UN Human Rights Council event on June 17 to examine Venezuela crackdown; National Assembly President Diosdado Cabello says gathering seeks to “discredit” government
GENEVA, June 15, 2014 – The head of the Venezuelan parliament was one of several top Caracas officials to lash out at an upcoming gathering of Venezuelan dissidents at the United Nations Human Rights Council, where the government’s violent repression of protests is expected to come under intense scrutiny.
The first-ever UN summit of Venezuelan dissidents, which will draw together ambassadors, UN officials, and rights activists, is being organized by the Geneva-based human rights group UN Watch, with the co-sponsorship of Iniciativa por Venezuela, Human Rights Foundation and Directorio.
The event will take place this Tuesday, June 17th, at the Palais des Nations headquarters of the Human Rights Council in Geneva. (See below to request interviews).
According to media reports, National Assembly President Diosdado Cabello accused the UN Watch event of being “part of the agenda to discredit Venezuela before international bodies.” Cabello is a former military confidante of Hugo Chavez and exercises vast power throughout the government apparatus. The Atlantic Monthly called him “the Frank Underwood of Veneuzela.”
For security reasons, UN Watch cannot name the Venezuelan dissidents until the event opens, but can confirm that some are senior figures in Venezuela’s protest movement, while others live in exile. At this time, UN Watch can name two of the speakers:
- Julieta Lopez – Aunt of opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez, who has been imprisoned since February. When Ms. Lopez addressed the Human Rights Council plenary in March, the Venezuelan delegate interrupted her speech and tried to stop her from testifying. (See video here).
- Delphine Patétif – Venezuelan human rights lawyer who has defended political prisoners.
- Eligio Cedeño: Los barrios le van a pasar factura al gobierno de Maduro – “El 17 de junio el exbanquero y ahora propietario del canal de televisión hispana Veme TV denunciará la falta de independencia del Poder Judicial venezolano en Ginebra, ante el Comité de Derechos Humanos de Naciones Unidas. Dice no temerle a las acusaciones del gobierno en su contra como presunto financista de actividades desestabilizadoras.”
- ONU “preocupada” por jueces Venezuela – La relatora especial de la ONU sobre la independencia de jueces y fiscales, Gabriela Knaul, afirmó ayer estar “muy preocupada” por la falta de independencia de magistrados y procuradores en Venezuela.