Target: Venzuelan President Nicholas Maduro
Goal: Lift censorship on media and halt violence against protesters and journalists
Venezuelans have recently taken to the streets in protest over economic and social hardships in the country, and the president has responded by censoring the media and harming both the protesters and journalists. The government is responding poorly to the citizens’ wants and needs, and is only making the violence escalate. The president needs to lift all censorship on the media and stop harming protesters and journalists alike.
Since February 12, 2014, excessive force has been used by police against protesters on multiple occasions. Protesters have been beaten and shot at, leaving three people dead and scores injured. Shooting live rounds is only lawful if the shooter’s life is at risk, but video evidence shows uniformed police along with civilian garbed men shooting live ammunition into fleeing protesters. One such video showed a protester falling to the ground with a fatal gunshot wound to the head. Testimonies from witnesses indicate that most of the protesters were peaceful and came unarmed.
Detainees were also abused by police forces, and constantly threatened with assault or rape. Many of them were never sent to see a judge within 48 hours of their detainment, which is required by law in Venezuela. Journalists have also been targeted by government forces because of their investigative work. Cameras have been seized, and journalists beaten and detained unlawfully for hours.
The Venezuelan government has censored news outlets, already blocked one TV channel, and threatened to go after other news outlets for coverage of violence. On February 20,2014, the president himself took CNN off the air and the government also cancelled the credentials of CNN’s Caracas correspondent.
The government’s response to protests is only making the violence escalate. Negotiations need to happen and the government must listen to its citizens’ wants and needs. Censorship on media needs to be lifted, and violence against protesters and journalists needs to stop or else the country will become a bloodbath.
Dear President Nicholas Maduro,
You and your government are responding in the worst manner possible regarding the conflict overtaking your country. Instead of listening to the demands and needs of your people, you have your police and National Guard attack them. You’ve censored their news so they do not receive coverage of what is happening in their country, and are attacking journalists for doing their job.
These tactics need to stop if positive changes are to come to your country. You should put aside what you want for your nation and start listening to your people. A government exists to serve the whims of its people, not the other way. Remove all censorship on the media and stop this violence against your people and journalists.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: andresAzp via flickr