The Venezuelan government must protect civil society and restore democratic institutions
Transparency International, the global anti-corruption movement, and its chapters in Latin America condemn the killings of citizens during protests in Venezuela and call on the government to protect the space for people to express their opposition.
More than five people have been killed this month and more than 535 have been arrested for protesting against the government. These protests, which are expected to continue, must not be met with more violence.
“It is outrageous and unacceptable that people are being shot for marching in the streets to express their dissatisfaction with their government. Citizens want a democracy that holds those in power to account, not a government that uses violence to suppress dissent. The shelves are bare and people are angry at a government that cannot provide basic services, and is dogged by corruption allegations,” said José Ugaz, chair of Transparency International.
“The government is resorting to violence to silence its critics. Rather than shooting its citizens it should listen to them. We want institutions that work and a government that is responsible to all people. We do not want a dictatorship that leaves the door open to corruption. Every day we face intimidation from those in power when we speak up against wrongdoing. Civil society must be protected, not harassed,” said Mercedes de Freitas, executive director of Transparencia Venezuela.
Transparency International is calling on the government to guarantee both the political and civil rights of its people and the separation of powers of its institutions.
Citizens must be free to demonstrate, organise and participate in the political life of the country without fear of violence and repression.
Any moves to concentrate more power in the presidency must be stopped. The judiciary, the legislature and the executive branch must maintain a separation of powers. The electoral calendar for the regional and municipal elections must be confirmed so that people can express their opinions through the ballot box and the integrity of these elections must be guaranteed.
The following Transparency International chapters from Latin America support this statement:
- Poder Ciudadano, Argentina
- Associação Transparência e Integridade, Brazil
- Chile Transparente, Chile
- Transparencia por Colombia, Colombia
- Costa Rica Integra, Costa Rica
- Fundación Nacional para el Desarrollo, El Salvador
- Acción Ciudadana, Guatemala
- Asociación para una Sociedad más Justa, Honduras
- Transparencia Mexicana, Mexico
- Fundación para el Desarrollo de la Libertad Ciudadana, Panama
- Proética, Peru
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