The mayor of a municipality in the western Venezuelan state of Yaracuy this week forced people to mark the homes of Covid-19 patients in his community with signs to prevent visits and prevent contagion.
Family in preventive quarantine, no visitors allowed, say the signs that appear in a video posted on the networks of Adrián Luque, mayor of the ruling United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV), in which he appears along with municipal police officers. In the video, Luque, with gestures and rhetoric reminiscent of Hugo Chávez, warns that if the measure is violated, there will be fines of up to 20 million bolívares (about 10 dollars).
However, what worried in public opinion and in the PSUV itself was the subsequent statement: And if you re-offend, we are going to make a video of you and we are going to suspend your bag of food and the gas. If you don't comply with me, I will hold you in contempt of authority, the mayor affirmed.
The Attorney General's Office announced that it would open a criminal investigation against the mayor of the Sucre municipality of Yaracuy, said the attorney general of the government of Nicolás Maduro, Tarek William Saab.
Unexpectedly, Saab described the Yaracuyan mayor's decision as segregation.
The prosecutor indicated that the Public Prosecutor's Office also ordered the removal of the signs and pointed out that Duque acted unilaterally and outside the policy of the Venezuelan state to combat the pandemic.
With a couple of tweets, the prosecutor echoed the complaints made by several citizens.
Luque had claimed on his Instagram account that he imposed the measure because the people are being protected. The best vaccine is the awareness we have to have in the fight against the pandemic. To raise awareness and for our people, so we will be in constant deployment.
For its part, the civil organisation Acceso a la Justicia recalled that Venezuelan law states that all patients have the right to respect for their dignity and privacy, without being discriminated against for reasons of a geographical, racial, social, sexual, economic, ideological, political or religious nature.
Rodolfo Montes de Oca, a lawyer from the human rights organisation Provea, also indicated that singling out and stigmatising is contrary to constitutional principles, specifically on articles of the national constitution on the right to health.