SAR’s Academic Freedom Monitoring Project investigates and reports attacks on higher education with the aim of raising awareness, generating advocacy, and increasing protection for scholars, students, and academic communities. Learn more.

Date of Incident: November 03, 2022

Attack Types: Killings, Violence, Disappearances

Institution(s):Universidad de los Andes

Region & Country:Americas | Venezuela

New or Ongoing:New Incident

On November 3, 2022, members of a pro-government militia reportedly attacked students at the Universidad de Los Andes in Merida as they engaged in a peaceful protest against the presence on campus of senior government officials. 

The students had gathered on campus to protest a visit by Diosdado Cabello, a member of Venezuela’s National Assembly aligned with Venezuela’s ruling socialist government, along with other senior officials. The demonstration was peaceful; however, police intervened to disperse the crowd, and a pro-government militia known as the MRT Colectivo reportedly attacked several protesters, reportedly ripping out their fingernails, and taking and tearing a banner held by some students. 

Scholars at Risk is concerned about the use of force against peaceful student protesters. While state security forces have a responsibility to maintain order and safety, they must do so in a manner respectful of the rights to freedom of expression, freedom of assembly, and academic freedom. Likewise, while private individuals including members of militias have the right to engage in nonviolent counter-protest activities, they have an obligation to do so in a nonviolent manner. In addition to the harm to the immediate victims, the use of force against peaceful student protesters undermines democratic society.


*SAR identified this incident in data made publicly available by the Armed Conflict Location & Event Data Project (ACLED)


Según informes, el 3 de noviembre de 2022, miembros de una milicia progubernamental atacaron a estudiantes de la Universidad de Los Andes en Mérida cuando participaban en una protesta pacífica contra la presencia en el campus de altos funcionarios del gobierno.

Los estudiantes se habían reunido en el campus para protestar por la visita de Diosdado Cabello, miembro de la Asamblea Nacional de Venezuela alineado con el gobierno socialista en el poder, junto con otros altos funcionarios. La manifestación fue pacífica; sin embargo, la policía intervino para dispersar a la multitud y, al parecer, una milicia progubernamental conocida como MRT Colectivo atacó a varios manifestantes, a los que habría arrancado las uñas y arrancado una
pancarta que portaban algunos estudiantes.


Scholars at Risk (SAR) is a member of the Coalition for Academic Freedom in the Americas (CAFA), and partners with CAFA on Americas-focused monitoring activities. Relevant incidents, with factual details translated into Spanish, appear on both SAR and CAFA websites.

Scholars at Risk (SAR) es una institución que integra la Coalición por la Libertad Académica en las Américas (CLAA). SAR trabaja junto con la CLAA en el monitoreo de situaciones en las Américas. Los incidentes relevantes que reportamos, con descripción de hechos detallados en español, aparecen tanto en los portales de SAR como de la CLAA.