Re: Mariela Mendoza and members of her family
To: Dr. Isaías Rodríguez, Attorney General of Venezuela
From: Monique Pongracic- Speier, member of LRWC
LRWC is gravely concerned for the safety of Ms. Mariela Mendoza, and her family, following an attack on Ms. Mendoza on July 16, 2004. On that day, Ms. Mendoza was sitting in front of her house, with her brother, in the Baraure de Araure sector of Portuguesa State when she was approached by a gunman and shot three times. She was wounded in the shoulder, hand and forearm.
LRWC is concerned that the attack on Ms. Mendoza is not a random crime, but is an action intended to intimidate and silence her. On November 28, 2000, Ms. Mendoza witnessed the death of her three brothers Ender, Gonzalo and Alexander Mendoza. The killings were allegedly carried out by members of the Portuguesa State police, some of whom have been in custody since 2001, but none of whom have been brought to trial. We note that Ms. Mendoza received anonymous death threats shortly before she was shot. Further, the attack against Ms. Mendoza coincided with the release of a police officer accused of another killing in Portuguesa State.
On October 15, 2002, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights granted precautionary measures to Ms. Mendoza and other members of her family. These called on Venezuelan authorities to guarantee the family’s safety. So far as LRWC is able to determine, the measures have not been implemented.
Mr. Attorney General, Mr. Ombudsman and Madam Governor, it is imperative that you provide Ms. Mendoza and her family with adequate protection. We remind you of Venezuela’s legal and moral obligations to protect its citizens from violent attacks.
Further, we call upon you to carry out a full, prompt and impartial investigation into the shooting of Ms. Mendoza, the previous death threats against her, and other harassment she and her family have suffered. We urge you to make the results of your investigation public and to bring those responsible to justice.
Finally, we request an update on the progress of judicial investigations into the murders of Ender, Gonzalo and Alexander Mendoza.
Please advise LRWC, by mail, e-mail or fax of your course of action. LRWC awaits your response.