On November 14, 2018, Venezuelan authorities reportedly fired tear gas at students participating in a student election at the University of Carabobo.
A day before the election, the Carabobo state governor supplanted a student electoral commission at UC with a state-appointed commission. UC student Eduardo Leon, who was serving as president of the student electoral commission, alleged that the Carabobo governor threatened to kill him or send him to prison for carrying out his duty.
On November 14, while students were participating in the election, state authorities reportedly raided the campus and fired tear gas at students. An hour after the raid began, the UC administration halted the election. According to student witnesses, armed civilians joined in the raid, pointed guns at students, seized voting urns, and allegedly beat them.
Scholars at Risk is concerned about the use of violence against students in apparent retaliation for the nonviolent exercise of the rights to freedom of expression—conduct that is expressly protected under international human rights instruments including the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which Venezuela is a party. State authorities have a responsibility not to interfere with the nonviolent expression and to refrain from the use of force intended to restrict it. In addition to the harm to the immediate victims, such actions undermine academic freedom, institutional autonomy, and democratic society generally.