The national government kicked off the Truth, Justice, and Peace Commission (TJPC) on violent protests that shook the country in April in 2002 and in the early months of 2014. The Commission opened today with a speech from UNASUR Secretary General Ernesto Samper, who said:
The Commission offers Venezuelans an honest path towards dialogue. Polarization is not the way. We’re coming from a country that saw an armed conflict [Colombia]. This is why we are sincerely supporting the dialogue here.
Samper also said that the Commission was “an opportunity for reflection”, and for all Venezuelans to recognize past mistakes and decide what kind of country they all want to live in.
Maduro announced the creation of the TJPC in a televised speech on April 7, and said that the process would also involve offering reparations to the victims of the violent protests. Maduro explained the purpose and scope of the Commission then, saying:
The Presidential Commission for Truth and Justice will promote mechanisms and guarantee honest dialogue, consecrated by the National Constitution (…) establishing justice and reparations for the victims as the only way for true peace.
The TJPC will be headed by current vice-president Aristobulo Isturiz, and will be made up of the following officials:
- Attorney General Luisa Ortega Diaz
- People’s Defender Tarek William Saab
- Journalist and Former PSUV official Jose Vicente Rangel
- Constitutional lawyer Hermann Escarra
Maduro also invited a UNASUR delegation to participate in the TJPC, along with members from the Comite de Victimas de las Guarimbas [Victims of the Guarimbas Committee], which represents some of the victims of the 2014 protests.
MUD Not Formally Invited to TJPC
MUD National Assembly deputy Julio Borges said today that the country’s official opposition bloc would not send any delegates to the TJPC because it had not been formally invited to do so.
The [MUD] has decided not to attend this meeting – the Truth Commission – because we are not sure what the government’s purpose is with it, and we haven’t yet received a formal invitation. If the purpose is to talk nonsense then we won’t attend. We want a dialogue where we can talk about the shortage of medicine and food, and about the insecurity.
Borges also said that the MUD has requested a meeting with Samper with the purpose of finding out his opinion about the TJPC:
The only one who seems to not understand the magnitude of this crisis is [Maduro]. We’re willing to listen to the president [sic] of UNASUR if he decides to come to parliament and explain to us what the actual purpose of the Commission is.
Maduro: New Coup Underway
In his call for the opposition to join the Truth, Justice and Peace Commission, Maduro assured that a new coup d’etat was underway, although he did not provide any more details. Maduro said:
I hope that the opposition will take a step forward. I know it’ll be difficult. Today, there is a new coup underway again. I hope that we are able to neutralize it.
Torrealba’s Car Vandalized Near NA
The personal vehicle of the head of the MUD, Jesus Torrealba, was vandalized today by unknown assailants near the National Assembly. The attack to the vehicle occurred while Torrealba and a group of opposition deputies headed to the nearby headquarters of the Consejo Nacional Electoral (CNE) to formally request that it begin the recall referendum process against Maduro.
Below, pictures of the damage:
The CNE has rejected the previous three attempts by the MUD to start the referendum process. The MUD expects that the CNE will announce the start of the referendum process on Thursday.
UN “Very, Very Disappointed” By TSJ Ruling
The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (UNCHR) expressed disappointment today over the ruling yesterday by the Tribunal Supremo de Justicia (TSJ) which ruled the Amnesty and National Reconciliation Law unconstitutional.
Ravina Shamdasani, a spokesperson for the commissioner expressed that the body was all the more confused by the fact that the Maduro government consulted it regarding the law, and that it was the UNCHR’s opinion that the Amnesty and National Reconciliation Law did not violate human rights standards. Shamdasani said:
We are very, very disappointed by Tribunal Supremo de Justicia‘s decision, specially when considering that the Venezuelan government asked us for our legal opinion and we said that, in general, [the law] adhered to human rights standards.
Shamdasani also said that the organization was still concerned by the apparent lack of judicial independence in Venezuela, and that it has previously called for a “profound reform” of the Venezuelan judicial system in order to guarantee its independence.
Shamdasani also said:
We’re very surprised by yesterday’s decision, and we hope that this will not be the end of the road [for amnesty[ because this law could truly have been the basis for dialogue and reconciliation in Venezuela.
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