For more than a year, several Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) have denounced harassment and persecution by the Nicolas Maduro regime. Searches of their headquarters, detention of their members, and freezing of accounts are some of the actions carried out by State authorities to obstruct the work carried out by these organizations.
The threats have been recorded since 2015, but the attacks began, in earnest, in 2020. In February 2020, Diosdado Cabello said the regime would review the laws about the financing of NGOs. The number two of the Chavismo also proposed sanctions for organizations that receive support from the United States. In December 2020, he again referred to NGOs by asserting that the opposition hides money in its accounts.
In El Pitazo, we summarized the allegations of harassment by NGOs and human rights activists in the country since 2020.
The first harassment of an NGO in 2020 was registered on January 14 against Prepara Familia, an organization dedicated to face the humanitarian crisis in the country since 2018.
That day, officials from the Bolivarian National Police (PNB) raided the collection center, trying to confiscate supplies and donations that the foundation receives for mothers and children from different pediatric centers in the country, including the JM de Los Rios Children’s Hospital.
Rescate Venezuela. (Rescue Venezuela)
The NGO Rescate Venezuela is an organization re-launched with the support of opposition figure Lilian Tintori, wife of political leader Leopoldo López, in 2017 to assist vulnerable populations with health, nutrition, hygiene, and prevention activities. On January 22, 2020, this NGO denounced that State security forces raided one of its headquarters and stole medical products, food, and clothing, among other elements.
Accion Solidaria (Solidarity Action)
The NGO Accion Solidaria is an organization dedicated to helping people with HIV through the collection of supplies. On September 7, the special forces of the National Police, the FAES, raided their offices.
FAES broke into the Accion Solidaria headquarters and arrested seven of its workers. The director, Feliciano Reyna, explained that the detained people are part of the Humanitarian Action program, which coordinates actions with the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), and other organizations.
Alimenta La Solidaridad and Caracas Mi Convive
Alimenta la Solidaridad aims to help Venezuelans suffering from alimentary insecurity of those that do not have enough to eat amid a hyperinflation-addled humanitarian crisis. That is 96% of Venezuelans, according to the ENCOVI poll. Or 8% of the population, according to the Maduro regime.
Founded in 2016 with its first soup kitchen in La Vega, Caracas Alimenta la Solidaridad and sister NGO Caracas Mi Convive were created by Roberto Patiño, a jovial engineer. Both NGOs were raided on November 25, as well as the home of Patiño’s parents. The following day, the Superintendence of the Banking Sector Institutions (Sudeban) froze all connected accounts, an action that affects the 25,000 children who are no longer being fed in its many soup kitchens.
The NGO Convite (Invitation) is an organization that works with humanitarian aid and solidarity for some of the neediest: the elderly. On Tuesday, December 15, the organization denounced the raid of its headquarters in Caracas, again by FAES who took the NGO’s equipment and detained its general director, Luis Francisco Cabeza, after presenting an order accusing him of “financing terrorism.”
Azul Positivo (Positive Blue)
The NGO Azul Positivo has been operating since 2004 to offer information and accompaniment about HIV and other sexually transmitted infections. In 2006 it was formally registered, and since then, it has been developing community projects.
On January 12, officers from the military counterintelligence agency visited the headquarters to intervened and carried out an administrative procedure. Six members of the NGO were arrested and remain in custody.