This week, the Centro para los Defensores y la Justicia (CDJ), a Venezuelan NGO that works to defend human rights and document threats to human rights defenders in the country, published a report exposing that a total of 140 individuals and organizations working in the defense of human rights in Venezuela were subject to threats, attacks, and social control by the Maduro government in July. The number represents a significant increase from previous months, and compares to 35 such attacks in the month of June.

Human rights defenders, members of the opposition, and human rights activists faced a surge of repression and security threats in July, with the Maduro government launching a crackdown on perceived dissidents amid violent clashes between the Venezuelan police and organized crime groups in the Cota 905 neighborhood of Caracas. The offensive by the Maduro government included the arrest of opposition leader Freddy Guevara, who was subsequently released on August 15, harassment and threats against several other members of the Voluntad Popular opposition party including Juan Guaidó, and the arbitrary detention of Fundaredes President Javier Tarazona, who remains in detention along with three of his colleagues.

The CDJ report documents a total of 140 incidents in the month of July, which includes 112 cases of stigmatization and defamation, 14 instances of intimidation and harassment, 5 arbitrary detentions, 4 judicial proceedings, and 2 raids on offices. Out of the attacks in July, 72 (51%) were against human rights defenders, and the other 68 were against human rights and humanitarian organizations. The primary perpetrators of the attacks documented were the state-run media, public officials of the Maduro government, and the state security forces, including the National Intelligence Service (SEBIN) and the National Police (PNB). The 140 attacks documented in July add to 374 documented in the first 6 months of the year, bringing the total number of cases reported by CDJ in 2021 to 514.


Human Rights



  • Representatives of the Inter-Parliamentary Union and Duarte Pacheco, the institution’s President, arrived in Venezuela on Monday to meet with Chavista and opposition representatives in the National Assembly elected in 2020, at the invitation of the Maduro government. As Efecto Cocuyo notes, the IPU has not clearly defined which National Assembly—that elected in 2015 and led by Juan Guaidó, or that elected in the widely-questioned December 2020 election and led by Jorge Rodríguez—it sees as legitimate and appears to maintain communication with both. The IUP also met with members of the Guaidó-led National Assembly, as Tal Cual reports.
  • On August 24, OAS Secretary General Luis Almagro publicly celebrated the launch of negotiations between Chavismo and the opposition in Mexico, and stated that the OAS is willing to cooperate to support the process. This is a notable change from Almagro’s response to the 2019 negotiations, which he reacted to by calling for an escalation of pressure to include  “credible threats” against the Maduro government.
  • This week, Vice President Delcy Rodríguez announced that the Maduro government had presented a dossier to the International Criminal Court (ICC) with evidence of the impact of U.S. sanctions on the country’s humanitarian situation and access to basic goods such as medicine and health care.