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Manifesto on the Venezuelan Situation

Original text in Spanish

To the Greens family: 

  • Global Greens (GG)
  • African Green Federation (AGF)
  • Asia Pacific Greens Federation (APGF)
  • Federation of the Green Parties of the Americas (FPVA)
  • European Green Party (EGP)

Venezuela is experiencing a social, political and environmental crisis.  The country which was once the largest petroleum producer in the world and which had possessed the strongest currency in Latin America, today lacks staple foods and medicines, after depleting the over 900 billion dollar national budget surplus from oil exports.

The social and economic crises are caused by wrong policies and worsened by corruption in the national government led by the President Nicolas Maduro Moros.  The government used its control of monetary exchange to access foreign currency for personal and political gain rather than regulating for national well-being.  The government has disrespected law at all levels including constitutional and international agreements.

The Venezuelan government is also responsible for the destruction of its domestic food production, medicine equipment and many more basic needs of a society.  As a result, 70% of Venezuela’s economy now relies on imports.  Through this method of economic contraction, the government has sought to control the few foods and medicines remaining for its political gain by intentionally denying their opponents access to basic resources, and thereby violating Article 7 of the Rome Statutes of which Venezuela is a signatory, which recognises the deprivation of access to food and medicine as a crime against humanity.

In recent months protests against the lack of food and medicine have incrased to the point of communities across the country’s twenty-three states have resorted to pillaging local food shops and trucks.  The National Guard has responded with firearms to repress hungry citizens, causing the deaths of dozens and leaving hundreds injured, and in so doing increasing the Venezuelan government’s violation of human rights on a massive scale.

In the case of protests that we can see in hospitals and public clinics, every day children, adults and the elderly suffer and die from treatable conditions, such as epilepsy, due to lack of access to medicines.  

It is unfortunate knowing that in a population of 30 million inhabitants, last year approximately 27,500 Venezuelans have been lost to the hands of crime, in which the government has been totally ineffective in managing and has allowed criminals from within prisons to continue to participate in illicit drug business, extortion, kidnapping and hired killing among other violent crimes.

The political crisis in which we currently live is a scenario of contamination of the free exercise of democracy has been contaminated and criminalisation of peaceful protests.  During the 17 years of Chávez & Maduro government, they have taken control of the state's powers of executive, legislative, judicial and electoral to the point of eliminating public funding for political parties and the representation of minorities, to minise organised opposition to the government.

Through the "frontmen" of senior government officials, Chávez & Maduro have bought dozens of national and regional television channels, hundreds of radio stations and newspapers.  Given the government's hegemony of more than 90% of the media in the country and subjecting the remaining media to CONATEL (a bureaucratic state agency controlling media concessions) is preventing the media from conveying truthful and timely information as enshrined in the Venezuelan constitution.  

On January 5, 2016, the National Assembly for the first time was installed in the hands of the opposition who received nearly 70% of the national vote and gained a qualified majority of 112 Members of Parliament.  The Maduro government responded by removing the National Assembly’s power to make laws and used the Supreme Tribunal of Justice (TSJ), public authorities which should be autonomous but are loyal to the political project of the President of the Republic, used falsified evidence to divest three deputies, which reduced the opposition to 109 MPs (absolute majority).  As a result, in just six months the TSJ cancelled seventeen projects which has been approved by the National Assembly.  In recent days the President of the Republic and the TSJ have threatened the National Assembly with their autonomous power to dissolve the Assembly’s leadership and its ability to legislate. The government's hostile position promoted has motivated physical attacks on opposition MPs by a group armed and financed by the United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV), including wounding Julio Borges, the Head of the opposition bloc the Democratic Unity Roundtable (Mesa de la Unidad Democrática, MUD).

The crackdown on protests and political leaders over these 17 years has amounted to hundreds dead and thousands wounded and imprisoned (see videos in Annex 5). Today we see more than 94 political prisoners, including three former presidential candidates such as Leopoldo Lopez (party leader Voluntad Popular), Manuel Rosales (leader of the party Un Nuevo Tiempo) and Antonio Ledezma (current mayor and leader of the party Alianza al Bravo Pueblo) in addition to thousands of citizens who are facing trial for participating in peaceful protests, a right enshrined in our constitution and all international agreements.  

The environmental crisis we face today is caused in large part by Maduro’s government as well.  Emblematic cases include:

  • Lake Maracaibo has a surface area of 13,500km² (an area larger than Jamaica, Lebannon and Qatar) and is an called “Relámpago de Catatumbo” because it attracts 1,176,000 lighting strikes each year and generates up to 10% of the planet’s atmospheric ozone.  It is also an area with of one of the world’s richest oil deposits and has more than 15,000 wells drilling its basin since 1914.  Mismanagement of the Lake Maracaibo area by Petróleos de Venezuela (PDVSA) has led to contamination of its biodiversity due to constant oil spills.  Species such as herons, pelicans, alligators, shrimp, iguanas, catfish, grouper, mullet, freshwater fish, peacocks and dolphins have become endangered at this time (see Annex 1 photos).

  • Lake Valencia covers 3,150 km² and is a landlocked freshwater lake.  The area surrounding the lake is the country's largest industrial complex and along with the surrounding residential zones deposits untreated sewage into the lake.  This has contaminated this body of water and harmed the health of thousands of the more than 3 million inhabitants of Aragua and Carabobo states with the presence of coliform (intestinal bacteria) and heavy metals in the water they consume (see Annex 2 photos).

