Public Letter to ILGA

Public Letter to ILGA

On Venezuela in the State Sponsored Homophobia Report 2019

In the most recent State Sponsored Homophobia Report of the International Lesbian and Gay Association better known as ILGA, Venezuela is mentioned as follows:

 

“In relation to the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, the political, social and economic panorama presents a great complexity.75 / Currently, the few advances in legislative matters are combined with an unprecedented international political attack on the country, a virtual economic and financial blockade that makes access to basic goods and services for the population, 76 and a very important migratory phenomenon. Advances in this country in relation to the LGBTI issue in the last two years were in the field of universal social policies – social issues – which in this context become more important, 77 because of the beginning of the discussion of the right to marriage equality in the National Constituent Assembly78 and with the opening of a public policy in the Mayor’s Office of Caracas.79

75 Alejandro Fierro, “Venezuela between Legality and Legitimacy”, Latin American Geopolitical Strategic Center (CELAG), January 10, 2019.

76 Alfredo Serrano Mancilla, “Economic sabotage to Venezuela” Page / 12, January 7, 2018.

77 The Fundación Base Lésbica Venezuela in an interview with the author stated that the Presidential Council of Popular Power for Sexual Diversity (Decree No. 2161/2015) in coordination with the Ministry of Popular Power for Women and Gender Equity and the Ministry of Popular Power for the Communes favor the mainstreaming of different social policies so that they also reach LGBTI people.

78 “ANC opens debate on civil rights of the diverse gender sex community in Venezuela”, City CCS, October 18, 2018.

79 In an act chaired by Mayor Érika Farías, ordinances were proclaimed for the creation of an office for LGBT issues and the month of June was established as the Month of the Rebellion of Sexual Diversity. See: “Municipal Gazette for Sexual Diversity”, City CCS, June 1, 2018.” [1]

 

Why does ILGA, an organization with Consultative Status in the United Nations, choose to cite as a source for its report:

  1. an article from the Spanish portal CEGAL, written by Alejandro Fierro, who identifies himself as a researcher of GIS XXI a pollster owned by Jesse Chacón, who was Chávez’s minister for many years. Fierro is also an analyst for Telesur, a television channel created by Hugo Chávez.
  2. an Argentine news portal like Pagina 12 and written by Alfredo Serrano Mancilla,[2] founding creator of CELAG, who has a long history in his relations with the government of Hugo Chávez and with Nicolás Maduro as economic adviser and recipient of donations for publication of his books by institutions owned by the Venezuelan State.
  3. An organization such as Fundación Base Lésbica, without demonstrable work and totally attached to the government party, member since 2010 of the coalition of political parties and social movements of the Patriotic Great Pole, and whose director Ingrid Barón was designated by Nicolás Maduro as president of the Presidential Commission for “sexodiversity” in 2015. Does it also have something to do with the fact that she is the current Secretary of ILGALAC?
  4. A newspaper such as Caracas City, free of charge and totally financed and dependent on the Mayor’s Office of Caracas under an administration close to Hugo Chávez’s party and government for more than 15 years.

None of the sources cited can be considered as reliable and independent sources when all of them in some way or another have been linked to the Venezuelan governments of Hugo Chávez and Nicolás Maduro.

Why does ILGA choose to ignore the reports I sent? two of which were presented to the IACHR in 2015 and 2018. As well as the reports delivered to the United Nations in 2015 and 2016, among them those corresponding to the Universal Periodic Review. But let’s suppose for a moment that the information sent by Union Afirmativa, the organization that I represent, is in doubt. ILGA could have chosen to review the country reports prepared by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights. ILGA could have opted for the two reports published by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner in which the origin and development of the political, social and economic crisis in Venezuela is mentioned. There lie the reports of more than 150 independent Venezuelan organizations on the situation in Venezuela, which today is already qualified as a complex humanitarian emergency of political origin.

However, in Venezuela there are no laws that protect LGBTI persons because of a deliberate decision of the governments of Hugo Chávez and Nicolás Maduro. The latter has also used homosexuality to attack the political opponent and anyone who opposes his government, using hate speech that has exacerbated the rejection of LGBTI people in the country. Both governments allowed Venezuela to be ranked as the fourth country with the highest number of hate crimes in America according to the Trans Murdered Persons Observatory, based in Vienna.

