The human rights NGO Human Rights Watch crossed the Argentine government for its decision to normalize diplomatic relations with the government of Nicolás Maduro in Venezuela. It is in particular a sentence of the presidential spokesperson, Gabriela Cerruti, which provoked the indignation of Tamarra Taraciuk, the person in charge of HRW for the Americas.
Cerruti said at his weekly press conference that “obviously the situation in Venezuela is changing.” “Recently there were elections in some constituencies where the government (of Nicolás Maduro) lost. Difficult to speak of a country where democracy does not exist when the ruling party loses the elections,” added the spokesperson.
“This week, Alberto Fernández said that in Venezuela the problems had dissipated. Recently, spokesperson Gabriela Cerruti came to talk about democracy. What planet do you live on? ,” Taraciuk asked in a Twitter thread.
In his thread, Taraciuk listed a series of data and reports from his organization to prove that the problems in Venezuela have not “dissipated”, as Fernández put it:
- “Independent UN experts have documented that Venezuelan justice not only fails to investigate crimes and abuses, but is complicit in them;
- The ICC Office of the Prosecutor is conducting an ongoing investigation into possible crimes against humanity;
- Security forces have committed serious abuses and recently operated in collaboration with the ELN on the border with Colombia;
- In Venezuela, there are today more than 240 political prisoners;
- The humanitarian emergency, which is not due to a natural disaster but largely to the policies of the regime, makes it difficult for millions of Venezuelans to have access to health and food. A third of Venezuelans today suffer from food insecurity;
- The exodus of around 6 million Venezuelans, who represent 20% of the population, will continue to increase until the situation in the country improves. UNHCR predicts it will reach 8.9 million by the end of 2022.”
Taraciuk also criticized the president for saying that Venezuela was “moving forward in its electoral process”. “The biggest breakthrough was allowing the European Union to observe the November 2021 elections for the first time in 15 years. The preliminary report of the mission was so pithy that they were expelled from the country,” he retorted.
Alberto Fernández said he wanted to ‘recover all his diplomatic ties’ with Venezuela
This week, during the official visit to Buenos Aires by the Ecuadorian President, Guillermo Lasso, the Argentine President announced the decision to “find a full diplomatic linkwith Caracas and then launched the invitation to act in the same way to the other governments of the region.
“We believe that It’s time to help Venezuela so that, in dialogue, it fully regains its normal functioning as a country and as a society. We will not achieve this if we leave him alone, without ambassadors and without our attention,” the Argentine president said in a joint press conference with Lasso.
“Latin America must unite and accompany. On the issue of Venezuela, it is not by excluding them, by punishing them, how this will be resolved, but by sitting them at a table of negotiation and mutual cooperation so that we can all strive for the common good,” said Cerruti on Thursday about the government’s position.
Other organizations have criticized Fernández for his policy with Venezuela
HRW was not the only organization to criticize the government. Amnesty International sent him a letter to Alberto Fernandez with tough questions.
“The Venezuelan judicial system, far from punishing human rights violations, has served as a tool to commit them. Faced with this reality, his recent statements are extremely worrying“, Detained Mariela Belskiexecutive director of Amnesty International Argentina.
Belski pointed out in his letter that, for the first time in history, the Argentina chairs during this year 2022 the human rights council of the United Nations and urged the government to “redouble its efforts to demand that the government of Venezuela end the policy of repression; which allows human rights defenders to carry out their work in safety; to allow full and unrestricted access to the fact-finding mission without further delay, and to invite the special rapporteurs on extrajudicial executions and on torture and the Working Group on Arbitrary Detentions, to visit the country”.
Fernández’s statements were also rejected by the Venezuelan opposition, in particular by the self-proclaimed interim president Juan Guaidó, who on his Twitter account asked the Argentine president that “if you want to help Venezuela, demand with us free and rights, and justice “for the victims of human rights violations”, to the following sentence: “Denying the dictatorship does not help Venezuelans”.