• Complaint before the International Community Violation of the Rights to Education, Health, Environment and Life, Committed by Governors, Mayors, Members of Parliament and Local Leaders of Legal Political Parties of the Venezuelan Opposition
• April 2014
COMPLAINT BEFORE THE INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY OF THE VIOLATIONS OF THE RIGHTS TO EDUCATION, HEALTH, ENVIROMENT AND LIFE, COMMITTED BY GOVERNORS, MAYORS, MEMBERS OF PARLIAMENT AND LOCAL LEADERS OF LEGAL POLITICAL PARTIES OF THE VENEZUELAN OPPOSITION
The international broadcasting corporations have spread images of the recent public order disturbances and violent acts that have been carried out during the last two months in the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela reporting about them as “peaceful demonstrations and manifestations of the right to protest”. Nevertheless, they have been nothing but highly violent actions of armed groups causing numerous deaths of innocent people and injuries, environmental damages, damages to public and private properties, and specially, to health and education centres.
This document shall present the truth about the violent demonstrations and their intention to overthrow a government constitutionally and legitimately constituted through elections and democratic means. It shall make the world aware of the actions taken by the Government of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela in order to protect the human rights of its citizens given these violent acts.
In 1999, the people of Venezuela, in exercise of its creative powers and invoking the historical example of the Liberator Simón Bolívar, decided to re-found the Republic through a new Constitution in order to build a democratic, participative, protagonist, multiethnic and multicultural society within a federal and decentralised State of justice that consolidates the values of liberty, independence, peace, solidarity, common good, territorial integrity, life in society and the rule of law for this generation as well as those of the future; and that assures
the right to life, work, culture, education, social justice and equality without any discrimination or subordination.
As a result of the re-foundation of the Republic, on 15 December 1999, the Constitution of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela was adopted by the people of Venezuela by a constitutional referendum and it was ratified in its amended form on 15 February 2009, also by a constitutional referendum. The Constitution lays down the fundamental rights which the Nation acknowledges for itself and those people living in its geographical space. It states explicitly the obligation of all government institutions, i.e. national, state and municipal, to ensure the effective enjoyment and free exercise of these rights.
In this regard, it is worth highlighting the provisions of the Constitution of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela in relation to the following: Obligation to guarantee the enjoyment and exercise of human rights (Art. 19); Right to life (Art. 43); Right to health (Art. 83); Right to free education and compulsory education (Art. 102 and 103); Right to a healthy and ecologically balanced environment (Art. 127); and the obligation of the State to ensure food security of the population, defined as sufficient and stable food availability in the national sphere as well as timely and permanent access to it for consumers (Art. 305).
On the basis of these constitutional mandates, the Bolivarian Government has advocated widely promoting the social and economic development of the Venezuelan people, the inclusion of broad sectors hitherto excluded and the deepening of the rights and freedoms in political, economic and civil issues, through a set of successful public policies that have allowed to reach almost all of the Millennium Development Goals. Thus, it was possible to reverse the
situation of poverty which affected nearly 56% of the Venezuelan population when President Hugo Chávez became head of the state. For decades, broad sectors of the population have been excluded, invisibilised and hit by the traditional elites of economic and political power of Venezuela.
According to the United Nations and the World Bank, Venezuela has reduced consistently inequality becoming the country with the lowest level of inequality of the continent (GINI index of 0.39). It achieved a reduction of poverty from 29% in 1998 to 19.6% in 2013 and extreme poverty decreased in the same period from 21.5% to 6.5%.
Venezuela is also a pioneering country in the eradication of childhood undernutrition reducing the proportion of undernourished people in relation to the total population from 13% (1999-1992) to 5% (2010-2011) thus achieving much earlier than expected the Millennium Goal regarding food. Between 1999 and 2001, there were 4 million people suffering from hunger in the country. Currently, FAO estimates that the problem of hunger has been reduced to a minimum, according to the report about the “State of food insecurity in the world” which is backed by the World Food Programme (WFP) and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD).
The Government of Venezuela has increased the percentage of GDP allocated to social investment from 8.2% in 1998 to 21% in 2008 through general and specific programmes supporting senior citizens, children, single mothers, people with disabilities among other vulnerable sectors.
The Venezuelan State has also managed to guarantee free and universal access to the national public health system. In 1998, Venezuela had only 5,360 health care centres and by "permanent access to it"now, there are more than 13,700. As a result of this policy, the mortality rate for children under 5
years has decreased significantly from 31 deaths per 1,000 children in 1990 to 14 per 1,000 children in 2012. Additionally, Venezuelans have free and universal access to medical consultation and treatment for people with AIDS, malaria, dengue fever and tuberculosis. 42,000 patients of the 60,000 diagnosed cases of AIDS in Venezuela receive free antiretroviral treatment in more than 80 public health centres of Venezuela. Moreover, the mortality rate of tuberculosis descended from 4.1% per 100,000 habitants in 1990 to 2% per 100,000 habitants in 2011.
As regards education, Venezuela considers education a fundamental human right and a social duty, inherent to the democratic system, which has to be free, compulsory, of quality and diverse in its cultural principles. The increase of the percentage of GDP allocated to education to 5.43% has allowed the inclusion of millions of people in all levels of the educational system, through a large number of conventional and non-conventional programmes, including the following: • • • • • • • •
Early Education centres known as “Simoncito” Programme; Plan Robinson I and II (literacy and primary education); Mission Ribas (secondary education); Mission Che Guevara (Job Training); Mission Sucre (University education); National Programme for training Comprehensive Community Physicians; Mission Alma Mater (foundation of new institutions and expansion of existing ones); Mission Science (massification of postgraduate studies).
