HIV activists in Venezuela under threat
Frontline AIDS is alarmed at the reports of prominent Venezuelan HIV activists being targeted and threatened by their government.
Most recently, the Venezuelan government has raided the Mavid Foundation, an organisation that has been supporting people living with HIV to access antiretroviral medicines even during the country’s ongoing political, economic and humanitarian crisis.
As has been extensively reported, the people of Venezuela are facing an extreme humanitarian crisis. People living with HIV, in particular, are experiencing distressingly high levels of food, housing and healthcare insecurity – including stockouts of antiretroviral medicines.
And, shockingly, the Venezuelan government has been confiscating relief supplies, infant milk formula and medicines being donated for people in need. On 15 February 2019, HIV activists connected to the Mavid Foundation, Jonathan Mendoza, Wilmer Alvarez and Manuel Armas Jhas, were detained following a raid. They have since been released, however we await more details and remain concerned for their safety and the ability of such community organisations to continue their vital work.
Frontline AIDS joins the call by The Global Network of People Living with HIV (GNP+) to urge the international community including UN Member States, the leadership of UNAIDS, the United Nations Development Program, UNICEF, UNHCR, the World Health Organization and the Pan American Health Organization to call on the Venezuelan government to ensure the safety of these human rights defenders and other citizens of Venezuela.