VENEZUELA (Continuation)





257.          Throughout 2007, the Commission received information on events that could qualify as repression and/or prosecution of social protest and that could also involve violations of the rights to humane treatment and personal liberty, and restriction of the rights to peaceful assembly and freedom of expression, recognized, respectively, in articles 15 and 13 of the American Convention.


258.          According to PROVEA’s data, during the first quarter of the year, “at least 23 public demonstrations were put down by State security forces.  Some 87% of the demonstrations were put down by municipal and regional police, while the remaining 13% were put down by the National Guard.  In all, 99 arrests were made and 39 people were reported injured after the police forces took action.  By way of comparison (…), according to statistics compiled by PROVEA, a total of 74 demonstrations were suppressed in 2006, while the figure for 2005 was only 18.”[274]


259.          Implicit in protection of the right of assembly is not just the State’s obligation to refrain from interfering in the exercise of that right, but also its obligation to adopt, in certain circumstances, positive measures to guarantee it:  for example, protecting demonstrators from physical violence by persons who may hold the opposite opinion.[275]


260.          Moreover, the Commission reiterates that, in addition to regulations established by law, the State may impose reasonable restrictions on demonstrations to ensure that they are peaceful and to disperse those demonstrations that turn violent or obstructive, provided that those restrictions are informed by the principles of legality, necessity and proportionality.


261.          In its reply, the State indicated that a series of regulations existed to govern and establish requirements for the exercise of the right to demonstrate, emphasizing prior permits.  The Commission recognizes these powers of the State; at the same time, it believes the State must seek to prevent the authorities in charge of granting or denying permits from exercising unlimited discretion. By the same token, the actions of State agents should protect rather than discourage the right of assembly.  Therefore, the rationale for dispersing demonstrations must be informed by the duty to protect the people demonstrating.  A law enforcement officer charged with dispersing demonstrators must be prepared to use the methods that are safest and cause the least harm to the demonstrators.[276]


262.          In May and June 2007, many demonstrations were headed by students, protesting the Government’s decision not to renew RCTV’s broadcasting license.  Through a request seeking precautionary measures, news reports and information supplied by human rights organizations, the Commission learned that starting on May 27, 2007, these demonstrations led to violence that allegedly left scores injured and more than a hundred under arrest, including many minors.[277]  According to the information reported to the Commission, some people were allegedly beaten and excessive force was used by security forces while the demonstrations were in progress; some were beaten while in police custody, after being detained.


263.          Given these reports, the Commission sent a request to the Venezuelan State seeking information on the reports received.[278] As indicated at paragraph 16 above, the response to that request was incomplete, making it difficult for the Commission to effectively follow the events.  Among the information that the State reported was the fact that as of June 1, 2007, 296 people had been apprehended and brought before the courts.  According to the information supplied by the State, the principal crimes charged:  resisting authority, illegal possession of firearms, improper use of firearms, instigation to commit crime, obstruction of public thoroughfares, vandalism and theft.[279] The Commission was subsequently informed that while most of those arrested were released, many still have the charges hanging over them and are required to check-in with the authorities periodically.  Some of these are juveniles under the age of 18.


264.          On the other hand, the Commission is concerned about the violence that has taken place since October 2007 during various student demonstrations related to the constitutional reform promoted by the government. According to various sources, several injuries and cases of material damage have occurred.[280]  The Commission notes that this follows the pattern of other political demonstrations that were also characterized by violence between groups with conflicting views.[281]


265.          The Commission considers that all Venezuelans, from all political sectors, are entitled to exercise their rights to freedom of speech and assembly fully and freely, without violence, in accordance with the law and with inter-American human rights standards.  The IACHR is of the view that the State has the obligation to guarantee the free and full exercise of these rights, which cannot be restricted except as expressly provided in the American Convention on Human Rights.  Likewise, the State has the obligation to guarantee both public safety and human rights, resorting only the means that are necessary and proportionate to the circumstances, in accordance with the Convention.


