Yesterday a group favoring the Venezuelan opposition published a subtitled video on YouTube showing video footage of National Guard and militia allegedly attacking a residential complex in Maracaibo on March 27. The footage, according to the group, was originally broadcast in Spanish by Noticias TV Venezuela.
The video was also accompanied by an Amnesty International post, which states the following:
“The country runs the risk of descending into a spiral of violence unless steps are taken to bring the conflicting parties around the table. This can only happen if both sides fully respect human rights and the rule of law. Unless this happens, the death toll will continue to rise with ordinary people bearing the brunt,” said Erika Guevara Rosas, Americas Director at Amnesty International.
So far 37 people have lost their lives and more than 550 have been injured including at least 120 through the use of firearms. According to figures released by the Office of the Attorney General on 27 March 2,157 have been detained during the protests. The vast majority has been released but continue to face charges.
According to allegations received by Amnesty International, the country’s security forces have resorted to the excessive use of force, including the use of live fire, and even torture when dealing with protesters.
The report also documents human rights abuses committed by pro-government groups, protesters and unidentified individuals.
“All allegations of human rights violations and abuses have to be promptly and thoroughly investigated and the perpetrators brought to justice,” said Erika Guevara Rosas.
“The political crisis risks undermining any progress made in recent years in standing up for the rights of those most marginalized in the country.”
Amnesty International is calling on the Venezuelan government to commit to a Human Rights National Plan. This plan should be the result of a national dialogue and include all parties and civil society.
The post also links to a full PDF report in Spanish.
On March 28, President Nicolás Maduro reportedly agreed to having outside mediators negotiation with his government and the country’s opposition. Yesterday, according to Reuters, the Venezuelan military blocked an opposition leader from Parliament:
Venezuelan troops dispersed opposition demonstrators with tear gas on Tuesday and blocked anti-government activist María Corina Machado, recently stripped of her seat in the National Assembly, from reaching the legislature.
National Guard soldiers surrounded a rally of opposition sympathizers who had planned to march into downtown Caracas to protest at Machado’s expulsion from Congress, preventing them from leaving and clearing the square with tear gas.
Parliament stripped Machado of her post last week on charges she violated the constitution by accepting an invitation from Panama to speak against the government of President Nicolás Maduro at a meeting of the Organization of American States.