The following is a statement from SFL’s regional body for Spanish-speaking Latin America, Estudiantes por la Libertad (you can read the Spanish version here). In support of all Venezuelan political detainees, we’ve revived the #PorUnaVenezuelaLibre campaign. Click here to learn how you can help.
Estudiantes por la Libertad expresses its profound concern for the arbitrary detainment of the award-winning Venezuelan activist Yon Goicoechea, who was violently intercepted by armed officers while driving around Caracas on the morning of Monday, August 29th. With great concern, we stand with every person who has been arbitrarily detained in Venezuela and we call call on the government to respect the individual liberties of all Venezuelans.
Every member of Estudiantes por la Libertad:
- Denounces the high rates of repression that have characterized Venezuela in recent years, where there are more than 90 political prisoners facing tainted legal processes (according to different international organizations).
- Condemns the censorship of information about the detentions; detainees spend days without their rightful calls and meetings with their lawyers and family, as well as the excessive use of “preventive detainment” without valid cause.
- Rejects the threats through public media and the persecution of those who think differently.
- Makes a call for tolerance and the respect of individual liberties to rule in Venezuela. This is a rich nation with a talented citizenry and they should have the liberty to maximize their potential. We call on the government to trust them in their ventures and capabilities, without seeing them as an enemy; after all, this is what makes a country prosperous and peaceful.
- Declares him or herself vigilant against Yon Goicoechea’s detainment, as well as every other person who has been arbitrarily stripped of their liberty. We call on international public opinion and other pro-liberty organizations to stand with them and demand their immediate release.
In 2007, when the Venezuelan government decided to shut down RCTV, the oldest, most popular TV channel in the country, Yon Goicoechea, along with other young people, lead peaceful protests to prevent the implementation of the measure – which represented a great violation of freedom of expression in Venezuela.
For his struggle to defend these civil and political liberties he was honored with the Cato Institute’s Milton Friedman Prize. After this, Yon decided to leave the country, returning only in 2016 to join the opposition leadership in a much more hostile environment than 2007.
Yon remains unconstitutionally barred from communication since his detention on Monday, August 29th. His family and lawyers have no information regarding his health, whereabouts, or the conditions he is being kept in. This represents a grave abuse of due process, his liberty, and his personal integrity.
#LiberenAYon #FreeYon #PorUnaVenezuelaLibre
Latin America, August 31st, 2016