266.          In addition, as the Commission has noted on previous occasions, “in principle, criminalization per se of demonstrations in public thoroughfares is inadmissible when they are carried out in exercise of the rights to freedom of expression and to freedom of assembly.  In other words, it must be examined whether the application of criminal sanctions is justified under the standard, established by the Inter-American Court, that said restriction (criminalization) satisfies a pressing public interest necessary for the operation of a democratic society. [282]  It is also necessary to examine whether the imposition of criminal sanctions is, in fact, the least harmful means to restrict the freedom of expression, exercised through the right of assembly, in turn exercised through a demonstration on a thoroughfare or in a public square.”[283]


267.          The Commission has also held that:


criminalization could have an intimidating effect on this form of participatory expression among those sectors of society that lack access to other channels of complaint or petition, such as the traditional press or the right of petition within the state body from which the object of the claim arose. Engaging in intimidating actions against free speech by imprisoning those who make use of this means of expression has a dissuading effect on those sectors of society that express their points of view or criticisms of government actions as a way of influencing the decision-making processes and state policies that directly affect them.[284]


268.          The Commission must underscore the fact that the rights to freedom of assembly and peaceful demonstration are protected under the American Convention.  Hence, any measure that a State adopts to restrict the exercise of those rights must be established by law beforehand, and must also be only what is strictly necessary when circumstances warrant it.  Any such measure must always be a proportional response to the end being sought.  The Commission expects the State’s response to peaceful demonstration to conform to the international standards set forth in this section.




269.          Over the course of 2007, the Commission observed some of the measures taken by the Government of Venezuela to promote participation in political life and exercise of political rights.  These initiatives included public consultations as part of the National Assembly’s legislative activity and the creation of communal councils. The Commission takes a positive view of the fact that even state agencies are exploring ways to get Venezuelans more involved, either directly or through representatives.


270.          The foregoing notwithstanding, the Commission noted the concerns expressed in some quarters of civil society as regards participation by way of communal councils.  Specifically, the Commission received information from some organizations that believe that there is a risk that the communal councils will become reliant on the Office of the President of the Republic.  The communal councils are part of the Presidential System of the People’s Power, which means that the Chief Executive will have discretionary authority regarding the funding of these councils.  In the opinion of civil society, this could make the communal councils prone to political manipulation.[285] On that point, the State clarified that the communal councils have as “their sole purpose the organization of citizens to meet their needs, through direct public measures taken by the community organized, so that the control of communal councils falls not to any higher authority but solely to its internal organization, through the assembly of citizens as highest structural authority.”


271.          The Commission also noted the concern expressed by some civil society organizations regarding the proposed constitutional reform.  They are troubled about a proposed provision that would guarantee mechanisms for “the people’s participation and protagonism in direct exercise of their sovereignty and to build socialism.”  This could be interpreted to mean that the only valid form of participation in Venezuela would be one intended to build socialism, to the exclusion of other political ideologies.  This would jeopardize pluralism.[286]


272.          The Commission believes that the processes underway in Venezuela must be closely monitored to ensure that the international obligations it has undertaken in the area of political rights and nondiscrimination are not violated.  This monitoring is particularly important against the backdrop of political polarization that has become increasingly more pronounced in Venezuela since 2002.  This development has disturbing implications for the unfettered exercise of certain rights.


273.          In its Annual Report for 2005, the Commission expressed concern over allegations that civil servants had been fired for having participated in the recall referendum held in 2004.  In its 2006 report, the Commission recounted that in the presidential elections, civil servants were allegedly required to march and wear red shirts in support of the President of the Republic.


274.          In 2007, the Commission continued to receive information on firings and other forms of coercion in the public sector–including the Armed Forces–involving both government officials sympathetic to the current President of the Republic and those who disagree with his policies and are identified as being associated with “the opposition.”  The following cases are symptomatic:


The dismissal of Mr. Claudio Mendoza from his post as head of the Computational Physics Laboratory of the Venezuelan Scientific Research Institute, allegedly for having published an editorial opinion.[287]


Someone is unable to find employment because the person was associated with the government of the state of Miranda, which is identified with the opposition.  According to the information available, this person was forced to sign the referendum to recall the President of the Republic in 2004.[288]


Complaints from employees of the Simón Bolívar Center, the Metropolitan Caracas Mayor’s Office and the Libertador (Caracas) Mayor’s Office, and three ministries.  According to the press account, “they are threatened with dismissal if they do not work for the United Socialist Party of Venezuela on weekends.”[289]