Presently, Venezuela is a country free of illiteracy (declared by UNESCO in 2005), with the second largest enrolement rate of the region. In the period 1998-2008, the school enrolment increased from 46.12% to 69.78% at the early education level;
from 89.98% to 95% at the primary level and from 15.34% to 21.91% at the secondary and higher education level. In the same period, 30 new universities of free access have been created in Venezuela.
In Venezuela, there are broad civil and political liberties including a solid electoral system as was expressed at the time by the Carter Center itself when it said that Venezuela has “the best electoral system of the world”.
All achievements previously reported are conquests of the Venezuelan people who have supported firmly, during the last fifteen years, the inclusive model promoted and developed by the Government of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela. This fact has been proved by the results of eighteen (18) electoral processes in which people have offered their vote of confidence to the revolutionary government, now led by Nicolás Maduro Moros.
Co-responsibility of the regional and authorities in the guarantee of Human Rights
The violent acts that occurred in some municipalities of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela show that their real intention is to violate the maintenance and continuity of the popular conquests through armed violence. These acts are promoted, carried out and/or tolerated by the regional and local authorities, active in the political parties Primero Justicia and Voluntad Popular. Although they are responsible for the exercise of public power for the benefit of the people in accordance with the Venezuelan legal system, they have infringed the duty when they refrained from executing the competencies conferred to them by law.
As stated initially, the guarantee of human rights corresponds to all the institutions of the State in its different instances and levels, in accordance with the Venezuelan legal system. Consequently, a number of obligations, established in the Venezuelan internal legal system, corresponds to regional and local authorities who have failed to fulfill them, which has generated a series of responsibilities pursuant to law. In this regard, some highlights are as follows:
Constitutionally, the regional authorities are entrusted to implement the police service1, in accordance with law, which, in turn establishes that this service shall be devoted to promote the prevention of crime2, as well as to form cores of community police in order to promote and improve direct and joint work between the police and the community3.
- By means of the Local Police Service 4 , the regional authorities have the obligation to:
a.- Respect and protect human dignity, defend and promote human rights of all people, without discrimination based on ethnic origin, sex, religion, nationality, language, political opinion, economic status or any other reason.
b.- Respect and protect physical integrity of all people and, under no circunstances, inflict, instigate or tolerate any arbitrary, illegal, discriminatory action or acts of torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading practices or punishment involving the use of physical, psychological and moral violence.
1 2 Force. 3 4
Article 164.6 of the Constitution of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela. Article 28.1 of the Organic Law on Police Service and National Police Article 49 of the Organic Law on Police Service and National Police Force. Article 65 of the Organic Law on Police Service and National Police Force. 6
c.- Serve community and protect all people against illegal acts.
d.- Ensure enjoyment of the right to assembly and public and peaceful demonstration.
e.- Preserve peace and the guarantee to individual and collective security implementing appropiate mechanisms and means settled down in the Constitution of the Republic.
- Municipality authorities are constitutionally required to manage local interests for planning and promoting the economic and social development for which they have to equip and provide domestic public services, like refuse collection, waste collection and waste water collection, and to promote, in general, better living conditions for the community through traffic management, public transport services, conservation of public spaces for meeting and leisure, enviromental protection, primary health care services, service delivery by local police in accordance with national law5.
It follows from the above that the municipality authorities have a firm responsability, together with the National Government, for the maintenance and continuity of the achievements and conquests obtained in the areas of health, education, food and environment through the social policies implemented by the Bolivarian Government.
In addition, municipalities are also the competent authorities, together with the National Government, for protecting and recovering the forestry heritage, as well as for the preservation, mitigation and remediation of damages caused to this heritage by natural or human factors.
Article 178 of the Constitution of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela. 7
It should be noted that the violent actions that have threatened the enjoyment and exercise of human rights occured only in such places where the municipality authorities are mainly members of the opposition political parties, Primero Justicia and Voluntad Popular, belonging to the socalled right-wing coalition Democratic Unity Table (MUD). This reveals the collusion and complicity of these authorities with the actions taken by these violent groups. Moreover, it proves the open non-compliance of their obligations, constitutionally and legally attributed to them, at the detriment of the whole population of the municipality.
The responsabilities regarding the police force, as were indicated above in relation with the regional authorities, are the same for the municipality authorities when there are events in the local area that have to be assumed by the local police according to the criteria of complexitiy, intensity and specificity provided for in articles 52, 53 and 54 of the Organic Law on Police Service and National Police Force. This applies mainly for those cases that require the presence of this body in order to comply the very responsabilities of the municipality6, such as: -
To manage urban roadways, circulation and regulation of vehicular and pedestrian traffic on municipal roads and urban public transportation services;
To manage and preserve squares, parks and gardens; balnearios and other recreational sites;
To protect the environment and to cooperate in the field of environmental sanitation;
Article 56 of the Organic Law on Municipal Power. 8
To provide the public services concerning civil defence, fire service, street cleaning, including waste collection and management.
Similarly, the Mayor, exercising his or her duties and obligations, must cooperate with the state and public powers, as well as other local entities and bodies of the municipality, to comply with its purposes 7 , which are consistent with the collaboration and cooperation duties among the bodies of the State for the fulfillment of its objectives, in accordance with Article 136 of the Constitution of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela.
The violent acts, however, demonstrate that the local and regional authorities of the municipalities, in which these acts have taken place, do not comply with the duties constitutionally and legally attributed to them.
