Human rights defender
Mary is a freelance journalist from Venezuela with more than 16 years of experience, specialized in coverage of situations of political unrest and humanitarian crisis. For the last four years she has been working as the Venezuela correspondent for several international outlets serving Latin America and the US. She also served as contributor to several news outlets. Mary reports from the streets of Venezuela to the reality of the political and social conflict to an international audience, with special emphasis on the humanitarian and human rights crisis. She produces live reporting from the place where the situation is unfolding. Since 2014, her reports are focused on anti-government demonstrations, crisis in the public health system, scarcity of basic products and detention and abuses committed by police and military forces against civilians, including torture.
Human rights violations in Venezuela
In May 2018, Venezuela held its presidential elections in which President Maduro was re-elected for another 6 year term amid allegations of vote-rigging and a boycott by the opposition. Moreover, the result was heavily contested by the international community, with the US mission to the United Nations condemning this “insult to democracy”. New cases of disappearances and detention of individuals for expressing views on social media have resurfaced. The recent exodus of migration has seen over 550,000 Venezuelan citizens leave for Colombia at the end of 2017. Since the crisis started worsening in 2014 most journalists have fled Venezuela and there is less reporting from the streets, due to the increasing security risks on journalists, many of whom have been attacked by military and police forces while reporting. Mary’s position as an independent journalist covering anti-government demonstrations has put her in a difficult situation. Working as a journalist is considered one of, if not the, most dangerous jobs in the country right now. Journalist that do not work in state media or who do not follow the State-imposed editorial line report are considered enemies of the State. Therefore, if one is a journalist, one is a target. Just in the last year, independent media owners and journalists were detained, beaten, robbed, imprisoned, disappeared and tortured.