Complaints of the Sucre Gubernatorial Office’s manipulation and dismissal of hundreds of workers who registered with the United Socialist Party of Venezuela and not with Podemos (an opposition party).[290]


Pressure exerted by the President of the Republic on officers in the National Armed Forces to use the slogan “Country, Socialism or Death.”  According to statements made by the President of the Republic, if an officer disagrees with the slogan, he should resign.”[291]


275.          The IACHR believes that in the case of civil servants in technical posts or belonging to the civil service, any measures that might prevent them from continuing to perform their functions cannot be motivated by factors incompatible with the rights upheld in the American Convention, such as exercise of the rights to freedom of expression, the right of assembly, freedom of association, freedom of thought and opinion, and political rights.


276.          The Commission once again underscores the concern expressed in its Annual Reports of 2005 and 2006, and reminds the Venezuelan State that every individual is entitled to exercise those rights, as they are the means to ensure the pluralism necessary to guarantee the rights recognized in the various international human rights instruments and to strengthen the institutions of democracy.  “Obstruction or intimidation of persons seeking to exercise these liberties strips individuals and the various sectors of society of instruments for defending their interests, protesting, criticizing, making proposals, and exercising oversight and active citizenship in their pursuit of popular sovereignty within the democratic framework.”[292]




277.          The Commission brought up this issue in its previous annual reports, expressing concern over certain matters that, in its view, could affect the independence and impartiality of the Judicial Branch and, by extension, the Venezuelan people’s opportunities for effective justice, with the necessary guarantees assured.


278.          In 2007, the Commission continued to find situations that were further cause for concern in this area, particularly the fact that appointments of provisional judges and prosecutors continue; competitive examinations are not being administered for permanent appointments to the bench; the alleged interference of the Executive Branch in court rulings, and judges are being removed from the bench, presumably for taking decisions not favorable to the government’s interests.


279.          Concerning the first point, in recent years the Commission has received information to the effect that the so-called temporary or provisional judges do not have tenure on the bench, which has set the stage for the arbitrary removal of many judges.  While the Commission has been informed that between 2005 and 2006, a significant percentage of permanent judges were given tenure,[293] the Commission continued to receive complaints to the effect that this result was not being achieved via the mechanism provided for in Article 255 of the Constitution and in the Rules on Evaluation and Competitive Examinations for Entry into and Promotion in the Judiciary, which is a competitive examination.[294].


280.          The Commission was also informed that in 2007, 916 new judges were named.  Of these, 299 were tenured, 72 were provisional, 100 were temporary, 423 were ad hoc, 13 were special, 7 were special alternates and 2 were alternates.[295]  The State, for its part, reported that, as of December 31, 2007, judges nationwide totaled 1,840, of whom 443 (24%) were provisional, 108 (5.87%) were special alternates, 303 (16.47%) were temporary, and 986 (53.59%) were tenured. The State also emphasized that, between 2005 and 2007, the percentage of judges with tenure rose to over 50%, while in prior years it had not exceeded 10%.  From the information available, it would appear that the provisional, temporary and other categories of judges are not regulated in any body of law that would ensure their stability.


281.          The Commission considers that the failure to follow the procedures prescribed in the Constitution and the law for judicial appointments and the vacuum in the law as regards the categories of judges mentioned above exposes these officials to possible undue pressure in the exercise of the important function they perform and thus pose a serious threat to the independence of Venezuela’s judiciary.


282.          The Commission learned that Judge Alcy Mayté Viñales was removed from the bench on April 8, 2007, allegedly because of her decision to grant conditional release to the 29 persons accused of having aided and abetted the escape of Mr. Eduardo Lapi.  The press reported that Ms. Viñales stated that she had received a phone call from the president of the respective judicial circuit on the day before taking the decision.  According to accounts in the news media, the judge said the following about the phone call:  “He told me that I knew what I had to do, that the order was to keep them under arrest.  When I signed the decision and made it public, I knew what awaited me.”[296]  The day before she was removed from the bench, the Minister of the People’s Power for Interior Relations and Justice, Pedro Carreño, made the following statements:  “We will bring the full weight of the law against those 29 people, a figure that has now climbed to 30 with the addition of the judge who will have to face the consequences of what she did.  I am certain that this gift was not given gratis.  There has to have been some payoff there.  She has to take responsibility.”[297]


