Nicolás Maduro will not set foot in the United States for the time being. Both the dictator of Venezuela, as well as Miguel Díaz-Canel and Daniel Ortega -his peers from Cuba and Nicaragua- were not invited to the IX Summit of the Americas for systematically violating human rights in their countries and not complying with the most basic standards of a democracy. Washington has no interest in giving a voice to those who do not offer the same opportunity to the opponents of their countries. The strong man from Caracas only aspires to have one spokesman in Los Angeles: Argentine President Alberto Fernández.
“We are going to be well represented in the voice of President Alberto Fernández,” Maduro said, adding: “President Fernández is a brave man, who defends what he believes; and he is against exclusion.” The Argentine head of state also requested the inclusion of the three dictatorships at the regional summit, such as his Mexican counterpart, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, who instead will be absent from the meeting in that North American city.
The truth is that the host country is solely responsible for the organization and has the power to invite according to the criteria of the Inter-American Democratic Charter. Washington is based on the declaration signed by all member countries at a key summit: Quebec, in 2001. According to the parameters of international law, its actions are within the law.
Signed in that Canadian city in April of that year, the participating nations decided that those regimes that were not governed by democratic principles would be excluded: “The maintenance and strengthening of the rule of law and strict respect for the democratic system are, at the same time, time, a shared purpose and commitment, as well as an essential condition for our presence at this and future Summits. Consequently, any unconstitutional alteration or rupture of the democratic order in a State of the Hemisphere constitutes an insurmountable obstacle for the participation of the Government of that State in the Summits of the Americas process.” Ironic: Hugo Chávez signed that resolution.
“Threats against democracy today take many forms. To improve our ability to respond to these threats, we instruct our Ministers of Foreign Affairs to prepare an Inter-American Democratic Charter in the framework of the next OAS General Assembly that reinforces the OAS instruments for the active defense of democracy. representative”, concluded the presidents.
The violations of human rights and the democratic rupture in Venezuela, Cuba and Nicaragua are evident. It is for this reason that the United States, the host country, decided to exclude them. Mexico and Bolivia supported these regimes.
In the inaugural Declaration of Principles of the Summit of the Americas that took place in Miami, Florida, in December 1994, during the presidency of Bill Clinton, the importance of respect for democracy among its members was also insisted on.
The text signed by the 34 nations that attended the meeting in the American South is clear in the “Pact for Development and Prosperity” agreed by their presidents. “The elected Heads of State and Government of the Americas are committed to promoting prosperity, democratic values and institutions, and the security of our Hemisphere. For the first time in history, the Americas are a community of democratic societies. What could Maduro, Díaz-Canel and Ortega contribute to these principles?
In another section, the text clearly indicates its main objective: “Preserve and strengthen the community of democracies of the Americas.” “The Charter of the Organization of American States establishes that representative democracy is essential for stability, peace and development in the region. Democracy is the only political system that guarantees respect for human rights and the rule of law; at the same time, it safeguards cultural diversity, pluralism, respect for the rights of minorities and peace within and among nations. Democracy is based, among other fundamental principles, on free and transparent elections, and includes the right of all citizens to participate in government. Democracy and development are mutually reinforcing”.
“We reaffirm our commitment to preserve and strengthen our democratic systems for the benefit of all the peoples of the Hemisphere. Through the competent bodies of the OAS, we will work for the strengthening of democratic institutions and the promotion and defense of constitutional democratic regimes, in accordance with the OAS Charter,” the document adds. And it concludes: “Our thirty-four nations share a fervent commitment in favor of democratic practices, economic integration and social justice.”
Tortures, political prisoners and dictatorships
In Venezuela, Cuba and Nicaragua there is no respect for human rights, there are political prisoners, many opponents are tortured in prison and there is censorship against the independent press. The Maduro, Díaz-Canel and Ortega regimes are constantly singled out by human rights organizations, NGOs and even the UN for the actions they take against anyone who thinks differently.
In the case of Venezuela, a United Nations mission concluded last March that there were crimes against humanity and said that “the situation of impunity must be addressed.”
Just a few weeks ago, the Independent International Fact-Finding Mission on the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela presented an oral update of its harsh report to the United Nations Human Rights Council. The president of the Mission, Marta Valiñas, stated that “there are reasonable grounds to believe that there were crimes against humanity in Venezuela.”
