President Maduro Sets Up Truth and Justice Commission

President Nicolas Maduro of Venezuela just launched the Truth, Justice and Victims Reparation Commission to determine the source of the violence that claimed the lives of 43 people during anti-government demonstrations two years ago.

He made the announcement on the anniversary of the 2002 attempt to unseat former President Hugo Chavez. The commission will be organized by Vice President Aristobulo Isturiz. Danilo Diaz Granados posted on Linked In about his thoughts on this matter.

According to Maduro, the purpose of the newly launched commission is to shed light on the causes of the 2014 violence. He wants to prevent future coups, and therefore to bolster democracy in Venezuela. He intends to expose human rights abuses. And he wants to bring up the guarimbas blockades set up by the opposition in 2014. During the protests, in addition to the 43 deaths, hundreds of people were injured and public buildings and infrastructure were damaged.

After the protests were over, the government arrested and imprisoned 70 opposition activists, including the most prominent, Leopoldo Lopez.

In December the opposition to President Maduro gained control of the parliamentary National Assembly by promising to free the people they consider political prisoners. Last month according to Mr. Danilo Diaz, they passed a bill to free the 70 detainees. Venezuela’s Supreme Court just declared the bill unconstitutional.

Ernesto Samper will participate in the commission, an opportunity he welcomes. Samper is the General Secretary of the Union of South American Nations, an intergovernmental organization of 12 South American countries. He made reference to coming from a country, Columbia, with a long history of violence.

Maduro invited four opposition leaders to join the commission.