Impact | Negative
CIVICUS Rating | Repressed
In a January 14 statement signed by Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, the Washington Office for Latin American Affairs, Conectas and the International Commission of Jurists, the government of Nicolás Maduro is singled out for promoting ‘stigmatization campaigns’ against the media. This comes after several media outlets critical of the government were temporarily shut down, among them the digital channel VPI TV and the newspaper Panorama, or suffered cyber-attacks, as reported by the newspaper Tal Cual. “We demand that the authorities under Maduro’s command put an end to the harassment,” the document read.
That same day, the spokesperson for the Office of the UN Human Rights Commissioner, Marta Hurtado, expressed her concern “about the constant and growing attacks on civil society organizations, human rights defenders and journalists in Venezuela.” Hurtado made reference to the arrest of six members of the humanitarian CSO Azul Positivo on January 12 by military counterintelligence officers and the regional police. Five of them are under a preventive measure of deprivation of liberty for alleged money laundering.
It is worth remembering that in November 2020 the organizations “Caracas mi Convive” and “Alimenta la Solidaridad” denounced harassment by the authorities and the freezing of their bank accounts for alleged crimes of money laundering.
On several occasions, civil society have bemoaned restrictions on the work of CSOs, which could be further aggravated in the coming months if the new National Assembly advances in regulating their sources of funding as has been suggested by Deputy Diosdado Cabello.