(Merida, 07/11/2020) – On the night of Tuesday, July 7, 2020, criminals entered the library of the Intellectual Property Research Center (CIPI) at the University of Los Andes in Merida, which also serves to the postgraduate program in Intellectual Property, both of which are unique in Venezuela. This theft is in addition to the more than two dozen committed in different dependencies of the ULA during the national quarantine by COVID-19.
This time, the thieves stole a desktop computer, a scanner of state of the art for libraries, a flash drive and office supplies, including reams of bond paper. Likewise, they smashed the glass that gives access to the facilities of the library before mentioned, they broke several tiles on the roof where they entered and cut the internet connection cables. To date, the authors of the crime have not been captured or identified, as have the great majority of those who have stolen and caused damage to the autonomous universities of the country during this period.
«The Center was now deprived of the means to digitize bibliographic material and exposed the collection (of books and printed archives) to environmental changes,» Luis Alfonso Rodríguez Carrero, director of CIPI, indicated to the Observatory of Human Rights of the University of Los Andes (ODH-ULA). On Thursday, July 9, two days after the robbery, a commission of the Scientific Criminal Investigation Corps (CICPC, by its acronym in Spanish) went to CIPI headquarters to take statements and begin investigations of the case. This is an activity that will continue over the next week, said Professor Rodriguez.
Although the CIPI has surveillance assigned by the ULA, due to the shortage of public transport and gasoline, the sentries are often unable to reach their workplaces. The absenteeism forced of guards from the ULA has led to an increase in robberies, thefts and invasions of this institution during the national quarantine by COVID-19. With this robbery, ODH-ULA records a total of 23 since the pandemic confinement began and the order to suspend all school and university activities in attendance.
Criminals stole equipment essential to the work of CIPI
In addition to stealing, the criminals caused damage to the facilities of CIPI. The lack of public transport makes it difficult for surveillance personnel of the ULA to reach their workplaces in this quarantine.
20 years of teaching about intellectual property
CIPI is a department that is fundamentally dedicated to scientific research and to collaborate in the improvement of teaching through the Specialization in Intellectual Property, a postgraduate program that is unique in Venezuela and one of the few existing in Latin America. Both the CIPI and the Specialization are attached to the Faculty of Law and Political Sciences of the ULA.
The postgraduate program was created more than 20 years ago, during which time it has formed expert professionals in copyright, industrial property and related areas. Many of its graduates work or worked in important public and private, national and international organizations.
In addition, the Intellectual Property Research Center (CIPI) was created in 2016, whose founding professors also form or were part of the Intellectual Property Public Politics Research Group, and the Intellectual Property Consulting and Projects Unit. The now retired professor, Astrid Uzcátegui Angulo, was the main driving force behind intellectual property studies at the ULA and in the country.
The Observatory of Human Rights of the University of Los Andes (ODH-ULA) rejects and denounces the repeated attacks, robberies and thefts committed against the ULA and against all the universities in the country, about which the justice of the facto regime does not act as quickly as it does for matters of a political nature.