The Human Truth Foundation

Human Rights and Freedom in Venezuela

https://www.humantruth.info/venezuela_human_rights_and_freedom.html

By Vexen Crabtree 2019

#canada #equality #freedom #human_rights #politics #tolerance #venezuela #venezuela_human_rights

Venezuela
Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela

[Country Profile Page]
StatusIndependent State
Social and Moral Index125th best
LocationSouth America, The Americas
Population28.9m1
Life Expectancy70.55yrs (2017)2

Venezuela does relatively well in ensuring human rights and freedom, compared to many other countries. Venezuela does better than average in speed of uptake of HR treaties3, its success in fighting anti-semitic prejudice4, its nominal commitment to Human Rights5, LGBT equality6 and in freethought7. Venezuela still has work to do. Venezuela does worse than average in the rate of gender bias (from 7 indicators)8 (amongst the worst in The Americas), commentary in Human Rights Watch reports9 (one of the lowest in The Americas), opposing gender inequality10 and in supporting press freedom11. And finally, it sits amongst the bottom 20 when it comes to supporting personal, civil & economic freedoms12 (the worst in The Americas). President Nicolás Maduro has been increasingly dictatorial, damaging and dismantling Venezuela's democratic institutions13. Security forces are increasingly abusive13. The justice system is no longer independent of government13. Harassment of critics continues, with arbitrary arrests of opponents "as his rule became more brutal and autocratic" at the expense of good governance - food and medicine shortages have come to affect many13. The United Nations reported in 2017 that rights abuses have been extensive13. Eleven Latin American states (and Canada) signed the Lima Declaration in 2017, condemning "the assault on democratic order and the systematic violation of human rights in Venezuela"13. By 2021, the Global Peace Index categorized Political Terror in this country to be in the worst possible category (5/5), and rated it as one of the most disturbed countries in the world14.


1. Venezuela's Human Rights, Equality & Tolerance

#equality #gender_equality #human_rights #morals #politics #prejudice #tolerance

Compared to The Americas (2020)15
Pos.Lower is better
Avg Rank15
1Canada21.0
2Uruguay26.5
3Costa Rica36.5
...
17Paraguay70.4
18Honduras71.9
19Nicaragua74.4
20Venezuela76.5
21Trinidad & Tobago81.4
22Dominican Rep.83.1
23Barbados85.0
24Haiti86.4
25Suriname86.7
The Americas Avg73.9
q=35.
Human Rights, Equality & Tolerance (2020)15
Pos.Lower is better
Avg Rank15
1Sweden9.0
2Norway14.5
3Denmark14.5
...
71Nicaragua74.4
72Cape Verde75.0
73Burkina Faso76.1
74Venezuela76.5
75Philippines78.3
76Belarus78.7
77Kyrgyzstan79.5
78Moldova81.3
World Avg87.9
q=199.

The best countries in the world at ensuring human rights, fostering equality and promoting tolerance, are Sweden, Norway and Denmark16. These countries are displaying the best traits that humanity has to offer. The worst countries are The Solomon Islands, Somalia and Tuvalu16.

The data sets used to calculate points for each country are statistics on commentary in Human Rights Watch reports, its nominal commitment to Human Rights, speed of uptake of HR treaties, supporting personal, civil & economic freedoms, supporting press freedom, eliminating modern slavery, opposing gender inequality, the rate of gender bias (from 7 indicators), the year from which women could participate in democracy, its success in fighting anti-semitic prejudice, LGBT equality and freethought. The regions with the best average results per country are Scandinavia, Baltic States and Europe16, whereas the worst are Melanesia, Micronesia and Australasia16.

For more, see:

Amnesty International's 2023-23 summary on human rights in Venezuela stated:

Lack of access to economic and social rights remained a serious concern, with the majority of the population experiencing severe food insecurity and unable to access adequate healthcare. The security forces responded with excessive force and other repressive measures to protests, involving various sectors of the population, to demand economic and social rights, including the right to water. Impunity for ongoing extrajudicial executions by the security forces persisted. Intelligence services and other security forces, with the acquiescence of the judicial system, continued to arbitrarily detain, torture and otherwise ill-treat those perceived to be opponents of the government of Nicolás Maduro.

