By Carlos Camacho.
The Organization of American States is blaming the Nicolas Maduro regime for an unprecedented surge in repression and political violence in Venezuela that left more than 18,000 murders, 15,500 arbitrary detentions, and at least 650 documented cases of torture from 2014 to the present.
The Spanish ABC newspaper published the report prepared by the OAS Special Advisor on the Responsibility to Protect (R2P), Jared Genser, and the Secretary-General of the OAS Luis Almagro. The inform warning that crimes against humanity are still committed in Venezuela by a regime that is now preparing to take control of the legislative power through elections that lack transparency and are rejected by the international community.
The report also blasts the International Criminal Court, saying that the instance is “not doing its job to face the humanitarian crisis in the Caribbean country, the worst in the history of the continent.” Added that the late action of the court emboldens Maduro into committing more crimes, engineering fraudulent votes. The United Nations is also investigating Maduro and has accused him in 2019, and again, in 2020 of crimes against humanity.
The Prosecutor of the Criminal Court, Fatou Bensouda, initiated an investigation into the situation in Venezuela on her initiative in February 2018 and was supported by Argentina, Canada, Colombia, Chile, Paraguay, and Peru. Also, Bensouda warned regime representative Tarek William Saab in person last month that the ICC inquiries on Venezuela were going to continue as the court had found bases to believe that crimes against humanity had carried out by the Maduro regime.
The report states that “the slowness of the review seems indifferent to the widespread, serious, and devastating crimes committed. As a consequence, the regime feels embolden to commit more crimes, under the impression that it can act with total impunity.”
Operate with impunity
After the report was made public, Secretary Almagro said: “The Venezuelan regime has been allowed to operate with impunity. Every day of inaction by the international community increases the suffering of the Venezuelan people. We call on the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court to act and show the world that crimes against humanity will not go unpunished.”
Report author Genser stated: “Our report gives life to the extraordinary suffering of the Venezuelan people, inflicted by Nicolas Maduro and his regime. The only reasonable conclusion after examining the scale and scope of human rights abuses, such as extrajudicial executions, arbitrary detentions, and the imposition of living conditions which cause suffering or death, is that these actions constitute crimes against humanity.”
According to this analysis, the Maduro regime continues to impose repressive measures against dissidents and to attack opponents with other traditional methods: excessive force, arbitrary detentions, torture, and extrajudicial executions. “There are countless cases of victims and thousands of deaths, and the specter of widespread starvation is growing,” says Genser, a respected US human rights lawyer.
And he put a salvo for Bensouda and ICC, adding: “It is, therefore, both inexplicable and shocking that, after almost three years examining the situation, Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda has not opened an investigation into the alleged crimes.”
Control through hunger
One of the conclusions of this detailed study is that for the Maduro regime, hunger and health care are methods of controlling the population and annihilating the opponents.
“Hundreds of thousands, even millions of Venezuelans, are being persecuted as a result of the intentional and organized policies of the regime to deny food and health care to its real or imagined opponents,” writes Genser, who is presenting that same report at OAS headquarters this Wednesday.
Genser affirms that “the situation in Venezuela continues to be dire. Poverty, hyperinflation, enormous shortages, and disease are on the rise, and the country is facing severe shortages. In recent years, there has been a dizzying increase in the number of Venezuelan refugees and migrants fleeing the crisis.” In October 2020, the OAS estimated the number of Venezuelan refugees at 5.5 million, making them one of the largest groups of displaced populations in the world.