PORT OF SPAIN – Venezuelans living in Port of Spain yesterday petitioned the United Nations High Commission for refugees on the alleged threat to democracy in the South American nation.
A letter was presented to a special meeting of the UNHCR , Chancery Lane, Port of Spain.
The petition claimed that the Venezuelan Judicial Branch has subverted the constitutional order by suppressing de facto the Legislative Branch.
It also claimed that the “Executive Branch, with the complicity of the Ombudsman, violates in a continued way the human right of peaceful and disarmed gatherings and the personal liberty of the Venezuelans”.
And in the wake of moves by the Venezuelan Government to remove the country from membership of the Organisation of American States (OAS), the petition said: “The international platforms seem to be narrowing its spectrum of action, thus it is imperative that international actors raise their voices towards these emerging issues that hinders the democracy in Venezuela and in the whole region”
The letter said: “We respectfully reiterate our petition and we require your official statement according this situation.”
It said that was based on an earlier statement by the OAS, which “urged the Venezuelan Government to act and guarantee the division and independence of the constitutional powers and restore the complete authority of the National Congress.”
Spokesman for the group of concerned Venezuelans living in T&T, Heidi Diquez, said democracy is under threat as the existing Constitution may be abolished within the next few weeks by the Nicolás Maduro Government.
She said an unprecedented number of Venezuelans have been fleeing the country because of a food and medicine shortages there.
She insisted that supplies being sent from T&T were not reaching those in need and appealed to the T&T Red Cross to do what it can to ensure those in need get their supply of food and medicine. A Venezuelan national recently appeared before a Magistrate in San Fernando to answer a charge of illegally entering T&T. He told the court he was here to get food for his family in Venezuela.
Diquez was brought to tears during the interview. She said most of the 40 Venezuelans killed in recent months in Venezuela were protesting university students. Those killed so far range from age 14 years to 32.
Diquez said the Venezuelans here were making a call to international organisations to effect sanctions against the Government.
Diquez said: “We are here to demonstrate and give evidence once again Venezuelans are being killed and there is a scarcity of food and medicine there.”
Meanwhile, after a protest outside the Venezuelan Embassy in Port of Spain last month Ambassador Coromoto Godoy Calderón said President Maduro is the only guarantee for peace in Venezuela, adding that “The opposition forces are using economic sabotage to make the people hungry so that they will turn to violence and then blame the government,” Calderón said.
Trade union leaders in Port of Spain recently joined the Ambassador in a show of support for the Maduro Government.