Maduro Blocks Travel of OAS Human Rights Commission to Venezuela

The Commission of the IACHR could not board their plane bound for Caracas, but has a Plan B for meeting with victims of human rights abuses in Venezuela.

HAVANA TIMES – The members of the OAS mission who were stopped from boarding their plane in Panama described as “shameful” and “unusual” what happened. They probably expected the rejection to come after arriving in Caracas.

In a telephone conversation with Infobae, the president of the Commission, Esmeralda Arosemena reported that “we arrived last night in Panama from Washington with the intention of boarding a flight to Caracas on Tuesday. We were already checked and with the boarding passes in hand when we were stopped by an officer of Copa Airlines who informed us that the Maduro government declared us inadmissible.”

The executive secretary of the mission, Paulo Abrao, informed that “we were told we had to leave the boarding line but the official of the airline company did not say that we did not appear on the official lists of flight CM 224. That’s unusual.”

“We immediately activated a plan B and tomorrow we leave for Bogota to make connections to the city of Cucuta where we will receive the victims of Venezuelan human rights violations. The Colombian government contacted us and we are already working on the logistical aspects of the meetings that will be held on Thursday and Friday, February 6-7, in that border city, ”Abrao added.

In addition to thanking Colombian President Iván Duque for his support, Abrao said that “since July 2019 we were preparing this tour of the IACHR to Venezuela and that the Maduro regime knew that because we made formal notification to its Foreign Ministry. It is a shame that the authoritarian government prevents our visit to Venezuela.”

In a statement, the IACHR deeply regretted “the decision to prevent the entry of its delegation to Venezuela” and said that “the IACHR delegation planned to observe the situation of human rights in the country on the ground. It also announced that the mission will meet the victims and family members of human rights violations and civil society organizations on the border between Colombia and Venezuela. ”

The IACHR further added: “The Commission rejects this treatment in the strongest way, noting that it is typical of authoritarian regimes not to allow international scrutiny or observance of the human rights situation. This works especially in detriment to the victims of human rights violations, and hinders the valuable work carried out by civil society organizations.”

On Tuesday morning, Maduro supporters had arrived at the Maiquetía International Airport outside Caracas to harass the members of the OAS Human Rights Commission if they arrived in the country. They left when informed that the delegation was not allowed to embark in Panama.

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