Canada Expresses Concern over Venezuela’s Arrest of Oswaldo Álvarez Paz

(No. 114 - March 25, 2010 - 9:45 a.m. ET) The Honourable Peter Kent, Minister of State of Foreign Affairs (Americas), today issued the following statement expressing his concern over Venezuela’s arrest on March 22 of Oswaldo Álvarez Paz, former state governor of Zulia:

“The arrest of Mr. Álvarez Paz, allegedly for comments made during a talk show broadcast on Venezuelan television, underscores the shrinking of democratic space in Venezuela. It also raises concerns that the judiciary is being used to harass those who criticize the government.

“Freedom of expression, and the independence and impartiality of the judiciary are essential elements of democracy. Canada urges the Government of Venezuela to respect the rights of all Venezuelans, including Mr. Álvarez Paz, in accordance with its commitments under international human rights law.

“Canada will continue to closely follow this case and other issues related to freedom of expression and democratic governance in Venezuela.”

For more information on Canada’s relations with Venezuela, visit Canada-Venezuela Relations.

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For further information, media representatives may contact:

Eleanor Johnston
Senior Special Assistant (Communications)
Office of the Minister of State of Foreign Affairs (Americas)

Foreign Affairs Media Relations Office
Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada