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Understanding the Facts on Violence and Human Rights in Venezuela's Unrest

Understanding the Facts on Violence and Human Rights in Venezuela Unrest

By Ewan Robertson – Venezuelanalysis.com

Venezuelanlysis.com publishes a concise study of the fatalities, wounded and damages caused in the last month of political violence. The findings suggest that the narrative used to explain the violence in most mainstream media outlets is either uninformed or deliberately misleading.

Venezuela is currently experiencing a wave of political violence in the context of an opposition movement of protest, riots and street barricades which began in early February. However, it is a matter of concern that many media outlets are forcing the complex events into a simplistic “state repression of peaceful protesters” narrative for their international audiences. An examination of the political violence and the judicial efforts to investigate it suggests that this is an incorrect characterisation of the situation and a more nuanced understanding is needed.

This article looks at the fatalities and other key statistics of the political violence to give a clearer and more accurate picture of what is occurring. In an annex at the end, Z.C. Dutka publishes a summary statement from an important group of human rights experts in Venezuela, who released the three-point document “for those wishing to make an authentic analysis of the current situation”. In a second annex, a complete list of fatalities and their presumed causes of death in the conflict is published.

An Examination of the Violence

According to the list compiled by this author 30 deaths have occurred in connection with the political violence so far. The most lethal cause has been the militant opposition’s street barricades (see Annex 2). The list explains that:

- 17 people died in barricade-related deaths, which include people shot while trying to clear a barricade, “accidents” caused by barricades and street traps, and patients dying after being prevented from reaching hospital by a barricade. This number also includes a pro-opposition student who was run over while trying to block a road.

- 5 of the deaths appear to be due to the actions of state security forces. All these cases are under investigation, and arrests have already been made in several.

- the other 8 cases are deaths in which either there exist contradictory accounts, it is very unclear who the perpetrator was, the killer was a third party, or where the death was an accident related to the violence. In 5 of these cases claims have been made that the perpetrator was an armed pro-government motorcyclist, with the word colectivos used in a pejorative sense to describe these groups (see Annex 1).

Based on information from press reports, 12 of those who died were civilians without an open political affiliation, 9 were identified as pro-opposition, 5 as pro-government, 3 were National Guard officers and 1 was a government lawyer.

A total of 318 people have been wounded, of which 237 are civilians and 81 belong to security forces, according to figures held by the Attorney General’s office released on 7 March. The figure is likely higher due to recent clashes and the fact that some people wounded may not have been officially recorded, for example if they didn’t go to a medical centre for attention.

There have also been significant damages to public and private property. Nightly riots by radical opposition activists in the east of Caracas and other cities have caused damage or destruction to government offices, health centres, supermarkets, banks, transport infrastructure, and other property. The riots and street barricades have taken place in a maximum of 18 of the country’s 335 territorial municipalities. However these municipalities represent highly populated middle and upper class areas of several of the country’s major cities, where the opposition has its base of support. On 26 February, two weeks after protests started, authorities put a tentative cost on the violence at BsF 10 million (US $1,587,000).

The riots and street barricades have also had a significant impact on health and education services in affected areas. Schools and universities have been closed, while in some cases access to medical facilities has been blocked off and the passage of ambulances made difficult, occasionally with deadly results. The Ministry of Health has warned of the environmental and psychological impact of the barricades on public health, where burning tires and rubbish create dangerous levels of toxic fumes, and elderly or vulnerable citizens are effectively trapped in their communities due to the blocking of roads.

A total of 1,603 people have been arrested in connection with the unrest, according to the Attorney General’s 7 March update. The majority of these have been released without charge or on bail conditions. 92 remain in custody to be charged with various “violent crimes”, including homicide in a few cases.

Further, 14 members of security forces have been arrested for alleged abuses and excess use of force.

The Venezuelan ombudsman, the state’s human rights defender, has received 44 denouncements of alleged abuses by state security forces, the majority of which have to do with the excess use of force during or under arrest. On 7 March the ombudsman held a meeting with the Penal Forum, a Venezuelan human rights NGO, to collect further information on the cases. Two of the cases qualify for possible torture while in custody, according to the ombudsman and the UN rapporteur on torture. Authorities have also met with Venezuelan human rights NGO Provea to discuss the cases.

