by Federico N. Fernández
November 9, 2019 marks the 30th anniversary of the Fall of the Berlin Wall. With it, a large part of mankind was liberated from the shackles of communism. Few events have been more important in history. Communism had killed more than 100 million people and enslaved almost half of the world’s population.
However, what should be a celebration is overshadowed by the horrifying events that take place in Venezuela. Since Hugo Chávez and his current successor, Nicolás Maduro, installed the so-called “21st century socialism” following the Cuban communist model, every metric linked to human rights has catastrophically declined in the country: the most basic individual rights, freedom of speech, free press, and private property have been severely limited, if not completely abolished. While political prisoners count by the thousands, and many others suffer from famine, more than three million Venezuelan refugees seek asylum abroad.
In September 2018, the governments of Argentina, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Paraguay, and Peru officially petitioned the International Criminal Court of The Hague to investigate and prosecute the flagrant crimes against humanity committed by the illegitimate and dictatorial government of Nicolás Maduro. The request refers to arbitrary detentions, assassinations, extrajudicial executions, torture, and lack of due process.
According to a testimony given by the former Attorney General of Venezuela, Luisa Ortega Díaz, only between 2015 and 2017, 8,290 murders were carried out by chavista agents. Arrests sanctioned due to political reasons take place on a daily basis, as well as the violent actions of the “collectives” and repression against the civil society.
The images of tanks and military forces trampling on protesters show starkly the savagery with which the dictator Maduro is willing to subjugate civilians. What is more, a report prepared in July by the United Nations’ High Commissioner for Human Rights, the former Chilean president Michelle Bachelet, also denounces the brutality of the Venezuela regime.
“Over at least a decade,” the UN report explains, “the Government and government-controlled institutions enforced laws and policies that have accelerated the erosion of the rule of law and the dismantlement of democratic institutions, including the National Assembly. These measures are aimed at neutralizing, repressing and criminalizing political opponents and people critical of the Government. This trend has accelerated since 2016, after the opposition won the majority of National Assembly seats, resulting in increased repression targeting the political opposition, and steadily reducing the already limited democratic space.”
The report also brings light to the actions of the Special Action Forces (FAES by its Spanish acronym). Often referred to as a “death squad” by witnesses, FAES is notorious for its unusually high killing numbers due to “resistance to authority” – a euphemism for extrajudicial executions which in 2018 accounted for 7,523 civilian deaths.
It is for all this that Fundación Internacional Bases supports the request made by Argentina and five other countries and we ask Dr. Fatou Bensouda, Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, to investigate crimes committed by Chavez regime in Venezuela and prosecute Nicolás Maduro for crimes against Humanity.
And we are not alone. The Naumann Foundation (Germany) and Club de los Viernes (Spain) are also part of this initiative. Moreover, we have gathered more than three thousand signatures in just a few weeks.
Since the Nuremberg Trials, many criminal leaders have been brought before domestic or international courts. If you want to bring Nicolás Maduro to justice for his crimes against Humanity, please join us here with your signature.
Federico N. Fernández is a Senior Fellow at the Austrian Economics Center and President of the Fundación Internacional Bases.