Source: Common Frontiers Canada / The Dawn News / May 11, 2016
On May 11, 2016, an event is being organized at the Centre for Human Rights Research and Education of the University of Ottawa by the extreme right Venezuelan political party Voluntad Popular. They have brought to Canada opposition members of the Venezuelan National Assembly who represent their party. Members of the Sub- Committee on Human Rights of the Canadian Parliament have been specifically invited. Voluntad Popular allege that their leader, Leopoldo López has been “unfairly imprisoned” along with Antonio Ledezma and Daniel Ceballos and “the rest of our 78” prisoners”.
These allegation have been and can be proven to be political propaganda and not facts in law or in the public experience of Venezuelans who were witness of the violence and illegal actions for which all these individuals were duly arrested and tried, according to the rule of law and the sprit of justice, having all their human rights respected.
Venezuelan president, Nicolas Maduro, was democratically elected in free and fair elections, recognized by international observers and organizations. Since then he has been the target of the Venezuelan extreme right political groups that have unleashed a hostile international media campaign, with USA support that includes congress resolutions and sanctions. The real motive of this vicious campaign is to create the conditions to overthrown the Venezuelan democracy by any means, including violence and terrorism.
Venezuela’s democratic institutions guarantee the full exercise of political rights and freedom of expression to all its citizens, enshrined by the Constitution. Venezuela was voted as member of the UN Human Rights Council, and the UN General Assembly (October, 2015) stated that its government policies are a serious “contribution to the promotion and protection of human rights.”
On the other hand, extreme rights groups are pursuing the overthrow of President Maduro using economic warfare and street violence, following a similar pattern to the failed coup d’état of April 2002. These acts of violence across the country started when these extremist opposition groups did not recognize the election results. Consequently, 11 people were killed, among them 2 children. During the first half of 2014, these groups attacked innocent people and police officers with firearms and blunt objects. They also committed acts of vandalism against houses, vehicles, public transportation, government buildings and public and private property. Furthermore, sabotage worth hundreds of millions of dollars against the oil industry, national power lines, public transportation and government buildings, including hospitals and schools, among others were also part of this campaign. As a result, 43 people were killed and hundreds were injured. An innocent worker was beheaded by extremist groups that placed an iron cable across a blocked street of Caracas.
One of the main instigators of these violent acts, which were perpetrated publicly in full view of the country and TV cameras, and were evidenced in the courts, was Mr. Leopoldo López, a member of one of the most powerful and wealthy families in the country. His party, Voluntad Popular, was front and centre of all this violence, which they called “la salida” (“the exit”). López faced a highly publicized and monitored trial, observed by the international community. He was never denied the exercise of all his rights and due process and had the best paid lawyers in the country. He was found guilty of crimes that easily fit what in Canada would be labelled as crimes of terrorism. The Venezuelan government had sufficient evidence to demonstrate his culpability and that this violence was encouraged, organized and financed from abroad with the active participation of paramilitary elements, to promote chaos and confrontation.
Violent sectors of the opposition have unleashed selective killings of members of the government, including the vile assassination of young prominent lawmaker Robert Serra, the youngest person to be elected in the National Assembly, and his assistance Maria Herrera. Furthermore, a transnational criminal organization was created to smuggle subsidized goods and gasoline out of the country creating artificial scarcity of basic daily goods, while instigating public outrage against the legitimate governmental institutions. In this regard, several people have been arrested, not for demonstrating against the government, but for being involved in illegal violence. These cases have been handled by the courts, with full guarantees of due process and the right to defence.
However, an aggressive international media campaign was launched by the extreme right political party, Voluntad Popular, to paint López as a “political prisoner”. The Obama administration has imposed sanctions against Venezuela for not releasing him, and has declared the government of President Maduro, an “extraordinary threat to its national security”, opening the door for a military intervention.
A former assistant secretary of the US Treasury for Economic Policy in the Reagan administration and columnist of the Wall Street Journal and Business Week, Dr. Paul Roberts wrote, “Currently, Washington is conducting operations against Latin American presidents who tried to represent their own peoples instead of American business interests and Washington’s foreign policy. Washington is trying to unseat and indict President Nicolas Maduro in Venezuela, President Evo Morales in Bolivia, President Rafael Correa in Ecuador, and President Dilma Rousseff in Brazil. Washington has succeeded in getting the president of Argentina, Christina Kirchner, out of office, and is now seeking to have her indicted. To round off its attack on Brazil’s reformist political party, Washington is orchestrating crimes with which to tar and indict Rousseff’s predecessor, Lula da Silva.”(Opednews 4/11/2016).
Volutad Popular, together with other elements of the Venezuelan extreme right opposition, seeks to apply the Inter-American Democratic Charter to Venezuela. The charter however, clearly requires the “prior consent of the government concerned” and the Venezuelan government will not consider the application of the charter because the legal institutional process has been safeguarded and violence has been met by democratic means, fully respecting the rule of law and observing all human rights and fundamental freedoms.
In this context, we invite the honourable Canadian Members of Parliament and the Canadian public, for whom democracy is a fundamental value, not be misguided by what is clearly an attempt by extremists to misrepresent a friendly country, and overthrow a democracy in this Hemisphere we share with Venezuela.
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