Since 1999 and until 2015 several organizations went to the National Assembly, dominated by the ruling political party, to submit requests to legislate in favor of LGBTI persons, none of the request was answered. Additionally, any legal initiative was carefully examined to avoid the explicit mention of LGBTI persons, such as the law against racial discrimination and the law for the protection of people living with HIV and their families, among other laws.

Nor is there any type of Public Policy for LGBTI people, the creation of an office of a loocal mayor which is only limited to do conversation sessions and drags shows cannot qualify as a public policy of inclusion. It takes much more than mere declarations and public events, concrete inclusion programs are needed with tangible and practical results.

None of that exists, and the reason why it does not exist has nothing to do with the current situation in the country. On the contrary, the country condition has aggravated the pre-existing situation of discrimination and denial of rights to LGBTI persons. And the current emergency situation was created by the government of Nicolás Maduro.

Therefore, it is unacceptable to include in a report a fallacy created by the government and its advisers that what we live in Venezuela is due to an economic blockade, that it is worth clarifying does not exist but only in the discourse of the national government.

In conclusion, this letter is to protest the publication of that extract about Venezuela in the ILGA Homophobia State Report.

 

Quiteria Franco

General Coordinator  

Union Afirmativa of Venezuela

 

[1] Homofobia de Estado, ILGA, 2019. https://ilga.org/state-sponsored-homophobia-report-2019

[2] ¿Cuánto vale Alfredo Serrano Mancilla? https://konzapata.com/2018/01/cuanto-vale-alfredo-serrano-mancilla

Quiteria Franco
General Coordinator
Union Afirmativa of Venezuela

21 June 2019

Response to your public letter to ILGA World on a paragraph on Venezuela in the State-
Sponsored Homophobia report 2019

Dear Quiteria,
Thank you for your letter about the paragraph on the situation in Venezuela in this year’s State-Sponsored Homophobia report.

The State-Sponsored Homophobia Report has several different sections, such as an overview of the legal situation in countries, updates on criminalising States, an analysis of developments in international law. It also has a “Global Perspectives” section, which includes a compilation of essays authored by a variety of scholars and activists about the socio-legal situation in different regions of the world.

The section about Venezuela that you refer to falls in that part of the report: Global Perspectives.
The contributions here present the views and opinions of the authors and are not an official ILGA World position. Being the views of a specific author or authors, they also will not reflect the views of every human rights defender and/or community on the ground. ILGA World does request contributors to follow a set of guidelines on formal and substantive aspects but defers greatly to them in their capacity to present and articulate their views and opinions, and in recruiting prospective contributors, as an ILGA publication we rely on a range of referrals, including from ILGA regional offices and ILGA boards.
At ILGA World, we value a diversity of opinions. The Global Perspectives section of the State Sponsored Homophobia Report aims to contribute to that diversity.
I do note that you state that it is unacceptable to include in a report that the situation of LGBTI people in Venezuela is due to an economic blockage. In this regard, I would like to clarify that in our opinion the disputed paragraph should not be read as an endorsement of the Venezuelan government, nor that the current LGBTI human rights situation in the country is a direct consequence of a virtual economic and financial blockade. ILGA World does not support either of these positions. Indeed, we do not endorse any political party or government – either in Venezuela or elsewhere.

We do take your complaints in full consideration, and we will share them with the author of the respective “Global Perspectives”.

Finally, we do appreciate the reports that you shared with us: they were useful for the legal sections of the report that track legislative progress, and we thank you for your commitment and contributions.

Yours sincerely,
André

Dear, Andre

 

I sincerely appreciate the response to our public letter on the paragraph referring to Venezuela in the State Sponsored Homophobia Report 2019.

After carefully reviewing the content of the response, I would like to emphasize that there is no explanatory note in the report to clarify that “The views and opinions of the authors and are not an official ILGA World position”. Being that it is a report of the institution, it is interpreted as a validation of their views.

In another paragraph of the letter you mention that “in ILGA World, we value the diversity of opinions and the ‘Global Perspectives’ chapter of the State Homophobia report aims to contribute to that diversity.” However, this diversity is not shown in the information on Venezuela. Aspect that must have been analyzed with greater care, if you want to support your diversity policy with facts.

The report sent by our organization mentions aspects contrary to those expressed in the sources consulted that were not included in the report. In the face of such contrast of data, it is advisable to consult neutral voices or more voices from local NGO’s.  We deeply regret the information included about Venezuela was not accurate.

Finally, we thank you again for your attention to our public communication and the prompt response.

Compartir