Violent acts encouraged by the extreme right-wing political parties. Media situation. The violent attacks against the Venezuelan democracy are not related to legitimate actions of all sectors that are opposed to the Bolivarian Revolution, but only to the sectors of the extreme and violent right-wing groups. Their main objective is to seriously threaten the democratic system stability by trying to impose their political agenda over the will of the Venezuelan people. This agenda has been rejected in numerous elections by the Venezuelans over the past 15 years. 7
Article 90 of the Organic Law on Municipal Power. 9
Most of the people in the country have expressed their will to live in peace and democracy by rejecting in a categorical way the acts of violence and vandalism. To date, leaders of the opposition have not condemned these attacks. On the contrary, they have publicly disguised these acts as “peaceful demonstrations” by constantly repeating the lies transmitted through national and international media manipulation. Since mid-February 2014, when violence began, many streets, avenues and freeways have been blocked by setting up burning barricades. These acts have included barbed-wire fences aimed at provoking accidents to the citizens riding motorcycles, which makes the criminals who placed and maintained such barricades responsible for the fact that, subsequently, many Venezuelans have lost their life. Moreover, over a thousand (1000) trees, some of them ancient, have been cut down to be used as obstacles to block public roads. Furthermore, civilians, police and National Guard officers have been attacked with firearms. Public transport vehicles have been burned and destroyed and other damages have been caused to libraries, universities, pre-schools, hospitals, ministries, among other public facilities. Consequences of these violent acts are described in the Annex No 1 of this complaint. Nonetheless, we will refer to the most serious attacks as follows: 1. The terrible loss of forty-one (41) human lives (from 12 February to 21 April 2014): seven (7) were victims of the violent barricades and traps placed by opposition groups;
twelve (12) were killed when trying to pass through the barricades or to clear the public highway; two (2) died by car accidents near the barricades; twelve (12) were killed due to the political violence by different groups; four (4) were killed by accidents related to violent blocks; three (3) were killed by gunshots attributed to security forces. Almost every death is directly related to the violent blocks. One of the victims was a 28 year-old pregnant woman who died when trying to walk through a barricade. 2. The indiscriminate fell of 5,000 trees and the many stray dogs burnt alive are part of the dreadful practice in the violent blocks. 3. The destruction of infrastructure and public goods results in damages and economic losses calculated at approximately ten thousand millions dollars (USD 10,000,000,000.00). These crimes were committed with the connivance, or even participation, of the Mayors of opposition parties who have infringed their constitutional and legal duties instead of ensuring the citizen’s safety in their municipalities as established by the Constitution and national laws. These Mayors have irresponsibly dedicated themselves to the promotion and protection of the deadly blocks, as well as the individuals who have committed the violent acts against the goods of the State in those entities. Some of these radical leaders have called upon their followers to promote a dangerous xenophobic tendency against the Cuban people who have provided their medical support in the health care centres. Actions of anger and hatred have also
being promoted against the Chávez supporters because of their political ideology. These situations of violence have only occurred in the municipalities of the mayors who are opposed to the National Government policies. Similarly, these municipalities happened to be the sectors with the greatest incomes of the country (class A and B of the population).
In order to address the acting or omission of the municipality authorities and in defence of their constitutional rights, the attorney Juan Garantón Hernández and Frente de Abogados Bolivarianos Civil Association filed a complaint against a group of mayors who were not complying with their legal duties. Therefore, on 17 March 2014, the Constitutional Chamber of the Supreme Court of Justice ruled that the mayors Ramon Muchacho (Chacao, state of Miranda), Daniel Ceballos (San Cristóbal, state of Táchira), Gustavo Marcano (Diego Bautista Urbaneja, state of Anzoategui) and Eveling Trejo de Rosales (Maracaibo, state of Zulia), shall:
1. Immediately remove all obstacles and clear out the waste or debris of the roads and surrounding areas, by using all necessary material and human means, in order to avoid the setting of barricades that could block the free passage of people and vehicles. 2. Comply with their management transit duty, with the purpose of ensuring an adequate safe passage through the public roads of their municipalities. 3. Guarantee the protection of the environment, street and domestic waste collection.
4. Issue the necessary instructions to the respective police forces of their municipalities, to effectively comply with the regulations of Article 44 of the Organic Law on the Police Service and the Bolivarian National Police Forces and, in this regard, 5. Start preventive and control activities against crime. Similarly, in the scope of their competences, mayors have to promote strategies and procedures with the communities of their territory, in order to communicate and interact with the people and local institutions, with a view to guaranteeing social peace, coexistence, exercise of rights and law enforcement. In spite of the Supreme Court's decision, two of these mayors were reluctant to comply with it. As a result, they were imprisoned for the contempt of the Court's sentence in favour of the protection of the constitution, and also dismissed from their charges. Taking into account the events that took place in 2002 (the coup attempt against the former president Hugo Chávez), today's violent acts seem to be also influenced by media manipulation. The media has terribly affected our democracy by means of the constant forgery of images and information spread in national radio and TV stations, as well as social networks and international media. As an example, the Spanish newspaper ABC manipulated and published a photograph from Egypt as if it were a violation of the human rights allegedly taking place in Venezuela.
