Posted: Friday, September 25, 2020. 10:01 am CST.
By Aaron Humes: Acting for the Government of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, its embassy in Belize has produced a lengthy statement on a recent report to the United Nations Human Rights Council of an independent international fact-finding mission on the South American nation.
The conflict between the established administration of President Nicolas Maduro, the successor to Hugo Chavez, and rival president of the National Assembly, Juan Guaidó, has drawn many countries in the region and the world to pick a side.
Belize stands with Venezuela as a member of the ALBA Petrocaribe regional agency.
The Embassy decries the report as unnecessary (since it is already working with the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights chaired by the former president of Chile Michelle Bachelet); biased, malicious, politically charged, and drawn up to justify the continued meddling of the United States in Venezuela’s affairs.
The original resolution passed by the Council last September had more abstentions (21) than positive votes (19).
And the Embassy says the mechanism of the mission was rejected as being the work of countries egged on by the United States to build a false dossier against the Venezuelan regime in order to boost Guaidó’s “parallel pseudo-government”, supported by the Organization of American States (OAS) from which it has withdrawn.
The Embassy’s report points out that the investigating team never set foot in Venezuela itself, operating remotely and relying on unnamed sources which it believes are unverifiable, unfounded, or fabricated, as well as ignoring official data from the Venezuelan government. Some of the cases cited, it says, show inconsistent, incomplete, selectively chosen, and concernedly justified information.
For instance, Venezuela’s Truth Commission operated by the Maduro-controlled National Constituent Assembly is in operation and was extended in its mandate to the end of 2020.
Allegations of “crimes against humanity” by authorities, such as torture, are only supported by anonymous interviews not backed by documentation. There is no proof, the Embassy claims, that President Maduro knew of and stepped aside to allow alleged human rights violations; on the contrary, he has condemned them publicly. He has previously called for law enforcement authorities not to use firearms on protestors.
Moreover, says the Embassy, it has been tracking down those accused of human rights abuses:
565 state security officials have been charged for allegedly violating human rights, while 31 civilians have been implicated as collaborators in these actions; thus, totaling 596 accused. Of these, 143 belonged to the Scientific, Penal and Criminalistics Investigation Corps, and 138 to the Bolivarian National Police. A total of 447 officials from various agencies and 21 individuals were apprehended, totaling 468 prisoners, of whom 109 belonged to the Bolivarian National Police. A total of 804 officials and 123 civilians have been charged, making a total of 927 charged, through the filing of 375 indictments by specialized prosecutors in this area. In addition, a total of 127 state security officials and 13 civilians were sentenced, for a total of 140 convictions, 36 of them from the Bolivarian National Police, and 26 from the Bolivarian National Guard.
Additionally, the Embassy says, the Government has supported dozens of victims of violence during unrest in 2013-14 and 2017.
The Embassy concludes: “The report aims to generate a politicized smear media campaign through a partial analysis of the fundamental political events that have taken place during the Nicolas Maduro administration, from 2013 onwards, with the intention of shifting responsibility to the Bolivarian Government as the architect of the political and institutional crises of recent years, covering up the agendas of political violence, attempted coups d’état and assassinations in a degree of frustration, all events promoted, financed and executed by Venezuelan opposition actors with international support, especially from the governments of both the United States of America and the Republic of Colombia.” It adds that U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is on a tour of the region and that Venezuela has parliamentary elections due in December.
And it further concludes: “In view of the above, we consider that this report, prepared from third-party countries, calls into question the probity of the Human Rights Council and weakens the entire multilateral system that regulates it. The sacred institution of human rights is being jeopardized, while this type of selective and deeply biased action will be the cause of suspicion on the part of other States that may be susceptible to aggressions of this nature, under the alleged manipulation of such a sensitive issue in international relations.”
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