Venezuela Awareness Foundation presents its Annual Report on Human Rights Practices for political reasons in Venezuela, which

runs from January 1ST to December 31ST, 2012. Miami, February 28, 2013 Summary Venezuela, which has maintained a deepening deterioration of the human rights violations for political causes; continued to record critical levels and expanding political persecutions in 2012, that have been reflected in many areas of the Venezuelan’s daily life. This situation deepens, for the withdrawal of the Venezuelan State from the Inter-American Court of Human Rights. Within this we can highlight: 1. The apparent resurgence of political prisoners’ mistreatment is reflected in poor conditions of detention, the right to health, deferrals in judicial procedures, denying the right to enjoy the freedom of alternative measures, etc. 2. The wrong doing of judges and public prosecutors loyal to the revolutionary process in political cases continues accentuating, eliminating any guarantee for a fair trial. 3. Murders figures hide the political killings against ordinary citizens working under profile that support opposing candidates or those who represent different sectors of society. 4. The resumption of persecution to oil workers’ that participated in the national civic strike of 2002. 5. Persecution, torture and imprisonment of anyone who witnesses serious crimes such as drug trafficking presumably committed by Venezuelan officials. 6. Increased detentions ordered by ruling parties for simple retaliation and personal affairs, without them having any connection with the top government. 7. The practice of physical and psychological torture at the headquarters of the Military Intelligence Division continues. 8. The criminalization of the attorney’s exercise with the case of Jose Amalio Graterol, defense lawyer of political prisoner Maria Lourdes Afiuni. 9. Political persecution rage intensifies against two groups: journalists and trade unionists. 10. The so-called Tascon List, which has been a weapon of exclusion and political persecution, is still active.

11. Impunity for acts against political persecution remains very high, the complaints of the victims in many cases are not accepted by the institutions or the victims are threatened not to report because they will suffer reprisals. 12. Venezuelans leaving the country increase for being victims of political persecution or fear for the lack of rule of law that does not provide any guarantee of their human rights and the enjoyment of civil liberties. 13. Persecution against the families of political persecuted that abandon the country.

14. Preparation of list of those persecuted, that are dozens as of know, for the promulgation of the Law against Silence and Oblivion. I Torture The practice of torture at the headquarters of the Military Intelligence Division (MID) continues. These inhuman acts are performed in illegal detentions as it is suspected that the victims have witnessed unlawful acts committed by officials or know of any information that could compromise the Venezuelan government. Acts of torture committed during illegal interrogations, consisted of threats, beatings and mechanical asphyxia. Venezuelan Political Prisoners. The situation of political prisoners continues to deteriorate. There is a strong government interest to continue the detention of those political prisoners who should be eligible for benefits of freedom. Others remain in prison for long periods of time without doing the preliminary Hearing for continuous delays. We’ll mention the example of trade unionist Carlos Zorrilla, jailed since April 25, 2011 at the Penitentiary of Barinas. Since then, Zorilla is still awaiting his preliminary hearing and has had about approximately 29 deferrals. Prison conditions to those jailed at the Bolivarian Intelligence Service (SEBIN- Spanish acronym) remain unchanged: long periods of confinement without access to sunlight, access to drafty areas as established by international standards for people held in custody of the State, negatively affecting the health of political prisoners, added with long periods without receiving specialized medical care. Moreover, political prisoners held in the Ramo Verde military prison, reported improvements in their conditions of detention, respectful treatment, medical care when required, and exempting isolated complaints for requisitions, this center meets international standards. Although in mid-2012, President Hugo Chavez expressed willingness to review the list of political prisoners, his posterior departure from Venezuela for subsequent health problems prevented this to materialize because those who are in charge, as is the Vice President

Nicholas Maduro, has hardened his position against political prisoners keeping them imprisoned and denying their right to freedom. Political Prisoners in 2012. Indigenous captain Alex Romero. Showing a warrant through a blackberry phone, a group of soldiers detained indigenous Captain Alex Romero on January 20 and is imprisoned in the jail of La Pica because of the investigation of the events occurred in La Paragua, where a group of military evicted 13 indigenous ethnic groups and they responded to the assaults and abuse for which their weaponry was withdrawn. The indigenous Venezuelans have dragged abuses and promises unfulfilled by the government of President Chavez and these remain up to date. Romero was released a week later on precautionary measures. San Miguel and Gámez’s case. Ana Maria Abreu of San Miguel was arrested on June 29, 2012 and imprisoned in SEBIN for allegedly being linked to the dissemination of confidential information. With her, was also arrested National Guard Colonel José Gámez Bustamante on July 31 and jailed in the Ramo Verde military prison for the alleged crimes of espionage and conspiracy. Also, a Haitian citizen was arrested but was granted his freedom and his case dismissed. Abreu was released by regime of presentation on August 15 and the judge granted an Alternative Precautionary measure to Gámez, house arrest for jail, on November 16 for his delicate health validated by the coroner. Criminalization of the practice of the legal profession: Case Graterol. On June 4, it was arbitrarily detained lawyer Jose Amalio Graterol, lawyer of Judge Maria Lourdes Afiuni political prisoner. The lawyer was detained assisting a judicial process at the Criminal Judicial Circuit of the State of Vargas and refused to conduct the trial without the presence of the accused, invoking the Criminal Procedure Code which prohibits the conduct of trials in the absence of the accused. The trial judge Yalitza Dominguez, violating the due process and rights of the accused concluded by ordering the arrest of lawyer Jose Amalio Graterol for obstruction of justice only for refusing to conduct the trial in absentia. Before entering the courtroom, Graterol was warned by court staff, that there were orders against him as retaliation for having given strong statements about the judiciary the day before in a television program and anything was to be used as an excuse to jail him. During his detention, Graterol partner and also defense of Judge Afiuni, Thelma Fernandez, was taken arbitrarily out of the court room abused and pushed to the floor by a court bailiff. Graterol was imprisoned at the Detention of Macuto and obtained his release on bail on June

