Skip to main content
Start of content
Start of content

441-02375 (Foreign affairs)

Petition to the House of Commons

We, the undersigned citizens and residents of Canada, draw the attention of the House of Commons to the following:


  • The current Canadian government is aware of the crimes against humanity by the Venezuelan government and has created a Family based Humanitarian program for Colombian, Haitians and Venezuelans suffering under current country conditions;
  • Canada has been one of the six countries that submitted Venezuela to the International Criminal Court denouncing crimes against humanity as defined by the Roma Statute. Such submission prompted a preliminary examination in February 2018 by the ICJ for an investigation of Venezuela allegedly committing four of the 12 crimes prosecuted by the Roma statute. The four crimes are political persecution, forced disappearance, sexual abuse and systematic torture. The preliminary examination is ongoing;
  • Several international organizations, including Canadian NGO Raoul Wallenberg Centre for Human Rights (RWCHR), led by former Canadian Justice Minister Irwin Cotler, have recognized the unjust incarcerations, torture, forced disappearance and political persecution of 257 individuals, including 146 military personnel. The RWCHR has taken on three political prisoners in Venezuela: Maria Afiuni, Leopoldo Lopez and Igbert Jose Marin Chaparro. Lopez is living in exile in Spain while Afiuni and Marin Chaparro, a Venezuelan individual with a Canadian brother continues to face human rights violations despite the NGO's legal efforts and advocacy at the UN;
  • Venezuela will be hosting presidential elections in December 2024. The regime has historically intensified systematic human rights violations during election periods to increase fear and increase citizen compliance with their undemocratic rules, such as no right to protest, censorship, monitored voting, coercion and no freedom of movement and association;
  • Millions of Venezuelans continue to risk their lives in their aim to flee persecution and repression, causing them to seek asylum across the world; and
  • At least three of the 257 political prisoners have close family relatives who are Canadian citizens or permanent residents. Igbert Jose Marin Chaparro has a Canadian brother, Jesus Maria Alarcon Camacho has a Canadian cousin and Oswaldo Valentin Garcia Palomo's family escaped torture and forced disappearance in Venezuela and are now permanent residents. Venezuelan agents conducted a violent search inside Igbert and Oswaldo's confinement places on Dec 20, 2023, leaving them naked and removing all their personal belongings, including books, family photos and medications. Their belongings have not been returned, which constitutes white torture and a risk to their deteriorating health situation. Garcia Palomo received death threats on Jan. 20, 2024.

Therefore, we, the undersigned, call on the Government of Canada to:

  • Include political prisoners with close ties to Canada, particularly Igbert Jose Marin Chaparro and Oswaldo Valentin Garcia Palomo, in any discussion or negotiation to restore diplomatic ties between Canada and Venezuela;
  • Advocate for the unconditional release of the prisoners of conscience Igbert Jose Marin Chaparro and Oswaldo Valentin Garcia Palomo, due to their strong family ties in Canada, and all political prisoners in Venezuela BEFORE any concessions given to the Venezuelan government by Canada and by the international community; and
  • Request the release and further exile to Canada of Igbert Jose Marin Chaparro and Oswaldo Valentin Garcia Palomo due to their strong family ties in Canada BEFORE any concession is given to Venezuela, such as any sanction release, re-opening of mutual embassies and economic agreements.

Response by the Minister of Foreign Affairs

Signed by (Minister or Parliamentary Secretary): Rob Oliphant

Canada remains deeply concerned by the ongoing political, social and economic crisis in Venezuela. Canadian officials are aware of the arbitrary detention of more than 250 political prisoners in Venezuela, and consistently advocate for their release, physical integrity and well-being, as well as for the end of repression and persecution of dissenting voices. We are aware of numerous cases of mistreatment, including the detention and violent search inside Igbert Jose Marin Chaparro and Oswaldo Valentin Garcia Palomo’s confinement place last December. It is vital that Venezuela’s de facto authorities respect their own commitments as stated in the Comprehensive and Incremental Dialogue and Negotiation Process signed in Mexico in August 2021, as well as in the “Barbados Agreement” in October 2023, to improve the democratic conditions for free and fair elections scheduled for July 2024.  

Recently, Canada condemned the arrest warrants issued for and arbitrary detention of opposition members in Venezuela and called for their immediate release. Canada is also concerned about the undue detention of human rights defenders and further restrictions on civic space. Alongside others in the international community, Canada will continue its denunciation of these practices. 

In multilateral institutions, Canada has consistently advocated for the restoration of civil and political rights in Venezuela, including of those arbitrarily detained. As an example of its commitment, Canada supports and finances the monitoring and promotion of human rights through the Fact-Finding Mission on Venezuela and the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights. The latter plays a particularly important role in monitoring detention conditions and the well-being of political prisoners in Venezuela.  

Canada currently has sanctions against 112 individuals under the Special Economic Measures Act (SEMA). These sanctions do not target Venezuela as a country, but rather focus on individuals involved in gross human rights violations, acts undermining democratic institutions, and significant acts of corruption. Currently, such sanctions concern travel and dealings bans. Canada reviews its sanctions periodically and takes measures accordingly. 

The operations of the Embassy of Canada in Venezuela were temporarily suspended in June 2019 as relations deteriorated. Canada has not recognized the de facto authorities in Venezuela as that country’s legitimate government since the elections in 2018. Canada remains deeply concerned by the ongoing political, social and economic crisis in Venezuela and has welcomed the partial political agreement signed in Barbados on October 17, 2023 as an important step towards the restoration of democracy and improvement of the human rights situation.

The Minister of Foreign Affairs has said, amidst an international security crisis, Canada must pursue pragmatic diplomacy and prepared to engage with those with whom we disagree. Government of Canada officials are committed to work with appropriate actors to restore and reinforce democracy and human rights in Venezuela, and Canada continues to work with partners to address the urgent needs of all Venezuelans inside and outside their country and to alleviate the humanitarian crisis.

Presented to the House of Commons
Garnett Genuis (Sherwood Park—Fort Saskatchewan)
April 9, 2024 (Petition No. 441-02375)
Government response tabled
May 10, 2024
Photo - Garnett Genuis
Sherwood Park—Fort Saskatchewan
Conservative Caucus

30 signatures

Only validated signatures are counted towards the total number of signatures.