Urgent Action outcome: Monitoring of threats to lawmakers continues
Venezuelan National Assembly opposition members, as well as their families and staff, continue being subjected to threats and attacks from Maduro’s government. During the COVID-19-related state of emergency, attacks against political dissidents have not stopped. After more than six months of continued threats, we no longer consider an urgent action to be the most effective tool to diminish these risks. Amnesty International will continue to monitor the cases of arbitrary detainees such as Juan Requesens, Gilber Caro, and Renzo Prieto and react to new developments.
NO FURTHER ACTION IS REQUESTED. MANY THANKS TO ALL WHO SENT APPEALS.
President Nicolas Maduro and his government continue to intimidate, harass, physically abuse, arbitrarily detain and forcibly disappear opposition lawmakers trying to quell political dissent. Opposition members have fled Venezuela in recent years, and at least two (Freddy Guevara and Roberto Enriquez) have sought the protection of foreign embassies.
Family members and staff of opposition lawmakers have also been targeted. Juan José Márquez, uncle of National Assembly President Juan Guaidó, was arbitrarily detained from 11 February 2020 until 2 June 2020. Roberto Marrero, Juan Guaidó’s chief of staff, was detained on 21 March 2019. Maury Carrero, former colleague of Guaidó’s advisor, and Demóstenes Quijada, advisor to Guaidó, were both arbitrarily detained by Special Actions Forces (FAES) on 2 April 2020. Marrero, Carrero, and Quijada remain in detention. Vicente Borjas, a member of Guaidó’s team, was detained on 29 May 2020 with his wife and children. They were released the following day. At least 10 other individuals connected to National Assembly members have been detained in recent months.
Amnesty International also expresses its profound concern for the safety and due process rights of National Assembly members who remain detained, including:
• Juan Requesens, detained on 7 August 2018, reportedly held incommunicado since February 2020. His representatives allege that he has been subjected to torture.
• Gilber Caro, detained on 20 December 2019 and forcibly disappeared for a month. Officials have yet to clarify his situation. This is Caro’s third arbitrary detention.
• Renzo Prieto, arbitrarily detained on 10 March 2020 and forbidden contact with his family members. He spent almost four years (2014-2018) arbitrarily detained.
• Tony Geara, detained on 14 March 2020, charged with arms and munitions trafficking, among other charges.
Amnesty International and others have condemned the lack of judicial independence in Venezuela. In late June and early July 2020, the Tribunal Supremo de Justicia – Venezuela’s highest court – suspended the board of directors of three opposition parties (Primero Justicia, Acción Democrática, and Voluntad Popular) and named new ad hoc leadership for all three. Furthermore, the Attorney General issued on 3 July 2020 arrest warrants for 11 individuals working for National Assembly President Juan Guaidó.
After more than six months of continuous threats and attacks, we no longer consider an urgent action to be the most effective tool to diminish these risks. Instead, we will continue monitoring and reacting to developments on this issue. We are incredibly grateful for the work of our activists.