Thank you very much for hosting us here. All three of us are part of the diaspora of more than four million Venezuelans who've had to flee our own country because we are victims of massive and systematic repression by tyranny.
I was in jail for more than 1,000 days. I was held in custody. I never had any hearing in a framework of fair trial rights. I used to be the Mayor of Caracas. I won, and without any trial or anything, I was removed, until I decided to flee, with all the risks that are entailed therein. After going through 14 checkpoints, I made it to Colombia, where I breathed freedom.
However, we don't want to come here to talk about the drama of the ambassador who was also a victim, who lost his property and was persecuted as well. We want to talk about our country, represented by Oliver Sanchez.
Oliver Sanchez is dead. He took to the streets of Caracas with a big sign. He wasn't asking for a park. He wasn't asking for the building of a school or the right to vote, because he didn't have the right. All this gentleman, Oliver Sanchez, was asking for was the right to live. Unfortunately, he's not with us anymore.
He died because nobody took care of him. He was not given treatment. He was a cancer patient. When an offer of medications was made from another country, he had already died. Oliver Sanchez represents Venezuela, because in Venezuela, as Tamara was saying, children, just like Oliver Sanchez, die every day. As has been certified by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, 300,000 children from zero to five years of age show symptoms of chronic malnutrition. They are children who run the risk of death, and if they survive, malnutrition will affect their growth.
As José Marti once said, when somebody sees a crime committed and does nothing, that person becomes an accomplice. Fortunately, though, Canada has said a lot of things in favour of the cause of liberty for Venezuela. It has not remained silent and it has allowed others to fight too, because José Marti also said that when someone is brave enough to sacrifice himself or herself for the freedom of a people, such as Mr. Almagro is doing, those who are embarrassed at least keep silent and do not stand in his way.
What we're doing here is giving testimony of gratitude for what the OAS and the Lima Group are doing on our behalf to avoid this carnage continuing.
Tamara was talking about crimes against humanity. Hitler would carry off thousands of Jews in trains and then gas them to death with pesticides. In Venezuela, Nicolas Maduro is killing Venezuelans with hunger.
Venezuela is the largest concentration camp that has ever existed in the history of humanity; it is a giant 950,000-square-kilometre concentration camp, because there is no longer legal security. The parliament, citizens like you, who were legitimately elected by more than 14 million voters in 2015, cannot meet in session because the government is militarized.
When it's not the military men who act like praetorian guards at the service of the dictatorship, it's armed pro-government groups that carry a banner and act as though it gives them permission to assault members of the parliament. The members of parliament can't even travel domestically, because they're prohibited from doing so. The members of our parliament are not paid any salary. For the legitimate parliament, it's a real odyssey to be able to actually legislate in Venezuela.
Now, listen closely to my words. If you conduct an investigation to know if what Ambassador Arria or Dr. Suju just said or if my testimony is the truth, we come here to tell you the truth and the whole truth and at the same time to clearly say that it's time for the international community to act under the principle of humanitarian intervention, because the Venezuelan people are being martyrized. What's happening in Venezuela has no border, and it's spilling out into other countries. Crimes don't have any borders. For example, you can see what has happened in Nicaragua and for a long time now in Venezuela.
When the argument is the principle of self-determination of peoples—and in article 8 of the UN declaration itself you can see that this principle should be preeminent—it shouldn't take precedence over the humanitarian principle when you see what's going on. It's very visible that by action or omission, the regime in Venezuela is unable to ensure either food or health for the Venezuelan people. More than 90% of the people live in conditions of poverty in a country that has the largest oil reserves in the whole world, yet it's not able to provide proper health care services.
Dr. Suju's testimony has explained all this. Last year alone, friends, more than 28,000 people died at the hands of common criminals. Venezuela has the highest inflation rate and it also has the highest crime rate: more than 80 people are killed for every 100,000 in population. There's no legal security. There's impunity, which is useful to these groups of common criminals to be able to isolate and corral members of society and do whatever they want.
What is true is that the current regime has a massive and systematic policy of repression in place. You can see with your own eyes that the current regime does not ensure food, health, or security of any Venezuelan, and therefore it is not living up to its responsibility to protect.
We call on Canada to issue sanctions against the individuals who are responsible, who have been and are responsible for drug trafficking, terrorism, corruption and crimes against humanity. May Canada also join the governments of such countries as Colombia, Chile, Argentina, Paraguay and Peru in submitting or endorsing the OAS's report, which has been filed in the International Criminal Court.
Good afternoon, and thank you very much.