Jose Miguel Vivanco, the executive director for the Americas at Human Rights Watch (HRW), reacted today to the United Nations’ (UN) release yesterday of a damming report outlining some of the abuses that the Maduro regime has committed against the Venezuelan populace. For Vivanco, the report is the clearest evidence yet presented showing that the Maduro regime is committing systemic human rights abuses in Venezuela in its quest to remain in power.
Speaking to a journalist from Colombia’s NTN24, Vivanco said:
This is the most convincing [report] published by the United Nations up to now on the human rights situation in Venezuela.
Vivanco also said that the most interesting development related to the report is the suggestion by the UN’s High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussain, for the International Criminal Court (ICC) to become involved in the Venezuelan case.
Vivanco pointed out the important role that the ICC could play in investigating the “atrocities” that regime officials have committed in Venezuela, since it is arguably the only legal entity willing and able to do so. Vivanco said:
… the High Commissioner concludes that [in Venezuela] there is no possibility of internal investigations, because there is no judiciary, no authority, no institution that is capable of investigating and processing these atrocious acts.
As a state party to the 1998 Rome Statute, Venezuela has willingly placed itself inside the jurisdiction of the ICC. The ICC has the legal authority to investigate and prosecute a range of crimes, including crimes against humanity.
Opposition Deputy Posts Six Videos Showing Alleged SEBIN Tail
National Assembly deputy Delsa Solorzano posted a set of six videos on her Twitter account this afternoon showing what she claims was a car from the Servicio Bolivariano de Inteligencia Nacional (SEBIN) [Bolivarian National Intelligence Service] that was sent to follow her. Solorzano has been in Cojedes state since Thursday on official business.
In the videos–which were recorded over a period of several hours spread across two days–Solorzano’s car is being followed by a white taxi with tinted windows and no license plates. Solorzano claims that the car belongs to the regime’s political police, and that this was not the first time that she was followed in this way.
Below, the first video:
Solorzano: That taxi without license plates that you can see there belongs to the SEBIN. I’m in Cojedes state, and it’s been following us all day. They changed the car, because last night it was a Corolla that was following us. Now you can see that the car that you see there is following us. It’s one of the taxis that [the regime] bought supposedly as a social benefit, well, now the SEBIN is using it to follow us, and to try to harass us and to stop our tour through Cojedes state. They will not succeed.
That car is from the SEBIN, which has been following us throughout our tour.
The second video:
Solorzano: We’re still in Cojedes. It’s now 2:22 PM. Today is Friday. We’re traveling from Tinaco to San Carlos, because we’re on tour to meet with our people and to listen to their problems, and the car is still there. That’s the one that we showed you a while ago, the SEBIN car. It’s following us to try to harass us and to harass the team that is with you. They won’t succeed. We will continue our tour for Venezuela.
The third video:
Solorzano: Tinaco. 7:59 PM. Cojedes state. The SEBIN is still there. We’re wrapping up the last stop of the day here with deputy Dennis Fernandez, and the SEBIN is still behind us [and has been behind us] all day, trying to harass us and the people who have been with us all day denouncing [problems].
In this country, the police–which should be used to protect people–is instead used to harass those who think differently. But nothing will stop us. We will not give up. With the SEBIN, without the SEBIN, we will fight for democracy in Venezuela any way [that we can].
The fourth video:
Solorzano: Alright, this is our report on how the SEBIN follows you. We’re still in Cojedes. We’re just coming out of a radio station. Today is Saturday, June 23. When we started this report–if we can call it that–it was Friday, as you know. It is now 10:19 AM, and the SEBIN is still there harassing us. Deputy Dennis Fernandez have been followed during our entire tour, since Thursday, and today is Saturday.
Fernandez: Yes, Saturday, June 23. The Day of the Lawyer. And the SEBIN is following us. The SEBIN has been following deputy Delsa Solorzano and myself for three days, and following the Venezuelan opposition leaders. Why? We don’t know. This is Venezuela. This is the regime in this country.
The fifth video:
Solorzano: 12:27 PM. We are on the Tinaco-Tinaquillo highway heading to Valencia on our way to Caracas, and the SEBIN is still there. Look. If they think that they can harass us, they’re very wrong. I keep insisting this.
We’re recording all of this to show the country how they use state funds, because those gentlemen are being payed by the government. And they’re paid with your money and mine, and meanwhile all of Cojedes is in the worst state that you can imagine, as is Venezuela. But we are going to keep working and fighting for freedom in Venezuela.
The sixth video:
Solorzano: Look–I don’t know if you can see in the rear-view mirror what’s going on back there. The SEBIN is behind us. It’s trying to pass a truck that passed them, because he [the SEBIN] has to be right behind us. And there it is, once again, the little white SEBIN car. We are on the Tinaquillo-Valencia highway, and there is the SEBIN car. Do you see it? The Tinaquillo-Valencia highway, June 23, 1:46 PM. Here we are, under official harassment. We are going to keep recording this until we arrive at Caracas, or until they stop following us, so that the country can see how the state’s political persecution bodies operate.
Maduro Goes for Stroll in Caracas
Maduro posted a video on social media this evening showing him and first lady Cilia Flores out for a stroll somewhere in Caracas. In the video, Maduro talks about how impressed he is by the progress that he claims has been made by the “Plan Caracas”, which involves improving infrastructure like streetlights and sidewalks in the city.
In the video, Cilia and Maduro sit on a bench in what he claims is the Plaza El Venezolano, which is located some six blocks away from the Miraflores Palace. The plaza appears desolate.
Below, the video along with my translation:
Maduro: Well, we’ve gone out for a stroll in Caracas to see the wonders of Plan Caracas, [and how] they’re cleaning, illuminating, repairing, and fixing everything in Greater Caracas. We have to expand this to all of Venezuela. It’s beautiful. There are thousands of workers. We’re in the Plaza El Venezolano. Right here is the home where the liberator, Simon Bolivar, was born.
Everything is turning out really beautifully in the Plaza del Venezolano. This is how Venezuela should be: clean, illuminated, beautiful. Long live the Plan Caracas!
Flores: Together, anything is possible!
Maduro: Together, anything is possible!
Heavy Rains Sweep Two Women Away on Merida Street
Torrential rains turned the streets of Tovar municipality of Merida state yesterday evening, sweeping away at least two women. One of the women was rescued by the authorities, while the other managed to swim to safety on her own.
Below, images of the flooding:
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