283.          The Commission is troubled by the statements made by the President of the Republic on March 24, 2007, to the effect that “if the revolutionary National Government (…) wants a decision against something -for example a matter having to do with court decisions or matters that will be decided by the courts- and the courts begin to move in the other direction, into the shadows, then a decision by a judge, a court or even the Supreme Court could ultimately neutralize what the Revolution has decided.  Behind the back of the very leader of the Revolution!  Working against the Revolution from within!  This is treason.  I repeat: it is a betrayal of the people and a betrayal of the Revolution! And it is one of the greatest threats we have from within!”[298]


284.          As the Commission has previously held, the consolidation of a transparent judicial career service and the tenure that results from strict compliance with the procedures established in the Constitution and the law, are essential to ensuring the independence and impartiality of the judiciary and have an immediate effect in terms of strengthening access to justice.[299]


285.          The Commission takes a favorable view of the initiative launched by the Office of the Executive Director of the Judiciary whereby it created an Initial Training Program in August 2007.  According to what the Commission has been told, this program will evaluate 3,916 candidates for the bench, who must then take a competitive examination.[300]


286.          The Commission is following the execution of this initiative and hopes that the Venezuelan State will take the necessary measures to ensure that all judges in Venezuela enjoy the guarantees of independence and impartiality; specifically that the State strictly complies with the provisions governing elevation to the bench and promotion of judges and that clear regulations be established regarding the categories of judges and the guarantees of tenure that attend each category.


287.          The Commission was also informed that in 2007 prosecutors continued to be appointed on a provisional basis.  According to the documents furnished, a total of 385 prosecutors were appointed between February 13, 2007 and October 1, 2007; of these, only seven are permanent. The other prosecutors named are provisional prosecutors, interim assistant prosecutors, interim assistant alternate prosecutors, provisional superior court prosecutors and alternate provisional superior court prosecutors.[301]  On previous occasions the Commission has underscored the importance of proper implementation of the  prosecutorial career service, given the central role that the Public Prosecutor’s Office plays in moving criminal investigations forward.  Hence the independence, impartiality and qualifications of prosecutors must be ensured in order to guarantee effective inquiries and eliminate the factors contributing to impunity, especially in cases involving human rights violations.[302]  In this connection, the IACHR welcomes the State’s indication that it was in the process of reversing the longstanding provisional status of prosecutors.   It indicated that, prior to the 1999 Constitution, provisions had not been made for entry into the prosecutorial career service through competition; such appointments had been made directly by the Attorney General of the Republic, by constitutional term.   The State emphasized that the Organic Law on the Public Prosecutor’s Office had entered into force on March 13, 2007, providing “general guidelines for the competitions required for entry into the career service at the Public Prosecutor’s Office, in addition to governing promotions, post reclassifications, and transfers pertaining to members of that institution.”


288.          Finally, the Commission noted the concerns expressed in some quarters of civil society with regard to the rejected constitutional reform proposal, in connection with the prohibition against restricting the guarantees of due process in states of emergency.  Under the constitutional amendment, a state of emergency would no longer be subject to the scrutiny of the Constitutional Chamber of the Supreme Court and would cease to have a time limit.  In this regard, the Commission learned that after the statements made by the Attorney General[303] and the Ombudsman,[304] the National Assembly decided to modify the text, which was ultimately approved, to prohibit restriction of the right of defense, the right to humane treatment, the right to be judged by the natural judge for the case, and the right not to be sentenced to more than 30 years.[305]  The 1999 Constitution fully prohibits the restriction of due process; some organizations, therefore, considered the text of the proposed reform more limited, since it provided that only certain procedural guarantees were not subject to restriction.


