The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) held a public hearing today in Bogota on the ongoing humanitarian crisis in Venezuela, and issued a formal request at the conclusion of the day’s business demanding that the Maduro regime allow humanitarian aid into the country.

The session on Venezuela, which was held from 9:00 AM to 12:30, included three presentations: the first was titled “Business and Human Rights in Venezuela”, the second “Right to Food and to Health in Venezuela”, and the third “Citizen Security and Institutionalization in Venezuela”. The session took place as part of a week-long program that includes sessions on human rights issues from across the continent.

Francisco Eguigueren, a lawyer with the IACHR, stated the organization’s position at the end of today’s session in unequivocal terms:

The IACHR not only exhorts, but demands that the Maduro government accept whatever humanitarian aid that is offered, because it is clear that it cannot attend to its duties and guarantee the protection of the fundamental rights [for its citizens].

The matter of accepting international aid poses problems for the Maduro regime since it calls into question some of its ideological foundations. For example, the regime often outright denies the fact that the country needs humanitarian aid, making the acceptance of any paradoxical. Also, Maduro has worked to turn longtime allies like Colombia into enemies with his vitriolic rhetoric, which puts the regime in an uncomfortable position were it to receive aid from those sources.

Eguigueren expressed his frustration with the regime’s posturing, saying:

We’ve documented migration from the country due to the situation–beyond the debating the causes [of the crisis]–it’s clear that there is a serious humanitarian crisis, which is the reason why the Venezuelan government refuses to accept humanitarian aid.

This isn’t a matter of ideology. It’s about people’s lives.

During today’s session, a regime official named Larry Devoe admitted that while the regime has “difficulty accessing medicine”, Venezuela does not need any help. Devoe said:

Venezuela has the capacity to buy the resources that it wants and provide them to its people. Venezuela does not need for anyone to gift us anything.

MUD Makes Non-Negotiable Election Topics Clear

The Mesa de la Unidad Democratica (MUD) issued a letter to Maduro today in which it outlined the points that it considers to be non-negotiable as it continues to work towards seeing free, fair and transparent elections in Venezuela once again.

In its letter, the MUD repeated the points that it argued during the failed talks in the Dominican Republic, such as the need to involve the international community in the electoral process and the importance of granting opposition candidate(s) equal access to media.

The MUD released its letterjust hours after El Universal reported that the opposition bloc and the ruling PSUV party were meeting in Caracas to attempt to reach a deal on the matter of the presidential election. According to the newspaper, the MUD would like to see the election pushed back until at least late June, while the PSUV does not want to the vote to happen any time after early June.

Maduro Formally Registers as Presidential Candidate

Maduro visited the headquarters of the CNE in Caracas this afternoon to formally register as the PSUV candidate for the April 22 presidential election.

Maduro’s registration took the shape of a massive celebration that featured dancing and fiery speeches. Maduro was driven to the CNE headquarters atop an extravagant red Humvee driven by PSUV vice president Diosdado Cabello. The 2-hour video below shows the entire ceremony as it happened this afternoon:

In the image below, Maduro shakes the hand of CNE head Tibisay Lucena. The image was accompanied by a particularly disjointed message from Maduro, in which he appears to have spoken about an early brush with death in the third person:

I am registering as a candidate because we have a revolutionary people. I am a people President and you are a President people. I am young Nico, a bullet was about to end his life but he could not die because he had to live in the time of Chavez.

In the tweet below, Maduro thanks a broad swath of social groups for their support, and shares an image of himself in a truck alongside his wife, Cilia Flores, vice president Tarek El Aissami, and Constituent Assembly president Delcy Rodriguez:

I am thankful for the support of the Venezuelan woman, the love and the support of the golden youth of Venezuela, of the working class, the workers, of the revolutionary student movement, teachers, and the judge’s movement.

Questions/Comments? E-mail me: invenezuelablog@gmail.com

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