The opposition MUD coalition’s human rights commission also claims that there exist cases of irregularities in the processing of some of those detained, such as not allowing them due access to family members or lawyers. The ombudsman made a renewed call last weekend to security forces to fulfill all correct legal proceeding during arrests.

The government also says that a total of 20,000 National Guard officers are deployed in the country due to the unrest and the many opposition protests that have occurred, and argues that the 44 denouncements represent a small minority of security forces deployed.

Responsibility and Investigation

Authorities have repeatedly spoken out against all forms of political violence and stated that any abuses by security forces will be investigated. The Attorney General has offered anonymity to anyone who comes forward.

“We’re going to investigate any disproportionate use of force. We reject it and we want justice to be proportionately applied, I want this to be very clear,” said Ombudsman Gabriela Ramirez in a press conference on Friday 7 March.

While the government has focused on criticising the violence of the radical opposition, they have also stated from early on that any violence from pro-government groups will not be tolerated either, and have called on government supporters to work for “peace”.

“I want to say clearly: someone who puts on a red t-shirt with Chavez’s face and takes out a pistol to attack isn’t a Chavista or a revolutionary. I don’t accept violent groups within the camp of Chavismo and the Bolivarian revolution. If you want to have arms to fight…get out of Chavismo,” warned President Nicolas Maduro during a “rally for peace” with supporters on 15 February, three days after the first deaths from the violent unrest occurred.

Nevertheless the opposition has almost exclusively blamed the government for the violence, saying that security forces and radical armed chavista groups are responsible.

“State security forces, accompanied by paramilitary groups, have cruelly attacked peaceful and defenceless protesters…leaving a lamentable tally of citizens assassinated, seriously wounded, tortured and disappeared,” claimed the opposition’s Democratic Unity Table (MUD) coalition in a statement on 21 February.

In response to the violence, President Nicolas Maduro has advocated that the National Assembly form a “Truth Commission” to investigate “all” acts of violence in recent weeks. This would also include investigating the role of “extremist right-wing groups” in perpetrating or promoting acts of violence. Opposition and pro-government parliamentarians have debated forming such a commission, which would then seek to include civil society figures such as the Catholic Church and respected journalists as members.

Meanwhile the opposition MUD coalition is preparing its own report on the violence. Rather than take this report to national judicial authorities, they will go straight to “international organisations” with their denouncements.

The coalition appears to be solely investigating cases of alleged abuses by state security forces, possibly in order to support their narrative of the violence.

“In all these cases the direct responsibility belongs to the government that Nicolas Maduro presides, and therefore it should be accused of crimes against humanity,” argued Elenis Rodriguez, president of the Foundation for Citizen Rights and Equity, who is helping the MUD compile the report.

Meanwhile on 7 March the Organization of American States (OAS) released a statement on the conflict expressing “its condolences and solidarity with the victims and their relatives, with the people and the government of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, and its commitment to the investigations coming to an expedited and just conclusion”.

Diplomatically the resolution was considered supportive of the Venezuelan government, and also included a not-so-veiled message to street barricaders by calling for the “respect for human rights and fundamental liberties, including the right to freedom of expression, peaceful gatherings, free transit, health and education”. The full statement can be read here.

Careful Observation

The incidences of the recent political violence in Venezuela suggest that that the violence shouldn’t be explained or characterised by a simplistic “state repression of peaceful protesters” narrative. The above typology of the violence demonstrates that there exists a complex situation in the country with violence being generated by more than one source. The most lethal of these has been the militant opposition street barricades, which beyond deaths caused, have had a significant physical, environmental and psychological impact on public health. Other sources of violence have been the irregular actions of security forces, shootings in which there exist accusations that armed pro-government groups are responsible, and other accidental or third party killings.

As such, the patterns of violence experienced in the unrest so far suggest that the narrative promoted by many mainstream media outlets is likely to mislead international audiences on the nature of the violence occurring. This narrative has even been reproduced, perhaps due to lack of research rather than purposeful misreporting, by several leading newspapers usually known for their journalistic integrity. For example, an article by Sibylla Brodzinsky in the UK Guardian on 10 March described the violence as follows. It is left to readers to conclude whether this description allows an international audience to accurately understand the nature of the political violence occuring:

“The protests began more than a month ago…amid growing distrust of Maduro…The protests spread to Caracas and other cities, prompting a violent response from the government. At least 21 people have died and hundreds have been injured in the nationwide clashes”.