“There is a situation of impunity that must be addressed,” she indicated; while she said that, “shortly after the publication of the second report, the government signed a memorandum of understanding with the International Court Prosecutor’s Office.” She then pointed out with concern the “human rights violations committed by State security officials” and that “the lack of data” by the State continues to be an obstacle.
Valiñas stressed that “in recent months, there have been some advances in emblematic cases addressed by the Mission.” However, she reiterated that “the relatives of the victims of human rights violations have the right to participate in the investigations” that are being carried out in the country. According to the latest balance of the prestigious NGO Foro Penal, there are 240 political prisoners of the regime. Of them, 226 are men and 14 women; 110 are civilians and 130 military.
The director of the organization, Gonzalo Himiob, indicated that 9,414 people remain subject to “unfair criminal proceedings, for political reasons, under precautionary measures.”
The situation in Cuba
After the massive and unprecedented peaceful demonstrations that took place on the island on July 11, the Castro dictatorship increased the persecution and violence against any voice that is raised against it. This is how he carried out and continues to carry out numerous trials in which he sentences those who participated in the street protests to long years in prison.
The Supreme Court has already sentenced more than 120 people for “violently subverting the constitutional order” due to the 11J protests on the island, for which those sentenced have received sentences of between 4 and 30 years in prison.
“The Court has notified the sentences, in which it has considered proven and demonstrated that on July 11, 2021, in the Toyo Corner, municipality of Diez de Octubre, obeying instructions given by people both from Cuba and from abroad, the accused, they tried to subvert the constitutional order in a violent way,” reported the highest court of the Cuban dictatorship in a press release for one of the trials, held between December 14 and February 3.
The citizens were “accused of committing and provoking serious disturbances and acts of vandalism, with the purpose of destabilizing public order, collective security and citizen tranquility.”
In its latest report, published on May 5, Prisoners Defenders stated that more than 1,200 people were deprived of liberty in the last 12 months.
The NGO denounced that from May 1, 2021 to April 30 of this year, a total of 1,218 people have suffered political imprisonment in Cuba. “At this specific moment, with data closing as of April 30, 2022, the list of political prisoners in Cuba contains 1,015 prisoners suffering judicial sentences, as well as provisions limiting their freedom by prosecutors without any judicial supervision, in flagrant violation of international law and due process,” the NGO said.
It also stated that 874 of the political prisoners are in jail for the massive peaceful demonstrations of last July 11.
“We reflect these 1,015 verified political prisoners, as every month, in the list of Prisoners Defenders of Cuba, which we make public and distribute in all political, diplomatic and human rights defense spheres,” the organization continued.
He then underlined that “with 145 political prisoners, the month of May of last year began. From then until April 30, 2022, another 1,073 new political prisoners have been added to the first 145, giving a total of 1,218 political prisoners during these last 12 months.”
The Panorama Of Nicaragua
Daniel Ortega’s regime carried out a wave of arrests in the framework of the presidential elections on November 7 and is still going on. More than 170 critics of the dictatorship are currently imprisoned in Nicaragua in the context of the political crisis that the country has been experiencing since the anti-government protests of 2018, according to human rights organizations and families.
Among them, 46 were arrested before the November elections, including seven potential electoral rivals of Ortega, who ended up winning a fourth consecutive term since 2007, considered illegitimate by the United States, Canada, the European Union and most Latin American countries. .
Last Monday, Emily Mendrala, deputy assistant secretary for the Americas at the US State Department, said that the Joe Biden administration maintains “a range of bilateral communication” with Managua and continues “pressing for the release of political prisoners.”
“Without a doubt, the immediate release of political prisoners in the hands of the regime continues to be one of the main priorities of the United States in Nicaragua,” the diplomat assured during a forum organized by the Inter-American Dialogue think tank.
“The regime imprisoned these people for wanting nothing more and demanding nothing less than democracy, justice and respect for human rights,” she stressed; denouncing not only “unfair imprisonment” but also “deplorable conditions” of deprivation of liberty, with denial of access to legal representation and medicine.
The United States has applied sanctions to 46 people and nine entities in Nicaragua since December 2017, including several members of the Ortega Murillo clan. In addition, it took steps to apply visa restrictions to more than 280 Nicaraguans.
“We will continue to use these diplomatic and economic tools to increase pressure,” Mendrala promised.