To one and all,
I have arrived in Costa Rica. With my wife Lilian and my lawyers, we were warmly received in San José by an enthusiastic group of Venezuelans who live here for various reasons.
Our reception was a very special moment in that sensed a great deal of support and understanding from my fellow countrymen and countrywomen. They certainly let their support be known. Their gesture gives me even more energy to confront our current struggle, which began many months ago and tomorrow will arrive at a decisive moment.
Tomorrow, March 1st, in a few short hours, the Inter-American Court of Human Rights will finally hold the public hearing in which I will have the opportunity–after a long wait–to obtain justice for Venezuela. I will have the opportunity to speak to honest and impartial judges about political disqualification, so that they may have the final word regarding the systematic violation of political rights which is ongoing in Venezuela.
Our case–and that of hundreds of other Venezuelans suffering the same injustice–is solid. Political disqualification may not be utilized without first obtaining a “final and definite” criminal conviction. Our Constitution makes that clear. It is also stated clearly in the American Convention on Human Rights. Everyone knows that in my case there was no trial and much less a conviction. And there was no trial because there was no crime and because I am innocent. The truth and the facts are on our side.
I will attend the hearing tomorrow with a great deal of optimism, with strength and faith. We must erradicate, once and for all, the possibility that the Venezuelan government gets to decide who is eligible for elections by utilizing the arbitrary disqualification of Venezuelans representing an alternative. We must stop the continuing violation of the people’s sacred right to decide for whom to cast their vote.
Before the hearing, I ask you to please pass this message along to as many friends as possible. More voices makes our cause that much stronger.
Once again, I greatly appreciate all of your support,
San José, Costa Rica
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