of the Mothers of the Barrio and electoral witnesses, among others.
The Office of the Ombudsman of the region, Maryur Mora, said that during the course of the workshops noted the interest of the
participants, who expressed in their speeches the importance of training for them for the upcoming elections on October 7.
"We train them on the history of voting in Venezuela, progress in terms of rights granted to women, to elections and political
participation in general, leading to major player in the electoral process, which is the people-to activate to reduce abstention "he said.
The Ombudsman also said they were told what the support that the National Human Rights Institution, as a constituent body of
Citizen Power, made in defense of the rights prenombrados before, during and after the elections.
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DD NGOs and activists. HH. introduced before the TSJ nullity action complaint against the Venezuelan State to the
Thursday, September 27, 2012
NGOs and human rights activists today filed before the Constitutional Chamber of the Supreme Court a class action for annulment
of unconstitutionality against the complaint made by the Venezuelan State to the American Convention Human.
The challenge is based on the violation by the Government of the constitutional rules and principles relating to the hierarchy and
constitutional supremacy of human rights treaties, the right to petition for the protection of international human rights, constitutional
requirements and limits of states of emergency, human rights as a guiding principle of international relations of the Venezuelan state
and escalation of human rights enshrined in Articles 23, 333, 339, 31, 152 and 19, respectively, of the Constitution.
Organizations and activists say they have a duty to continue to defend the right of victims of human rights violations to justice
achieved both national and international bodies. Reaffirm that the government's action affects the poorest sectors of the population
most vulnerable always have greatest difficulty in accessing the judicial bodies. Indicate that continue to defend all legal space that
allows addressing impunity and promote the observance of rights for everyone.
The group of human rights activists and organizations requested immediately agreed to an injunction that government action
without effect. Addition, ask the Constitutional Chamber of the Supreme Court that:
1. Declare your jurisdiction to hear the case, recognize legitimacy of applicants and admit the appeal, giving the course procedural
provisions of the Organic Law of the Supreme Court.
2. Annul, on constitutional grounds, the government action to denounce the American Convention on Human Rights.
3. Ask the National Executive that under the principle of cooperation of the authorities referred to in Article 136 of the Constitution,
it immediately inform the Secretary General of the Organization of American States the final judgment declared invalid by
unconstitutional denunciation of the American Convention on Human Rights.
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Small-scale illicit producer of opium and coca for the processing of opiates and coca derivatives; however, large quantities of
cocaine, heroin, and marijuana transit the country from Colombia bound for US and Europe; significant narcotics-related
money-laundering activity, especially along the border with Colombia and on Margarita Island; active eradication program
primarily targeting opium; increasing signs of drug-related activities by Colombian insurgents on border