Venezuela Should End Attacks Targeting Protesters
Freedom House is deeply concerned by the violence that followed peaceful student-led marches across Venezuela on February 12, in which at least three people died. We urge the Venezuelan government to take immediate steps to restore the right to peaceful protest and to investigate the deaths.
“The government’s response to Venezuela’s worsening food shortages, escalating violence, and failing economy should not be to criminalize protesters, but to take responsibility for its failed policies,” said David J. Kramer, president of Freedom House. “The Venezuelan people have a right to protest and to speak openly about where their country is headed.”
Commemorating Youth Day, demonstrators took to the streets in the largest protests to date against Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro’s government. Their protest was the culmination of weeks of peaceful marches protesting the country’s economic problems and rising insecurity.
According to press reports, police forces fired rubber bullets into the air, and pro-government militias took to the streets firing weapons in the air. Shots killed at least three people, while more than 160 others were injured. Security forces detained 78 people.
Freedom House urges the Venezuelan government to conduct an impartial investigation into the deaths, injuries and arrests, and comply with previous Inter-American Court of Human Rights’ rulings on social protests in Venezuela.
Venezuela is rated Partly Free in Freedom in the World 2014, Not Free in Freedom of the Press 2013, and Partly Free in Freedom on the Net 2013.
Spanish Version: Alert
Freedom in the World 2014: Venezuela
Freedom of the Press 2013: Venezuela
Freedom on the Net 2013: Venezuela
Blog: Freedom at Issue