Venezuelans End Hunger Strike at the UN

General Antonio Rivero (left,) student Josmir Guitérrez and engineer Eduardo Bavarezco protested for 148 hours.  (Photo by Andrea González-Ramírez via El Diario)

Gen. Antonio Rivero (left), student Josmir Guitérrez and engineer Eduardo Bavarezco protested for 148 hours. (Photo by Andrea González-Ramírez via El Diario)

Three Venezuelans ended their hunger strike in front of the United Nations headquarters in New York City after 148 hours. They were protesting human rights violations in their country.

The group ended their demonstration after they achieved their goal of getting an official communication from the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights. In the message, the international organization promises to visit Venezuela to verify their claims and to intervene to free 50 students who are currently being held in custody for political reasons.

Student Josmir Guitiérrez, 25, engineer Eduardo Bavarezco, 39, and Gen. Antonio Rivero, 56, held the strike for six days. They are all living in exile in Miami.

According to David Bavarezco, Eduardo’s nephew and one of the protest’s organizers, the group is denouncing human rights violations in Venezuela, demanding the liberation of the students, and condemning the deaths of young people who were killed during the protests that swept the country last year.

The strike began on Tuesday, June 9, at 4 p.m. Bavarezco said that nearly 100 people, most of them students, are holding a similar strike in Venezuela and throughout the U.S.

“We want all international organizations to know that Venezuela is living under a dictatorship,” said Gutiérrez.

The woman, who left her country a year ago, said that the commission gave them an official communication in which they promise to mediate directly with the Venezuelan government regarding the political prisoners and to visit the country to verify the state of human rights.

The government in Caracas must approve the visit of a U.N. delegation. Although the protesters expect that the regime will offer resistance to the letter, they consider it a triumph that the U.N. took their demands into consideration.

Still, Gutiérrez said that this will not be the group’s final action. The group has a number of additional meetings scheduled with U.N. representatives and plans to travel to Washington D.C. to address Congress.

“The regime is willing to do anything it takes to stay in power,” said Gutiérrez. “This is why we will continue to denounce it from wherever we are in the world.”

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