Accessing the Internet and online services are essential lifelines for Venezuelans living in a political and economic crisis. Recently, some tech companies have tragically decided to unnecessarily drop all Venezuelan clients in response to US President Trump’s Executive Order 13884; which is intended to block support to the Government of Nicolas Maduro in Venezuela and related sanctioned individuals.
The order, however, doesn’t call for an outright ban of services to Venezuelans, only to the Government of Venezuela and sanctioned individuals. If more tech companies decide to follow with similarly overzealous actions, the already vulnerable Venezuelans stand to lose their capacity to work or effectively exercise their rights online.
Internet domains provider Sedo.com LLC, creative platforms and software firm Adobe Inc, and online money transfer service TransferWise Ltd have decided to close venezuelan accounts at large; collaterally affecting their many honest and hard working clients that depend on their software and services and are not targeted by the Executive Order. Hosting platform Heroku similarly had blocked the creation of new accounts from Venezuela but seem to be registering new ones again, we applaud Heroku’s reversal.
Accessing the Internet and online services is critical for everything from getting independent news, exercising freedom of speech and being productive during the current crisis, especially when the internet is being heavily censored and users and organizations are under state-sponsored attacks. Outright banning Venezelan users from important services will create more harm and limit their own agency in the last free medium Venezuelans still have access to.
We urge tech companies to preserve access to their services to Venezuelan users. Complying with regulations in ways that help protect the rights of Venezuelans, which are already threatened at home, instead of further endangering them.
nternet Society, Capítulo Venezuela
VE sin Filtro, Venezuela Inteligente
CAVEDATOS Cámara Venezolana de Empresas de Tecnologías la Información, Electrónica y Economía Digital
Asociación Civil Consorcio Desarrollo y Justicia
Dirección de Telecomunicaciones y Servicios (ULA)
Comisión Nacional de DdHh de la Federación de colegios de abogados de Venezuela del estado Táchira
Fundación Fronteras Humanas Fundafronh
Instituto Prensa y Sociedad de Venezuela
Promoción Educación y Defensa en DDHH – PROMEDEHUM
EXCUBITUS Derechos Humanos en Educacion
Vicaria de DDHH de la Arquidiócesis de Barquisimeto
Proyecto sobre Organización, Desarrollo, Educación e Investigación (PODER)
Derechos Digitales – América Latina
International Media Support
Internet Sans Frontieres
Open Observatory of Network Interference (OONI)