For some time now, those who hold power in Venezuela have been trying to impose four opinion matrices that are unfounded, but that are gaining strength in some circles, following that phrase attributed to Adolf Hitler’s campaign manager, Joseph Göbbels: “a lie repeated a thousand times becomes a truth”.
The lack of a basis for these matrices forces not only to refute them with data that allow the contradictions between discourse and practice to be evidenced. But also, and more importantly, it requires establishing yardsticks that allow evaluating the true political will of the government to make the changes a reality that, until now, remain mere appearances. Next, we will put the accent on the yardsticks to measure the reality of these supposed advances.
Venezuela was fixed
Fancy food shops (bodegones) with unaffordable prices for the majority of the population, illuminated highways in the only city that is not constantly hit by blackouts because it is the capital, are not signs of progress, but of increased privileges for a new elite. In a previous issue, we saw how the supposed indicators of improvement in the economy (oil extraction, economic growth and inflation) show figures that only reflect that the free fall seems to have decreased, but this does not imply a recovery.
A recent study by the economic consulting firm Anova on income distribution shows that Venezuela is facing the largest inequality gap in its history. That is why the yardstick of a country that has fixed itself should be focused on closing this gap, not on cosmetic fixes for the enjoyment of a few.
The government has allowed the installation of a presence of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) and, more recently, an office of the International Criminal Court (ICC). The establishment of these entities in Venezuela is shown as a sign of cooperation, as is the establishment of the National Tripartite Council, a body promoted by the International Labor Organization (ILO) to handle wage discussions.
The truth is that, in the case of the OHCHR, the government has not complied with the more than 60 recommendations made by this body and threatened to remove the OHCHR from the country when it considered that its reports were too critical by pointing out serious situations of violation of human rights. In addition, the access of the Independent International Fact-finding Mission (FFM) that investigates the situation of torture, arbitrary detentions, executions, and disappearances since 2014 has not been allowed. As for the table set up by the ILO, independent unions were excluded. The lack of cooperation with the ICC, beyond allowing the installation of an office, was manifested by Prosecutor Kahn himself when he stated that there is “no new information that justifies” postponing his investigation into the crimes that gave rise to this process.
On the other hand, although the volume of responses to communications issued by Special Procedures of the UN human rights protection system has increased, most of these responses remain formal, without promoting the search for effective solutions to the facts. denounced. Finally, a hostile attitude towards human rights organizations persists, maintaining a pattern of reprisals against defenders who collaborate with the United Nations system, as can be seen in the reports that the UN Secretary General issues each year on this matter; the most recent case is that of the lawsuit filed by the governor of the state of Carabobo against Marino Alvarado and the priest Alfredo Infante s.j. for their denunciations of extrajudicial executions in that state. To all of the above is added the denunciation of the American Convention on Human Rights and the open contempt of all the recommendations and judgments of the inter-American system.
A yardstick to measure genuine cooperation with international organizations must take into account: allowing the establishment of a robust and independent country office of the OHCHR, accepting the FFM access to Venezuelan territory, a standing invitation to Special Procedures, advance in the investigation and punishment of the high-ranking officials responsible for crimes against humanity and the return to the inter-American human rights system, as well as compliance with recommendations and sentences of the inter-American sphere and of the OHCHR itself.
In a following issue we will refer to two other fictions: the sanctions as guilty of the humanitarian crisis and the willingness to open a dialogue that allows the rescue of democracy.