Respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms
DOES DISCRIMINATION ON POLITICAL GROUNDS EXIST IN VENEZUELA?
1. A vast number of the more than three and a half million people who signed the petition for the Presidential Recall Referendum find themselves threatened, discriminated upon or the object of reprisals, such as, among others: loss of employment or impossibility to find one; refusal of acceptance into state educational institutions or denial of scholarships; refusal of credits in public financial institutions and difficulties in obtaining identity and travel documents.
2. Such a situation is a direct consequence of the requirement by the National Electoral Council that the identity of those signing in favor of the Recall Referendum be published in the press, and of the leakage to the government and to members of the National Assembly, by some of the Council's members, of the final list of those who signed the petition..
3. Some media have denounced this situation. They have reported on the cases of duly identified individuals who have dared to make their cases known and how they have been discriminated. The following are just some of them:
- Lisbeth Calzadilla, a young journalist, was denied employment at the National Fund for Science and Technology, FONACIT, a public institution dependent of the Ministry of Science and Technology, on the basis of having petitioned for the Presidential Recall Referendum;
- Jesús Moreno, who until 1996 worked in CORPOVEN, a subsidiary of PDVSA, was denied a job opportunity in 2004 in the maintenance area once a former supervisor, who proceeded to order him expelled from the refinery grounds, identified him as a non-sympathizer of the government;
- Mrs. Ana Kosa, was expelled from the Deposits Guarantee Fund, FOGADE, on June 15, 2004 , after 4 years of service, under the accusation of being 'a spy for Yankee imperialism'.
4. Congressman Luis Tascón, of the pro-government party Fifth-Republic Movement, is held responsible for this situation, as he was the one who placed on the Web the list of all those who signed the petitioned for a Presidential Recall Referendum. This list, which came to be known as the 'Tascón List', was presumably obtained by Tascon after processing the rolls with the signatures handed by the National Electoral Council to the President.
5. The existence of such a list and its use to foster discrimination against those whose names appear therein was acknowledged by the President himself. On April 15, 2005 on the occasion of the Fifth Cabinet Meeting held outside Caracas, at the Caroní Eco-Museum in Puerto Ordaz, the President mentioned that he was constantly receiving complaints from Venezuelan citizens who felt that they were being denied job opportunities because their names appear on the Tascon List. He went on to state: 'I say this because I have received letters that make me think that in some quarters the Tascón List is still used to determine whether someone will get a job. I order the list to be buried' (El Nacional, April 16, 2005 , page A-1). ".It was a moment that is now behind us.the famous list surely played an important role at a specific time, but this is now in the past". (Tal Cual, Editorial of April 18, 2005 ).