Similarly, from February to April this year, hundreds of photographs have been spread through social networks, simulating acts of power abuse or degrading treatment in Venezuela. A well-known actress published an alleged sexual assault of a young man by the Venezuelan security forces. Subsequently, this photograph was proved to have been taken from a pornographic website. In this regard, social networks have been used to distort the reality with the purpose of having the country believe that Venezuelans are living a serious political crises. Bolivarian Government's actions for keeping peace and public order President Nicolás Maduro, in order to address the situation of violence in seeking justice and truth, presented a proposal to the Venezuelan Parliament in order to create a Truth Commission to investigate the violent acts and find the responsible people thereof. Moreover, the president created a National Peace Conference in order to call on all sectors of the country to dialogue. However, the minority violent opposition groups are still reluctant to participate therein. While the Venezuelan State has the obligation to ensure the individual rights, it should be noted that its exercise must not attempt or endanger the collective rights, including the right to life. In no case, the demonstrations against the Government should become a reason for violence or for an infringement of the fundamental rights of other Venezuelans. In this regard, the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela recognises the legitimate right to protest peacefully only under
the regulations stipulated in the law. This recognition of the law, nevertheless, does not allow to set up obstacles in public roads limiting the free passage of citizens, to burn schools, hospitals, parks or other public areas, or to kill liberally people who try to walk through or clear out these violent blocks. The Venezuelan Government has firmly addressed these violent assaults sponsored by the extreme right-wing groups, by acting with authority and under the provisions of the Venezuelan legal system through the proportionate use of force. The guarantee of human rights has always been preserved, ensuring the defense of peace and tranquility of citizens, in strict accordance with the Constitution. At the same time, the Government continues to promote, with so much effort, the dialogue among all the political and social sectors of the country. The security forces have complied with the law, controlling the violent demonstrations through the proportionate use of force. Nonetheless, evidence and complaints of isolated abuse cases by public officers or public order forces have been filed. These officers were turned over the competent courts to be investigated accordingly8. The abuses, which are exceptions of the legal behavior of our public order security forces, have been duly condemned by President Nicolás Maduro in many public declarations, in which he has reiterated the call for peace and cease of violence. The Bolivarian National Guard (GNB) and the Bolivarian National Police (PNB) have controlled the violent attacks in
8 “... 81 investigations have been opened for presumed violation of human rights, hence, 17 officers of the State security forces have precautionary measures as alternatives to imprisonment and there are 7 warrants made. Source: Attorney's General Office, Luisa Ortega Diaz 28.03.2014
compliance with international law for the use of force, under the “Basic Principles on the Use of Force and Firearms by Law Enforcement Officials” of 1990 (adopted in the 8th UN Congress on the Prevention of Crime and Treatment of Offenders). The security forces have also complied with their own Code of Conduct pursuant to their internal rules. Since some officials of the National Guard and other State bodies have committed abuse, they have been punished by the law in guarantees of the legal procedures. The Government of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela has taken actions in this regard in accordance with the principle of diligence and prevention of violence through the proportionate use of force, in the interest of preserving the life, peace and human rights of all Venezuelans. These principles are widely recognised by international law. The Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela and its Bolivarian government, consistent with its human conviction, will continue to move towards the achievement of peace thanks to the support of the international community and the civilised nations who stand for democracy. In this regard, Venezuela requested the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR) the creation of a commission of foreign ministers to support the efforts of the Venezuelan government for dialogue. The National Peace Conference will be taken as a reference point, due to its original strategic mechanism for regional integration which has proved to be efficient when dealing with threats to the democratic stability of the region. In this respect, a Commission of Foreign Ministers from Argentina, Brazil, Bolivia, Colombia, Equador, Guyana,
Suriname and Uruguay visited Caracas on 25 and 26 March 2014. This commission held several meetings with all the public and social sectors of the country, as well as human rights organisms, representatives of different religions and public powers. As a result from this first visit, holding an honest dialogue with the President, the Venezuelan government approved the creation of the National Human Rights Commission which will be accountable and coordinate the public policies regarding the protection and safeguarding of human rights in the seek of peace and social justice. The president accepted by mutual agreement with the opposition representatives the proposal of inviting a third party of good faith to support the dialogue. For this reason, the National Government extended an invitation to Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Vatican's secretary of State, who has already sent the accredited papal nuncio to Caracas, Cardinal Aldo Giordani, to attend the meetings that Cardinal Pietro Parolin has not been able to attend. Due to the positive outcomes, other 2 visits of the Commission of Foreign Ministers of the UNASUR have taken place in order to continue with the same and other important topics in the interest of integrating all political sectors in the dialogue process of the National Peace Conference. Finally, it is important to note that the Bolivarian Government, led by president Nicolás Maduro, has maintained the peace doctrine inherited from the Eternal Commander Hugo Chávez Frías who uttered the following words: “Let's defeat the culture of war and strengthen the culture of peace”.
Due to the facts explained above which have violated the fundamental human rights, the Government of the President of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, Nicolás Maduro Moros, would like to denounce the liability for omission and complicity of the following civil servants participating in Venezuelan opposition parties: 1. Henrique Capriles Radonsky, Governor of the state of Miranda. 2. Gerardo Blyde, Mayor of Baruta municipality Miranda).
3. Ramón Muchacho, Mayor of Chacao municipality (state of Miranda). 4. Carlos Ocariz, Mayor of Sucre municipality (state of Miranda). 5. José Fernández. Mayor of Los Salias municipality (state of Miranda). Furthermore, other civil servants of the Venezuelan opposition political parties are also liable for the promotion and execution of violent acts, namely: Antonio Ledezma, Metropolitan Mayor of the Capital District. Daniel Ceballos, Mayor of the San Cristóbal municipality (state of Táchira) Delson Guárate, Mayor of the Mario Briceño Iragorry municipality (state of Aragua)
Enzo Scarano, Mayor of the San Diego municipality (state of Carabobo) David Smolansky, Mayor of the El Hatillo municipality (state of Miranda) María Corina Machado, former member of the Parliament. Leopoldo López, leader of the political party Voluntad Popular.
