This post is also available in: Español (Spanish)
The people of Venezuela demonstrated last Sunday to President Nicolas Maduro on a massive basis, that it is not possible to solve the economic and institutional disaster that the country is experiencing, if it is not through a dialogued solution which is bound the respect to the legality. More than 7.5 million people overcome the fear of violence and turned the streets into a demonstration against the regime, it is a clear signal of the moment that is crossed. The opposition to Maduro announced the creation of a parallel government of National Unity and a general strike that is being held today and is paralyzing the country.
Unfortunately, two other fatalities which fell near a polling station by paramilitary squad shots, were counted. These operate usually in the surroundings of the Chavismo. The two-dead people are close to the already 100 dead, since the start of the daily protests Maduro and his government, given their decision to convene elections to create an assembly which, given the system of nomination, would be completely docile to the current rulers and would end in a definitive way with any hint of democracy.
Meanwhile, it has been a relieve to acknowledge that a hundred Colombian and Colombian congressmen have presented this week before the International Criminal Court based in The Hague, a complaint against Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro. The Hague Court judges’ crimes which affect the international community: genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity.
The brief, directed to the prosecutor Fatou Bensouda, is based on reports from international organizations, including United Nations agencies, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, reports of several NGOs and official information from Venezuela itself. This report provides evidence which accuse Hugo Chavez’s successor of being a participant in serious violations of international law already since 2008, when Maduro was Foreign Affairs Minister of the Chavez government. It is also crediting more specific crimes against the International Law since it was elected in 2013. The initiative has been supported by representatives of all political backgrounds and colours, and seeks to have The Hague Prosecutor’s Office first opening an observation in Venezuela. Venezuela signed the Rome Statute in 1998 and therefore accepts the jurisdiction of the ICC.
There are eight accusations made by the complaint: First, the crime of murder by direct and indirect instigation: “Between the years 2013 and 2017, people have been killed in Venezuela who expresses themselves in concrete situations, or through the exercise of their human rights, against policies, measures or omissions, attributable to the Venezuelan government.” Secondly, the complainants charge him with “an imposition of certain conditions of life, including deprivation of access to food or medicine, with the intention of causing the destruction of part of a population.” A crime which qualifies as extermination, and that they understand as “closely related to the genocide, since both are directed against a large number of people.”
Thirdly, deportation or forced transfer of population, coming to use physical force or through threats. The other charges included in the 56-page brief, without including the probationary documents provided for the trial, are incarceration of opponents; Torture; Persecution of a group or collective with own identity, about the critics with the Chavismo; Forced disappearance of persons and even the crime of apartheid, i.e. inhuman acts committed in the context of an institutionalized system of oppression against a part of the population.
The institutional and humanitarian crisis that Venezuela is undergoing, was intensified when the Supreme Court of Justice suspended at the end of March, arbitrarily and in a dictatorship style, which is what practically Venezuela currently is, the powers of Parliament, ruled by the opposition majority. That parliament was the result of the last occasion in which the real democracy was exercised in Venezuela. The decision sparked a wave of protests which has not yet stopped. In the last three and a half months, about one hundred people have died, the pressure from the international community has increased, the Chavismo is divided, the once Chavista Attorney General, Luisa Ortega Diaz, has become a symbol of the resistance to the government. But Maduro is not willing to give up the elections for a National Constituent Assembly, convened for July 30th with arbitrary rules of the game which, previously devised and organized by the Cuban intelligence, favour the government. Everything happening in Venezuela has origin and intelligence in Havana. And Venezuela will become another Cuba if Maduro is not stopped.
Because of the curse of the events currently happening in Venezuela, I also hope that they will force the Prosecutor of the ICC to put Venezuela under observation. The second objective is for the prosecution to open a formal investigation into Nicolas Maduro. The governments of Latin America have remained in multilateral forms of condemnation, but none have taken any action to end the situation, in fact some countries have supported Maduro, see Cuba, Nicaragua, Bolivia, Argentina during the government of the Kirchner, or Ecuador.
The world must let Maduro know that if he continues, his regime will suffer international sanctions. The Venezuelan people should not be the only ones who pay for the broken dishes. As the singer and politician Ruben Blades recently said in Madrid, Venezuela will never forget!