Journalists should be careful not to play to inaccurate stereotypes or narratives of the political violence being experienced in Venezuela. As different international figures and organisations debate their stance and course of action, it is imperative for observers to have an accurate grasp of the reality of the situation and the nature of the political violence occurring in the country.

In Annex 1 below, Zoe Clara Dutka of Venezuelanalysis.com summarises a statement by an important group of Venezuelan human rights experts giving their perspective of the situation in the country. The signatories are current and former members of various Venezuelan NGO’s such as Amnesty International (Venezuela chapter), PROVEA, and the Red de Apoyo y Justicia Por la Paz. The information on recent statements by opposition leaders Leopoldo Lopez and Henrique Capriles was added by VA.com. The full list of the document’s signatories (in Spanish) is included in a footnote at the end of the article. 

In Annex 2, the full list compiled by this author of fatalities in the last month of political violence is published.

 

Annex 1: The Situation of Human Rights in the Current Moment: An Alternative View

By Zoe Clara Dutka – Venezuelanalysis.com

A number of Venezuelan human rights groups joined together on February 24th to organize a document outlining the unique circumstances that make up today’s conflict. They urge international human rights groups to respect their observations, as longstanding organizations made up of dedicated Venezuelans who may provide a more intimate understanding of current events in their country. A full list of the organizations who participated in the document is provided below.

All groups involved made statements condemning violence in all its forms and demanding the government conduct full investigations of any uniformed officials linked to instances of aggression and unwarranted activity.

We highlight the following three points in an attempt to provide necessary context for those wishing to make an authentic analysis of the current situation.

The historic utilization of the term “Human Rights,” in regards to Venezuela. In 2003 Amnesty International sounded the alarm on a general misuse of this term in reference to Venezuela. Undeniably influenced and oftentimes financed by the United States government, many leading human rights organizations, most notably Human Rights Watch, have repeatedly disregarded democratic proceedings in favor of a determined accusatory stance towards the Venezuelan state.

In this instance, the term “human rights violations” is being used by the opposition (through social media and media outreach) as an argument to force a democratically elected leader out of office through unconstitutional means. This infringes upon the majority’s right to choose exercised in the April 2013 presidential and December regional elections that brought the current government into office.

Increased polarization as a source of conflict. In January the government reached out to opposition leaders to coordinate their efforts to lower crime rates, which both parties acknowledged was a top priority. At the same time, strict measures were taken by the government meant to reduce speculation and food shortages.

The onslaught of protests beginning February 12th ruined any idea of a continued dialogue between these two political sectors, and has polarized Venezuelan society to a previously unheard of extent. A general scorn for dialogue has prevailed as the trademark of the opposition. More than any list of demands or proposed solutions, the ultimate goal of the protestors is to force the government out of office, characterized by the hashtag symbol #lasalida (the exit).

The refusal to dialogue is made even clearer by the opposition’s boycott of the peace talks hosted by the government. Ex-presidential candidate Henrique Capriles said of his absence in the talks, “This is a dying government. I’m not going to be like the orchestra on the Titanic.”

Leopoldo Lopez, oppositional leader in jail for inciting violence in the initial protests, tweeted from behind bars “‘The exit’ will only happen when people organize in the streets to make the dictatorship retreat.”

The increased polarization is an important factor in the increasingly violent attitude assumed by both the student protestors and their counterparts among government supporters. In short, the contempt shown for dialogue and the negation of the government’s legitimacy is internalized on a societal level as a battle cry.

In order to stop the cycle of violence, international human rights organizations would do well to uphold the declaration made by the OAS and urge the opposition to engage in peace talks.

The criminalization of social sectors. In reference to the presence of possible “armed collectives” who the media has presented as a kind of shock troop or special police, we must be very clear. Generalizations do not lead to solutions in any conflict, and just as we recognize that not all the student protests are violent nor all their participants extremists, we must offer a clean and straightforward look at what the colectivos are and the role they have played.

