U.S. State Department: 2008 Human Rights Report: Venezuela
2008 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices
February 25, 2009
Venezuela is a constitutional democracy with a population of approximately 26 million. In 2006 voters reelected President Hugo Chavez of the Fifth Republic Movement (MVR). Official observation missions from both the European Union and Organization of American States (OAS) deemed the elections generally free and fair but noted some irregularities. While civilian authorities generally maintained control of the security forces, there were instances in which elements of the security forces acted independently of government authority.
Politicization of the judiciary and official harassment of the political opposition and the media characterized the human rights situation during the year. The following human rights problems were reported: unlawful killings; harsh prison conditions; arbitrary arrests and detentions; a corrupt, inefficient, and politicized judicial system characterized by trial delays, impunity, and violations of due process; official intimidation and attacks on the independent media; discrimination based on political grounds; widespread corruption at all levels of government; violence against women; trafficking in persons; and restrictions on workers' right of association.
RESPECT FOR HUMAN RIGHTS
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