CARACAS – The European Students’ Union (ESU) condemns the actions that led to the death of at least three students that participated in a peaceful march against the government of Venezuela on 12 February. Sixty students were also reportedly injured and ninety imprisoned, mainly in the cities of Caracas, Valencia and Puerto Ordaz.
Anti-governmental protests amplified following these violent events and the whole Venezuelan society has now joined the movement, initiated by students. Public authorities have responded by enforcing violence, illegal arrests and torture against protesters. The non-governmental organisation Foro Penal Vezolano and a group of lawyers specialized in human rights have said that at least twenty students were tortured by public authorities after their arrests.
ESU denounces the lack of respect for the most fundamental human rights in Venezuela, especially the right to assemble and to protest peacefully. ESU also condemns any actions of violence, cases of torture and illegal arrests targeted at students and other protesters. Historically, students have played an essential role in social movements and for the development of democracy. Students are driving forces for change and Venzuelan students are showing this force today.
Venezuelan students have already showed their willingness to have an open dialogue with the government. Student organisations of various universities adopted a joint communiqué on the issue and the President of the Federacion de Centros Universitarios, Juan Requens, has also discussed the situation with the Venezuelan Minister of Education.
A message to the President
ESU stands in solidarity with fellow students in Venezuela in their efforts to fight for democracy, transparency and security. ESU also expresses its support to Venezuelan students in their demand for the government to respect the right to assemble as it is proclaimed in the country’s constitution
“The government of Venezuela must respect its citizens and listen to their demands. Actions of torture must be ceased immediately and illegally arrested students must be released all across the country. ESU calls on the President of Venezuela, Nicolas Maduro, to investigate all cases of violence and torture, to engage in a constructive dialogue with its citizens and students and to allow the voices of Venzuelan students to be heard in a safe and respectful environment,” says Fernando Miguel Galán Palomares, Vice-Chairperson of ESU.
ESU will continue to monitor the situation of students in Venezuela and the government’s reaction to their demands.
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The European Students’ Union, headquartered in Brussels, is the umbrella organisation of 47 national unions of students from 39 European countries. ESU represents and promotes the educational, social, economical and cultural interests of students at the European level. Through its member unions, ESU represents over 11 million students in Europe. To find out more about ESU, follow us on Twitter @ESUtwt, check out or Facebook page or visit www.esu-online.org. ESU celebrated its 30th anniversary in 2012.