Over the past three decades, many revolutionaries have maintained that an armed struggle is imperative in Venezuela. Hugo Chavez was emphatically against this notion during his presidency and repeatedly warned any armed groups, no matter if they were his supporters, that they were placing themselves on the margin of the law and must assume the consequences. Nicolas Maduro has equally condemned the presence of armed civilians harassing recent protestors, and put out a warrant for the arrest of any who have been linked to violence.

It’s important to note that for many, the colectivos are synonymous with community organizing… NOT with violence. The image of the colectivo as a primarily male reactionary group of rebels on motorcycles is a product of the media, and could be no farther from the truth. The criminalization of these community collectives is similar to the way the neighborhood Bolivarian Circles were attacked and their image was distorted after the 2002 coup against Chavez. These are the kinds of organizations that have characterized the participatory aspect of Venezuela’s democracy, and to typecast them as terrorist groups is to overlook some leading examples of the power of grassroots organizing.

Signed, signatories[i]

 

Annex 2: A List of Fatalities in Venezuela’s Recent Political Violence

By Ewan Robertson – Venezuelanalysis.com

Writing on 13 March, a total of at least 30 people have died in connection with the opposition protests, street barricades and unrest which have been occurring since 12 February in Venezuela.

A note on the following count

This list has been compiled using reports from Venezuelan authorities and media. It includes all deaths which have been reportedly connected with the protests, riots, and street barricades. However it does not include several cases which have been included on other lists, due to the possibility that these deaths were not related to the political violence but were in fact the result of other criminal violence. It also differs slightly from the count held by Venezuelan authorities, which does not appear to include the two cases mentioned below of deaths caused by barricades delaying patients in a critical condition from reaching hospital.

It is important to highlight that both this and all other counts are made using the available information and the judgment of the authors. New information produced as investigations proceed may change which cases count as being connected to the political violence, and who the perpetrator of each murder is considered to be. Observers are welcome to send in information to VA.com on cases that may have been missed, or information that suggests that cases which have been excluded from the current list should be included.

The list is as follows:

1,2 & 3: On 12 February, an opposition activist, José Roberto Redman (31), a pro-opposition carpenter, Bassil DaCosta (23), and a Chavista social activist, Juan Montoya (40) were killed during clashes in Caracas.

DaCosta and Montoya are assumed to have been shot during a confrontation with intelligence service (SEBIN) officers and armed civilians near the Attorney General’s office following the violent end of an opposition march in the area. Five SEBIN officers have been charged in connection with the deaths. President Maduro said that the SEBIN service had orders to remain indoors that day, and the officers present on the scene were acting against orders.  The director of SEBIN at the time, Gen. Manuel Gregorio Bernal, has been removed from his post.

Redman was reportedly killed later that evening by a motorbike rider who rode past a group of opposition activists on the street and fired at them. According to a witness, the rider was dressed in black and was “impossible to identify”. 

4: On 18 February, a 17 year old student, José Ernesto Méndez was reportedly run over by a car in Carúpano, Sucre state, while trying to block a road as part of protests. The person accused of running him over was arrested.

5: On 18 February, a student and former Miss Tourism Carabobo, Génesis Carmona (22), was shot and killed during an opposition march in Valencia, Carabobo state. Ultimas Noticias reported witnesses saying that a pro-government armed group had attacked the march. However, Interior Affairs Minister Miguel Rodriguez Torres and other authorities later stated that ballistic investigations showed that Carmona was shot from behind “from within opposition ranks”. Authorities also say witnesses have confirmed this. The investigation is ongoing.

6: On 19 February, worker Asdrúbal Jose Rodríguez (26) was arrested by officers from the police force of the opposition-controlled municipality of Chacao, in the Altamira area of Caracas where protests were occurring. He was found dead the next day. Two officers of the Chacao police force have been arrested for suspected murder. Family members insist that Rodriguez was not part of the protests (as was apparently claimed), and nor was he trying to rob a motorbike, as a Chacao police source had said.

7: On 19 February, public attorney Julio Eduardo González (25), crashed his car in Valencia, Carabobo state while trying to drive around a street barricade.

8: On 19 February, Luzmila Petit de Colina (70),died when barricaders prevented her passage to a medical clinic in Caracas. Colina was suffering from arterial hypertension at the time and doctors said that the delay in reaching hospital was what provoked the death. Colina was the mother of a state channel TV presenter, Jean Francis Colina.

