Lending an Ear to Venezuela

Ana Lorena Delgadillo*

Versión en español aquí. Originally published in Proceso.

Recently, I had the opportunity to visit Venezuela for the second time in three years. In my last visit in December 2018, I recall witnessing disturbing food and medicine shortages. This time round, I experienced a different Venezuela, but in a worse situation.

Despite the heartbreaking situation, Venezuela overflows with humanity and affection. While talking to Venezuelans, it is impossible not to think of the destruction wrought upon the democracy and institutions in the country.  In its 2020 report, The International Independent Fact-Finding Mission on the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, created by the United Nations Human Rights Council, noted that serious human rights violations have been committed since 2014. The Mission also identified patterns and “highly coordinated crimes in accordance with State policies and part of a widespread and systematic course of conduct that constitutes crimes against humanity.” 

A recent report by the International Commission of Jurists states that “[t]he Supreme Court of Justice, long controlled by the Executive Branch, has managed the collapse of the rule of law in the country as more than 85% of the judges hold provisional positions, are subject to political pressure, and are directly pressured to issue judicial decisions in favor of the government and against human rights defenders and political dissidents.

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