Menu Close

Pre-election perspectives eight weeks from now

On this occasion we share the Chronology of the presidential elections from May 16 to 31, 2024, prepared by Acceso a la Justicia, complemented with some of our own reflections on the consequences of some of these events.

In the last 15 days of May, various actions of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) were recorded with respect to various points on the Venezuelan electoral issue. On May 16, the Office of the Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression of the IACHR (RELE) denounced the increase in repression against civil society and the continuous deterioration of civic space in the country.  Among other events, he spoke out against the arrest and search warrants, as well as the initiation of criminal investigations directed against at least 7 journalists and communicators, along with political activists, social leaders and defenders.  “These events are part of the current electoral period in Venezuela and are part of a new repressive wave against freedom of expression in the country,” says RELE.

On May 17, the IACHR reported on the referral of the case of the indigenous deputies of the state of Amazonas, Julio Ygraza, Nirma Guarulla and Romel Guzamana to the Inter-American Court of Human Rights. The deputies were elected by popular vote in the 2015 parliamentary elections, and were removed from their positions by the Supreme Court of Justice (TSJ).

On May 23, the IACHR recognized national and international electoral observers as human rights defenders, due to the direct relationship between the protection of rights and the defense of democracy. Resolution No. 01/2024 highlights the importance of the role of human rights defenders who make various determinations and observations related to the defense of civil and political rights.

On the other hand, the National Electoral Council revoked the invitation to the European Union (EU) to observe the presidential elections on July 28. The electoral body excused itself from ratifying international sanctions that do not affect the president of the electoral body.

On May 28, through a press release, the EU expressed its discomfort regarding the decision that the CNE adopted to withdraw its invitation to observe the presidential elections of July 28 and asked the CNE to reconsider its decision based on the agreements from Barbados.

The next day, the president of the CNE, Elvis Amoroso, repudiated the “insolent statement” from the EU. For the electoral referee, the statement “issues considerations that are the exclusive responsibility of Venezuelans, becoming a new interventionist act that seeks to interfere in the decisions of the CNE.” He also confirmed that as long as the EU does not lift the “totality” of the sanctions, its presence in any electoral process in the country will not be “welcome.” He even asked that they “cease their hostility, the siege and interventionism they exert on our homeland Venezuela.”

Two days after the EU announcement, the Colombian Foreign Ministry announced that it will not send observers to the Venezuelan elections due to lack of time to organize it, after having had conversations with the EU and with Brazil, a country that also reported that it will not send an observer mission, also alleging lack of time to organize it.

The fact that the two countries that had raised the option of a popular consultation on the guarantees for the winners and losers of the July 28 elections now abstain from participating as observers, raises questions about the effective holding of such consultation. Without a doubt, both Brazil and Colombia have shown concern, as well as willingness to propose options that allow an electoral process to be carried out with minimum guarantees, but their own proposals have been rejected by the most extremist sectors of Chavismo, so their viability seems diluted.

It remains to be seen whether, in this new scenario, the UN and the Carter Center are willing to move forward with their observation plans, and whether the government, through the CNE under its control, allows their presence in the country under acceptable access conditions for an independent observation.

The international community must demand that any observation of the July 28 elections be carried out in accordance with criteria of freedom of access and independence of the observers, including the right to issue their conclusions and recommendations on the observation publicly. Those who have been prevented from attending the electoral event or have decided not to participate, continue to have a responsibility to monitor, by all means at their disposal, what happens during the campaign, on election day and the following days, and also broadcast their informed and independent conclusions and recommendations about the process.