9: On 20 February, Arturo Alexis Martinez (59), brother of socialist party (PSUV) deputy Francisco Martínez, was shot dead in Lara state while trying to clear up a road barricade in Barquisimeto. Ballastic investigations suggested that Martinez was shot from a nearby apartment bloc.  A 28 year old man has been arrested in connection with the murder.

10: On 20 February, Delia Elena Lobo (41) died after her motorbike crashed into the barbed wire of a street barricade in Mérida state.

11: On 21 February, Elvis Rafael Durán (29) (note: the name has also been reported as Santiago Enrique Pedroza) died (reportedly beheaded) in the Sucre municipality of Caracas after riding his motorbike into an unseen barbed wire barricade.

12: On 22 February, a student, Geraldine Moreno (23), who had been allegedly shot with birdshot by a National Guard officer during a protest in Carabobo state a few days earlier, died from head injuries. The scientific police investigation body (CICPC) is investigating the incident, and have reportedly identified the officer responsible.

13: On 22 February, a student, Danny Joel Melgarejo Vargas (20), was stabbed near a barricade in Tachira. While twitter rumors initially claimed Vargas was shot by the National Guard, authorities revealed he was stabbed by a private citizen. State governor Jose Vielma said that barricaders damaged the bike of a motorbike rider and then put out a cigarette on his forehead when he tried to pass the barricade. The motorbike rider returned fifteen minutes later looking for revenge, and mistook Vargas for the barricaders, stabbing him twice. Two arrests have been made in connection with the incident.

14: On 23 February, José Alejandro Márquez (43), a systems engineer, was announced dead. His skull was fractured three days earlier when he was arrested by the National Guard during a protest in Caracas. There are conflicting accounts of events, one being that Marquez’ injuries came from falling while running to avoid arrest, another that National Guard officers beat Marquez while under arrest and caused his injuries. Seven National Guard officers are currently being investigated in connection with the incident.

15: On 24 February, Jimmy Vargas (34), an anti government activist, fell from a rooftop and died in Tachira state. The nearby street barricade that he manned was reportedly under attack by security forces at the time, and many local and national press outlets apparently falsely reported that Vargas was shot by the National Guard.

16: On 24 February, a businessman, Wilmer Jhonny Carballo (43), was shot dead when motorbike riders attacked a protest in Aragua state. Press mention the motorbike riders fired into the air, but don’t confirm exactly who killed Carballo. Family members say that the bikers were from a pro-government group.

17: On 24 February, motorbike taxi worker Antonio José Valbuena (32) was shot in Maracaibo, Zulia state, while clearing a barricade to open up a road to traffic. He was reportedly killed by a masked figure as part of an effort to dissuade the group he was with from their activity.

18: On 24 February, an elderly lady, Carmen Roldán (82), died when her ambulance was unable to reach hospital due to a barricade in Maracaibo, Zulia state. She and four residents from her care centre were reportedly suffering from respiratory infections due to the smoke produced from burning tires on the barricades.

19: On 25 February, motorbike rider Eduardo Anzola (29) died when he crashed into an unseen street barricade at night in Valencia, Carabobo state.

20: On 28 February, a National Guard officer, Giovanni Pantoja (29) was reportedly shot by an assailant while trying to clear burning tires from a road with fellow officers in Carabobo state.

21: On 3 March, student Luis Gutiérrez Camargo reportedly died when he drove into a barricade in Táchira state. However family members have also stated that Camargo actually hit rocks on the road near the barricade and not the barricade itself. Further, it is not clear whether the rocks had been placed intentionally on the road or not. Authorities are investigating.

22: On 3 March, motorbike taxi worker Deivis José Duran Useche died on a street in Caracas when his motorbike hit an open street drain whose lid had been taken by protesters, presumably to make a barricade.

23 & 24 – On 6 March a National Guard officer, Acner Isaac López León (25), and a moto-taxi worker, José Gregorio Amaris (24) were killed by gunshots during an effort to clear an opposition barricade from a road in Caracas. Authorities say the shots came from nearby buildings. An investigation is underway.

25: On 7 March, a motorcyclist, Johan Alfonso Pineda Morales (28), died when his motorbike sipped on oil placed on a highway in Caracas. Venezuela’s transport minister Haiman El Troudi claimed that the oil was placed “intentionally” by “terrorist and barricader” groups.

