One of our World Fellows, Carlos Vecchio, is at risk in Venezuela.
Carlos is National Political Coordinator of the Venezuelan opposition party Voluntad Popular (VP). He’s senior deputy to Leopoldo López, who was taken into custody on February 18, 2014 after a week of national protests and demonstrations (many led by VP members), followed by government raids on VP’s political offices. Some serious charges have been leveled against Carlos there is a warrant out for his arrest. With López’s detention, Carlos now serves as the de facto leader of the VP party: this makes him a likely government target.
We are deeply concerned for Carlos’ safety: he is currently in hiding in Venezuela with limited access to communication. Unlike López, he is not an internationally recognizable figure - media outlets outside of Venezuela have yet to report on his situation. Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch have released alerts specifically naming Carlos as a government target. The Yale Politic and Yale Alumni Magazine have also written about Carlos’ situation.
But we worry that his relative anonymity will allow government forces the space and ability to do whatever they will without fear of international repercussion.
While at Yale, Carlos Vecchio spoke passionately about his tireless efforts to promote democracy in Venezuela: his enthusiasm and depth of knowledge were infectious. He reached across campus to students, faculty and other Fellows – many of whom have rallied around him in this time of crisis – with his pure love of country and genuine respect for democratic ideals. In Venezuela, Carlos a well-loved political figure and an inspiration to young people across the country.
This is Carlos at a rally in Venezuela in December, just after he left Yale:
Please join our efforts to raise global awareness of Carlos’ situation, and support our call for his safety. Along with Yale World Fellows Henrique Salas-Romer (who is helping us from New Haven) and Maria Corina Machado, he has sacrificed much and placed himself and family at great risk to help Venezuela achieve democratic reform.
Maria Corina Machado (a member of the Venezuelan National Assembly and also an opposition leader) has also been vocal throughout the protests. She joined Al Jazeera to discuss the continued protests against the Venezuelan government.
For more information and updates on the situation as we have them, please refer to the list of links and contacts below. Please help us spread the word by sharing this page and other links. We will continue to update this page as we receive news.
"Given the recent revolutionary events in Ukraine, it is understandable that much of American media attention on foreign politics is concentrated on that country, and that country alone. But it is important to remember that our myopic focus on just one world event at a time comes with a price: sometimes the other crises in the world that go ignored are actually made even worse because of it. We sometimes forget the power that just paying attention to a crisis can have – without it, those perpetrating the crimes can rest assured that the international community’s eye is elsewhere, and can behave with impunity. In the case of the current unrest in Venezuela, the price of that apathy might just be my friend’s life."