Parents of students killed in 2017 Venezuela protests call for "true justice"
"Nothing will give us our children back, but we continue to fight for them," said the mother of Juan Pablo Pernalete, who was assassinated by the regime's security forces.
April 28, 2023 8:29am
Updated: April 28, 2023 8:32am
Several non-governmental organizations and relatives of the students murdered in the 2017 protests in Venezuela, met this Wednesday outside the Public Ministry of Caracas, to demand justice and progress in the investigations of the cases.
"There are no known advances aimed at carrying out genuine investigations to identify and punish those responsible," denounced the relatives, who also assured that they have been "witnesses and victims of repeated patterns of conduct of denial of justice and procedural delays that constantly revictimize them."
The NGO Alliance of Relatives of Victims (Alfavic) delivered a letter to the Public Ministry in which they ask the attorney general of the regime Tarek William Saab to "act with due diligence so that the crimes perpetrated do not go unpunished," based on the memorandum of understanding between Venezuela and the International Criminal Court (ICC), signed in November 2021.
Among the relatives were the parents of the youngsters Fabián Urbina and Juan Pablo Pernalete, two of the students who died at the hands of the regime's security forces during the 2017 demonstrations.
“Our faith is placed in international organizations. We have seen through these 6 years that there is no will to do true and genuine justice," said Iván Urbina, Fabián's father. "It is true that in my son's case there was a sentence, but it was a derisory sentence, a sentence that does not correspond to the size of the crime committed against my son."
For her part, Elvira Pernalete, Juan Pablo's mother, said: “We want the investigation to continue, so that we can have justice. Nothing will bring our children back to us, but we continue to fight for them, we continue to raise our voices. We are not going to rest until we achieve that justice that is denied to us here in Venezuela."
The 2017 protests in Venezuela against the dictator Nicolás Maduro were unleashed due to the institutional crisis that the country was facing in previous months, mainly after the 2015 parliamentary elections.
The clashes left 127 students dead and 3,000 injured, according to official figures; Independent reports warn that 163 were killed and around 15,000 injured. There were also 2,977 detainees and 1,351 jailed.
The country had, at that time, an inflation rate of 500%, according to private estimates. In the three years prior to 2017, violence increased dramatically with 81,334 people killed, thus totaling 287,926 violent deaths during the Bolivarian revolution. Furthermore, on April 27 of that year, Maduro ordered the withdrawal of the OAS in Venezuela, and diplomatic relations with other countries fell to a critical point.