  •  Accumulation of coke and sulfur in the José Antonio Anzoátegui Petrochemical Complex.  Coke is a byproduct of the refinement of heavy oil (by the state petroleum company PDVSA) in the Orinoco Belt region.  It is estimated that over 400 million tons of coke (contains nickel and vanadium) have accumulated since 2006 in the open air, contravening international law which requires such waste to be disposed in confined spaces.  The sea breeze blows the micro-particles of the coke onto the nearby population of over one million habitants, who are suffering from health problems associated with heavy metals (and Anzoategui state having the highest rate of cancer per capita in the nation).  (see Annex 3 photos)

  • Arco Minero del Orinoco was named by the national government in decree no.2248 (Official Gazette No. 40.855 of 24/02/2016) which permits mining development in an area north of Bolivar State, touching a part of the Amazon and the Delta Amacuro, over an area of 111,843,70 km² (a surface area five times larger than El Salvador,Kuait and Israel, and three times larger than Belgium).  Mining grants will be awarded to some 150 mining companies from around the world.  This constitutes approximately 12% of Venezuela's national territory.  It is an area with high biodiversity and includes forests protected by reserves as in the case of Imataca, La Paragua, and Caura.  The territory at risk also includes natural monuments as in Guanay and basins protected by domestic and international law such as the Caroni basin of 96,000 km² which provides the largest reserves of fresh water in the country and generates 70% of the hydroelectric energy that feeds the Guri dam.  We consider this decree as an ecological crime comparable to that made by the former Soviety Union in the Aral Sea.  Illegal mining has spread throughout the Guri basin (a reservoir of 4,250 km²) and the National Park of Canaima.  The Ecological Movement of Venezuela rejects the start of the biggest ecocide in Venezuelan history and of the world for its potential destruction of ecosystems, biodiversity, and the livelihoods of ancient indigenous peoples living in the affected regions.
 
Petition to Greens around the world to:
  1. Provide political support for Venezuelan's democratic rights. We call on Greens in elected positions at all levels around the world to express your support in international organisations in which Venezuela belongs (the UN, OAS, UNASUR among others), through your foreign ministries, to visit the Venezuelan national parliament where we will show you the national situation and the debates in our congress and senate chambers.  All this political support must be focused on the goal to exhort the Venezuelan government to conduct a recall refrendum, our constitutional mechanism for consultation at the half-way point in the presidential term to ratify or annul the government's mandate, as expressed in Articles 71 and 72 of the Venezuelan Constitution; the national Executive in conjunction with national judiciary and national electoral authority have placed hundreds of obstacles to the enactment of a recall referendum which would provide the pepole a peaceful and constitutional way to decide their fate.  A referendum would be a first step towards the normalization of the economic, political, social and environmental development in Venezuela.  Following steps should develop sustainable public policy which encourage investment, productivity, and technological and human progress.
     
  2. Conduct learning exchange of experiences to promote the development of national, continental and global courts specialised in environmental crimes which can apply justice across borders.  In the case of the Americas, we ask the Organisation of American States model can be replicated on other continents and we ask the United Nations to list ecocide as an offense within the Rome statutes.
     
  3. Call on the Venezuelan national government to release all political prisoners immediately, to protect our ancestral indigenous peoples and to respect human rights as mandated by the Venezuelan constitution and the intenrational agreements which Venezuela has signed.
     
  4. be present in the recall referendum (possibly in October 2016) and early presidential elections (possibly in December 2016) as international observers.
 
 

Manuel Díaz                                                                 Alejandro Aguilera

Secretario General Nacional MOVEV                  Sub Secretario General Nacional MOVEV

Delegado por Venezuela ante FPVA                    Delegado por Venezuela ante FPVA

Móvil: +58 4149421970                                         Móvil: +58 4140935203

[email protected]                   [email protected]   

movev@hotmail.com       

                                               


C/c: President of the National Assembly of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, Dip. Henry Ramos.

Chairman of the Foreign Policy Committee of the National Assembly, Dip. Luis Florido.

Member of the ParlaSur Ramón López.

Annex 1

http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-cFSeItYA1sY/TuaGVjj218I/AAAAAAAABbo/eB-vJjHH4PE/s1600/Lago_5.jpg


http://www.aporrea.org/imagenes/2010/02/puente_sobre_el_lago_de_maracaibo.jpg

http://www.notiactual.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/08/247.jpghttp://www.ecologismo.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/06/Contaminaci%C3%B3n-de-Lago-de-Maracaibo-Venezuela.jpg


Annex 2

http://cdn.eluniversal.com/2012/04/15/11428074_copia.520.360.jpg
http://www.el-nacional.com/regiones/Lago-Valencia-Foto-Mariana-Rojas_NACIMA20120909_0302_6.jpghttps://assets.araguavirtual.com/img/autores/a29fa24e26995a33b59c81340f47659f28b95bfc.jpg

Annex 3

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Annex 4

https://3.bp.blogspot.com/-llm6t200aUg/V1K3cACa8tI/AAAAAAAAQSc/qpT4Pd-LV24zRm93ZFa9hKJDrQ6LrCKPQCLcB/s640/osorio-pide-amparo-judicial-contra-arco-minero-contaminacion-mercurio2.jpg

https://1.bp.blogspot.com/-YBebRKOKpXo/Vuslc3p8uUI/AAAAAAAACw4/sDEtXm6SU7oxBPZl4cXaLm0UXgKg6uKEQ/s1600/88060mina.jpg


http://laboratoriosdepaz.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/CdZ303IXIAASnxz.jpg
https://4.bp.blogspot.com/-56J1YMK4KXo/VuCFE3ethpI/AAAAAAAANoI/0vB2gnmYhgk/s1600/Miner%25C3%25ADaIlegal.jpg

Annex 5

Links about the social crisis

Violation human rights in Venezuela (subtitulado): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dtcEmKWrk4M

Venezuela: Images of a country on the brink of collapse: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KQlQlLU2Tew

Why is Venezuela in crisis: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A3WsC-NJW-8 

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