On December 28, 2017 the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights announced that Alfred de Zayas, the UN’s Independent Expert on the Promotion of a Democratic and Equitable International Order "praised the Government of Venezuela for introducing a series of measures in line with recommendations he made after a recent mission to the country."
The Maduro regime in Venezuela taking a page out of the Castro playbook released some dissidents who had been arbitrarily detained to generate a positive response from the visiting dignitary. Independent Expert de Zayas claimed that "this constitutes a sign of movement towards national reconciliation and demonstrates that dialogue bears fruit." Unfortunately, the larger trends in 2017 in Venezuela paint a very different picture.
On May 18, 2017 The Miami Herald reported that it had a secret recording of a Venezuelan general advocating for the use of snipers against street demonstrators "in the future."
On August 30, 2017 the UN Human Rights Office found that "[e]xtensive human rights violations and abuses have been committed in the context of anti-Government protests in Venezuela and point to 'the existence of a policy to repress political dissent and instill fear in the population to curb demonstrations.'
On November 29, 2017 Human Rights Watch along with Foro Penal (Penal Forum) published "Crackdown on Dissent Brutality, Torture, and Political Persecution in Venezuela" that documented how regime opponents, once detained, have been subjected "to abuses ranging from severe beatings to torture involving electric shocks, asphyxiation, and other techniques." Report was "based on in-country research, documents 88 cases involving at least 314 people who were victims of serious human rights violations during the crackdown between April and September 2017." These practices were carried out across Venezuela "by different security forces and armed pro-government groups known as colectivos in Caracas and 13 states—Anzoátegui, Aragua, Carabobo, Barinas, Bolivar, Lara, Mérida, Miranda, Monagas, Sucre, Táchira, Vargas, and Zulia."
Venezuela in 2016 had the third recorded most violent death rate in the world according to the 2017 Small Arms Survey Report.
On December 10, 2017 Venezuelan strong man Nicolas Maduro announced that main opposition parties would be banned from participating in the 2018 presidential elections.
"Since the beginning of , more than 130 opposition activists were murdered and more than 500 had been arbitrarily imprisoned [in Venezuela]" reported the European Parliament.
On December 17, 2017 The New York Times reported that despite Venezuela having the larges oil reserves in the world, Venezuelan children are dying of hunger.
Despite all the above Alfred de Zayas in a December 12, 2017 statement argued that"[p]rogress in the social sector in Venezuela and Ecuador, consistent with the Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, should be more generally known and recognized."
On December 10, 2017 the United Nations began a year long effort to honor and celebrate the 70th anniversary in 2018 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein recognizes that “we should be under no illusions: the legacy of the Universal Declaration is facing threats on many fronts.”
Experts such as Alfred de Zayas are an internal threat to this legacy because of their legitimizing of systematic human rights violators and corruption of the monitoring process against these regimes. If the UN human rights system is to survive and remain relevant these so-called "experts" need to go.
This make me sick: @UNHumanRights tweets praise for oppressive #Venezuela regime jailing dissidents & whose failed policies are causing babies to starve.— Hillel Neuer (@HillelNeuer) January 2, 2018
Their Cuban-backed expert "has praised the Government of Venezuela for introducing a series of measures..." Shame on you, @UN! https://t.co/6xOV7uU24g