(Mérida 12/09/2019).- On Monday, December 9th, the Observatory of Human Rights of the University of Los Andes (ODH-ULA) presented its report for the second half of 2019. Some of the cases documented by this observatory constitute serious human rights violations.
The report entitled “General situation of human rights in Venezuela with special reference to the Andean region. June-December 2019 ”was presented at the ULA-BCV room of the Faculty of Economic and Social Sciences of the ULA. The ODH-ULA team was accompanied by relatives of victims, special guests and members of civil society.
Mayda Hocevar, director of ODH-ULA, highlighted the participation of this organization in the 174th session of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR), held in Quito, Ecuador, last November. «It is important to highlight that it is thanks to the documentation work done by national human rights organizations that international bodies know what is happening in Venezuela and determine that there is a complex humanitarian emergency here,» she said.
Extrajudicial executions, repression and impunity
“Between January and June 2019 in the state of Mérida, three people have been killed by police officers while they are exercising their duties. In all cases there was undifferentiated use of force and the national and international standards of performance of law enforcement officials were violated, ”says the ODH-ULA report.
María Alejandra Castillo and Iván Toro, lawyers that make up the ODH-ULA legal team, explained to the attendees that none of these fatalities or their families have received justice or reparations. Both lawyers highlighted the recurrence of delays and irregularities in judicial proceedings, as well as the denial of justice and reparation by the Venezuelan State to direct victims or victims by extension of those cases.
Likewise, the ODH-ULA records that only in the state of Merida, officials of the Special Actions Forces (FAES, by its acronym in Spanish), an extermination group created by the State, executed eight people in less than a month, between August 13 and 03 September 2019.
Regarding state repression, the ulandino observatory highlights the attack with pellets by a police official on July 1 to the teenager Rufo Chacón, while participating in a peaceful protest for lack of domestic gas in the town of Táriba, Táchira state . In this fact Chacón lost both eyes. This same repression practice with direct attacks on the face has been documented repeatedly by the ODH-ULA since 2017.
Erickvaldo Márquez, a Physical Education student at ULA, was arrested at his home on September 13, 2017 for an incident that occurred five months earlier, on April 24, in the framework of the peaceful social protests that took place in Mérida and others states of the country. Márquez remains deprived of liberty in inhuman conditions, as lawyers of the ODH-ULA have found in their visits to the detention center where he is held, located in Glorias Patrias.
“The trial hearings have been deferred without any justification four times. The mother of the detainee has had to bear all the expenses of the transfer of the detainee from his detention center to the seat of the criminal courts”, said the report on this case.
Zulay Moreno, mother of Erickvaldo Márquez, attended the presentation of the report and thanked the ODH-ULA team for mediation as legal representatives of her son. Germán Cohen’s parents, whose murder has not received justice, were also present.
Robberies and attacks on the ULA
Holaya Peña, an ODH-ULA researcher, reported the thefts suffered by the University of Los Andes in its Nuclei, Faculties and Extensions located in Mérida, Táchira and Trujillo. Only in Merida, the ULA has been the victim of more than 80 thefts during 2019, without any of them being investigated by the competent authorities, Peña said.
The attacks on the ULA also materialized in graffiti with
political messages in support of the illegitimate regime of Nicolás Maduro and
his policies. These damages were done to the facade of the Rectorship last
All these attacks are documented by the ODH-ULA as violations of academic freedom.
Constant failures in basic services
Failures in basic services, such as electricity, drinking water, domestic gas, fuel for vehicles and telecommunications have not ceased during the second half of 2019. On the contrary, the ODH-ULA has registered the worsening of these services in the three Andean states.
Only in power failures, this region of the country, together with the Zulia state, concentrate the largest number of blackouts suffered during this year, after the first national blackout recorded on March 7. On that occasion, the Andean states were around 110 continuous hours without electricity.
In addition to the representatives of the ODH-ULA, three special guests also participated in this activity: Alexis Dávila, constitutional lawyer and professor at the Faculty of Legal and Political Sciences of the ULA; Javier Tarazona, director of the NGO Fundaredes, and Judith Zambrano, activist of the organization Justicia y Paz, order of Dominican preachers from the state of Mérida.