Monday, June 15, 2009

Letter from Ivan Simonovis - Please help making possible for this letter to reach its destination

This is the reality of what happen in Venezuela. Your help is invaluable, you just passed to one person, or ask me a question, we would be closer to the day that everyone understand the truth.


To the President of the European Union Parliament and
Members of the European Union Parliament.
Wiertzstraat 60B-1047. Bruxelles
My name is Iván Simonovis, 49-year-old and of profession Criminal Investigator. For 23 years uninterrupted I worked in the Police of Criminal investigation of Venezuela and, due to my skills, in the year 2000 I was appointed to take over the Secretary of Public Safety, of the Capital, during the fateful acts of April 11, 2002. My function was the coordination and supervision of the policies of public security of the city of Caracas, Venezuela.

I'm imprisoned in the “General Affairs Department of the Intelligence Services and Prevention of the Interior Ministry and Justice” (DISIP by its initials in Spanish), in Caracas, Venezuela, since November 22, 2004, condemned to 30 years of prison, this actually means death sentence, after 3 years of hearings (the longest judicial litigation of his kind in Venezuelan history), besides 4 years and 6 months of imprisonment without charges, I was sentenced of “complicity” in relation to the death of 2 of the 19 dead in Caracas April 11, 2002.

I am indeed a 4 square meters cell, in the basement of the headquarters of the political police in Caracas, without ventilation or natural light. I only have access to sunlight, 2 hours every 2 weeks. In total 48 hours, 1 days per year of natural light. The place where I am detained is not a jail, is the headquarters of the political police of Venezuela, and these facilities are not designed to have inmates for long periods. Consequently, and given these conditions, my health physical and mental has been deteriorating, and I have had the need for medical attention, in some cases even surgery. There is also a severe restriction of my right to receive visits from family, friends, representatives of NGOs and national or international journalists, violating in fact several articles of the American Convention on Human Rights signed in San José, Costa Rica.

I received a trial with no sense and completely unsubstantiated for the murdered of only 2 of 19 people that unfortunately died in April 11, which developed (the trial) over 225 audiences. This trial was filed in a court located 100 kilometers from Caracas, which is the place where I have been kept, therefore involved traveling over 39,000 kilometers handcuffed.

During the trial, there were hearings from 198 witnesses and 48 experts, there were evaluated more than 250 technical and scientific expertises, and it was analyzed more than 5,700 photographs and videos. None of this evidence proves my guilt as to the facts that I was charged.

In that same period, 67 people were identified, all followers to the President Hugo Chávez, shooting with long and short fire arms against unarmed opposition demonstrators. All these people were acquitted or pardoned by the President of the Republic by an amnesty law issued by the National Assembly after his (the president) request, in December 2007.

On April 3, 2009, I was sentenced to 30 years in prison without any mitigating; on the charge of "complicity correspectiva" without perpetrators, repeat a sentence of death.

This abominable ruling is not even comparable to the recent sentence handed down to former Peruvian President Alberto Fujimori. He was sentenced to 25 years in prison for his intellectual authority, as President, in murder with premeditation, aggravated kidnapping and serious injuries to people during the years 1991 and 1992 in Peru.

Gentlemen, my house has been attacked with Molotov bombs, my family, including my minor children, has been threatened in their physical integrity in public by armed radical groups, affects the national government. My wife, who also acts as my lawyer and like my children, has Spanish citizenship, had been subjected to public scorn, has been threatened in television and radio officers and has been attacked in their person and honor of women in a systematic manner by groups of people followers to the government, whom were mobilized to the outside of the seat of the court for uttering insults and threats during her entries and exits to the hearings.

We've all gone to the courts and exhausted all the resources that Venezuelan law provides, with the only hope of being treat with fairness and get some respect for our human rights, which have been unsuccessful.

This letter possibly cause negative consequences to my family and I, but before my growing state of defenselessness and before the systematic violation of my human rights, I respectfully contact you to request that, in attainment of the resolution recently approved by the above-mentioned European Parliament to the situation of political

persecutions in Venezuela, the European Parliament exhausts all the possible mechanisms so that a commission of that Parliament visit our country and for them to be able to verify how the justice is used for political persecution.

The case that I have mentioned is not a unique one. In Venezuela exists more than 40 political prisoners; victims of the punishment for political dissidence.

I will always be thankful of any aid that the Parliament could do in order to help with the protection of the human rights and to avoid that cases like mine continue occurring in Venezuela. My wife, also my lawyer, is at your absolute disposition to keep this conversation in person with who ever are indicated by the Parliament. She is also available to better explain the thousands of details, humiliations and aggressions that this note does not include. Also, to carry all the documents that supports each one of my words. She could also work helping to get any information necessary in order to obtain the aid of the European Parliament that I’m desperately requesting in.


