Students, professors and University Deans discussed the serious problems affecting the Venezuelan University

This Wednesday, January 24,  the “first meeting on academic freedom, University autonomy and human rights at the University level” took place. It was an event organised by Aula Abierta Venezuela, together with human rights organizations from various universities of the country, including the Commission on human rights of the University of the Zulia (LUZ, initials in Spanish), the human rights observatory of the University of the Andes (ULA, initials in Spanish), the Center for peace and human rights of the Universidad Central de Venezuela (UCV, initials in Spanish), Centro de Derechos Humanos of the Univesidad Católica Andrés Bello (UCAB, initials in Spanish), the Venezuelan Association of constitutional rights, Civilis DDHH, the Centro de Derechos Humanos de la Universidad Metropolitana, UCAB-Guiana, Epikeia, among others.



The meeting between academics began with the words of David Gomez Gamboa, Coordinator of the Commission of human rights of light and Director Aula Abierta Venezuela, who gave a presentation on the “international impact in terms of academic freedom: A task from the Venezuelan human rights movement and the University”. Afterwards, Professor Mayda Hocevar, Director of the Observatory of Human Rights of the ULA, explained to those present about the “Conceptualization and Foundation of Academic Freedom”.






University of the Andes Dean (ULA, initials in Spanish), Mario Bunucci explained masterfully on the “Expropriation of Universities”, creating an interesting debate. José Virtuoso, Rector of the Andrés Bello Catholic University (UCAB, initials in Spanish), elaborated on “There is no University without academic freedom” explaining it categorically.






Eduardo Trujillo, Director (E) of the Human Rights Center of the Andrés Bello Catholic University (UCAB, initials in Spanish), warned of the unconstitutionality of the Law against Hate and its impact on the exercise of human rights teaching at UCAB. Tulio Olmos, Vice President of the Association of Teachers of the UCV, culminated the morning shift of the “First Meeting on University Autonomy, Academic Freedom and Human Rights in the University Field, exposing on the” Teacher desertion in universities. ”



Luis Vizcaya, professor at the University of Carabobo, began the second round of the meeting, presenting the interesting topic “Human Rights and Education”. Karla Velazco, Projects Deputy Director at Aula Abierta and university professor, along with Ricardo Villalobos, National Research Coordinator of the aforementioned organization, as well as a university professor, presented the “First Virtual Encyclopedia on Academic Freedom”, which will have a library and specialized video library, discussion forums, among other interesting tools that allow the public of the American continent, to know and debate about this topic.







José Vicente Haro, Professor of UCV and President of the Venezuelan Association of Constitutional Law, elaborated on the toic “Evolution of the right to education, academic freedom and university autonomy in the Venezuelan constitutional history”, while Víctor Marqués professor at UCV, explained the topic “University autonomy at the doors of a new Constitution” and Yxandra Girón, Director of Law School of the Gran Mariscal de Ayacucho University (UGMA, initials in Spanish), spoke about “Challenges of a university professor, case UGMA”.

Journalist and professor of the Andrés Bello Catholic University in -Guayana, Oscar Murillo, spoke on “Self-censorship in Venezuelan universities”. Then Amalio Belmonte, Secretary of UCV was present at the prestigious event, making the interesting presentation on the case of “Imposition of deficit and delayed budget to universities.”

University of Carabobo Professor, Kelvin Zambrano, discussed with the attendees on the “Procedural Incidents and violations of Human Rights of university professors”. Zambrano is also a defense lawyer for Santiago Guevara, who was arbitrarily deprived of his liberty for 10 months for writing an opinion article for a newspaper in Spain. At the end of his presentation he was surprised by the university community present with a sample of recognition for Professor Guevara, to whom the university students presented him with a painting honoring him as an academic and as an advocate of academic freedom.





María Gabriela Cuevas, professor at UCAB, addressed the topic “Promotion of Research in Universities”. Olga Ramos, professor at the Metropolitan University, held a debate on “Academic Freedom in Basic Education.”






To close the event, representatives of the student movement made the closing ceremony of the “First National Meeting on University Autonomy, Academic Freedom and Human Rights in the University Field”, giving some emotional words that concluded the meeting.


The documentary “Academic Freedom in the International Law of Human Rights” was presented by Ligia Bolivar Director of the Human Rights Center at UCAB, as well as “Two visions a reality” and “Criminalization of repression and persecution against university students”. The moderation of the event was in charge of the national team of researchers from Aula Abierta Venezuela, including university professors: Jaqueline Fernández, Heral Torres, Juan Bracho, Juan Carlos Barreto, Ricardo Villalobos, Karla Velazco and Alejandra Villalobos.



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