Target: President Nicolas Maduro
Goal: Punish security forces that used excessive force against unarmed protesters
Security forces in Venezuela recently used excessive force when dealing with anti-government demonstrators. Authorities were seen beating unarmed protesters and shooting them at point-blank range. They are also accused of subjecting detainees to extreme physical and psychological abuse, bordering on torture. These acts of violence need to stop immediately and the President must exercise force to protect his people.
A 103-page report by Human Rights Watch details 45 cases from Caracas and three states where 150 victims were abused by security forces, and these forces allowed armed gangs to attack protesters. There are even some cases where these gangs collaborated with security forces. Some human rights experts are saying that this is the worst spike in violence in Venezuela that they’ve seen in recent years.
Human Rights Watch interviewed scores of families and witnesses who were abused by security forces. They also spoke to journalists and medical experts, gathering evidence including video footage, photos, medical reports and judicial reviews. While the Venezuelan government states that all protests and demonstrations in the country are violent, Human Rights Watch only found a small portion of protests that fit into this category. The human rights organization found that security forces repeatedly used excessive violence on protesters, and even targeted civilians who were not a part of the demonstration. Unfortunately, these uninvolved civilians receive the worst punishments. It’s believed that the security forces do not wish to enforce the law, but are targeting citizens for their political beliefs with the intention of silencing them.
In most cases, detainees are subjected to arrest and arbitrary detention for 48 hours. However, other victims have been subjected to beatings, electric shock and burns. These acts of violence need to stop. Sign the petition below to urge the President of Venezuela to protect his people by holding security forces accountable for their violence.
Dear President Maduro,
I am writing to express my contempt and anger towards your security forces. There are at least 150 documented cases of security forces beating unarmed protesters and shooting them at point-blank range. Some of these victims were not even a part of the demonstration at hand and it’s believed that security forces are not enforcing the law, but are merely trying to silence the protesters.
As the president, it should be your job to ensure that your citizens are safe and protected. While I understand that past protests have resulted in violence, peaceful protesters and uninvolved citizens should not be harmed. I am urging you to punish security forces that overstep their bounds and hurt your citizens.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Andres E. Azpurua via Wikimedia Commons