[April 3, 2017]


Latin America/Caribbean, Economic Development and Democracy, Institutional Development


March 30, 2017

The Permanent Secretariat of the Latin American and Caribbean Network for Democracy (REDLAD) expresses its deep concern about the recent events in Venezuela that deepen and aggravate the political and social situation of the South American country and further away the possibilities of dialogue between the Government of the President Nicolas Maduro and the Venezuelan opposition, which has expression both in the National Assembly, citizenship and civil society in general.

On March 28 this year, the Constitutional Chamber of the Supreme Court of Justice issued a judgment that threatens the balance between the branches of public power and its respective separation, which are basic principles of any rule of law.

This ruling comes on the basis of a lawsuit filed on March 22 by Deputy Héctor Rodríguez of the United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV), the ruling party, a day after the opposition majority in the National Assembly supported the application of the Charter democratic inter-American of the Organization of American States (OAS).

This is even more worrying given the constant offensive and derogatory statements that President Maduro has given on various occasions, and especially the last days, as denounced by the organization Transparencia Venezuela“There has to be justice, we must seek justice against the traitors to homeland (...) there are enough quotas in prison for traitors to homeland", said the head of State on March 22, a day after the opposition majority in the National Assembly supported by an agreement the application of the Democratic Charter of the OAS to "restore constitutional order in Venezuela”

The Supreme Court's ruling urges President Maduro to enact a martial law for the "democratic stability" of Venezuela, and in one of its paragraphs he tells the government to "take the civil, economic, military, penitentiary, administrative, political, legal and social, that it deems appropriate and necessary to avoid a State of commotion; within the framework of the emergency and the contempt and continuing legislative omission by the National Assembly, exceptionally review legislation substantive and adjective adjectival (including the organic law against organized crime and financing of terrorism, the law against corruption, the criminal code, the code of criminal procedure and the code of military justice - as there might be crimes of military nature, which allow avert serious risks that threaten democratic stability, peaceful coexistence and the rights of the Venezuelans".

For that reason, the Permanent Secretariat of REDLAD, a platform of more than 520 organizations that defend democracy and human rights, as an official member of the Civil Society Forum of the Organization of American States (OAS) and regional chapter of the World Movement for Democracy ( WMD):

·          Condemns any abuse of power that any government, from any country in the region, exercises over opposition parties, social movements or politicians and citizens in general to the detriment of the free exercise of their fundamental rights.

·          Calls on the Government of Venezuela, at the head of Nicolas Maduro, to respect the separation of the branches of public power and its respective autonomies, especially that of the National Assembly.

·          Urges the Supreme Court of Justice of Venezuela to reconsider their decisions and to act independently when issuing sentences. Also, that these same to reflect its mission as protectors of the Constitution and the laws for the guarantee of rights of all Venezuelan citizens, regardless of whether they are opositore

·          It makes a call to the Inter-American Commission on human rights (IACHR) to be vigilant about any possible violation of the fundamental rights in Venezuela.

·          Requests the authorities and multilateral agency members, such as the OAS, Unasur, CELAC, among others, to make a call for prudence to the Government of Venezuela against any possible abuse of power.

·          Calls on organised civil society in Venezuela, be they opposition or pro-Government, to put as a priority the dialogue before any manifestation of violence.

REDLAD, as a member of the civil society on the continent, will be attentive to any possible violation of human rights and denounce them as it is due and before any instance.