Venezuelan Attorney General Meets with Human Rights Group and Holds Members of the Security Forces Responsible for Their Actions
|Written by Jake Johnston|
|Monday, 10 March 2014 10:39|
The United States government, as well as many in the media and punditry, has consistently laid blame for the rising death toll on the Venezuelan government. Last week, in prepared remarks for an OAS meeting on Venezuela, the U.S. representative stated:
The United States notes with concern that the situation in Venezuela has continued to deteriorate since the Permanent Council last met on February 19. The death toll was 13 then, it is now at least 19 and we are gravely disturbed by what appears to be a pattern of security personnel using excessive force.
There is no doubt that some members of the Venezuelan security forces have used excessive force – in fact, at least 14 of them have been arrested for these abuses. The Venezuelan government is not denying this fact, something recognized by the Secretary General of the OAS yesterday when he stated:
Much of this is recognized by both the Government and the opposition; nobody denies it, everyone says something must be done about it.
Earlier this week, the AG stated that her office “will not tolerate violations of human rights under any circumstance and that any official that turns out to be responsible will be sanctioned as established by the laws of Venezuela.” On March 6, the AG, Luisa Ortega Díaz, met with PROVEA, a Venezuelan human rights group. Following up on that meeting and at the urging of PROVEA, Díaz met with representatives from Foro Penal, another human rights group that has been documenting cases of abuse and torture during the protests.
Following the meeting with the AG, PROVEA stated that:
We believe that the most important things to come from this meeting were an opening up of direct channels of communication with senior officials of the Attorney General’s office to send complaints regarding [human rights] violations and a mutual spirit of dialogue for continuing to explore a closer cooperation to advance human rights protections in Venezuela.
On March 7, after the meeting with Foro Penal, El Universal reported that the AG “promised to review the information provided by the Foro Penal” and designated an official “to establish a direct channel of communication between the institution” and the human rights group. The meeting already seems to have had some impact, as the AG announced that it had requested the proceedings against 11 students detained in Carabobo to be nullified.