A report by the UN Fact-Finding Mission (FFM) on Venezuela exposed patterns of crimes against humanity and called for investigations into several named government officials. Prison conditions remained a major concern, especially regarding overcrowding and the use of illegal detention centres, as well as access to basic rights such as water and food. Despite the adoption of legal reforms regarding the administration of justice, access to the right to truth and reparations for victims of human rights violations remained a challenge. Between 240 and 310 people remained arbitrarily detained on political grounds. The state's repressive policies targeted journalists, independent media and human rights defenders. Illegal mining and violence threatened Indigenous peoples' rights in the Orinoco Mining Arc. Abortion was still criminalized in almost all circumstances. Violence against women persisted, despite the existing legal framework. There was no progress in ensuring the rights of LGBTI people. By the end of the year more than 7.1 million Venezuelans had fled the country.

"The State of the World's Human Rights 2022/23" by Amnesty International (2023)17

[In 2017] President Nicolás Maduro continued to eviscerate Venezuela's democracy and economy under the guise of [working] against those whom he calls the imperialists. But as his rule became more brutal and autocratic, his corrupt and incompetent management of the economy became painfully apparent. This potentially wealthy nation was left destitute [with food and medicine shortages affecting many].

Maduro managed to stay in office, due largely to the violent repression he was willing to deploy. Taking advantage of a subservient Supreme Court and the Constituent Assembly that he created to take over legislative powers from the opposition-controlled National Assembly, he carried out a brutal crackdown on dissent.

"World Report 2018" by Human Rights Watch (2018)18

In a section called 'Humanitarian Crises', Human Rights Watch state:

Venezuelans are facing severe shortages of medicine, medical supplies, and food, seriously undermining their rights to health and food. In 2017, the Venezuelan health minister released official data for 2016 indicating that, in one year, maternal mortality increased 65 percent, infant mortality increased 30 percent, and cases of malaria increased 76 percent.

Days later, the minister was fired. Cases of severe malnutrition of children under 5 years old increased from 10.2 percent in February 2017 to 14.5 percent in September 2017, crossing the World Health Organization crisis threshold, according to Cáritas Venezuela.

"World Report 2018" by Human Rights Watch (2018)13

2. Human Rights & Tolerance

2.1. Human Rights Watch Comments

#human_rights

Human Rights Watch Comments
Higher is better9
Pos.2017
Score9
1=UK9
1=France9
1=Germany9
...
82S. Sudan-5
83=Zimbabwe-5
83=Bahrain-5
83=Venezuela-5
83=Oman-5
83=Tajikistan-5
83=Lebanon-5
83=Mali-5
The Americas Avg-0.8
World Avg-1.9
q=123.
(one of the lowest in The Americas)Venezuela comes 78th in the world with regard to commentary in Human Rights Watch reports.

Human Rights Watch comments concentrate mostly on negative issues, however, they also make positive comments for those countries that engage in human rights defence around the world, or who make improvements at home. By adding up positive and negative comments (including double-points for negatives that involve large scales and crimes against humanity), the Social and Moral Index turns HRW commentary into quantified values. Some countries may be unfairly penalized because HRW have not examined them, and, some countries "get away" with abuses if they manage to hide it, or if it goes unnoticed - a negative point has been given for those countries in which HRW specifically state that access to investigators has been barred. The points were limited to a minimum of -10 because there are some points at which things are so bad, with abuses affecting so many, it is difficult to be more specific about the depths of the issues.

2.2. Nominal Commitment to HR

#human_rights

Nominal Commitment to HR
Higher is better5
Pos.2009
Treaties5
1Argentina24
2=Chile23
2=Costa Rica23
...
52Colombia19
53=Switzerland19
53=UK19
53=Venezuela19
53=Lesotho19
53=Rwanda19
53=Finland19
53=Netherlands19
The Americas Avg16.5
World Avg15.1
q=194.
Venezuela comes 51st in the world in terms of its nominal commitment to Human Rights.

