April 28 (UPI) — In response to his son who urged him to defend human rights, Venezuelan Ombudsman Tarek William Saab said his son “can say his opinion” about the South American country’s crisis.
Saab’s son Yibram on Wednesday released a video in which he urged his father, who investigates civil and human rights abuse allegations in Venezuela, to “do what you are supposed to do” as nationwide protests — at times violent — have consumed Venezuela for nearly a month.
Venezuela is facing a political, security and economic crisis in which basic goods such as food and medicine are in short supply, unavailable or unaffordable. Venezuela has one of the highest homicide rates in the world.
“I condemn the brutal repression by the government’s security forces, which I was victim of today,” Yibram Saab said in the video. “As was Juan Pablo Pernalete, 20 years old, a university student, who died because of the terrible and inhumane use of tear gas, after he was hit in his chest … that could have been me.”
The most recent protests in Venezuela began on March 30 after Venezuela’s Supreme Tribunal of Justice, or TSJ, said it would assume the National Assembly’s duties — a ruling it later reversed. The opposition said the TSJ’s move was akin to a coup d’etat in favor of Maduro’s regime.
“Dad,” Yibram Saab said, “At this moment you have the power to put an end to this injustice that has sunk this country … I ask you as a son, and in Venezuela’s name which you serve, to reflect and do what you are supposed to do.
“I understand this is not easy,” Yibram Saab said. “But it’s the right thing to do.”
On Thursday, Tarek William Saab rejected calls from the opposition-controlled National Assembly legislature to support its measure to dismiss seven TSJ justices. The TSJ has long been accused of unconstitutionally supporting Maduro’s socialist regime
“I do not accept the ultimatum that the National Assembly gave me because I am a man who gives face and I respond bravely,” Tarek William Saab told FM Center radio. “Do not pressure me. Do not threaten me.”
Over his son’s comments, Tarek William Saab said his son spoke “democratically in the full exercise of freedom of opinion.”
“Simply what I can say: I love him, I adore him and he can say his opinion,” Tarek William Saab said.
On Thursday, Venezuelan Foreign Minister Delcy Rodríguez said Venezuela will withdraw from the Organization of American States, suggesting it is a puppet of the U.S. government.
“The OAS is an organization that has been instrumented by the American people to subdue the peoples of our region. It has a painful history and a shameful present,” Rodríguez said during a televised speech in Caracas.