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Ehisler Vásquez

HRD & Founder
Civil Association Strength, Union, Justice, Solidarity and Peace

Ehisler Vásquez is the founder of Asociación Civil Fuerza, Unión, Justicia, Solidaridad y Paz – FUNPAZ (Civil Association Strength, Union, Justice, Solidarity and Peace), in Barquisimeto, Lara. The Association was created after repressive acts carried out by the Guardia Nacional Bolivariana - GNB (Bolivarian National Guard) on 15 and 16 April 2013, when the human rights defender himself was shot five times by the authorities while participated in a peaceful demonstration, in Barquisimeto. Ehisler Vásquez went through four surgeries since, but has not fully recovered from the violent acts. The human rights defender has denounced the acts of the GNB to the Public Prosecution of Venezuela and has for four years struggled to bring them to justice, as well as advocated, together with FUNPAZ, against the impunity of state’s security forces in Lara. Ehisler Vásquez has been threatened and intimidated several times due to his work to bring those responsible for the acts to justice.


HRDs have been working under restrictive policies for many years: the Maduro administration has continued the work begun by Chávez in restricting civil space and delegitimising HRDs, repeatedly accusing them of undermining the Venezuelan democracy with the alleged collaboration of the United States. HRDs are discredited and criminalised by state-controlled media (television, radio, print media) on a weekly basis.

The authorities have systematically undermined freedom of expression, which has not only affected HRDs and other critical voices, but has also created a more restrictive media environment. Indeed, HRDs who publicly speak out about human rights violations, including at the Inter-American Court for Human Rights, have also been subjected to restrictions in the private sphere, with surveillance of their email and communication being commonplace.