ANNEX I SUMMARY OF OFFENCES AND ACTS OF VANDALISM COMMITED BY VIOLENT GROUPS A) Homicides and other casualties resulting from violent demonstrations (up to 21 April) Three (3) victims of gunshots allegedly fired by law enforcement officers: Geraldine Moreno Orozco (allegedly fired by Bolivarian National Guard (GNB) officers), Bassil Da Costa, Juan Montoya (allegedly fired by Bolivarian Intelligence Service (SEBIN) officers) Glidys Karelis Chacon Benites (allegedly fired by Chacao Police officers). Seven (7) victims of barricades or traps set up by the opposition: Luis Gutierrez, Eduardo Anzola, Elvis Duran Rafael De La Rosa, Doris Elena Lobo, Jhoan Alfonso Pineda, Jonathan Martinez Garcia, Jose Durán Deivis Useche.
Twelve (12) victims while removing barricades or clearing a public road: Julio Gonzalez Pinto, Joel Melgarejo Danny Vargas, Gisella Figueroa Rubilar, Lyon Acner Isaac Lopez, Jose Gregorio Amaris Castillo, Giovanni Pantoja (Bolivarian National Guard), Antonio Jose Valbuena Morales, Arturo Martinez, Francisco Madrid, Adriana Urquiola (7 months pregnant), Miguel Parra (Bolivarian National Guard), Joseph Cyril Dharma. Two (2) victims struck by a vehicle while on a barricade: Jose Ernesto Mendez, Mariana Ceballos. Twelve (12) victims of violence from opposite political sympathisers: Robert Redman, Genesis Carmona, Wilmer Carballo, Daniel Tinoco, John Rafael Castillo Castillo, Ernesto Bravo Bracho (Bolivarian National Guard), Jose Guillen (Bolivarian National Guard), Miguel Parra, Guillermo Sanchez Juan Labrador, Wilfredo Rey, Argenis Hernandez. Four (4) victims of events related to barricades: Jimmy Vargas, José Alejandro Marquez, Franklin Romero, Roberto Annese. B) Assaults on the Right to Education The Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela has always put the greatest effort in ensuring the right to education at all levels. Venezuelan progress on education policies has been recognised by international institutions such as UNESCO, which in 2005 declared our country an "illiteracy-free territory." The attacks of violent groups against the education sector
have specially focused on destroying those universities created or expanded since 1999, such as the Bolivarian University of Venezuela (UBV) and the National Experimental University of the Armed Forces (UNEFA); these attacks, in addition to being an assault on the national government and the Venezuelan people, can be considered as retaliatory measures directed to the before mentioned institutions, for not having joined the strike during the protests. 1. 16 February. Opposition groups vandalized the facade of a Simoncito (Free Preschool Early Education Centre), located in Santa Eduvigis, a municipality in Sucre Department, in the state of Miranda. On the outer walls of this centre, xenophobic slogans against the presence of Cubans in Venezuela were written with red paint. 2. 21 February. In Naguanagua, in the state of Carabobo, the facilities of the National Experimental University of the Armed Forces (UNEFA) were set on fire. 3. 11 March. In San Cristobal, Tachira state, violent groups attacked the facilities of the Bolivarian University of Venezuela (UBV). 4. 18 March. In the state of Tachira, violent right-wing sympathisers attacked the National Experimental University of the Armed Forces (UNEFA) and set fire to one of its buses and to its library. 5. 19 March. In Los Teques, in the state of Miranda, the facilities of the National Experimental University of the Armed Forces (UNEFA) were set on fire, which
completely damaged all its furniture and caused the loss of all the data files. 6. 1 April. In Chacao, in the state of Miranda, a nursery school ran by the Ministry of Housing and Habitat was set on fire while 89 children ages 6 months to 3 years were inside. C) Information Technologies and Communication - 18 February. In Barquisimeto, in the state of Lara, Moran Telephone Central Office was set on fire and four vehicles were burned down. - 19 February. In Barquisimeto, in the state of Lara, six vehicles were burned down on the premises of Telephone Company of Venezuela (CANTV) facilities. -20 March. In La Esmeralda, a neighborhood in San Diego municipality, in the state of Carabobo, demonstrators burned down an official vehicle on the premises of Telephone Company of Venezuela (CANTV) facilities.
D) Assaults on the Right to free and pluralistic communication (Assaults on the Media) - 12 to 26 February. The facilities of the state-run television station Venezolana de Television (VTV) were sieged by means of the setting up of several barricades and of violent outbreaks in nearby areas.
- 11 March. Violent groups burned ULA FM radio station down. - 10 April. In Maracaibo, in the state of Zulia, the facilities of the state-run radio station YVKE Mundial were set on fire. - 18 April. In Arapuey, a village in Julio Cesar Salas municipality, in the state of Merida, violent groups burned a community radio station to cinders.
E) Assaults on the Right to Health
Barrio Adentro Mission, created by the Bolivarian government with the support of the Government of the Republic of Cuba, has been directly addressed to the primary health care services of the most deprived, of those who had never before enjoyed this benefit. This health care system has often been criticised by leaders of the political opposition. Back in April 2013, Barrio Adentro Health Care System facilities were violently attacked by supporters of the governor of the state of Miranda, Henrique Capriles Radonsky. There is a strong likelihood that vandalism committed by people outside the community is directed not only to the centres themselves but also to the community members who benefit from these services. - 20 February. An Integral Diagnostic centre (CDI) located in Corito, Maracaibo, in the state of Zulia, was assaulted.
