Millions of Venezuelans outside the country are in a situation of defenselessness in consular matters.
This was revealed by the most recent study by the Human Rights Center at Andrés Bello Catholic University (CDH UCAB), based on interviews conducted between December 2020 and March 2021 in several countries of the Americas and Europe.
The report recalls that, as a result of the declaration and appointment of a transitional government in Venezuela on January 23, 2019, relations between several States and the government represented by Nicolás Maduro were severed, which did not limit to the diplomatic sphere, but in some cases, extended into consular relations.
This circumstance has brought as a consequence that millions of Venezuelan nationals abroad who reside in States that do not have Venezuelan consular services now face a situation of legal defenselessness, which also affects the nationals of those States who reside in Venezuela.
The absence of consular services affecting the Venezuelan population abroad negatively impacts the exercise of their rights due to the restrictions to access documents that can only be issued by Venezuela, as well as the impossibility of carrying out procedures before the authorities of the receiving countries and the absence of social, economic, and legal assistance in cases of emergency.
Ligia Bolívar, head of the investigation, affirmed that “we currently find ourselves in an atypical situation where some consulates are in the hands of representatives of Nicolás Maduro, others are in the hands of representatives of the transitional government who exercise some consular functions, and in other cases, we find dual consular services in a single country, that is, consulates where a representation of the Maduro administration coexists with a representation of the transitional government, all of which has a negative impact on the rights of Venezuelans abroad.”
The study begins with a review of the current situation of the production of certain documents by the Venezuelan State. Next, the document presents information on the situation and type of services offered by the consulates in the hands of the government of Nicolás Maduro, the consulates in the hands of the government represented by the National Assembly elected in 2015, and the case of dual representations. Third, it addresses the impact that the absence or limitation of consular services is having on the rights of the Venezuelan population. Later on, the study discusses the measures adopted by the receiving States to alleviate some of the effects of the lack of documents on the Venezuelan population abroad, and closes with a set of conclusions and recommendations directed to the receiving countries.
Download the full report in Spanish HERE.
Translated by José Rafael Medina