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Venezuelan State Guarantees Human Rights Protections for the People

Venezuelan Foreign Minister Elías Jaua said Tuesday that Venezuela’s throw from the Inter-American Court of Human Rights (IACHR) does not affect the protection of the Venezuelan people in this area, given there was never any support from the international entity.

“The greatest guarantee of the protection of human rights in Venezuela today is the Venezuelan state,” Jaua said in a press conference.
He recalled that, previous to the Bolivarian Revolution, a repressive neoliberal state promoted the systematic violation of the rights of Venezuelans, a situation has changed dramatically in the last 14 years.

“Unfortunately, the Venezuelan people never had international protection and tutelage on the issue of human rights,” he said, enumerating cases of violations of basic rights committed by past governments that never were taken up or responded to by the IACHR, which is under the Organization of American States.

“The best guarantee of the human rights of the Venezuelan people is the Constitution of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela and the Venezuelan laws and justice system that we’re building,” the minister emphasized.

He said that in the last 14 years, the Citizen’s Branch of government – including the Office of the Public Prosecutor and the Human Rights Ombudsman – has undertaken indispensable actions against members of state security forces, both civilian and military, that violated human rights.

Jaua argued that during the presidency of Hugo Chávez, and now under President Nicolás Maduro, the government has undertaken a struggle to protect and defend human rights for all Venezuelans.
“Like never before in our history have we developed a system of economic, social and cultural rights as we have done under the Bolivarian Revolution,” he said.

Jaua recalled that Venezuela is a newly elected member of the United Nations Human Rights Council, it recently ratified the human rights protocol of the Southern Common Market (Mercosur), and it is working to build a human rights protection body as part of the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR) that Venezuelans can access.

“We’re going to keep working to ensure that the Venezuelan people, and not powerful corporate sectors, not the corrupt or the terrorists, can have a system of international protection they can access and be treated swiftly and promptly,” he said.

Withdrawal from the Court

Speaking at the headquarters of Venezuela’s Foreign Ministry, Jaua said that the sovereign decision to withdraw from the IACHR ‘s response to actions that this body has taken that overstepped its jurisdiction.

“We’re not getting out of the Inter-American Court because our citizens have accessed it, but because it admits cases even before the domestic channels have been exhausted as is required under the Inter-American Convention on Human Rights. We’re getting out of the court because it has failed to be impartial against corrupt people and terrorists, ones that aren’t even in the country. They’re fugitives from Venezuelan justice,” he said.

Jaua reiterated that Venezuela’s denunciation of the IACHR has no negative consequences for the country, which remains a member of the Organization of American States and will remain in from compliance with the principles established by that body.

“We have only withdrawn from one of its subsystems,” Jaua said, arguing that states should offer human rights guarantees at home through their own state agencies.
He recalled the IACHR decision in favor of Venezuelan politician will pull the López who was barred from holding public office by the Comptroller General of Venezuela due to his engagement and corruption, as well as the IACHR’s recognition of the de facto government of Pedro Carmona, who seized power in the 2002 coup d’état against President Chávez.

Ignored Cases

Meahwhile, Jaua lamented the failure of the IACHR to make pronouncements regarding massacres that have occurred in Venezuela in the past, such as the 1982 Cantaura massacre, in which 400 members of the Air Force and National Guard bombed a guerrilla encampment in the state of Anzoátegui. In the case of the Yumare massacre in 1986, which also went ignored by the IACHR, nine social leaders were captured and assassinated by the secret police based on orders by Henry López Sisco.

The foreign minister also remembered the more than 50 students assassinated and “disappeared” by Metropolitan Police in Caracas between 1990 and 1991; the farmers in Yumare in the state of Yaracuy that were brutally repressed by the National Guard 27 years ago; the workers of the steel company Sidor that were beaten by leaders of the secret police; and the many people that were tortured and disappeared by the terrorist Luis Posada Carriles, who is a fugitive from Venezuelan law sheltered in the United States.

“One year later there has no acknowledgement by the Inter-American Commission nor the Court, of the undaunted efforts by our brother countries Ecuador and Bolivia to promote the transformation of the Inter-American system of human rights,” he said.

Finally, Jaua thanked the member countries of the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our Americas (ALBA) for a resolution last Saturday highlighting the IACHR’s aggressions against the Venezuelan people and government through declarations, resolutions and rulings degrading the sovereignty of the nation.

AVN/ Press – Venezuelan Embassy to the US/ September 11, 2013

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