- 20 February. An Integral Diagnostic centre (CDI) located in El Recreo, Cabudare, in the state of Lara was assaulted. - 20 March. A Barrio Adentro health care centre located in La Ruezga, Barquisimeto, in the state of Lara was burned down. - 5 April. An Integral Diagnostic centre (CDI) located in Guarenas, in the state of Miranda was assaulted with molotov cocktails and blunt objects. In the framework of these allegations, some violent acts that took place on April 2013, while the presidential elections' results had not been yet disclosed, are worth mentioning. While complaints were not made timely, we seize this opportunity to call your attention to these unfortunate events. 1. 15 April 2013. In the state of Barinas, the Barrio Adentro health care centre 1° de Diciembre was assaulted. A group of right-wing sympathisers looted and burned down equipment and medical supplies inside the centre. Apparently, the fire was started by a Molotov cocktail that was thrown through a window. This health centre is a clinic that provides daily assistance to 30 or 40 people. 2. In the state of Carabobo, La Entrada Dental centre was assaulted by right-wing sympathisers. It is worth highlighting that the damage caused by such persons was repaired entirely by organized community members, who stood up and defended their health centre.
3. Flaming objects were thrown from a building near Palo Verde Comprehensive Diagnostic centre in the state of Miranda. Right-winged groups allegedly threw these objects and damaged the surrounding environment (a hill is right behind the health centre). That same day, Piedra Azul Comprehensive Diagnostic centre was also assaulted by right-wing sympathizing groups who attacked everyone on the premises by throwing stones, sticks and homemade bombs at them. 4. In the state of Vargas, a Comprehensive Diagnostic centre was assaulted. Damage was caused to doors, windows and real estate. 5. In the state of Zulia, seven (07) Comprehensive Diagnostic centres were assaulted. Right-winged groups threatened the health centres' staff. Likewise, others were victims of violent attacks with Molotov bombs and blunt objects. It is worth highlighting that, after the attack, the health centres were guarded and protected by the community councils, neighbors, and regional police officers. It is also worth noticing that health care facilities such as Barrio Adentro and the CDI are employers to a significant number of Cuban doctors and nurses who daily fulfill the task of ensuring one of the most fundamental human rights, the right to health. The reaction of violent groups, who caused significant damage to the facilities, is a clear example of xenophobia against the fraternal Cuban people. Their actions are oriented to expressing their unwarranted hatred. Apparently, they would rather have
foreign troops in our country than good health for the majority of Venezuelan. 6. 16 April 2013. At the centre for Comprehensive Health Care of the University of Los Andes, (CAMIULA) in the state of Merida, the vehicle of a doctor was burned down. Similarly, a group of hooded protesters entered the different areas of the medical centre and caused similar material damage. 7. 18 April 2013. In the state of Delta Amacuro, Simon Bolivar Comprehensive Diagnostic centre was assaulted. Members of the staff officially filed a claim, according to which the kitchen area was sprayed with gasoline, but fortunately there was no damage whatsoever to neither property or persons. 8. 23 April 2013. In the state of Nueva Esparta, the Manzanillo Comprehensive Rehabilitation Unit was assaulted.
F) Assaults on the Right to Food and on Food Security
In the framework of the Bolivarian Revolution, the public network for food supply was created. This network includes programs such as MERCAL, PDVAL and Bicentenario supermarkets, designed to strengthen and guarantee access to food for all the Venezuelan people. The acts of vandalism committed against this sector during the violent opposition demonstrations are the following:
-20 February. In Maracaibo, in the state of Zulia, a MERCAL truck carrying 26 tons of meat is burned down. -20 February. In the state of Carabobo, five vehicles of PDVAL network are set on fire. -22 February. In the state of Carabobo, a truck transporting food is burned down. -20 March. In El Morro -a town in San Diego, in the state of Carabobo-, MERCAL facilities and a slaughterhouse were assaulted. 26,900 Kg of beef and 4,000 Kg of chicken were stolen, cash registers, refrigerators and air conditioners were smashed. -10 April. In La Isabelica -a neighborhood in Valencia, in the state of Carabobo-, two trucks carrying pork meat from Brazil were also burned down and looted by violent groups. One of the main arguments put forth by the Venezuelan opposition to justify their protests and to call for the overthrow of President Maduro is the shortage in the private food distribution chains. However, not only this shortage is caused by an economic war against the national government but protestors seem to understand that burning supermarkets and vehicles that transport supplies to fully operative food networks is a coherent way of protesting. G) Assaults on the Right to a Healthy Environment and on Natural Resources The promotion of the conservation of the environment and the rational and sustainable use of natural resources based on
respectfully observing the cycles of nature has always been a hallmark of the Bolivarian Revolution. By the year 2013 -and due to various policies implemented over the last 14 years-, Venezuela has reduced deforestation in 47.3% and achieved 98% of drinking-water coverage.
In the framework of this achievements, it is outrageous to learn that since 12 February, loutish groups have cut down at least five thousand (5,000) trees. Their timber was used to set up barricades and light up bonfires in the public roads in order to cause fear, anxiety and despair in the neighborhoods. These acts of vandalism openly disregard the national authority and constitute environmental offences punished by law. Most of these loutish acts took place in the cities of Maracaibo, San Cristobal, Merida and in the eastern part of Caracas. The arson of three sectors of Waraira Repano National Park and the attempt to pollute drinking water supply facilities in Merida state need also be added to this outrageous list, for they have caused serious ecological and social damage to the country. - 24 March. Drinking water facilities that supply over 189,000 people in the state of Merida -specifically in Libertador Municipality- were contaminated with gasoil. -March. Over 300 fires have affected approximately 3,600 hectares of vegetation, among which the following are worth citing: the fire at Waraira Repano National Park, the green lung of our capital city -it is no coincidence that
the fire occurred above the firewall-; the fire at Terepaima National Park in Lara state; the fire at Bumbum, on the right bank of Socopo river in the state of Barinas; and the fire at Mochima National Park, located between the states of Sucre and Anzoategui. - Over 5,000 species including cuji, kapok, jabillo, mahogany and flamboyant were cut down to set up barricades. It is worth mentioning that some of them are endangered species. These loutish acts were timely denounced before the international community. The indiscriminate cutting with political motivations took place mostly in the states of Aragua, Bolivar, Capital district, Carabobo, Merida, Miranda, Tachira and Zulia. - The environment was polluted by means of burning of old tires, plastics and garbage.