289.          In this connection, the Inter-American Court held that the principles of due process of law cannot be suspended in states of exception insofar as they are necessary conditions for the procedural institutions regulated by the Convention to be considered judicial guarantees.[306]  


[274] PROVEA. Derechos Humanos y Coyuntura. E-Bulleting No. 184, April 1 to April 22, 2007.  The following are examples identified by PROVEA and recounted in its E-Bulletins Nos. 181, 182 and 183:

On January 9, 2007, three people were detained and others wounded by pellets after participating in a demonstration staged in La Guaira seeking a referendum against Governor Antonio Rodríguez and Mayor Alexis Toledo. Polivargas agents put down the demonstration.

On January 26, 2007, the Special Anti-Riot Brigade of the Aragua Police used teargas to disperse a protest staged by micro-entrepreneurs on Turmero Intercomunal Avenue.  The demonstrators were Mariño municipal maintenance and janitorial workers demanding job benefits.

On January 29, 2007 the Monagas State Police used teargas and pellets to break up a demonstration in Maturín, staged by residents from the Sabana Grande sector who were demanding to have a water supply system in the area.

On February 13, 2007, troopers with the Monagas State Police used teargas and pellets to disperse a demonstration that workers dismissed by the Government staged in El Indio plaza.  Nearby, truck drivers staged a protest to deliver a set of demands to the director of highways and transportation in the Maturín Mayoral Office.  This demonstration was also put down.  According to the police report, two people were injured in the demonstrations, and 11 were affected by the teargas.

On February 14, 2007, five athletes were injured –two by pellets and three by teargas- when a group of athletes from Carabobo state took over the facilities at the Olympic Village in the city of Valencia to protest the lack of scholarships, payment of coaches, non-fulfillment of the housing and other benefits promised by the President of Fundadeporte.  The Carabobo Police broke up the demonstration.

On February 16, 2007, groups of miners from the municipality of Raúl Leoni in Bolívar state took up positions in front of the headquarters of the Ministry of the Environment in Puerto Ordaz to demand delivery of the so-called humanitarian aid promised by the National Government.  At the same time, some 200 miners demonstrated in La Paragua seeking payment of 15 million promised by the Government.  The demonstrators were dispersed by a unit of the National Guard using teargas.  Nine people were arrested.

On February 27, 2007, a group of Zulia retired civil servants were removed from the office when they staged a demonstration demanding payment of various labor-related debts.  The protest was put down by the Special Brigade of the Regional Police.  Five people were injured and three arrested.

On February 28, 2007, members of more than 30 communal councils and residents of the parish of Raúl Leoni, in Cumaná, blocked the route in the capital of this district that connects Sucre and Anzoátegui states, to demand that two doctors be assigned to the clinic and greater police protection.  The protest was peaceful until the secretary general for government departed, at which point police resorted to violence in an effort to break up the demonstration.  A number of people were injured by pellets, while others were affected by the teargas.  Four were arrested in this police action.

On March 12, 2007, Polivargas agents used pellets to disperse the more than 100 families from the Quebrada Seca sector of Caraballeda, who had invaded the Las Perlas Building the day before, for the purpose of exerting pressure on Corpovargas officials to give them the money they had been promised for their homes.  Two people were wounded in the disturbance: a pregnant woman and a little girl.  Seven people were detained for confronting the police.

On March 12, 2007, two students were detained in Carora, in Lara state, as they were staging a demonstration to protest the killing of two young people by elements of organized crime.  The National Guard and the regional police threw teargas at Unexpo, the place where the two victims were studying.

On March 13, 2007, a group of retirees and pensioners staged a protest in front of the Zulia Government headquarters.  The demonstration was dispersed by the regional police, using teargas and pellets.  The demonstrators were demanding payment of labor-related debts.

[275] IACHR. Report on the Situation of Human Rights Defenders in the Americas.  March 7, 2006, par. 50; IACHR, Report on Terrorism and Human Rights, October 22, 2002, par. 359.

[276] IACHR. Access to Justice and Social Inclusion:  the road towards strengthening democracy in Bolivia.  par.  43; IACHR. Report on the Situation of Human Rights Defenders in the Americas, paragraphs 56 and 63.