There are many international agreements on human rights, and, many mechanisms by which countries can be brought to account for their actions. Together, these have been the biggest historical movement in the fight against oppression and inhumanity. Or, putting it another way: these are rejected mostly by those who wish to oppress inhumanely. None of them are perfect and many people object to various components and wordings, but, no-one has come up with, and enforced, better methods of controlling the occasional desires that states and peoples have of causing angst for other states and peoples in a violent, unjust or inhumane way. Points are awarded for the number of human rights agreements ratified by the country, plus the acceptance of the petition mechanisms for disputes. The maximum possible score in 2009 was 24.

2.3. HR Treaties Lag

#human_rights #international_law #micronesia #politics #small_islands

HR Treaties Lag
Lower is better3
Pos.2019
Avg Yrs/Treaty3
1Ecuador2.15
2Uruguay2.25
3Tunisia3.65
...
33Mongolia6.26
34Poland6.34
35Cape Verde6.40
36Venezuela6.51
37Italy6.56
38Russia6.58
39UK6.62
40Portugal6.69
The Americas Avg8.45
World Avg10.02
q=195.
Venezuela is positioned 36th in the world in terms of speed of uptake of HR treaties.

Human Rights (HR) Treaties Lag is a count of how long it took each country to sign each of 11 key HR treaties. From the date of the first signatory of each treaty, all other countries have one point added to their score for each day they delayed in signing. Results are presented as average time in years to sign each one. The lower a country's score, the more enthusiastically it has taken on international Human Rights Treaties - which are, of course, minimal standards of good governance. The slowest are the countries of Micronesia, Melanesia, Australasia and Polynesia all lagged by over 12 years per treaty. The best regions are The Americas, Scandinavia and the Mediterranean.

For more, see:

2.4. Personal, Civil & Economic Freedom

#freedom #politics

Venezuela is the least peaceful country in [South America] and one of the least peaceful countries globally, with a ranking of 152 out of 163 countries. Peacefulness deteriorated in Venezuela over the past year, with a rise in political terror being the main driver. The country now scores a five on the Political Terror Scale, which is the highest possible score, and indicative of widespread civil and political rights violations and high levels of government corruption and repression. However, Venezuela did record improvements in both terrorism impact and its homicide rate. There was also a fall in the number of deaths from internal conflict.

"Global Peace Index" by Institute for Economics & Peace (2021)14

Personal, Civil & Economic Freedom
Lower is better12
Pos.2014
Rank12
1Hong Kong1
2Switzerland2
3New Zealand3
...
151Congo, DR151
152Algeria152
153Myanmar (Burma)153
154Venezuela154
155Central African Rep.155
156Syria156
157Iran157
158Yemen158
The Americas Avg72.4
World Avg79.7
q=159.
Venezuela is positioned 6th-worst in the world regarding supporting personal, civil & economic freedoms.

The Human Freedom Index published by the Fraser Institute is...

... a broad measure of human freedom, understood as the absence of coercive constraint. It uses 79 distinct indicators of personal and economic freedom in the following areas: Rule of Law, Security and Safety, Movement, Religion, Association, Assembly, and Civil Society, Expression, Relationships, Size of Government, Legal System and Property Rights, Access to Sound Money, Freedom to Trade Internationally, Regulation of Credit, Labor, and Business. [...]

The highest levels of freedom are in Western Europe, Northern Europe, and North America (Canada and the United States. The lowest levels are in the Middle East and North Africa, South Asia, and sub-Saharan Africa. [...]

Countries in the top quartile of freedom enjoy a significant higher per capita income ($37,147) [compared with] the least-free quartile [at] $8,700). The HFI finds a strong correlation between human freedom and democracy.

"The Human Freedom Index" by The Fraser Institute (2016)19

2.5. Press Freedom

#democracy #freedom #Freedom_of_Speech #Good_Governance #mass_media #politics #UK

Press Freedom
Lower is better11
Pos.201311
1Finland638
2Netherlands648
3Norway652
...
113UAE3349
114Nigeria3411
115Macedonia3427
116Venezuela3444
117Nepal3461
118Ecuador3469
119Cameroon3478
120Chad3487
The Americas Avg2853
World Avg3249
q=178.
Venezuela is 116th in the world with regard to supporting press freedom.