12, 2012 and subsequently sentenced to the maximum penalty of six months by Judge Victor Yepez Pini. Freedom of prisoners waiting for their benefits. Hunger Strike. Gustavo Arráiz. As a way to claim his procedural benefits for having fulfilled almost his entire penalty, Gustavo Arráiz started a hunger strike that ended a few days later, when he achieved his freedom by open regime on June 6, 2012. Arráiz had been imprisoned in the DISIP since February 28, 2006. This organization emphasizes the attitude shown by the Venezuelan government for detaining political prisoners for years, innocent of what they were accused for. These long years where they have served their prison time provided by law and despite the insistence of their defense lawyers and various public demonstrations by the Venezuelans, who claim freedom of their political prisoners, the Chavez government shows its radical hardness to keep them unlawfully imprisoned.

Examples of this are the five Metropolitan Police of the case known as 11A, about the events of April 11, 2002. The cops who remain unlawfully incarcerated since April 21, 2003 are: Erasmo Bolívar, Luis Molina, Arube Perez, Hector Rovaín and Marco Hurtado who have several benefits due and no provision of the Executive in granting their freedom. We insist its being 10 years since their wrongfully imprisonment and their immediate release must be ordered.
Venezuelan citizens who are the 11 political prisoners of the government of Hugo Chavez until December 31, 2012 2003 1. - Agent (MP) Erasmo Bolívar, illegally held on April 21, 2003 (Ramo Verde military prison). 2. - Dtgdo (MP) Luis Molina Cerrada, illegally held on April 21, 2003 (Ramo Verde). 3. - C/1ro (MP) Arube Pérez Salazar, illegally held on April 21, 2003 (Ramo Verde). 4. - Sub.Com. (MP) Marco Hurtado, illegally held in on April 21, 2003 (Ramo Verde). 2004 5. – Chief Insp. (PM) Héctor Rovaín, illegally held in on April 21, 2003 (Ramo Verde). 6. - Ivan Simonovis, illegally held on November 22, 2004 (SEBIN, former DISIP and taken to jail in Ramo Verde military jail on February 21, 2012) 2009 7.-Maria Lourdes Afiuni Mora, illegally detained since December 10, 2009. Granted measure of house arrest for jail as of February 2, 2011 2010 8. - MT3 César Medina Gómez, illegally held on November 26, 2010 (Charallave Police, Miranda).

2011 9.-Carlos Zorrilla, illegally held on April 25, 2011 at the Penitentiary of Barinas 10.-César Camejo Blanco, illegally held on January 23, 2011 (SEBIN, former DISIP) 2012 11.-Army Mayor (R) Milton Revilla Soto, illegally held in Ramo Verde military prison since February 15, 2012 II Venezuelan State Waive to Inter-American Court of Human Rights. Raúl Díaz Peña, former Venezuelan political prisoner currently in exile in the United States for political persecution, prosecution without warranties, tortured, imprisoned in SEBIN for 6 years in inhumane prison conditions that negatively impacted his health, for receiving specialized care in a timely manner, whose case was taken before the Inter-American Court of Human Rights and the judgment was published in July 2012 in which the Venezuelan state was convicted, was rejected by President Hugo Chavez, who immediately ordered the withdrawal of Venezuela from this Court, depriving Venezuelans to go to international bodies as enshrined in the Constitution of Venezuela. Far from welcoming the opinion of the Inter-American Court, for example, improve the conditions of detention of prisoners at the SEBIN where Diaz was incarcerated, and ensure timely medical care to citizens in custody; the Venezuelan government led by President Hugo Chavez, who for weeks kept publicly criticized the sentence and followed by members of his cabinet and institutions like the Public Ministry and the Supreme Court Of Justice that are assumed to be independent, held the same opinion of the President, thus losing the opportunity to correct this violation of human rights against political prisoners in Venezuela. III Cases of political persecution in 2012 Absence of independence of the Judiciary. The lack of independence of the judiciary is increasingly critical, no pretense in how the executive branch has total control of its judges and prosecutors who follow orders or are forced to withdraw from a case for fear of reprisals by the known "Afiuni effect." The Judicial power is the executive arm to prosecute and imprison its opponents or nuisances to the Bolivarian revolution. There is no independence in the opinions or decisions of the Attorney General Luisa Ortega Diaz or the President of the Supreme Court of Justice, Luisa Estela Morales, who have departed completely from the Constitution and laws, showing that they are only embodied in a paper to be interpreted according to the

