The Third UN Revision | Caracas Chronicles

Photo: Pauta, retrieved.

Yesterday, September 9th, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet, presented her third report about the Venezuelan situation to the Human Rights Council. She’s following the mandate received in September 2018 to investigate what was going on in Venezuela, and it seems like it’ll yield results in three weeks. Among the issues mentioned, the UN fears that Venezuelan democracy will shrink further if a law persecuting human rights organizations who get funds from abroad is approved. The threat is directly against NGOs that have done surveys, accompanied victims and raised their voice abroad. 

What else? 

Bachelet also spoke about the attacks against universities and Nicolás protecting the FAES. She was higlhy critical, including in “cases of torture and ill treatment.” She said that her representatives had been able to go inside the Ramo Verde military prison for the sixth time. The situation has gotten worse since her visit. About the threats that human rights activists get while doing their job, she said: “Retaliation for collaborating with the UN is unacceptable. I exhort the authorities to take preventive measures.” In a couple of weeks we’ll know what the new UN mandate for Venezuela is, now that it’s not only a concern, and there’s figures, assessments and evidence about the abuses.

What a Week! 

Leaked intelligence reports point to how Nicolás’s administration protects and shields Colombian rebels in our territory, information that matches the evidence that Colombian officers presented before the UN this month. Colombian magazine Semana published on Sunday an article where several Venezuelan documents are quoted, showing that a high-ranking military officer, following Nicolás’s instructions, orgered generals to provide support for the “Red Group.” Chavismo’s Foreign minister, Jorge Arreaza, said that Nicolás is trying to prevent a war and accused Iván Duque of allowing terrorism. Arreaza said that the Semana investigation had no merits and stated that they’re talking about “false positives.” On the other hand, Nicolás’s Communications minister, Jorge Rodríguez, said it’s a plan from Iván Duque’s government and the United States to include Venezuela in a list of countries that support terrorism. According to him, all the documents are fake. 

Replying to Bachelet 

Diosdado Cabello underestimated Michelle Bachelet’s report and accused her of “being relentless”: “We won’t be blackmailed,” he said, adding that the report about the situation of human rights in Venezuela was made by Elliot Abrams, Trump’s Special Envoy for Venezuela and Bachelet only signed it. “(It) doesn’t affect us that much, we’ll continue forward, respecting human rights because that’s what’s established in our Constitution.” He cynically added that Bachelet is following the human rights situation in Venezuela, Cuba and Nicaragua, but doesn’t “see” the murders of rural politicians or leaders in Colombia, or repression against students in Chile. Cabello said that Semana’s accusations were “irresponsible actions by the Colombian government” that “got tired of trafficking drugs, exporting cocaine, producing drugs and now they want to export war.” 

Nicolás’s War 

On Monday night’s variety show, Nicolás didn’t answer Michelle Bachelet’s update on her report, he just called on the country’s Defense Council about the controversy with Colombia, to evaluate security scenarios. According to him, there’s a Colombian threat, which he tied back to Juan Guaidó’s caretaker presidency,  who’s allegedly trying to impose Colombian and U.S. interest on us: “They want this to come to an armed conflict between brothers. The war machinery has been activated. It’s active and gone wild,” he said. Nicolás explained they already arrived to a first conclusion, that the “Orange Alert” is 90% active and that military exercises begin today on the border. He was so bold as to say that Iván Duque´s government is trying “to cover up Colombia’s crisis with a war against Venezuela,” saying that Duque’s disapproval rating is of 80%. Maybe he wanted to give our Venezuelan therapists a great case of projecting. 

The Non-Country 

– An explosion near the thermal electric plant of Tacoa left several areas without power, including Maiquetía airport. Off the record, it’s said that an electricity transformer exploded in this sector of Catia La Mar. 

– Public workers protested again on Monday in front of the Oil Federation, to demand a statement regarding their violated union liberties and unjustified dismissals. They insisted on Rubén González’s freedom. 

– PAHO activated an epidemiological alert in Latin America, after the region registered over 2 million dengue fever cases in 2019. Venezuela hasn’t had epidemiologic reports for years. 

Movements on the Board

– The Venezuelan delegation to the OAS asked for the TIAR (Inter-American Treaty of Reciprocal Assistance) activation, with a letter addressed to the Permanent Council president, asking to assemble the consultation body, signed by the absolute majority of member states. 

– Elliott Abrams asked the EU to impose new personal sanctions on Venezuelan officials, and considers that Europe’s resistance to adopt said measures haven’t helped negotiations between government and opposition. Abrams said that the EU’s rejection for new punitive measures is a miscalculation. 

– But the EU and Cuba started today a dialogue session to contribute to the island’s development: “We highly value that our partners, like Cuba, share our commitment to a multilateral system and a rule-based international system,” said Federica Mogherini. 

– María Paula Romo, Ecuadorian Interior minister, said yesterday that her country is evaluating Colombia’s proposal to open a humanitarian channel for Venezuelan migrants who have visas for Peru or Chile and are stranded in Colombian territory. 

Bachelet’s report reiterates allegations that evidence three crucial facts about our circumstance: The absence of democracy, the severity, diversity and depth of human rights violations, and Nicolás’s regime’s lack of political will to honor commitments and carry out the recommendations. Bachelet criticizes the economic sanctions, again, for their consequences on an already broken economy, supports the process backed by Norway and hopes to keep in contact with authorities that will allow concrete measures and the presence of her representatives in the country. We have to support human rights NGOs and spread their reports, and help them however we can.

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