Iván Simonovis

Political Prisoner

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Sunday, May 3, 2009

Lack of Legal Justice in Venezuela



Giving free rein to the lack of legal certainty

Not to mince words, legal certainty simply does not exist in Venezuela.
No law is respected, not even those dreamed up by the government itself; no treaty, agreement or contract is of any use; and the Constitution, now dead-letter, is not worth the paper it is written on.
The present crisis in Venezuela’s democratic institutions stems precisely from this absence of legal certainty and the annihilation of the rule of law. It is in this vacuum that the destruction of the country’s productive apparatus has been hatched; and this is the ground swell that has swept away the political, economic, social, and citizen rights of the Venezuelan people.
Thanks to this disrespect for the law, the practice of enacting tailor-made laws, and the discretional interpretation and enforcement, or not, of agreements and contracts, lawsuits amounting to billions of dollars have been filed with international courts by multinational corporations that, at one time, were contractors of the Venezuelan State.
This situation is also responsible for the lawsuits before international human rights courts for the violation of the human rights of hundreds of Venezuelans.
Spurious trials are mounted to criminalize the dissidence and coups d’état, frustrated assassinations, violations of national sovereignty, tax evasion, and crimes of all and every kind are dreamed up to put members of the opposition or people deemed to be politically incorrect or who are an embarrassment to the government either behind bars or force them into exile.
People’s electoral rights have been violated wholesale: from disregarding the secrecy of the vote (a universal right) to failing to maintain a reliable, auditable electoral roll or curtailing the right to vote, to violating election deadlines and dates, carrying out amendments to the Constitution that break constitutional rules and even suspending, illegally and without consultation, elections to renew the incumbents of elected offices, as in the case of the municipal councils.
On top of that we have the unconstitutional refusal to recognize the people’s wishes expressed at the polls. So it is that Chávez continues imposing a political system that has already been rejected or orders the enactment of a law that turns the Greater Caracas Mayoralty to an empty shell simply because a leader of the democratic alternative won the seat.
The workers, whose defense was, in times gone by, a banner brandished by the government, are also victims of this absence of the rule of law. The government, deliberately and resorting to every kind of ruse, refuses tonegotiate expired collective employment contracts, does not comply with those that are still current, and even reverses acquired workers’ benefits, something that is unconstitutional.
Land, companies, and properties are invaded under Zamoran decrees that arbitrarily ignore ownership right, even though the chain of legitimate ownership going back for generations has been proved.
So, thanks to this practice of consigning the Constitution to oblivion, ignoring or inventing laws, Venezuelans have been stripped of their rights and freedoms and, therefore, of democracy. And that is how the new-style communist dictatorship is being forged.

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Monday, April 27, 2009

Venezuelan official granted asylum in Peru

LIMA, Peru (CNN) -- Manuel Rosales, the mayor of Maracaibo, Venezuela, has been granted political asylum in Peru, Peru's foreign minister said Monday.

Manuel Rosales denies that he illegally enriched himself as governor of Zulia state.

Rosales, a leading political opponent who lost the 2006 presidential race to Hugo Chavez, faces corruption charges in Venezuela.

He was supposed to have turned himself in to authorities last week but failed to appear. His attorney said then that Rosales had fled to Peru and would seek asylum there.

Peruvian Foreign Minister Jose Antonio Garcia Belaunde said that the asylum was granted on humanitarian grounds and that recent statements by Rosales against Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez were not taken into account, the state-run Andina news agency said.

Venezuelan officials say Rosales illegally enriched himself as governor of Zulia state from 2002 to 2004.

Rosales denies the allegation, saying Chavez is out to get him for political reasons and is persecuting him on trumped-up corruption charges.

"Since they haven't been able to take me off the political map by the electoral route, now they're using the power they have in all the movements of the public prosecutor," Rosales told CNN en Español last month.

One of Rosales' lawyers noted that Chavez said publicly in October 2008, before Rosales was charged, that he wanted the mayor in prison.

In last month's interview, Rosales called the charges that he had illegally accepted money "totally false," and said he not only declared all of his income, but paid taxes on it.

Katiuska Plaza, district attorney for Zulia state, said in a 26-count complaint last month that Rosales illegally enriched himself in 2002 and 2004.

Rosales called the district attorney's actions "a manipulation," and said the prosecutor "is acting on Chavez's orders."

Another prominent Chavez opponent was arrested this month on corruption charges.

Former Venezuelan Defense Minister Raul Baduel played a key role in turning back a coup attempt against Chavez in 2002 but broke with him in November 2007 over constitutional changes Chavez was proposing. Baduel has been a strong Chavez critic since then.

Baduel, who also was the president's military general-in-chief, was arrested at gunpoint in front of his wife April 2, the general's attorney said at the time. It was Baduel's second arrest on charges that he stole $14 million from the armed forces.

He has denied the allegation and said last year the charges were politically motivated.

And Antonio Ledezma, an opposition figure who is mayor of Caracas, is finding his powers reduced. Last week, the pro-Chavez National Assembly shifted many of his powers to the federal government.

Ledezma has accused Chavez of orchestrating protests against him.

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