26: On 8 March, student and pro-government activist Gisela Rubilar Figueroa (47) was shot by assailants while she tried to clear a barricade that was blocking access to her community in Mérida state. She died a day later, on 9 March. An investigation has been launched.

27: On 10 March, Daniel Tinoco (24), a pro-opposition student in Táchira state, was shot while at a common meeting point with other activists. Private media reports say he was shot by unidentified gunmen on motorbikes. The government has joined condolences and ordered an official investigation.

28, 29 & 30: On 12 March, during a lamentably bloody day of violent confrontations in Valencia, Carabobo state, two civilians and one National Guard officer were killed, all from firearms.

The civilians were student Jesús Enrique Acosta (20) and a worker, Guillermo Sánchez (42), who died on Avenida Isabelica. Family members of the two insist they were shot armed by pro-government motorcyclists. The PSUV state governor, Francisco Ameliach instead claimed that the men were fact shot by snipers in a nearby building, “by their own people”.

The National Guard officer to be killed was captain Ramso Ernesto Bracho Bravo. He was reportedly shot in the face during confrontations with barricaders while his unit were trying to clear barricades on a street in Valencia.

 

Regional states in which the deaths occurred:

Capital District (Caracas): 11

Carabobo (Valencia): 8

Tachira (San Cristóbal): 4

Mérida (Mérida city): 2

Zulia (Maracaibo): 2

Sucre: 1

Lara: 1

Aragua: 1

 

Apparent cause of death

Deaths implicating security forces: 5

- Bassil Da Costa, Juan Montoya, José Alejandro Márquez, Geraldine Moreno, Asdrúbal Jose Rodríguez.

Deaths occurring on or because of barricades and road traps: 17 (16 implicating opposition activists or activities, 1 student run over).

 - Julio Eduardo González, Arturo Alexis Martinez,  Delia Elena Lobo, Elvis Rafael Durán, Antonio José Valbuena, Eduardo Anzola,José Ernesto Méndez, Luzmila Petit de Colina, Carmen Roldán, Giovanni Pantoja, Luis Gutiérrez Camargo, Deivis José Duran Useche, Acner Isaac López León, José Gregorio Amaris, Johan Alfonso Pineda Morales, Gisela Rubilar Figueroa, Ramso Ernesto Bracho Bravo.

Deaths where the perpetrator is not clear / accusations go both directions, the killer was a third party, or an accident occurred related to clashes: 8

- Roberto Rodman, Jimmy Vargas, Jhonny Carballo,Génesis Carmona, Daniel Tinoco, Danny Joel Melgarejo Vargas, Jesús Enrique Acosta, Guillermo Sánchez.

Of these eight cases, in six opposition activists were shot by so far unidentified persons, in five of which there exist accusations that the killer belonged to a pro-government armed group. In the other two, an opposition activist died by accident, and a bystander was stabbed.

 

Political affiliation of those who died

The below information is based on press reports and conclusions drawn by the author. As more information becomes available these numbers could change.

Civilians with no identified political affiliation so far: 12

Identified with the opposition: 9

Identified with the government: 5

National Guard: 3

Public servants: 1

 

Additional cases possibly associated with the political violence but not included on the list

On 25 February, Joan Gabriel Quintero was shot by unidentified figures during the sacking of a supermarket in Aragua state. It is not clear if this was linked to the political violence, or was related to gang violence, what authorities refer to as “settling accounts”.

On 27 February,Nancy Perez (89), the mother of the PSUV governor of Yaracuy state, Julio León Heredia, died of a heart attack. President Maduro said on national television that she died “as a result of the pot banging protest” that opposition activists were doing outside of her house. It is not clear at the moment if it was this protest that caused the heart attack or not, however Maduro did mention that the lady in question was in a delicate medical condition and was meant to remain in a calm and peaceful state.

On 10 March, a pro-government student, Angelo Vargas Stanco (25) was shot, reportedly from a moving car in Bolivar state. Another man, José Gregorio Padilla (27), who was with Vargas, was also killed.  Vargas had reportedly received threats after arguing against opposition students in university debates that classes should re-start. Private media have alleged that the incident was an attempted robbery. However police consider that the motive may have been a “revenge” to murder Gregorio Padilla, and so the killing may not be related to the violent protests and unrest. A PSUV parliamentarian also claimed the deaths were not related to barricaders, and asked that the case not be “politicised”. 

