Minister of Penitentiaries Iris Varela spoke today before the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) in Geneva today, and argued before the body that human rights are respected in Venezuela.
According to Varela, Venezuela exhibits:
… solid legal bases, guarantees, institutions and best practices when it comes to developing the field of human rights….
Varela also said:
In Venezuela, any restriction on the free exercise of fundamental rights is illegal. [Fundamental rights] are a part of our democratic life, such as the right to free expression, the right to information, and the right to peaceful assembly in accordance with the Constitution and our laws. All political, civil, economic, social and cultural organizations are able to exercise all of their rights without even the smallest limitation, as established in the Constitution and the law.
Valera’s comments counter-factual. Venezuela has found itself increasingly isolated in the region since 2013 given the Maduro regime’s hard turn towards authoritarianism.
The regime’s autocratic tendencies, including the jailing of opposition politicians and the deadly repression of peaceful protests, have drawn widespread condemnation from every major international human rights organization, including Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, and the United Nations High Commission for Human Rights.
Varela also credited the alleged leaps Venezuela has made in human rights to PSUV rule in the country, saying that these improvements “were only possible due to the revolutionary process and the governments of president Chavez and Nicolas Maduro”.
IAHRC to Look Into “Socio-Political Crisis” in Venezuela
The Inter-American Human Rights Commission (IAHRC) announced today that among a series of items it plans to investigate in its incoming session is the “socio-political crisis” gripping Venezuela. The commission will address the issue during a set of public hearings that are scheduled to take place between tomorrow and March 22 in its headquarters in Washington, D.C.
The IAHRC is part of the Organization of American States (OAS). The IAHRC’s public sessions, which are held several times are year, give the OAS the opportunity to collect evidence and testimony on ongoing developments in the region.
Maduro Reacts to OAS Report
Maduro reacted to the release of a report by the secretary general of the Organization of American States (OAS), Luis Almagro, which called for immediate general elections in Venezuela and threatened to suspend the country from the organization.
Maduro reinforced the PSUV line that the OAS in an imperialist organization bent on destroying Venezuela, and called Almagro “a garbage human being”.
Stressing that “no ones threatens Venezuela”, Maduro said:
How many people has the OAS helped in 70 years? How many interventions has it validated? All of them in the 21st century. The OAS works to validate interventions.
Maduro Jokes with Desperate Mother
Maduro was caught today on film with a desperate mother today on the Venezolana de Television state-owned network. The broadcast captured Maduro, seemingly on tour of some kind of medical facility, interacting with a young woman who pleaded with Maduro to help her and her four children whom she claims are suffering from malnutrition.
Maduro was seemingly caught off-guard by the woman’s plea, as he appeared forced to tell her that her comments were being broadcast live on television.
Below, the interaction along with my translation:
Woman: [inaudible – from the tone of her voice it is clear that she is sad, and appears to be telling Maduro about her life conditions].
Maduro: Yes, of course – we’re live on television.
Woman: … four years in a shelter…
Maduro: Well, we have to take care of this right away. Where is [unintelligible], please?
Woman: I’m a single mother with four children. I have very few things [meaning, “I am very poor”]. My children are showing signs of malnutrition.
Maduro: Really? Well, let’s take care of this right away. Let’s take care of it right now. What’s your name?
Yoandris: Yoandris Smith.
Maduro: Yoandris Smith? That’s a movie-star name. How old are you?
Yoandris: 25 years old.
Gov’t Takes Over Two Bakeries in Caracas
Following threats earlier this week that the Superintendencia Nacional para la Defensa de los Derechos Socioeconómicos de Venezuela [SUNDDE] would take over bakeries in Caracas that did not adhere to a new taxing regulations aimed at ensuring a continuous supply of bread, the organization expropriated two establishments in the city today.
SUNNDDE, which is the government body that oversees regulations around the production and sale of goods and services, took control of the Mansion’s Bakery located in the Baralt Avenue in Caracas late yesterday afternoon. SUNDDE agents there claim that the bakery was selling loaves of bread that weighed 140 grams at the same price of a 180 gram loaf.
The second expropriated bakery is called Inversiones, and is located in the El Silencio neighbourhood of the city. There, agents claim to have observed bakery staff engaging in a number of illegal activities, including selling bread at higher prices to those who were first in line. The bakery had also run out of bread by 1:30 PM, which is also against the new regulations.
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