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Violeta Santiago

HRD, journalist

Violeta Santiago is a woman human rights defender and correspondent for the national newspaper "El Pitazo". She is known for conducting research about democracy, politics, and denouncing human rights violations in Venezuela. She is also a member of Promotion, Education and Defence of Human Rights - PROMEDEHUM (Promoción, Educación y Defensa en Derechos Humanos – PROMEDEHUM), an organisation focused on providing workshops and lectures to civil society on a number of issues related to the use of lawful and peaceful means to denounce human rights violations, mainly in Mérida. 


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.