Venezuela: Uphold Political Rights of Leopoldo Lopez

On February 25, 2011, HRF filed an amicus curiae brief with the Inter-American Court of Human Rights in the case of Leopoldo López Mendoza v. the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela. López, a popularly elected mayor, was disqualified without due process from rerunning for office.

Venezuela: Uphold Political Rights of Leopoldo Lopez

Leopoldo López Mendoza was elected by popular vote on August 4, 2000, as mayor of the municipality of Chacao, state of Miranda, and reelected to the same position on October 31, 2004, for a four-year term. López Mendoza remained in that position until November 2008, when he aspired to run for mayor of Caracas in the respective elections.

On 2004, two administrative procedures were instructed to determine liabilities against López Mendoza. As a result of these two investigations, the Office of the Comptroller General of the Republic—an administrative entity entrusted with keeping tabs on fiscal management—imposed two administrative sanctions, resolutions No. 01-00-000206 of August 24, 2005 and No. 01-00-235 of September 26, 2005, that disqualified him from holding new public positions for three and six years, respectively.

HRF’s amicus curiae considered that, according to the ordinary meaning of Article 23, section 2 and the travaux preparatoires of the American Convention on Human Rights, no one can be deprived of their political rights (active and passive right to vote) or have them suspended, unless this is the result of a final judgment, which, in turn, is the result of a judicial process that meets the guarantees of due process.