[277] Amnesty International.  Venezuela:  Freedom of Expression in Danger. AI Index: AMR 53/003/2007 (Public) News Service No.:  094/07, June 1, 2007.  See also, Statements of the Venezuelan Bar Association on June 8, 2007, reporting that children and adolescents had been arrested as criminals, for exercising their right to demonstrate; they were incarcerated at police stations and represented to the public as having committed serious crimes; they were not allowed to speak with their parents and relatives, and were denied the proper social assistance and legal counsel.

[278] The information requested from the State included the following questions: 1) a complete list of the persons arrested, specifying their age, the reason and place of their arrest, and whether they have been afforded access to legal counsel; 2) their physical condition upon arrest and the medical care administered in those cases where medical attention was needed; 3) a list of any persons released, specifying their age and any security measures they may be currently subject to, indicating the charges against them; and 4) the contingency measures ordered by the State to make exercise of the right of assembly and peaceful demonstration possible, while ensuring that the conduct of the police forces is what is strictly necessary in violent situations and is in strict compliance with the international human rights obligations that Venezuela has undertaken with respect to the use of force and respect for the life and safety of persons within its jurisdiction.

[279] Response from the Venezuelan State, received by the Commission on June 8, 2007.

[280] Amnesty International: Venezuela:  Las autoridades deben actuar para detener una posible escalada de violencia, Declaración Pública AMR 53/005/2007 de 15 de noviembre de 2007 en; El Universal: La violencia selló marcha estudiantil: La PM y GN disolvieron la concentración con bombas lacrimógenas, 2 de noviembre de 2007 en

[281] El País: Los estudiantes lideran la oposición contra el régimen de Chávez: Primero se opusieron al cierre de RCTV, y ahora, a la reforma constitucional: “La intolerancia es total en el país”. El Paí 20/11/2007 enón/regimen/Chav; El País: La reforma que divide a Venezuela: A tres semanas de la consulta sobre la nueva Constitución, sus partidarios y detractores pugnan con la intensidad de una campaña electoral presidencial.  El Paí 12/11/2007 en

[282] IACHR. Case of Canese, Judgment of August 31, 2004, paragraphs 96-98.

[283] IACHR. Annual Report 2005. Report of the Office of the Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression, chapter V, paragraph 96, citing CELS, “El Estado frente a la protesta social- 1996-2002” (Buenos Aires: Siglo XXI Editores Argentina 2003) pages 48  and 49.

[284] IACHR. Annual Report 2005. Report of the Office of the Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression, Chapter V, paragraph  97.

[285] Informe sobre las garantías y el ejercicio de los derechos de participación y asociación en Venezuela 2006 – 2007. Sinergia. page 192. Citing: López Maya Margarita: “The opportunities for protagonistic participation are created, but no one wants to put on the gloves and take the helm.  The communal councils can be controlled and take direction from the Office of the Chief Executive.  They are made up of the social sectors aligned with the government, but carry no political weight of their own.” In: Visión expertos estiman que se están cerrando los espacios de deliberación, representación y búsqueda de consenso. “Venezuela se encamina hacia el fin del pluralismo” [Experts’view is that room for deliberation, representation and consensus-building is closing.  “Pluralism is coming to an end in Venezuela.” Article in Ultimas Noticias, January 16, 2007.

[286] Information supplied during the Commission’s 127th, 128th, and 130th sessions.  See also Washington Office on Latin America:  Venezuela after the Re-election of Hugo Chavez: Political Dynamics and Policy Challenges.  A WOLA Conference Report, July 2007.

[287] Report on Political Discrimination in Venezuela (2003 – 2007). Case Studies  Asociación Civil Control Ciudadano para la Seguridad, la Defensa y la Fuerza Armada Nacional, p. 231. Cited in an article that appeared in El Nacional, April 10, 2007. Science/Environment/6.

[288] Report on Political Discrimination in Venezuela (2003 – 2007). Case Studies  Asociación Civil Control Ciudadano para la Seguridad, la Defensa y la Fuerza Armada Nacional, p. 232. Cited in an article that appeared in Ultimas Noticias,  April 23, 2007, p. 8.

[289] Report on Political Discrimination in Venezuela (2003 – 2007). Case Studies  Asociación Civil Control Ciudadano para la Seguridad, la Defensa y la Fuerza Armada Nacional, p. 302. Cited in an article that appeared in El Nacional, May 9, 2007. NACION/5.

