Target: President of Venezuela, Nicolás Maduro
Goal: Defend the right to freedom of speech and assembly in Venezuela
Recently, Nicolás Maduro was declared the President of Venezuela. The election was extremely close, Maduro winning by a very narrow 1.6 percent margin. The results of the election provoked outcry from the supporters of the challenger, Henrique Capriles Radonski. Fueled by his outspoken criticism of the election results, his supporters recently organized a rally to peacefully protest against the newly appointed president. Unfortunately, Maduro threatened the protesters with an “iron fist” if they did not retract, stating that to protest is to give in to “fascism.”
The Venezuelan people deserve to express themselves as long as it does not result in any violent outcome. Maduro’s threats towards these individuals should be condemned. He likens oppositional protestation to fascism, when in actuality, his seemingly violent forewarnings were a far greater manifestation of this term.
The oppositional individuals were coerced by these threats to cancel their planned protest and instead demonstrated their political opinions through pot banging protests, a seeming relegation from the former mass protest. The freedoms of assembly and speech have already been denied by a leader who has yet to be instated into office. This does not bode well for the future of the Venezuelan society.
As described by José Miguel Vivanco of Human Rights Watch, “Venezuelans are entitled to peacefully challenge the election results, by marching in the streets or by expressing their views in the media. Maduro shouldn’t threaten to use an ‘iron fist’ to restrict and intimidate those who try to voice their opinions.”
You take away the voice of the people, and you lose all avenues of criticism. When opposing parties are not allowed to present their views regarding those in power, the lens of transparency is darkened, and the powerful can do as they like. The people of Venezuela deserve the freedom to express their opinions, and to do so in modes of solidarity with their fellow citizens.
Sign below to call for the maximization of the freedoms of speech and assembly that are so important to the maintenance of a just state of government. The Venezuelans not only deserve this right, but require it.
Dear President Nicolás Maduro,
Recently, you chose to stifle the voices of opposing parties through violent threats. Individuals should be allowed to assemble in protest as long as they do not provoke violent confrontation. The right to freedom of speech should be an article present in all societies.
As a government official, you should place the state of the people as the most prime determinant of your actions. The opinions of your opposition are extremely important with regards to the operation of your government. It allows you to always critically analyze your decisions and their impact upon all tenets of society. Their criticisms must be heard in order to pave the way for reconstructions of poor policy and governmental planning. It is as important to the people as it is to the government.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: SiBci