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Press Release

Venezuela: OAS Secretary General Calls for Respect for Right to Peaceful Protest

  April 18, 2017

The Secretary General of the Organization of American States (OAS), Luis Almagro, today called for protection of the right of the Venezuelan people to demand democracy and liberties and emphasized that this right must be recognized by everyone and the government should not be an obstacle.

“We must all reassure our unwavering commitment to democracy in Venezuela, a prompt return to legitimacy and institutionality is essential for the country,” he said.

“Peaceful demonstrations are an instrument of peace, democracy and freedom. For that reason, tomorrow, April 19, the rights of the people – whether they are retirees, students, housewives, workers – should prevails over any logic of repressive politics,” he added.

“The recent actions of the regime to hand out weapons to civilians and urge them toward confrontation are a murderous repressive action that incites violence,” he reaffirmed.

“We must all condemn this kind of actions and the government must absolutely reverse this position that only incites conflict and confrontation. We ask that the right of the people to peaceful protest be respected,” he added.

In fact, beyond the fact that other countries have to face various problems, only in Venezuela has the exercise of government been de-legitimized as shown by:

• The lack of respect for human rights and basic freedoms, given that every day the number of political prisoners and the accusations of torture rise;
• The systematic violations of the exercise of power under the rule of law in the last two years;
• The lack of periodic, free, fair elections based on universal suffrage and the secrecy of the ballot, neither in the case of regional elections, nor even in the more important case of the legitimization of the popular will to appeal to a recall referendum in 2016;
• The fact that the pluralist regime of political parties and organizations no longer has any guarantee since the moment that the regime arbitrarily declares from one week to the next disqualifications of political leaders;
• The lack of respect for the separation and independence of the political powers, neither de jure nor de facto. The powers of the National Assembly have been usurped and the dudicial branch responds to the designs of the Executive Power;
• The lack of transparency regarding the activities of the State;
• The fact that daily complaints of non-compliance are received and none of them are investigated, nor are they even denied;
• The fact that the irresponsibility of the government in public management has brought on the worst humanitarian crisis in the history of the country;
• The fact that social rights and freedom of expression and the press have been repeatedly violated

This General Secretariat supports all the efforts of the countries of the hemisphere to perfect their democracies.

In the case of Venezuela, we support the efforts of its society –as well as the international community to- restores the broken institutionality. The return of democracy to the country demands:

• The immediate halt to repression and street violence against peaceful demonstrators, and the guarantee of their freedom of expression;
• Not one more death, or one more person wounded, or imprisoned, or tortured. The release of all political prisoners is imperative;
• That all political bans affecting the pluralist regime of political parties and organizations be lifted;
• That the powers of the National Assembly be restored and that the election of new authorities in the judicial and electoral branches that guarantee the separation and independence of powers;
• That a humanitarian channel be opened to allow help to reach the Venezuelan people in form of food and medicine;
• That elections be called so that the power- which belongs to the people – is returned to the people.
• That the government ensure the right of the people to peaceful protest, without threats, without detentions, without prison, and without torture.

It is not a question of solving imperfections in Venezuela, it is a question of recovering democracy, that should be the objective and according to that objective, the agenda does not allow for delay.

Reference: E-033/17