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Venezuela is formally a multiparty, constitutional republic, but for more than a decade, political power has been concentrated in a single party with an increasingly authoritarian executive exercising significant control over the legislative, judicial, citizen, and electoral branches of government.Nicolas Maduro won the presidency in 2013 by a 1.5-percent margin amid allegations of pre- and post-election fraud, including government interference, the use of state resources by the ruling party, and voter manipulation.
Funding for this research was provided by an Insight Development Grant from the Social Sciences and Research Humanities Council of Canada awarded to Carmen Gill as principle investigator and Dale Ballucci and Mary Ann Campbell as co-investigators.
Although the constitution states no person shall be subjected to cruel, inhuman, or degrading punishment, there were credible reports security forces tortured and abused detainees.
There were no reports of any government officials being charged under the law that states an agent or public official who inflicts pain or suffering--whether physical or mental--on another individual to obtain information or a confession, or seeks to punish an individual for an act the individual has committed, may be imprisoned for a maximum of 25 years, dismissed from office, and barred from holding public office for a maximum of 25 years.
The study was approved by the Human Ethics Research Board of the University of New Brunswick - Fredericton Campus.
In accordance with the 2014 Canadian Tri-Council Policy Statement: Ethical Conduct for Research Involving Humans, informed consent was obtained from all participants prior to inclusion in the study, and all data collected was free of personal identifying information to protect the privacy of participants.
The Office of the Human Rights Ombudsman and the Public Ministry did not publish statistics regarding allegations of torture by police during the year.