Direct financial support from European Union member countries to a range of Venezuelan nongovernmental human rights and prison reform organizations continued. Embassy officials helped to facilitate the ongoing dialogue between the non-governmental organizations and government officials, and attended policy-setting meetings as observers.
As in previous years, public comment by the Clinton administration on human rights issues was limited to the State Departments annual Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 1997 , which in general provided a comprehensive and accurate picture of human rights conditions in the country.
World Bank and Inter-American Development Bank
The international community continued to direct its efforts toward supporting reform of Venezuelas criminal justice and prison systems. World Bank support for Venezuelan judicial reform continued. A U.S.$150 million Inter-American Development Bank loan for prison modernization, restructuring of the public prosecutors office and the Judicial Police was under discussion in August with government authorities. Bank officials aimed to establish targets of a 10 percent improvement in key indicators such as levels of prison violence and delays in justice: these targets remained under discussion at the time of writing.