The above list reports two cases of deaths (here and here) which occurred when barricaders didn’t let patients experiencing an emergency medical situation to reach a hospital in time. However, President Nicolas Maduro said  on 24 February that 30 people, including those with respiratory conditions, had died as a result of the smoke from barricades and delays in reaching hospital. On 26 February Maduro went on to say that “over fifty” people had died in connection with the barricades.



[i] 1. Ana Barrios, C.I. 5.451.122, Miembra del equipo coordinador de (Provea 1990-1995). Integrante de Amnistía Internacional Venezuela (2004-2009). Miembra asociada de la Red de Apoyo por la Justicia y la Paz (2000-actual).
2. Marieva Caguaripano, C.I. 10.378016. Comunicadora. Coordinadora del área de Comunicación e Información, Miembro del Equipo Coordinador, Provea (1990, 1995). Productora de campañas de prevención y concientización sobre embarazo adolescente y violencia doméstica (2010 - 2012).
3. Alba Carosio, C.I. 11858059. Feminista, Coordinadora de Investigación del Centro de Estudios de la Mujer de la Universidad Central de Venezuela. Actualmente activa en la Red de Colectivos La Araña Feminista.
4. Cristóbal Cornieles Perret Gentil. C.I. 10.817.524. Abogado. Miembro de la Asamblea de la Red de Apoyo por la Justicia y la Paz (2006 -); Miembro Consultivo de CECODAP (1999 ‐2007); Integrante del equipo de defensa jurídica de ACCSI (1999 ‐2000); Integrante del Colectivo de Atención Integral a los Trabajadores (Aportes, 1995- 1998) e Integrante de Provea (1994- 1995).
5. Luis Díaz, C.I. 11.488.047. Investigador. Centro para la Paz y los Derechos Humanos. Universidad Central de Venezuela. 1996 - 2009.
6. Michael Adolfo Díaz Mendoza, C.I. 17.066.609. Abogado y activista de DDHH. Colaborador del Centro de Apoyo Comunidad Universidad CEA-UC (2000-2008), miembro del Colectivo de Educación e Investigación para el Desarrollo Social - CEIDES (2008-2010).
7. Isamar Escalona, C.I. 7.981.055. Responsable de Grupos y Redes. Área de Educación Provea (2000-2006).
8. Pedro Pablo Fanega, C.I. 6.241.410. miembro de del Centro de Organización Comunitaria y Derechos Humanos del Estado Vargas, Codehva (2004-2007). Miembro de la Comisión Nacional para la Reforma Policial (2006-2007).
9. Pablo Fernández Blanco, C.I. 23.527.749, Integrante y Coordinador del Programa de Educación en DDHH (1996-2005) y Coordinador General (2006-2012) de la Red de Apoyo por la Justicia y la Paz.
10. Judith Galarza Campos. Afectada por la desaparición forzada por motivos políticos de su hermana Leticia Galarza, efectuada en D.F. en México,  el 5 de enero de 1978. Fundadora del Comité Independiente de Chihuahua pro defensa de los derechos humanos y AFADEM.  Actualmente Secretaria Ejecutiva de la Federación Latinoamericana de Familiares de Detenidos Desparecidos (Fedefam).
11. Jesús Chucho García. C.I. 4.168.353. Fundación Afroamérica y La Diáspora Africana.
12. Iván González Alvarado, C.I: 7.379.876. Miembro de la Asamblea y Consultivo Provea (1994 - 2013).
13. Enrique González, C.I. 29.525.916, miembro de Provea (1995-1999), ACCSI (2000-2001), investigador con Cecodap (2002-2003).
14. Antonio J. González Plessmann, C.I. 10.866.332, Miembro del Equipo Coordinador de Provea (1999 - 2005). Miembro Asociado de la Red de Apoyo por la Justicia y la Paz (2005 - actual).
15. Martha Lía Grajales Pineda, C.I. 29.565.914. Coordinadora Programa Educación en DDHH - Red de Apoyo por la Justicia y la Paz (2008 -2009); integrante de la Asamblea de la Red de Apoyo por la Justicia y la Paz.
