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Political Prisoners in Venezuela
Newsletter Nº 185
February 20, 2018

"Venezuela Aid Live": music rises to help the Venezuelan people

February 18, 2019 

The border between Venezuela and Colombia will be the location where the concert "Venezuela Aid Live" will take place on February 22nd. This event aims to collect financial aid to fight the humanitarian crisis that the citizens of that country are experiencing.

The company that organized the event confirmed that it will be free and will take place outdoors in Cucuta. This initiative tries to collect $ 100 million and reopen the Venezuelan border so that humanitarian assistance can finally reach the millions of people who need it most.

The event emerged from the British entrepreneur Richard Branson's initiative, founder of the Virgin Group brand. The invitation to the artists was made through a video.

Branson said in an interview with The Associated Press that 300,000 people are expected to attend the concert on Colombia's border with Venezuela. Read more

10 things you need to know about Venezuela’s human rights crisis

February 18, 2019 

The human rights crisis that has engulfed Venezuela for the past few years has shattered the lives of millions of people. Here’s what you need to know:

1 - Excessive use of force

Much of the current unrest in Venezuela can be traced back to 29 March 2017, when the Supreme Court of Justice - backed by President Nicolás Maduro - moved to take over the National Assembly, where the opposition holds a majority. This triggered protests that were repressed by the Maduro administration with the unlawful and disproportionate use of force. Between April and July 2017, more than 120 people were killed, around 1,958 were injured and more than 5,000 were detained amid mass protests.

2 - Mass protests

In 2018 there were 12,715 protests across the country, according to the Venezuelan Observatory of Social Conflict. These have continued in 2019 after President of the National Assembly Juan Guaidó called for mass demonstrations against Maduro. Read more

'Allow in aid. That's an order': Venezuela opposition leader sets army deadline for food and medicine

February 13, 2019 

Venezuela's opposition leader Juan Guaido told tens of thousands of supporters on Tuesday that desperately-needed humanitarian aid would be brought into the country on February 23, despite opposition from President Nicolas Maduro.

"It's sure that the humanitarian aid will enter Venezuela because the usurper will have no choice but to leave Venezuela," said self-proclaimed acting president Guaido.

US aid has been piling up in Colombia at the border with crisis-hit Venezuela but until now the bridge border crossing has been barricaded by the military, under Maduro's orders.

"We have almost 300,000 Venezuelans who will die if the aid doesn't enter. There are almost two million at health risk," said Guaido, recogniSed by 50 countries after declaring himself as Venezuela's interim leader. Read more

Venezuela Must Release Leopoldo López and all political prisoners 

PRESS RELEASE European Parliament I
February 18, 2019 

Statement by EP Vice-President Heidi Hautala and the Chair of the EP Subcommittee on Human Rights, Pier Antonio Panzeri.

"It is high time to release Leopoldo Lopez and all political prisoners in Venezuela", EP Vice President Heidi Hautala (The Greens/EFA, FI) stated on Tuesday, as Venezuelan opposition leader and 2017 Sakharov Prize laureate Leopoldo Lopez endured five year as a political prisoner on Monday 18 February.

As many fellow Venezuelans, Lopez was arbitrarily detained and put on an unfair trial, and subsequently sentenced to 13 years in prison. Lately, he has been serving his sentence under house arrest.

"The immediate release of all political prisoners could create a positive momentum. And this is precisely what we need now to overcome the stalemate in Venezuela", Pier Antonio Panzeri (S&D, IT), Chair of the EP Subcommittee on Human Rights, added. Read more
Leopoldo López
by Diana López
for New York Times
Arbitrary Detentions since January 1th, 2014

918 political prisoners 

Source: Foro Penal
February 18, 2019
El Helicoide: The Shopping Mall that become a torture prison

January 30, 2019 

El Helicoide was supposed to be an iconic shopping mall, but it's now one of Venezuela's most notorious political prisons and home to the country's feared secret police.

The BBC has been investigating the jail and has been able to reconstruct scenes from inside, based on accounts from former detainees and extremely rare interviews with former security officers, to paint a remarkable picture of life inside one of Venezuela's darkest places. 
El Helicoide: The Shopping Mall that become a torture prison (Video)
Jailed Citgo executives in limbo amid Venezuela turmoil

February 19, 2019 

A faint voice comes through the crackled phone line. On the other end, Tomeu Vadell, speaking from a military counterintelligence prison in Venezuela’s capital, asks his daughters in Louisiana whether they’ve gone to church and says he plans to spend his Sunday doing pushups to keep his body and spirit intact.

The call ends abruptly after two minutes, leaving Cristina and Veronica Vadell wondering when they’ll next hear from their dad, who along with five other executives from Houston-based Citgo has spent 15 months jailed in Venezuela on what their families say are trumped-up corruption charges

“He always tells us they can take away his freedom but never his dignity,” said 27-year-old Cristina, who has followed in her father’s footsteps and is an oil engineer in Lake Charles, Louisiana, where she has lived most of her life. Read more

Copyright © 2019 Acción por la Libertad, All rights reserved.

Coordinator: Zulmaire González

This Newsletter is made possible by the cooperation of Justice for Venezuelans Foundation

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Acción por la Libertad · · Caracas, Dtto. Capital 1060 · Venezuela