H) Assaults on the right to free passage and on public transportation services -12 to 26 February. By February 26, fifty public transportation units from BusCCS and Metrobus systems had been assaulted during violent demonstrations. -15 February. In the municipality of Chacao, in the sate of Miranda, Chacao subway station was assaulted and serious damage was caused to fire protection systems, ticket box offices and escalators, among others. -19 February. In Merida state, the trolley service vehicles were assaulted with stones.
-9 March. In Altamira, in Chacao municipality in the state of Miranda, a Metrobus checkpoint facility was burned down to set up a barricade. -10 April. In La Isabelica neighborhood, in Valencia, a bus was burned down by a group of hooded demonstrators.
I) Assaults on other goods and services: -
18 February. A Petroleos de Venezuela Comunal Gas truck was burned and 120 litres of gas were stolen in San Cristobal city, in the state of Tachira. 19 February. 22 vehicles of the National Electric Corporation were burned in Valencia city, in the state of Carabobo. 19 February. Material damage was caused to the facilities of the National Electric System in the state of Anzoategui, especifically in Guanta substation. The control wires were cut, which affects electric service in Los Cortijos de Oriente, in Barcelona city. 19 February. In the city of Puerto Ordaz, in the state of Bolivar, the power cables of Los Olivos substation, which supply electricity to Alta Vista sector in the city of Guayana, were burned. 14 April. A PDVSA truck carrying gasoline was burned.
J) Assaults on the right to leisure time and recreation and destruction of public spaces. -
12 February. The fountain and benches of Parque Carabobo square in Caracas were destroyed. 26 February. In the state of Tachira, the bust of the Supreme Commander Hugo Chavez was destroyed. 30
23 March. In the state of Tachira, the bust of the Liberator Simon Bolivar on the campus of UNEFA was stolen.
K) Assaults on the institutions of the Venezuelan State. -
12 February. The facade of the Attorney General's Office in Caracas was destroyed, while the employees were inside the building and their children were in the nursery school. 12 February. Four cars of the CICPC (Corp for Scientific, Penal and Criminal Investigations) were burned, and attacks with stones thrown from private vehicles on the premises of the Prosecutor General's office in Caracas were reported. 13 February. In Caracas, a group of motorbikers attacked the facilities of VTV television station and of Conatel (National Telecommunications Commission) with stones. 13 February. In the state of Tachira, ten Molotov cocktails were dropped on the Department of Environmental Health and Sanitary Comptrollership, attached to the Ministry of People's Power for Health. 15 February. The building of the Ministry of People's Power for Land Transportation was attacked with stones. 16 February. The building of the Ministry of People's Power for Land Transportation was attacked again with stones and gunshots. 16 February. Several terrorist groups attacked the facilities of the National Electric Corporation (CORPOELEC), in Valencia city, in the state of Carabobo. 19 February. The facilities of the National Electoral Council (CNE) in the state of Lara were attacked with Molotov bombs, stones and other hard objects. 31
21 February. The office of the Consulate General of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela in Aruba was attacked. 23 February. Three buses were burned with Molotov cocktails in an operating base of the Capital District. 24 February. The facilities of the Tachira Tourism Corporation (COTATUR) were burned. 8 March. The facilities of the National Integrated Service for the Administration of Customs Duties and Taxes (SENIAT) were attacked in the municipality of Chacao, in the state of Miranda. 12 March. A violent group attacked Britanica building located in Altamira, Caracas, where several public and private institutions operate. In this assault, the glass panes of the office of the National Civil Aviation Institute (INAC) were shattered. 20 March. About 70 hooded men burned the office of the Ministry of Environment in the state of Tachira. Computer equipment among other office materials were stolen. 1 April. The headquarters of the Ministry of Housing and Habitat was burned in the municipality of Chacao. 20 April. A group of opposition demonstrators broke into Metro Olimpo building -a property of the Judicial Authority and the future headquarters of civil courts-, and set up barricades on the premises using building materials.
L) Banking agencies: -
15 February. Bank agencies (Banco Provincial - Banco de Venezuela) located in the municipality of Chacao, in the state of Miranda, were assaulted with stones. 20 April. The agency of Banco de Venezuela located in the municipality of Chacao, in the state of Miranda, was assaulted again. 32
ANNEX II CONSTITUTIONAL AND LEGAL RIGHTS AND GUARANTEES OF THE BOLIVARIAN REPUBLIC OF VENEZUELA RELATED TO THE DENOUNCED ACTS -
The Constitution of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, adopted by means of a referendum on 15 December 1999, and amended by means of another referendum on 15 February 2009, establishes the fundamental rights of the Venezuelan Nation and all persons who live all through the country, and provides as well the obligation of all (national, state and municipal) governmental institutions to ensure the effective enjoyment and free exercise of those rights.
In this regard, the Constitution of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela stablishes:
The obligation to guarantee the enjoyment and exercise of human rights. Article 19. “The State shall guarantee to every individual, in accordance with the progressive principle and without discrimination of any kind, no renounceable, indivisible and interdependent enjoyment and exercise of human rights. Respect for and the guaranteeing of these rights is obligatory for the organs of Public Power, in accordance with the Constitution, the human rights treaties signed and ratified by the Republic and any laws developing the same.”
