After last week’s decision by the Supreme Court of Venezuela to take over legislative power from the National Assembly, where the democratic forces hold a majority, the situation in the country has remained tense. The court has reversed parts of the plan, but police officers and soldiers have harassed and attacked protesters against President Maduro. (more…)

venezuelaseminarium-01

On December 1, the Jarl Hjalmarson Foundation hosted the lunch seminar Venezuela – When will Maduro give way to democracy? The panel that discussed the developments in Venezuela included Carlos Eduardo Berrizbeitia, MP (Venezuela), Chairman, Special Committee to Investigate the appointment of judges to the Supreme Court and José Ramón García Hernández, MP (Spain), Parliamentary Spokesman for Foreign Affairs, Partido Popular. The seminar was moderated by Christian Holm Barenfeld, MP and member of the Swedish Delegation to the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly. (more…)

“As Venezuela continues to spiral into political and economic disarray, access to phone calls and even websites abroad is under threat as operators can’t get hold of dollars and inflation is so high they don’t know how to price service. (…) President Nicolás Maduro then blocked companies from further increasing prices – and told telcos on Monday to sort the situation out or sell their business to the government if they are unable to do so – but the current reality is that phone and Internet services can only be afforded by a few.”

Read more at ZDNet

  • The elections will be held on 6th of December.
  • García-Hernández, “the Venezuelan people will be able to democratically choose what they want for Venezuela.”
  • 80 Venezuelan political opponents are on hunger strike demanding the holding of the elections.

Partido Popular welcomed the announcement of the President of the National Electoral Council of Venezuela, Tibisay Lucena, where it is reported to the call for parliamentary elections next 6th of December. The International Secretary of Partido Popular, José Ramón García-Hernández, said that the holding of these elections, “the Venezuelan people will be able to democratically choose what they want for Venezuela, to be protagonists of their future and defend their rights and freedoms at polls”.

With the holding of parliamentary elections in Venezuela, is achieved one of the demands of the more than 80 Venezuelan political opponents on hunger strikers, who also asked that these elections must be holded with electoral observators from the European Union and the Organization of American States (OAS); and the release of all political prisoners. However, yesterday the possibility of election observers was closed, only allowing the presence of the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR).

For García-Hernández, it is essential that “these elections will be held in a climate of freedom and respect, with maximum transparency and democratic rigor”, “the Venezuelan people deserve a democracy based on scrupulous respect for their rights and freedoms with the participation of all sectors of Venezuelan society “,” the opposition must be respected as part of the democratic game, as defenders of request from many Venezuelan citizens “. He has also encouraged the Venezuelan opposition, “which represents the desire of many citizens who believe in the possibility of change and get what Venezuela and the Venezuelans deserve.”

The nominations of candidates will be held from 3rd to 7th of August and then the campaign will take place between 13th of November and the 3rd rd of December.

Legislative elections will be held in Venezuela later this year, on December 6. The coalition of democrat opposition parties has grown stronger in recent opinion polls. After the announcement, the jailed opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez decided to end his hunger strike, after 30 days. In a letter read by his wife Lilian Tintori, he wrote that “Hunger strikes are a method of resistance. We lift the strike but the fight continues.”

Read more

According to the Miami Herald, who quotes U.S. assistant secretary of state for Western Hemisphere Affairs, there will be an interaction between the U.S. president Barack Obama and Raúl Castro at the Panama Summit. She says further that it will be an important handshake in the ongoing process of trying to renew U.S.-Cuban relations. Human rights advocates fear however that any recognition of Castro will lend the rough nation legitimacy internationally, undermining the struggle of political dissidents on the island.

Read more at Miami Herald here

June 12, Yris Tamara Pérez and Jorge Luis García Pérez, significant leaders of the Cuban resistance movement, are now together with other important leaders under arrest after a nightly raid led by Cuban authorities against dissidents, The Miami Herald’s Juan Tamayo reports. Mr and Mrs Pérez guested as late as in October a seminar hosted by the Jarl Hjalmarson Foundation in Stockholm on Human Rights on Cuba.

Read a summary on the arrests here by John Suarez

Oppositionspartiet ARENAs ungdomsförbund håller presskonferens om censuren

Press conference at the youth organization of the opposition party ARENA on the censorship

El Salvador’s election commission has decided to censor a campaign video from the opposition party ARENA’s youth organization prior to the presidential election on March 9, between Vice President Salvador Sanchez Ceren, from the leftist FMLN and his opponent Norman Quijano, Mayor of San Salvador. (more…)

Protester i Venezuela

Protests in Venezuela

Two weeks in, the protests continue in Venezuela, challenging the country’s socialist government.

In an appearance this weekend, the country’s First Lady Cilia Flores stated at a counter-demonstration that “Venezuela is not Ukraine” and referred to the protesters as “right-wing fascists.”

During the Monday, the opposition’s Henrique Capriles, along with other local leaders, is scheduled to meet with President Maduro, who has stated that “only by defeating the opposition can Venezuela have peace.”

Leopold López, leader of the opposition party Voluntad Popular, is imprisoned and charged by Venezuelan prosecutors with arson and conspiracy, punishable by up to 10 years in jail.

López, who is held in a militarty prison, was arrested by the Venezuelan authorities February 18 at a protest march, from Plaza Venezuela in eastern Caracas, to the Justice Department on Urdaneta Avenue in downtown Caracas, where the demonstrators demanded the release of students arrested by the regime during recent days and that the responsibles for the deaths on February 12 should be held accountable. The Venezuelan authorities had already issued a warrant against López and during the Monday, government troops conducted a raid against the opposition party’s office. Lopez is a former Mayor of Chacao, Caracas, but since 2011 forbidden to hold political office, most likely because the late President Hugo Chávez saw him as a threat.

Wednesday, a young woman died after being shut in the head during protests in Valencia, Carabobo.

Students in Venezuela have during the past 7 days been demonstrating for a better life in a country characterized by inflation and political repression. Sunday, President Nicolás Maduro referred to the students as facsists which he intends to defeat. At the same time, he expelled three U.S. diplomats after the State Department expressed concerns about the violence and political persecution in the country.

Read more about the developments in the country here

The development in Venezuela is deeply disturbing and reminiscent in its rawness and brutality of what is simultaneously taking place in Ukraine, with the government attacking peaceful protesters.

Protests in Venezuela on February 18

Protests in Venezuela, February 18

Three people have so far been killed, hundreds injured and arrested as the regime’s brutality gets rougher. The Venezuelan mass demonstrations began as an initiative by young people and students. In recent days, more and more people have joined.

What is happening in Venezuela is extremely worrying. The violations of basic human rights and freedom of the press are unacceptable. The closing of churches and cancellation of the Sunday mass is a violation of religious freedom. The world must send a clear signal to the Venezuelan President and government that these acts can not be tolerated.

The Venezuelan economy has since President Maduro took office deteriorated greatly. Inflation is sky high, ordinary people find it difficult to acquire basic goods as the government uses its oil money to buy weapons and provide financial assistance to countries as Cuba and Nicaragua. Today, Venezuela imports oil to fill its own energy supply.

People are starving and their ability to survive the day is getting tougher. It is therefore quite natural that people choose to take to the streets to protest against the economic injustice and lack of democracy.

The regime’s response is increased brutality and violence. The violence against demonstrators is unacceptable and a violation of basic human rights.

The world can no longer ignore what is happening in Venezuela. We must demand an immediate stop to the regime’s violence as well as freedom for the protesters, opposition politicians, business owners and others who are now under arrest.

Christian Holm, MP
Board member, Jarl Hjalmarson Foundation