The freedom to investigate, publish information, and have access to others' opinion is a fundamental part of today's information-driven world, and is linked with Freedom of Speech and Good Governance. Scores on the Press Freedom Index are calculated according to indicators including pluralism - the degree to which opinions are represented in the media, media independence of authorities, self-censorship, legislation, transparency and the infrastructure that supports news and information, and, the level of violence against journalists which includes lengths of imprisonments. The index "does not take direct account of the kind of political system but it is clear that democracies provide better protection for the freedom to produce and circulate accurate news and information than countries where human rights are flouted". The rankings are used as one of the datasets of the Social and Moral Development Index20

It must be noted that press freedom is not an indicator of press quality and the press itself can be abusive; the UK suffers in particular from a popular brand of nasty reporting that infuses several of its newspapers who are particularly prone to running destructive and often untrue campaigns against victims. The Press Freedom Index notes that "the index should in no way be taken as an indicator of the quality of the media in the countries concerned".

For more than a decade, the government has expanded and abused its power to regulate media and has worked aggressively to reduce the number of dissenting media outlets. [...] . While some newspapers, websites, and radio stations criticize the government, fear of reprisals has made self-censorship a serious problem.

"World Report 2018" by Human Rights Watch (2018)13

2.6. Slavery

#burundi #eritrea #france #human_rights #indonesia #slavery

Slavery
Lower is better
21
Pos.2018
% Victims21
1Japan0.03
2=Canada0.05
2=Taiwan0.05
...
103Moldova0.55
104=Egypt0.55
104=Benin0.55
106Venezuela0.56
107=Haiti0.56
108Zambia0.57
109=Gambia0.58
109=Lithuania0.58
The Americas Avg0.25
World Avg0.65
q=167.
(amongst the highest in The Americas)Venezuela ranks 106th in the world with regard to eliminating modern slavery.

The taking of slaves has been an unwholesome feature of Human cultures since prehistory22. Private households and national endeavours have frequently been augmented with the use of slaves. The Egyptian and Roman empires both thrived on them for both purposes. Aside from labourers they are often abused sexually by their owners and their owners' friends23. The era of colonialism and the beginnings of globalisation changed nothing: the imprisonment and forced movements of labour continued to destroy many lives except that new justifications were invented based on Christian doctrine and the effort to convert non-Christians. By 1786 over 12 million slaves had been extracted from Africa and sent to colonial labour camps, with a truly atrocious condition of life24. But they were not the only ones to blame; in Africa internal nations such as the Asantes sold and bought tens of thousands of slaves25.

The abolition of the slave trade was a long and slow process. Until a relatively modern time, even philosophers, religious leaders and those concerned with ethics justified, or ignored, the problem of slavery26. The first abolitionists were always the slaves themselves. Their protests and rebellions caused the industry to become too expensive to continue. After that, it was the economic costs of maintain slave colonies that led the British to reject and then oppose the slave trade globally. Finally, the enlightenment-era thinkers of France encouraged moral and ethical thinking including the declaration of the inherent value of human life and human dignity27. A long-overdue wave of compassionate and conscientious movements swept across the West, eliminating public support for slavery, until the industries and churches that supported it had no choice but to back down.

'Modern slavery' includes forced labour (often of the under-age), debt bondage (especially generational), sexual slavery, chattel slavery and other forms of abuse, some of which can be surprisingly difficult to detect, but often target those fleeing from warzones and the vulnerable.28. Some industries (diamond, clothing, coal) from some countries (Burundi29, Eritrea29, Indonesia30) are a particular concern. The Walk Free Foundation, say that in 2016, 40.3 million people were living in modern slavery31.

For more, see:

3. Gender Equality

Venezuela is an unequal country, with male rights dominating those of women.

