2006 Delegation to Venezuela Submits Report

2006-venezuelaThe Bolivarian Revolution and the Rule of Law

By Laura Safer Espinoza and Susan Scott, Task Force on the Americas

A delegation of 16 lawyers, 6 law students and a filmmaker, who went to Caracas for a week in early February 2006, has completed a report, entitled “The Bolivarian Revolution and the Rule of Law.” The above link will take you to a pdf (Adobe Acrobat) version of the report you can download. It’s 1.8M in size.

The delegation had a busy agenda, meeting with Legislators, Supreme Court justices, officials from the Attorney General’s office, opposition leaders, human rights activists, progressive lawyers in private practice, and neighborhood activists.

Press Conference in Response to Rumsfeld’s Comments

During the week of the delegation, the US Secretary of Defense likened Hugo Chavez to Hitler, inspiring the group to call a well-attended press conference in Caracas to publicly testify to their impression that democracy was alive and well in Venezuela.

Delegation members holding a press conference to offer their impressions of democracy in Venezuela

Delegation members holding a press conference to offer their impressions of democracy in Venezuela

Justice Vegas of Venezuela Supreme Court Hosted in April

After meeting Justice Vegas at the Supreme Court in Caracas, the group invited him to visit the US in April. Members of the group from New York, Washington DC, Chicago, Milwaukee, LA, San Francisco, San Jose and Sacramento hosted him and arranged for him to speak with media, lawyers and law students in each venue. Justice Vegas will return in October, 2006 to attend the National Lawyers Guild Convention in Austin.

Congressional Briefing in Washington DC
The quality of life has greatly improved in the barrios or "ranchos" in Caracas, where most citizens live

The majority of Caracas’ residents live in “ranchos”, barrios climbing up the hillsides, where people are for the first time getting title

On May 23, four members of the delegation, Laura Safer Espinoza, Peter Cohn, Art Heitzer and Susan Scott, spoke aboout their findings at a congressional briefing luncheon on the Venezuelan Legal System at the invitation of Congressman Gregory Meeks from the Bronx. Six Congressmembers and approximately fifty staffers attended the briefing, which was covered by Spanish language press.

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