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30.1.2020: Update

In mid-January, representative to the National Assembly Gilber Caro was finally allowed visits by his family and lawyers, while journalist Victor Ugas and other staff of the National Assembly were released from custody.

They were both arrested in December and were forcibly disappeared for almost a month. Our urgent action was timely and well received, together with a press release condemning the attacks against the National Assembly. We encourage you to continue sending your appeals and the risk for other representatives continues.


Opposition members at high risk of attack

AI-Index: AMR 53/1639/2020

Renewed attacks on representatives and staff linked to opposition parties in Venezuela’s National Assembly began on 20 December 2019. Following events on 5 January 2020, there are serious concerns about the risk of arbitrary detention and other grave human rights violations for all other representatives. This is not the first time that President Nicolas Maduro and his government have intimidated, harassed, physically abused, arbitrarily detained and forcibly disappeared National Assembly representatives and staff in an attempt to silence political dissent.


On 5 January 2020, the Venezuelan National Assembly was electing its new board for the new year. This election was held in the context of a policy of repression through which Maduro’s authorities harassed, intimidated, and arbitrary detained National Assembly staff and representatives, as an attempt to hinder civil and political rights.

Amnesty International recently learned of what may amount to the forced disappearance of representative Gilber Caro and Víctor Ugas, both of whom were arrested by alleged state agents on 20 December 2019. While both were presented before a judge, the authorities have denied their relatives any information about their whereabouts.

Smear campaigns and threats against members of the opposition, including against representative Delsa Solórzano, are some examples that add to the persistent harassment and intimidation of opposition representatives and staff of the National Assembly who have been arbitrarily detained. In recent years, dozens of opposition members have been forced to flee the country and request asylum in the face of threats they have received from the Maduro government.

In last year’s report, Hunger for Justice: Crimes against Humanity in Venezuela, Amnesty International concluded that the selective extrajudicial executions, arbitrary detentions, and deaths and injuries caused by the excessive use of force by Nicolás Maduro’s government as part of a systematic and widespread policy of repression since at least 2017 may constitute crimes against humanity.

Since 2014 Venezuelans have fled in unprecedented numbers in search of safety and a dignified future abroad. By December 2019, an estimated 4.8 million had fled the country1 and it is believed that this figure will reach 5.5 million in 2020.

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