Venezuela faces a profound humanitarian crisis. The country suffers from a shortage of medical supplies, food, and basic services, which has led to a sharp increase in infant and maternal mortality rates. Public protests have escalated over recent months, as international human rights organizations condemn widespread government crackdowns on political opponents and freedom of speech. The region is increasingly worried about the spillover risks of a large-scale humanitarian crisis in Venezuela.
Americas Society/Council of the Americas will convene Venezuelan civil society leaders who will provide a unique and domestic perspective on the ongoing crisis and the humanitarian situation on the ground.
- Marianela Balbi, Executive Director, IPYS @NelaBalbi
- Nathan Crooks, Venezuela Bureau Chief, Bloomberg News @nmcrooks
- José Domingo Mujica, National Coordinator, Red de Observación Electoral de la Asamblea de Educación
- Juan Manuel Raffalli Arismendi, Professor, UCAB, UMA, and IESA @juanraffalli
- Beatrice Rangel, Managing Director, AMLA Consulting Group @BEPA2009
- Raúl Stolk, Lawyer/Writer – Chairman, Caracas Chronicles @raulstolk
- Rafael Uzcátegui, General Manager, Provea @fanzinero
- Nancy Anderson Bolton, Senior Director, AS/COA Miami @andersonancy
- Guillermo Zubillaga, Head, Venezuela Working Group, Americas Society/Council of the Americas @Guillermo_Z
This event is free of charge. Prior registration is required.
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Executive Director, Venezuelan Institute for Press and Society
Marianela Balbi serves as executive director at the Venezuelan Institute for Press and Society (IPYS). Previously, she worked as director of Media at Vengamcham. Balbi also served as chief of culture at El Nacional between 2002 and 2005. Balbi has taught journalism at the Metropolitan University and Catholic University Andrés Bello.
Venezuela Bureau Chief, Bloomberg News
Nathan Crooks is chief of Bloomberg News Venezuela Bureau. He previously worked as an energy editor at Business News Americas and as an editor at the Santiago Times. Crooks holds a bachelor's degree from the University of Toronto in political science.
Mercedes de Freitas
Executive Director, Transparencia Venezuela
Mercedes de Freitas is executive director of Transparencia Venezuela. She has worked with several Venezuelan NGOs and has been active in Latin American networks on access to information, budget transparency and legislative processes, as well as in the Global Movement on Transparency and Accountability in Budgets. An Ashoka Fellow since 2000, de Freitas joined the editorial board of El Naciónal in 2010. She was elected to the TI board in 2014.
José Domingo Mujica
National Coordinator, Red de Observación Electoral de la Asamblea de Educación
José Domingo Mujica is a member of the Board of Directors of the Election Observation Network of the civil association “Asamblea de Educación” (AE). Most recently, he was AE´s National Coordinator between 2006 and 2015. Previously, Mujica was the head of the Physics Department, Faculty of Science at the Central University of Venezuela, and a visiting researcher at New York University. He was also the dean of the Faculty of Sciences at UCV and president of “Gran Mariscal de Ayacucho” Foundation.
General Manager, Venezuelan Program for Education and Action in Human Rights
Rafael Uzcátegui is general coordinator of the Venezuelan Program for Education and Action in Human Rights (Provea). He is a senior university technician in publicity and marketing at Rodolfo Loero Arismendi Univeristy Institute of Technology. Uzcátegui is the author of the books Corazón de Tinta and Venezuela: La Revolución Como Espectáculo and Una Crítica Anarquista a la Revolución Bolivariana.
Vice President, COA, Washington D.C. Office
Eric Farnsworth is vice president of the Council of the Americas and Americas Society, heading the Washington, DC, office since 2003. The organization is the leading voice on the hemisphere, where the public and private sectors meet to discuss and promote an agenda based on democratic governance, open markets, and the rule of law. He is a recognized expert on hemispheric affairs and U.S. foreign and trade policy, having given congressional testimony numerous times.
Juan Manuel Raffalli Arismendi
Professor, UCAB, UMA, and IESA
Juan Manuel Raffalli Arismendi is professor of Constitutional and Administrative Law at the Catholic University Andrés Bello, Institutional and Constitutional Law at Monte Ávila University, and Regulatory Frameworks at the Institute for Superior Administrative Studies. He was the head of the Law Department at UCAB. Raffalli was the founder and coordinator of Constitutional Forum of Venezuela and served as president of the Justice and Democracy Foundation. He also served as an alternate deputy in the National Assembly.
Humanitarian Expert, Advisor to Caritas de Venezuela
Susana Raffalli is an advisor for Caritas Venezuela on nutrition, food security, and natural disaster risk. She has also advised the Red Cross, Bengoa Foundation, and PeriodismoCC. Raffalli holds a bachelor's degree in nutrition from Venezuala Central University as well as master's degrees from the Panamerican Health Organization and the Madrid Complutense University.
Lawyer/Writer – Chairman, Caracas Chronicles
Raúl Stolk is chairman of Caracas Chronicles. He is also editor-in-chief at LexLatin. Previously, Stolk was a partner at the law firm Gallegos & Stolk. He holds a law degree from Catholic University Andrés Bello, and an LLM in Banking, Corporate, and Finance Law from Fordham Law School.
Head, Venezuela Working Group, Americas Society/Council of the Americas
Guillermo Zubillaga is senior director of Public Policy Programs & Corporate Relations at the Americas Society/Council of the Americas, where he heads the organization’s Venezuela Working Group. Zubillaga works closely with the corporate members of the Council of the Americas to develop and implement over 200 programs every year in New York and Latin America. A native Venezuelan, Zubillaga is a contributor to Americas Quaterly and US News and is a frequent speaker and moderator on events about Venezuela. He can be found on Twitter at @Guillermo_Z.
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Note: The two panel discussions will be conducted in Spanish, while the interview with Raffalli, along with the welcoming and closing remarks, will be in English. Simultaneous translation will be available for those in the room.
8:00 – 8:30 a.m. Registration and Continental Breakfast
8:30 – 8:45 a.m. Welcoming Remarks
- Nancy Anderson Bolton, Senior Director, AS/COA Miami
8:45 – 9:30 a.m. Panel I: Venezuela’s Constitutional Crisis
- José Domingo Mujica, National Coordinator, Red de Observación Electoral
- Juan Manuel Raffalli, Professor UCAB, UMA & IESA
- Raúl Stolk, Chairman, Caracas Chronicles (moderator)
9:30 – 10:00 a.m. Interview: Venezuela’s Humanitarian Emergency
- Beatrice Rangel, Managing Director, AMLA Consulting Group
- Guillermo Zubillaga, Head, Venezuela Working Group, Americas Society/Council of the Americas (interviewer)
10:00 – 11:15 a.m. Panel II: Human Rights in Venezuela
- Marianela Balbi, Executive Director, IPYS Venezuela
- Rafael Uzcátegui, General Manager, Provea
- Nathan Crooks, Venezuela Bureau Chief, Bloomberg News (moderator)
11:15 – 11:30 a.m. Closing Remarks: Implications for the Region
- Guillermo Zubillaga, Head, AS/COA Venezuelan Working Group