By Beatriz Pascual Macías
The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) warned today that the president of Venezuela, Nicolás Maduro, faces a "trial by fire" before the return of opposition leader Juan Guaidó, who has been recognized as head of state for more than fifty countries.
"Without a doubt there is concern, I think it will be a trial by fire because the Government has announced that it could or would have filed legal actions against Guaidó", said Francisco José Eguiguren, commissioner of Venezuela in the Inter-American organization.
The Supreme Court of Justice (SCJ) of Venezuela has banned Guaidó from leaving the country, who moved to Colombia on February 22 and plans to return this week.
According to Eguiguren, the detention of Guaidó would mean "a next step in political repression" and would show that the State is using its punitive power to prosecute political dissidents, a concern that the organization has expressed previously.
However, the diplomat considered that everything will depend on whether the threats are materialized or remain in a "political declaration".
Eguiguren said that the arrest of Guaidó would be the "politically most serious option" for Maduro, but he warned that the Venezuelan state would also be violating the rights of the opposition leader if he does not let him return to his nation.
"It is assumed that every national has the right to enter their country at any time without the need of any type of authorization, that is, it would be a manifestly arbitrary act, violating their right to freedom of movement, transit and residence", argument.
The IACHR, an organ dedicated to protecting human rights in the Americas, on January 25 requested the Venezuelan State to protect the life of Guaidó and his family and granted him precautionary measures, an instrument that serves to protect his petitioners from the risk of suffering irreparable damage.
In granting that protection, the IACHR affirmed that "the rights to life and integrity" of Guaidó "are in a situation of risk" that could be "exacerbated" by "the worsening of the political crisis in the State of Venezuela".
Beyond concern for Guaidó, the Commission is closely following the protection of the rights of Venezuelans outside and inside their country, for example access to health and food, as well as the possibility of exercising freedom of expression and protest.
"To me", said Eguiguren, "what worries me the most is that the Venezuelan people continue to be the great victim and the witness of this that happens beyond the international chess of the countries, of their political and economic interests, that there is a lot of that too".
The commissioner differentiated between two realities around Venezuela: on the one hand, "the great political and ideological debate of which people do not live"; and, on the other hand, the famine suffered by society with lack of food, medicines and galloping inflation.
According to data published last week by the UN, there are currently 3.4 million Venezuelan refugees and migrants in the world, of which 2.7 million are in Latin America.
For Eguiguren, the solution passes through "a process of political negotiation" and never through "means of force".
"Obviously a State or other States cannot promote coups d'état or can encourage or participate in violence to achieve a political change in a country", said Eguiguren.
Ten of the countries of the Group of Lima (Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Guatemala, Honduras, Panama, Paraguay and Peru) reiterated their rejection of a military intervention in Venezuela this week, an option that has not been ruled out by the president of USA, Donald Trump, who maintains that "all options are on the table".
Venezuela has experienced a situation of political instability since January 10, when Maduro returned to take office as president after winning last May's elections, not recognized by the international community and by the opposition.
On January 23, Guaidó invoked several articles of the Venezuelan Constitution to defend that, as head of Parliament, he could declare himself interim president of the country by considering Maduro's inauguration "illegitimate".