HUMAN rights abuses in Venezuela have prompted the country’s ex-patriate community to hold a series of demonstrations to raise awareness in WA.
Venezolanos en Perth organised three protests last week: in South Perth, the CBD’s Forrest Place and Northbridge.
Their banners called for the right to protest peacefully without violence and justice for Venezuelan protestors who have been attacked.
Last Saturday’s protest, the most recent, involved 80 people from a range of nationalities.
“Venezuela used to be one of the most progressive countries in South America, 30 years ago,”
“We would like the people in Perth to understand there is violence on the streets, it’s not just people protesting without a good reason,” says Daniel Machado.
In Venezuela public sentiment towards the socialist government has worsened with inflation and crime at stratospheric levels.
On February 12 student and opposition-led protests turned violent with three protestors killed and more than 60 injured: fficials denied responsibility and censored media coverage.
“Venezuela used to be one of the most progressive countries in South America, 30 years ago,” Mr Machado says.
“It had one of the highest GDPs because of oil and natural resources. When we see statistics, and see how bad it has turned… then no-one feels happy about it.”
Demonstrations by the Perth community are part of an international campaign, SOSVenezuela, showing support for Venezuelan protestors on social media. Mr Machado’s group wants to rally politicians in Australia, “a very democratic country”, to denounce human rights abuses: “We don’t support violence, either from government or protestors… because that’s not the spirit of protest—protest should be peaceful,” he says. “We should work together.”
by ALICIA PERERA