Venezuelans camp outside UN office in protest


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CARACAS: Many students have pitched camp outside the United Nations office in Caracas to protest that the international community is taking Venezuela’s government side by not speaking out against rights exploitation during a bloody, two-month political standoff.

Around 100 young activists have put up tents on the hard, concrete sidewalk along one of the capital’s busiest and smog-filled streets, before a delegation of South American foreign minister was about to arrive. The ministers are expected to give their support to President Nicolas Maduro’s call for reconciliation with his rivals.

Many governments in the region are receivers of large foreign aid from Venezuela since the last 15 years of socialist rule in the oil-rich nation, and none of the students imagine those countries to abandon support for Maduro.

They are specially anger at Brazil, the economic powerhouse of the region, which supplied Venezuelan security forces with tear gas to break up violent protests. At least 32 people died and hundreds were injured during the unrest.

Gerardo Carrero, who traveled for 15 hours by bus from the western state of Tachira, where the unrest that began in early February has been strongest, brought a manifesto demanding the U.N. to intervene. Displaying his anger towards Brazil, he said that if Brazil knew that people were being killed and arrested in Venezuela, then why did it keep contributing to the repression.

The students, hailing from 15 states, said they would not take down the campground until General Ban Ki-moon, the U.N.
Secretary, will send an international commission to look into the allegations of brutality, torture and abuse by security forces and pro-government militias during the crackdown on dissenters.