Venezuela

A number of peace and nonviolence organisations and activists from Venezuela have issued a statement about the situation in the country. The statement addressing the international community, peace and human rights activists, points out the need for free and credible elections for a peaceful solution to the ongoing crisis in Venezuela. Explaining the background, the activists say the solution for the crisis will  “depend on every single one of us and our actions to place enough pressure so that the solution we face is non-violent, and inclusive, with the democracy and justice which the Venezuelan people and humanity itself deserves. We want it to be our voices and aspirations, not arms, which finally decide the future and destiny of our country. But for that, we need your help.”

A number of peace and nonviolence organisations and activists from Venezuela have issued a statement about the situation in the country. The statement addressing the international community, peace and human rights activists, points out the need for free and credible elections for a peaceful solution to the ongoing crisis in Venezuela. Explaining the background, the activists say the solution for the crisis will  “depend on every single one of us and our actions to place enough pressure so that the solution we face is non-violent, and inclusive, with the democracy and justice which the Venezuelan people and humanity itself deserves. We want it to be our voices and aspirations, not arms, which finally decide the future and destiny of our country. But for that, we need your help.”

Venezuela

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08/01/1998 1 Conscription

conscription exists

Conscription is enshrined in art. 53 of the Constitution which states that military service is compulsory and is to be performed, regardless of an individual's social status, as and when the law requires. [2]

Compulsory military service is regulated by the 1978 Law on Conscription and Military Enlistment (Ley de Conscripcion y Alistamiento Militar).

On 25 June 2014 the National Assembly announced in official gazette No. 40.440 that the Law on Registration and Enlistment for Comprehensive Defence of the Nation (in Spanish, Ley de Registro y Alistamiento para la Defensa Integral de la Nación or LRADIN) came into effect on the same date. This law repealed the one that partially reformed the law of conscription and military enlistment, which was issued by the national executive and published in official gazette No. 39.553 dated 16 November 2010, and in which military registration was renormalized.

The head of the compulsory military record is the President of the Republic, who shall exercise this function through the Ministry of the People’s Power for Defence and other public administration bodies.

Recently RAMALC - the Latin American and Caribbean Antimilitarist Network (Red Antimilitarista de América Latina y el Caribe) - ran a webinar - ¿Son pacíficas las protestas que ocurren en Venezuela? (Are the protests that are taking place in Venezuela peaceful?). Since 1st April, a series of protests have occurred in Venezuela in which more than 50 people have lost their lives. What are the motivations and characteristics of the demonstrations? Are they peaceful or violent?

There are antimilitarists, conscientious objectors, nonviolent activists and pacifists in Venezuela. There are also member organizations of the Latin American and Caribbean Antimilitarist Network, Ramalc. We embrace all of them, and send our solidarity and accompaniment. We want them alive, healthy and free.

At present, the community of human rights defenders in Venezuela is being subjected to persecution and repression because of their activities. We extend to them our solidarity and support; we are and will continue to be vigilant in denouncing these persecutions.

The Antimilitarist Network of Latin America and the Caribbean (Red Antimilitarista de América Latina y el Caribe, RAMALC) have published a statement in solidarity with antimilitarists, conscientious objectors, nonviolent and pacifists in Venezuela (an English version is forthcoming). It extends support to the community of human rights defenders being persecuted for their work. The statement has been endorsed by the WRI Executive Committee.

On July 13, 2016, non-governmental organisations in Venezuela filed an appeal to the Supreme Court of Justice for the partial annulment of the Law of Registration and Enlistment for the Integral Defence of the Nation, which establishes an obligation to enroll on the Military Register, on grounds of unconstitutionality.

The judicial action sought to reverse the unconstitutional ramifications of the law, which limits Venezuelans' right to free self-development, equality before the law and freedom of conscience and association, as well as affecting rights to work and education.

Return to Conscientious Objection: A Practical Companion for Movements

Rafael Uzcategui is a Venezuelan conscientious objector, author, and human rights activist who has been active with War Resisters' International, and in antimilitarism more generally, for many years. Here, he summarises the main tendencies of the Latin American conscientious objection movement, and details how his own nonviolent anarchist position fits into this picture.

During the eighties, many Latin American countries were living under military dictatorships or suffering the consequences of civil war. These were also the days of the Cold War, during which the US considered Latin America one of its 'zones of influence': almost like a back garden. The traumatic and progressive democratisation process meant that broad swathes of the continent's youth developed an antimilitarist sentiment, which began to take on an organised and political dimension. As an adolescent at the beginning of the nineties in Barquisimeto, a town 5 hours away from the Venezuelan capital of Caracas, my peers and I had to hide ourselves twice a year for fifteen days, to avoid compulsory military service. Otherwise they would seize us on the streets and, without wasting words, force us into a truck, with others just as terrified, and from there take us to the barracks. For many of us, these forced recruitment raids or 'press gangs' were the starting point for our rejection of authority and of the military uniform.


WRI have released a statement in support of human rights defenders in Venezuela. The statement calls for human rights organisations in Venezuela, including PROVEA and Espacio Públic, two organisations who staff have recently been put at risk by government officials, and encourages those in sympathy with to use Amnesty International's Urgent Action alert to lobby government officals, which you can find here in English, here in German and here in Spanish.

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War Resisters' International (WRI) is concerned for the safety of its members and of their fellow human rights defenders in Venezuela.

On 13 May the President of the National Assembly, Diosdado Cabello, publicly shared details of the travel arrangements of WRI member Rafael Uzcátegui from the Venezuelan Programa Venezolano de Educación-Acción en Derechos Humanos (Program for Education and Action on Human Rights - PROVEA), as well as those of Carlos Correa from Espacio Público (Public Space). The information was shared in Diosdado Cabello’s weekly television show “Con el Mazo Dando”. On this programme the work of human rights defenders is regularly questioned and details of their whereabouts are shared. The president of Venezuela, Nicholas Maduro, has described NGO workers who criticise the government as 'bandits', and called for the production of a documentary to be broadcast on television exposing the 'truth' about the work of human rights organisations. 

Among other details, on “Con el Mazo Dando” Diosdado Cabello announced that Rafael Uzcátegui and Carlos Correa were travelling to Chile to meet the former coordinator of PROVEA. This information had only been shared in private online communications, so there is cause to believe these communications are being monitored by the authorities.

Sharing such information puts Rafael, Carlos, and their friends and colleagues at risk. It arms militant government sympathizers with the information they would need to intimidate or attack them.

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