16. Alejandra Guédez, C.I. 13.748.311. Antropóloga, productora audiovisual e investigadora, con experiencia en comunidades indígenas y afrodescendientes, consejos comunales, cultores populares, adolescentes embarazadas, niños, niñas y jóvenes.
17. Maryluz Guillén Rodríguez, C.I. 11.557.841. Internacionalista, miembra de la Red de Apoyo por la Justicia y la Paz (1993-actualmente). Investigadora y docente de la Escuela de DD.HH "Juan Vives Suria" de la Defensoría del Pueblo.
18. Erick Gutiérrez García, C.I. 6.976.990. Abogado, voluntario de Clínicas Jurídicas (1987). Investigador de Provea. Secretario ejecutivo del Capitulo venezolano de la Plataforma Interamericana de DD.HH., Democracia y Desarrollo (PIDDDH). Investigador y docente de la Escuela de Derechos Humanos de la Defensoría del Pueblo.
19. Héctor Gutiérrez García, C.I. 6976989. Docente e investigador de la Escuela DD.HH Juan Vives Suria 2011-2014.
20. María Lucrecia Hernández, C.I. 26.783.758, abogada y activista de derechos humanos.
21. María Paula Herrero, C.I. 14.444.733, ejecutora del área de Comunicación e Información, Provea (1989, 1996).
22. Antonio J. Marasciulo Davies, C.I. 15.394.380. Criminólogo, asesor jurídico, miembro del equipo fundacional de la UNES (2010 hasta 2012).
23. Elba Martínez Vargas. C.I. 6.914.739. Internacionalista. Gerente del Proyecto de Educación en Derechos Humanos de la Sección Venezolana de Amnistía Internacional (1992-1993). Miembra del equipo de Provea (1994-1996).
24. África Matute, C.I. 18.011.961. Abogada y activista de DDHH, integrante del Programa de atención integral a personas víctimas, Red de Apoyo por la Justicia y la Paz (2010 - 2013).
25. Lilian Montero Rodríguez, C.I. 6.427.029. Socióloga y abogada; promotora y defensora de los derechos de niños, niñas y adolescentes. Cecodap (1991-2007), Coordinadora del Área de Derechos Colectivos y Difusos del Consejo Nacional de los Derechos del Niño, Niña y Adolescente (1999-2000); Miembro de la Asamblea de la Red de Apoyo por la Justicia y la Paz (2009-2014).
26. Vicmar Morillo Gil, C. I. 7958276. Ejecutora del Área de Información e Investigación de Provea (1993-1999/2000-2004).   Integrante de la Asamblea de la Red de Apoyo por la Justicia y la Paz.
27. María Teresa Quispe, C.I. 82.026.345. Coordinadora General del grupo de trabajo socioambiental para la Amazonía "Wataniba".
28. Maureen Riveros, C.I. 6.280.434. Comunicadora y activista de DDHH, Comité contra el olvido y por la vida. Provea (1999 - 2006).
29. Ileana Ruiz, C.I. 6.084.832. Comunicadora Social y miembro de la Red de Apoyo por la Justicia y la Paz desde 1987: Educación en derechos humanos, comunicación popular, uso alternativo del derecho y rehabilitación de víctimas de tortura.
30. Bárbara Tineo Toro, C.I. 14.531.267. Trabajadora social y activista de DD.HH.
31. Justino Urbina Vargas, C.I. 4.233.937, Educador y Comunicador Popular, miembro fundador de Provea y miembro activo de esa organización (1989 y 1995).
32. Belkis Urdaneta, C.I. 9.740.076. Miembro asociada de la Red de apoyo por la justicia y la paz (1995-2014).
33. Rosinés Villalobos León, C.I. 10.474.725. Integrante de la Red de Apoyo por la Justicia y la Paz, (1996 – 2005).
34. Asia Villegas Poljak, C.I. 6.355.311. Dra. en Ciencias Médicas. Activista del movimiento de mujeres, en materia de salud y derechos sexuales y reproductivos de la mujer. Defensora especial con competencia nacional en las áreas de salud y seguridad social de la Defensoría del Pueblo (2003 - 2004). Coordinadora de la comisión de derechos humanos y garantías constitucionales de la Asamblea  Constituyente (1999).