Censorship against Opposition Legislators in Venezuela

As a member of the Red Latinoamericana en Defensa de la Libertad de Expresión (in Spanish, Latin American network for the Defense of Freedom of Expression), Fundación LED (Libertad de Expresión +  Democracia) has shown contempt for Government Parliamentarians of Venezuela who refused to let opposition representatives take the floor.

Beyond the acts of violence that came along with such decision, to be despised by every citizen and organization of a democratic society, the decision to prevent opposition legislators from expressing themselves is an extremely serious violation of the right to freedom of expression and is a new milestone in the escalation of Government authoritarianism in Venezuela.

In September, 2012 our Foundation reported something similar that happened in our country. Back then, Provincial Representative for Jujuy, Isolda Calsina, was sanctioned by the legislative body when she tried to show her contempt for the death of a young man in that Province.

This type of decisions, adopted by Parliamentary majorities, are illegal and illegitimate. Under no circumstance is being part of the majority of a body enough to validate decisions in flagrant contradiction of constitutional rules and international treaties signed by States.

It is not by chance that the right of the people´s representatives to express themselves freely is being curtailed. Just as in the case of renowned journalists, the object of flaunting such acts of subjugation is to discipline society causing self-censorship. If highly renowned communicators and the very legislators are censored and intimidated for expressing their opinions, what can be in store for the rest of the citizens and their voices?

Every organization throughout the region must become aware of the serious consequences brought on by this course of events. At Fundación LED, together with the other organizations of the Network, we shall continue defending the basic rights of a democratic society. We call upon all organizations and the citizens in general for them to join in with us in this endeavour.