Right to life. Article 43. “The right to life is inviolable. No law shall provide for the death penalty and no authority shall apply the same. The State shall protect the life of persons who are deprived of liberty, serving in the armed forces or civilian services, or otherwise subject to its authority.”
Right to health. Article 83. “Health is a fundamental social right and the responsibility of the State, which shall guarantee it as part of the right to life. The State shall promote and develop policies oriented toward improving the quality of life, common welfare and access to services. All persons have the right to protection of health...”
Right to education. Article 102. “Education is a human right and a fundamental social duty; it is democratic, free of charge and obligatory. The State assumes responsibility for it as an irrevocable function of the greatest interest, at all levels and in all modes, as an instrument of scientific, humanistic and technical knowledge at the service of society...”. Article 103. “Every person has the right to a full, high-quality, ongoing education under conditions and circumstances of equality, subject only to such limitations as derive from such persons own aptitudes, vocation and aspirations. Education is obligatory at all levels from maternal to the diversified secondary level. Education offered at State institutions is free of charge up to the undergraduate university level. To this end, the State shall make a priority investment in accordance with United Nations recommendations. The State shall create and sustain institutions and services sufficiently equipped to ensure the admission process, ongoing education and program completion in the education system...”
Right to safe, healthful and ecologically balanced environment. Article 127. “It is the right and duty of each generation to protect and maintain the environment for its own benefit and that of the world of the future. Everyone has the right, individually and collectively, to enjoy a safe, healthful and ecologically balanced life and environment... It is a fundamental duty of the State, with the active participation of society, to ensure that the populace develops in a pollution-free environment in which air, water,
soil, coasts, climate, the ozone layer and living species receive special protection, in accordance with law.”
Moreover, Article 305 establishes the obligation of the State to ensure the food security of the population, which is defined as the sufficient and stable availability of food in all the national territory, as well as the timely and uninterrupted access of consumers to food.
B) OBLIGATIONS OF LOCAL AUTHORITIES PROVIDED FOR IN THE ORGANIC LAW OF THE MUNICIPAL POWER COMPETENCES OF THE MUNICIPALITIES Article 56. The competences of municipalities are as follows: 1. Governance and administration of the interests of localities. 2. The administration of the guarantees that the Constitution and national laws afford to localitites regarding the management and promotion of economic and social development, the establishment and provision of domiciliary public services, the implementation of policies on rents, the promotion of citizen participation and, in general, the improvement of the quality of life within the community, is focused on the following fields: a. Territorial and urban planning; cadastral service; historic heritage; affordable homes; local tourism; squares, parks and gardens; balnearios and other sites for recreation; civil architecture; nomenclature and public ornament.
b. Urban road-building, flow and management of pedestrian and vehicular traffic in municipal roads and services of urban public transport. c. Public entertainment events and commercial advertising on the especific interests and objectives of municipalities. d. Protection of the environment and cooperation on environmental sanitation; civil and firefighters protection; urban and domiciliary cleaning, including cleaning services, waste collection and treatment. ...omissis... g. Peace justice; social attention to violence against women and families, neighbourhood prevention and protection and municipal police services, in conformity with the applicable national laws. (concurrent jurisdiction) Article 84. In each municipality, a Mayor shall be elected through a universal, direct and secret ballot, in accordance with the electoral law. The Mayor is the first civil and political authority in the municipal jurisdiction, the first authority of the municipal police and the legal representative of the municipality. He or she acts as a public official. Article 88. The Mayor has the following functions and obligations: 1. To obey and help to enforce the Constitution of the Republic, the Constitution of the State, the national and state laws, the ordinances and others municipal legal instruments.
2. To conduct the governance and administration of the municipality by ensuring efficiency and effectiveness in the provision of public services in the field of his or her competence, and to make representation on behalf of the municipality. … omissis … 4. To protect and preserve the goods of the entity, making it necessary to update the corresponding inventory; and to request the competent authority to establish the responsibilities of its officials. … omissis … 15. Exercise authority over the municipal police, through the high official he or she designates for this purpose. … omissis … 22. To maintain the observance of citizens in the preservation of the environment, and to help to enforce all the laws on environment. … Article 90. Within his or her functions and obligations, the Mayor must establish cooperation and harmonic relations with the national and state public authorities and other local authorities and municipal bodies, and to cooperate with them in the fulfillment of their objectives. Likewise, he or she must inform the community on the progress of the administration and encourage its participation in the achievement of purposes regarding local development.
COMPETENCES IN THE FIELD OF POLICE SERVICES Article 28. In the field of police services, the governors and mayors, under the terms of the current law, have the following functions: 1. To promote the prevention and control of crime, the involvement of the community and other public institutions responsible for defining and monitoring plans.
TERRITORIALITY CRITERIA Article 51. The municipal police must control situations that occur within the locality, the state police must control those that occur within the state territory, and the Bolivarian National Police must control those that occur throughout the country.
BASIC STANDARDS FOR POLICE ACTION Article 65. The officers of police forces and other bodies and entities holding police functions, have the following obligations: 1. To respect and protect human dignity, and to defend and promote human rights of all people, without discrimination on the grounds of ethnic origin, sex, religion, nationality, language, political tendency, economic position or any other kind. 2. To serve the community and protect all people from crimes, with respect and in conformity with the obligations established by the Contitution and other laws.
3. To guarantee the enjoyment of the right to public and peaceful assembly and protest, under the principles of respect for dignity, tolerance and cooperation, as well as timely, proportional and necessary intervention.