For Tamara Taraciuk Broner, HRW’s Senior Americas Researcher, the humanitarian crisis in Venezuela hits home. Venezuela provided her Argentinian parents refuge when their homeland was controlled by a brutal military junta. Tamara was born in Venezuela but was able to return to Argentina as a young child after the repressive government there was toppled.
Today she views her job as helping Venezuelans who have fled their own repressive regime return home one day. “That is a very important part of what we do,” she told a roomful of academics, students and members of the community at a luncheon on March 8th at the University of Miami Institute for Advanced Study of the Americas (U-MIA).
In welcoming the group, Dr. Felicia Marie Knaul, director of U-MIA and a member of HRW Miami Circle of Friends, said the center was “extremely pleased to partner with Human Rights Watch” and their researchers who work throughout the world to promote social justice and human rights. “I am the child of a concentration camp survivor,” Knaul said. “It breaks my heart to hear about these abuses, injustices, but we have to bear witness. There is no excuse for our silence, for not doing something.”
Tamara worked undercover in Venezuela for Human Rights Watch for eight years, while the late President Hugo Chavez was still in power, and continued her work, contacting victims of abuse, lawyers and others affected by the repressive regime of his successor, Nicolas Maduro. Those observations culminated in reports and videos that, she said, document the enormous concentration of power that allowed the Chavez and Maduro governments to commit all kinds of abuses.
“We don’t do things for the sake of it, we do so to provoke change,” said Tamara, “When we say things happen it’s because we can corroborate every assertion we make.”
Human Rights Watch has spread knowledge of the Venezuelan humanitarian crisis worldwide. However, Tamara stated, we face the daunting task not only of maintaining interest in the country but also generating sufficient pressure for change.
HRW recommends countries impose targeted sanctions against high-ranking Maduro government officials who are implicated in abuses. Such sanctions could include freezing their assets and blocking their entrance to specific counties. Only the United States, Canada, and European Union have implemented sanctions. But HRW will continue pressuring other countries to follow suit.
The special briefing was covered by WLRN; click here to listen to highlights.
WHAT: Tamara Taraciuk Broner on “The Current Human Rights Crisis in Venezuela”
WHEN: Thursday, March 8th, 2018
WHERE: The University of Miami Institute for Advanced Study of the Americas