Venezuela: Conspiracy Charges brought against SUMATE
Washington D.C. – September 30, 2004 – After appearing at a panel discussion concerning the future of Venezuela at the Conference of the Americas in Miami, María Corina Machado, a Director of SUMATE, found out today she is charged with conspiracy because of SUMATE’s activities concerning the recall referendum in August. Besides Maria Corina Machado, Alexander Plaz, Luis Enrique Palacios, and Ricardo Estevez have been order detained on conspiracy charges by the Venezuelan Attorney General.
Ironically, Ms. Machado was participating on the panel with Dr. Jennifer McCoy of the Carter Center. Dr. McCoy said that the greatest threat to Venezuelan Democracy was the collapse in tolerance for political disagreement.
As the CIV mentioned in its September 27th statement concerning the Venezuelan situation, we anticipate human rights violations and “witch hunts” to increase in the immediate future.
The conspiracy charges leveled at SUMATE Directors is an example of the lack of tolerance for political disagreement that threatens Venezuelan democracy, as mentioned by Dr. McCoy.
For this reason, the CIV requests the international community to vocally denounce this effort by the Venezuelan Government towards intimidating political dissent by using trumped up conspiracy charges against SUMATE Directors. Instead, they should be applauded for their pro-democracy work.
*Coordinadora Internacional Venezolana
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