See:

3.1. Gender Inequality

#gender #gender_equality #human_rights #misogyny #women

Gender Inequality
Lower is better
10
Pos.201510
1Switzerland0.04
2Denmark0.04
3Netherlands0.04
...
99Suriname0.45
100Panama0.46
101Honduras0.46
102Venezuela0.46
103Nicaragua0.46
104Paraguay0.46
105Indonesia0.47
106Laos0.47
The Americas Avg0.39
World Avg0.36
q=159.
Venezuela comes 102nd in the world regarding opposing gender inequality.

The UN Human Development Reports include statistics on gender equality which take into account things like maternal mortality, access to political power (seats in parliament) and differences between male and female education rates. Gender inequality is not a necessary part of early human development. Although a separation of roles is almost universal due to different strengths between the genders, this does not have to mean that women are subdued, and, such patriarchalism is not universal in ancient history. Those cultures and peoples who shed, or never developed, the idea that mankind ought to dominate womankind, are better cultures and peoples than those who, even today, cling violently to those mores.

For more, see:

3.2. Gender Biases

#gender #gender_equality #prejudice #women

Gender Biases
Lower is better
8
Pos.2022
%8
1Sweden31.832
2New Zealand34.433
3Australia37.033
...
44China91.833
45Armenia92.133
46Ecuador92.333
47Venezuela92.433
48Nicaragua93.233
49Kazakhstan93.433
50Morocco93.733
51Vietnam93.833
The Americas Avg82.90
World Avg83.93
q=88.
(amongst the worst in The Americas)In terms of the rate of gender bias (from 7 indicators), Venezuela ranks 47th in the world.

The Gender Social Norms Index (GSNI) looks at gender biases across seven criteria; the % given here is for the total people who are biased across any of those criteria. By subtracting the value from 100%, you can see that those who do well on this index, you are seeing a count of those who do not appear to be biased against women in any of the criteria, and so, doing well on this index is a very positive sign for any country.

The data was included in UN (2022) with full results in Annex table AS6.7.1; their data stems for ranges between 2005 and 2022, depending on the country in question.

3.3. Year Women Can Vote

#christianity #gender_equality #human_rights #politics #women

Year Women Can Vote
Lower is better
Pos.0
Year
1New Zealand1893
2Australia1902
3Finland1906
...
61=Panama1946
61=Cameroon1946
61=Macedonia1946
61=Venezuela1946
61=Guatemala1946
61=Vietnam1946
61=Trinidad & Tobago1946
68Singapore1947
The Americas Avg1947
World Avg1930
q=189.
Venezuela comes 58th in the world with regard to the year from which women could participate in democracy.

Women now have equal rights in the vast majority of countries across the world. Although academic literature oftens talks of when a country "grants women the right to vote", this enforces a backwards way of thinking. Women always had the right to vote, however, they were frequently denied that right. The opposition to women's ability to vote in equality with man was most consistently and powerfully opposed by the Catholic Church, other Christian organisations, Islamic authorities and some other religious and secular traditionalists.

For more, see:

4. Prejudice

4.1. Anti-Semite Opinions

#antisemitism #christianity #germany #indonesia #israel #jordan #judaism #laos #morocco #netherlands #pakistan #philippines #religion #religious_violence #saudi_arabia #spain #sweden #turkey #UK #vietnam

Anti-Semite Opinions
Lower is better
4
Pos.2014
%4
1Laos0
2Philippines3
3Sweden4
...
42=Latvia28
43Montenegro29
44=Spain29
45Venezuela30
46=Moldova30
46=Russia30
46=Bolivia30
49Georgia32
The Americas Avg29.7
World Avg36.8
q=101.
In terms of its success in fighting anti-semitic prejudice, Venezuela comes 46th in the world.

Anti-Semitism is the world given to irrational racism against Jews. It is not the same as anti-Judaism (involving arguments against the religion) nor the same as anti-Zionism (arguments against Israel). In history, influential Christian theologians concocted the arguments against Jews that led, very early on, to widespread Christian action against Jews34,35,36,37. As Christianity rose to power in the West and presided over the Dark Ages, there were widespread violent outbursts against Jews of the most persistent and horrible kind. The Crusades were frequently aimed at them and the feared Spanish Inquisition paid Jews particular attention. The horror of the holocaust instigated by German Nazis in the 1940s was followed (finally) by the era of European human rights and a movement against racism in general.

