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A Story Behind a Prisoner of Conscience in Venezuela

« No man can be accused, arrested nor detained but in the cases determined by the law, and according to the forms which it has prescribed. Those who solicit, dispatch, carry out or cause to be carried out arbitrary orders, must be punished; but any citizen called or seized under the terms of the law must obey at once; he renders himself culpable by resistance. » – Declaration of Rights of Man and Citizen, 1789.

Photo is from Farah Miranda, it is of Roland Carreño and his sons.

« Generous souls always interest themselves in the fate of a people who strive to recover the rights to which the Creator and Nature have entitled them, and one must indeed be wedded to error and passion not to harbor this noble sentiment.” – Simón Bolívar

When Antonio Nariño translated this document into Spanish- the royal officials arrested and tortured him. These very words in the French Revolutionary Declaration of Rights were not invented by Lafayette- nor were they invented by any Sans Culottes listening, according to Nariño they can be found in the ancient writings of Aquinas and the ideas can be found in scriptures.

Two hundred years later, and countless people around the world are arrested arbitrarily for the truth or for no reason at all. Many of these stories are from Venezuela, Cuba, China, and Belarus. Countless individuals tossed into the dungeons of tyranny for daring to have different beliefs. One of these cases is Roland Carreño whose story I hope gets shared today. As Bolivar said, it is the duty of all of us as humanity to stand for the rights of those suffering and striving to win back their God-given natural rights.

One of these stories I encountered a couple weeks ago on my twitter was that of Roland Carreño. I had a wonderful opportunity to chat with his sister Farah Miranda who told me some wonderful stories about him. His instagram is filled with beautiful pictures of old churches, Venezuelan scenery, dogs, Simon Bolivar sites, and historical knowledge. I greatly enjoyed scrolling through it! He is a man of knowledge and wanting to share that knowledge, and should not be unjustly detained. Carreño is a Venezuelan journalist who was politically supportive of democracy. Venezuela, once one of the richest countries in the world, has plunged into a political crisis and a dictatorship. Venezuelans support democracy, but dictators from Russia, China, and Cuba and ensuring that the Maduro regime holds its place. Carreño disappeared and nobody knew what happened to him or his own personal safety. He was known to be a peaceful and not violent man- but sometimes dictatorial regimes like to accuse their opponents of plotting violence as was the case of Leopoldo Lopez who also peacefully opposed the regime but was thrown into solitary confinement and accused of a long list of fabricated crimes. The only thing Carreño did was report the news of what is happening in Venezuela. It is a basic human right to print and publish whatever you want as long as it brings no violence against another person. While there is no completely safe country for journalists- in a free society a journalist or anybody should be allowed to write freely without fear that a leader may not approve of their writings and throw them in jail. Article 11 of the Declaration of Rights of Man and Citizen states; « The free communication of thoughts and of opinions is one of the most precious rights of man: any citizen thus may speak, write, print freely, except to respond to the abuse of this liberty, in the cases determined by the law »

The information I found which his sister confirmed is he has been arbitrarily detained for four months. This is against the regular processes prescribed in the constitution of Venezuela and violates due process. His trail and his charges have not been set. They are extremely worried about his health, with the covid-19 pandemic and the high risk of infection in a prison- this is a dangerous situation. He also has a pre-existing heart condition and diabetes. He committed no crime, and the world must get his message out there. This is a man who is unjustly imprisoned- it is up to us all as members of humanity to raise our voices for him.


Publié par

I was born in the Eastern USA and for as long as I remember I was always drawn to the plight of the downtrodden. My mind was captivated from a young age reading stories about my ancestor Peter Slater and his involvement in the American Revolution. My mind was captivated by the writings of Voltaire, Locke and Rousseau and the theories surrounding natural rights. I pursued my MA degree in Human Rights and have lived in Washington, DC. The rights expressed in the Universal Declaration and the Declaration des Droits should be the foundation of all democratic societies, and this core foundational rights I want to help the world better understand. On a personal note, I'm a lover of bookstores and coffeeshops and can often be found strolling down the street with a book on my way to the cafes of Washington.

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