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Cablegate: Freedom House Strengthens Venezuelan Human Rights

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.




E.O. 12958: N/A

1. In response to the alleged human rights violations of
February/March 2004, USAID Venezuela entered into a
cooperative agreement with Freedom House in September 2004.
Through this project Freedom House will increase the
capacity of human rights defenders in Venezuela to document
and report on the human rights situation, while maintaining
a neutral stance and high levels of professionalism in a
difficult working environment. End Summary.
2. The USAID/Freedom House agreement is being implemented
through a series of workshops carried out in other Latin
American countries. The strategy additionally provides the
opportunity for Venezuelan human rights activists to network
and build linkages with their counterparts in other
3. The first training event was held in Mexico City, Mexico
from January 31 - February 4, focusing on "How to Protect
Human Rights in a Situation of Impunity." Representatives
from three Caracas-based NGOs, a Caracas-based university,
and four regional NGOs participated.
4. During the five days, the NGO representatives - working
with Mexican human rights organizations - reviewed and
analyzed actual and hypothetical cases, studied procedures
for documenting and researching human rights abuses,
discussed relations with the media, the preparation of
annual reports, and planned for how to implement in
Venezuela what was learned. This work will be followed up by
the Freedom House representative during his periodic visits
to Venezuela.
5. Freedom House then facilitated a two-day workshop
(February 8-9) for 18 human rights lawyers - including 11
Venezuelans - on the preparation of court cases related to
extra-judicial killings in situations of impunity.
According to the Freedom House representative, the workshop
evaluations were the most positive he's seen during his five
years working with Freedom House. He noted that they
demonstrated both the effectiveness and relevance of the
workshops, as well as the general lack of exposure of
Venezuelan human rights to training and the work of their
colleagues in other countries.
6. The next workshop is scheduled for March 29-30 in
Guatemala City. The main topic will be the operational
security of human rights defenders. Twenty Venezuelans are
expected to attend.


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