The places that are the least anti-Semitical are a few countries of south-east Asia (Laos, the Philippines and Vietnam) and some of the secular liberal democracies of Europe (Sweden, the Netherlands and the UK). The worst countries for antisemitism are Islamic states of the Middle East38, which are undergoing their own Dark Age. Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Morocco, Indonesia, Pakistan and Turkey see the most oppressive and violent actions towards Jews39,40. Jews in Muslim countries face a host of restrictions and "ceaseless humiliation and regular pogroms"41. In 2004 the European Union Monitoring Center on Racism and Xenophobia reported on violent anti-Jew crimes in the EU and found that that largest group of perpetrators were young Muslim males42.

For more, see:

4.2. LGBT Equality

#equality #homosexuality #human_rights #intolerance #sexuality #tolerance

LGBT Equality
Higher is better
6
Pos.2017
Score6
1Netherlands103
2Belgium90
3Sweden86
...
61=Timor-Leste (E. Timor)30
61=Costa Rica30
61=Suriname30
61=Venezuela30
61=Lithuania30
66Taiwan25
67=Chile25
67=Ukraine25
The Americas Avg26.1
World Avg12.6
q=196.
Regarding LGBT equality, Venezuela ranks 60th in the world.

Discrimination against Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) folk is rife across the world. Legal restrictions co-exist alongside social stigmatisation and physical violence43. LGBT tolerance and equal rights have been fought for country-by-country across the world, often against tightly entrenched cultural and religious opposition. Adult consensual sexual activity is a Human Right, protected by privacy laws44. Despite this, homosexual activity is outlawed in around 80 countries43. The Social & Moral LGBT Equality Index was created to compare countries and regions, granting points to each country for a variety of factors including how long gay sex has been criminalized and the extent of LGBT legal rights. Graded negative points are given for criminality of homosexuality, unequal ages of consent, legal punishments and for not signing international accords on LGBT tolerance. The signs in many developed countries are positive, and things are gradually improving. Europe is by far the least prejudiced region (Scandinavia in particular being exemplary). The Middle East and then Africa are the least morally developed, where cultural bias goes hand-in-hand with state intolerance, all too often including physical violence.

For more, see:

4.3. Freedom of Thought

#europe #freethought #human_rights #netherlands #religion #religious_tolerance #secularism #the_enlightenment

Freedom of Thought
Lower is better
7
Pos.20217
1=Belgium1.0
1=Netherlands1.0
1=Taiwan1.0
...
83UK2.8
84=Argentina2.8
84=Slovakia2.8
84=Venezuela2.8
84=Canada2.8
88Switzerland3.0
89=Belize3.0
89=Lesotho3.0
The Americas Avg2.7
World Avg3.0
q=196.
Venezuela comes 65th in the world in terms of freethought.

Freedom of Religion and Freedom of Belief are upheld in Article 18 the United Nation's Universal Declaration of Human Rights45. It affirms that it is a basic human right that all people are free to change their beliefs and religion as they wish46. No countries voted against this (although eight abstained). This right was first recognized clearly in the policies of religious toleration of the Netherlands and elsewhere in Europe in the post-enlightenment era47 of the 19th century. In democratic countries, freedom of belief and religion is now taken for granted48. In 2016 a study found that over 180 countries in the world had come to guarantee freedom of religion and belief49. The best countries at doing so are Taiwan, Belgium and The Netherlands7,50 and the worst: Afghanistan, N. Korea, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia7,51.

Long-term studies have shown that religious violence and persecution both decrease in cultures where religious freedom is guaranteed52. Despite this, there still are many who are strongly against freedom of belief46, including entire cultures and many individual communities of religious believers. Their alternative is that you are not free to believe what you want and they often state that you cannot change religion without being punished (often including the death penalty): this is bemoaned as one of the most dangerous elements of religion53 and "the denial of religious freedoms is inevitably intertwined with the denial of other freedoms"54 and the solution is, everywhere, to allow religious freedom and the freedom of belief.

For more, see: