After years of silence, ignoring the crisis in Venezuela, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and former president of Chile, Michelle Bachelet, acknowledged the crimes committed by the dictatorship of Nicolás Maduro.
[#VIDEO] @mbachelet reconoció la “devastadora” crisis que existe en Venezuela y manifestó su preocupación por el deterioro de los derechos humanos #20Mar (Video: @Gbastidas) https://t.co/UNyntV5px6 pic.twitter.com/VDnZIMvk47
— NTN24 Venezuela (@NTN24ve) March 20, 2019
Although the dictatorship has done everything in its power to disguise the reality on the ground in the South American country, Bachelet confirmed the violation of human rights in Venezuela at the hands of the regime, and for the first time spoke forcefully at the United Nations.
Alta Comisionada @mbachelet: Más de 1 millón de niños ya no asisten a la escuela, principalmente debido a que los padres no pueden alimentarlos con el desayuno, el fracaso de los programas de alimentación escolar y la falta de transporte público, así como la ausencia de docentes
— Gabriel Bastidas (@Gbastidas) March 20, 2019
After sending a commission to verify the allegations of human rights violations, on Wednesday, March 20, Bachelet expressed concern that Venezuelan security forces have repressed peaceful dissent with the excessive use of force, causing deaths and using torture: offenses that were documented by her office.
“In the context of the latest wave of protests across the country in the first two months of this year, my office documented numerous human rights abuses committed by the security forces and pro-government armed groups,” she said.
She acknowledged that these “armed groups” that have violated the human rights of Venezuelan citizens during the days of peaceful demonstrations, acts which now “have been criminalized.” In addition, she expressed concern about the limited access to “freedom of expression and the press” in the country.
“Authorities have arbitrarily used the anti-hate law to prosecute journalists, opponents, and anyone who expresses dissenting opinions.”
The Venezuelan authorities have not recognized the scope and severity of the health and food crisis that has led more than 3 million Venezuelans to flee abroad and have adopted “insufficient” measures, she said at the Geneva forum.
Michelle Bachelet also demanded that Maduro’s regime guarantee the experts of her office that are currently in Venezuela access to the places and people they choose, without reprisals against the people being interviewed.
The Chilean president said that the Venezuelan government has not been able to take appropriate measures in the face of the economic crisis the country is experiencing, exemplified by the massive blackout that occurred throughout last week in a large part of the country, an episode which shows the seriousness of the situation.
After the commission was sent to Venezuela, Bachelet was able to verify not only the violation of human rights, but the persecution of dissent and how the regime tried to “stage” hospitals to disguise the severity of the crisis.
The deceit of the dictatorship
Miguel Pizarro, deputy in the National Assembly and president of the Special Commission for the Monitoring of Humanitarian Aid, said that Maduro intends to “stage” various elements of the humanitarian crisis, in order to deceive the technical team sent by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for human rights.
On Thursday, Alfredo Romero, director of the NGO Foro Penal Venezolano, questioned why the technical team sent to Venezuela by Bachelet was not allowed to speak with political prisoners.
“We told the UN that if they are not able to speak with the victims, it’s essentially a tourist visit. The UN commission knows exactly how many political prisoners there are; the problem is that when they arrive, they are always with a government escort and are not allowed to talk with the prisoners. If this government does not let the UN commission talk to the prisoners, that ratifies that this is a repressive government, which has isolated prisoners and does not want the truth to be known,” Romero said at a press conference.
The NGO reported that since January the number of political prisoners has increased by more than 300%. “The number of cases of tortures is so great that unfortunately it has become something common,” he added.
The Venezuelan journalist Dayana Krays also denounced, through her social networks, that the Bachelet Commission went to the Ramo Verde prison to verify the human rights violations, but without being able to have any contact with the political prisoners. He reported that detainees shouted from their cells that they were tortured. The prisoners claim that they are “political hostages” who are subject to “procedural delays.”
#13Mar La Comisión de Bachelet en Venezuela fue hasta Ramo Verde para constatar las violaciones de los derechos humanos, pero ni siquiera iban a ir al anexo de presos políticos, ellos les tocó gritar desde sus celdas que habían torturas.
— Dayana Krays (@Dayanakrays) March 13, 2019
The NGO Venezuelan Education-Action Program (Provea) denounced that it was only right before the arrival of the UN Commission to the country, the Vice Minister of Health was distributing diapers and water in the maternal ward of the Hugo Chávez Hospital, in the El Valle neighborhood of Caracas.
The Venezuelan journalist Sebastiana Barráez denounced that 58 political prisoners were taken out of La Planta prison to make the UN believe that there are only foreigners detained there.
The detainees were thus unable to denounce the government’s abusive use of procedural delays, nor the extortion to which they are subject, whereby they must make payments in dollars in order to be released.
“The detained foreigners told us that Globovision was with the UN. On Tuesday, Iris Varela was also there at La Planta. That commission was guided and deceived. The Chavista regime makes fun of them,” said one of the prisoners to the journalist.