revolutionary spirit. 1.-Oil Workers of the civic strike of 2002. The Tax Audit Executive Direction of Venezuela Oil started in 2006 an Administrative procedure for determination of liability in file number DR-002-2008 that was "frozen" until it was revived in 2012 by the investigation for possible fiscal losses of 2003 for groups who voluntarily joined the national strike that began on December 2, 2002 and ended in early 2003, so there were approximately 23,000 oil workers unfairly dismissed. As you may recall, the International Labor Organization (ILO) ruled through the Syndicated Liberty Committee (CFA) as the organ of Administration of justice, that the civic strike was the result of the right to strike for what the ILO does not consider it illegal, but the government of Venezuelan ignoring this opinion, continues to persecute oil workers, and in this case, against 185 of which 180 were convicted in this procedure, responsibilities as high fines were established so refusing to pay would lead to consequences as confiscation of properties. It is worrisome, that this administrative cause can be attached to the primary file opened in 2003, asking the Attorney General to devise disguise charges that look as criminal, being a way to keep attacking and chasing oil workers of 2002. 2.-Tascon List Employment discrimination for not supporting policies and candidates of the ruling party thru voting, works through what is known as the Tascon List, which remains effective in the jobs dependent on the national government, reaching also those who have contracts with it . Despite that President Chavez, on April 25, 2005, during a cabinet in Puerto Ordaz, Bolivar state, announced that the Tascon list was buried, it remains more relevant than ever. 3. - Retaliation and personal vendettas of supporters of the ruling party. It is notable the increase of causes that, without being responsibilities of the Executive, are ordered by supporters that do not have high positions, and using personal situations and using their connections with judges ruling, police and prosecutors, imprison enemies or people that are not of their liking for personal situations, revenge or retaliation. Although they are not political cases, the Judiciary is still used as a weapon to persecute and imprison their opponents or enemies. 4.-Political killings. The list of 20,000 killed annually by the mob, hides the victims of political killings, killed for working in low-profile opposition, is the ordinary citizen who performs work in their area in favor of the opposition, of their community, and mistakenly added in the list of killed as victims of crime, deaths that remain in complete impunity. 5.-Groups suffering persecution: Unionists and Journalists. During 2012, journalists, graphic reporters, and unionists have been victims of persecution,

harassment, and illegal judicial procedures and victims of killings. Approximately 1,200 trade unionists have been subjected to legal proceedings and kept under presentation scheme, and 77 have been victims of killings. Journalists and reporters have been attacked by supporters of the ruling or Bolivarian militias while they are covering information, are forbidden the access to places for not being official press, have been arbitrarily detained by military as the National Guard, intimidated by intelligence officials during research jobs and threatened to be passed to court orders, all to restrict freedom of speech, free exercise of journalism, self-censorship and in this way the ruling achieve the control the media so that only it promoted the unique thought, the revolutionary message. 6.- Political Persecution by the Law against Silence and Oblivion. Under the promulgation of the Law Against Silence and Oblivion, which is limited to victims between 1958 and 1998, and only referring to a sector, i.e. those who were part of guerrilla groups, communists, leftist or illegal armed groups that attempted against the legally established democratic government and refused to the peacekeeping policy of the heads of State of those years, hundreds of lists started of officials who worked for those years in intelligence work, either directly, indirectly or for working in these institutions. This law establishes two types of victims, giving a blow to keep unpunished the victims that are not of the revolutionary government interest. These persecuted are now part of the Executive, for those who have already been arrested, processed or handled informally in the list to be prosecuted under this law, no warranties of any kind to have a fair trial. Political exile. The increase of Venezuelans en route to exile continues, to be counted as thousands annually, including the brain fugue. Many of them with serious cases of political persecution and other, feeling helpless by the absence of a rule of law that does not guarantee them the enjoyment of their civil rights and respect for human rights. Relatives of victims of political persecution who remain in the country, are often victims of reprisal, and suffer attacks and harassment that force them to leave the country as a way to protect their physical and psychological integrity. IV Conclusion This organization is concerned about the increasingly deteriorating state of human rights in Venezuela that is governed and controlled by national military, who, with so much impunity for political cases, show radicalization of these violation practices leaving the common citizen completely defenseless as their rights are not respected nor repaired. We can not say that in the period that starts, we could have an improvement or at least attitude of the revolutionary government to work to restore human rights, stop political persecution, release all political

prisoners, and work for the reinstatement of independence of the Judiciary, so we call on the international community to take on their agenda this serious situation and may have a wake before such a severe deterioration of the aforementioned. www.venezuelaawareness.com

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