[290] Report on Political Discrimination in Venezuela (2003 – 2007). Case Studies  Asociación Civil Control Ciudadano para la Seguridad, la Defensa y la Fuerza Armada Nacional, p. 303. Cited in an article that appeared in El Nacional, May 19, 2007. NACION/6.

[291] International Bar Association: Venezuela: Justice under Threat.  Report of a mission to Venezuela by the International Bar Association Human Rights Institute, June 2007, Chapter 5:  Challenges to the Administration of Justice, p. 53; Report on Political Discrimination in Venezuela (2003 – 2007). Case Studies Asociación Civil Control Ciudadano para la Seguridad, la Defensa y la Fuerza Armada Nacional, p. 303. Citing article in El Nacional, Mary 16, 2007.  Nacion/5; p. 377.  Article in El Universal, April 13, 2007.  Available at: Website visited on November 5, 2007; p. 378; article in El Nacional, April 13, 2007. page Nacion/4.  Article in El Universal, May 11, 2007, available at:  Website visited  on November 5, 2007.

[292] IACHR. Annual Report 2005. Chapter IV. Venezuela. paragraph 336.

[293] IACHR. Annual Report 2006. Chapter IV. Venezuela, paragraph 160.

[294] Information presented during the 127 sessiones of the IACHR: Situación Institucional y Garantías en Venezuela, marzo de 2007; also in International Bar Association: Venezuela: Justice under Threat.   Report of a mission to Venezuela by the International Bar Association Human Rights Institute, June 2007, Chapter 5: Challenges to the Administration of Justice, pp. 36-38.

[295] Document presented by the petitioners at the 130th session, “Jueces designados por la sala plena y la comisión judicial del tribunal supremo de justicia año 2007”, October 1, 2007.

[296] Report on Political Discrimination in Venezuela (2003 – 2007). Case Studies  Asociación Civil Control Ciudadano para la Seguridad, la Defensa y la Fuerza Armada Nacional, p. 232. Cited in an article that appeared in El Nacional, April 14, 2007. NACION /5.

[297] Article in El Universal, April 7, 2007.  Available at: Website visited on November 5, 2007.

[298] Address that the President of the Republic delivered on March 24, 2005, at the Teatro Teresa Carreño Publisher in the Revista Diplomacia, Estrategia y Política: Acerca de la Grandísima importancia de un partido, Número 6 Abril/Junio, Pág. 216. Also see the International Bar Association: Venezuela: Justice under Threat.   Report of a mission to Venezuela by the International Bar Association Human Rights Institute, June 2007, Chapter 5:  Challenges to the Administration of Justice,
p. 33.

[299] IACHR. Annual Report 2006. Chapter IV. Venezuela, paragraph 164.

[300] Document presented by the petitioners at the 130th session,  “Jueces designados por la sala plena y la comisión judicial del tribunal supremo de justicia año 2007.”

[301] Document that the petitioners presented at the 130th session, Fiscales titulares, provisorios, interinos, superiores, superiores provisorios y suplentes del Ministerio Público. February 13, 2007 to October 1, 2007.

[302] IACHR. Access to Justice and Social Inclusion:  The road towards strengthening democracy in Bolivia,
paragraph 96.

[303] Article in El Universal, October 19, 2007.  Available at:  Website visited on November 5, 2007.

[304] Article in El Universal, October 23, 2007. Available at: /pol_art_defensor-rechaza-cam_553898.shtml. Website visited on November 5, 2007.

[305] Human Rights Watch. Venezuela: Disturbing Plan to Suspend Due Process, Chávez Supporters Seek to Suspend Rights in Emergencies.  (New York, October 16, 2007).  See also article in El Universal, October 25, 2005. “AN aprobó esta madrugada el texto de reforma constitucional” [Early this morning the National Assembly passed the text of the constitutional reform].  Available at: Website visited on October 29, 2007.

[306] I/A Court H.R., Judicial Guarantees in States of Emergency (Arts. 27(2), 25 and (8) American Convention on Human Rights). Advisory Opinion OC-9/87 of October 6, 1987. Series A No. 9, paragraph 30.