The Committee of Family Members of the Victims of the events that occurred between February 27 and the first days of March of 1989 (COFAVIC) is a non-governmental organization (NGO) dedicated to the protection and promotion of human rights. COFAVIC is free of any doctrine, it is independent of any partisan or religious institution, and it has the legal structure of a non-profit civil association.
The birth of COFAVIC is tied to Venezuelan history. In 1989, the incumbent Government announced a set of economic measures, and groups of persons in Caracas and its satellite communities took to the streets in protest, which deteriorated into plundering and a situation of social instability. The Government decreed a curfew that brought with it one of the strongest acts of repression that the people of Caracas have ever suffered in this contemporary period of democracy (begun in 1958). The official balance announced by the Public Ministry speaks of 600 persons dying during these events.
As soon as the curfew was raised, the relatives of these victims converged individually on the Bello Monte Morgue (in Caracas), where they discovered that their case was not just an isolated incident; on the contrary, that there were hundreds of mothers, wives, sons and daughters claiming the corpses of their dead, and in many cases missing, relatives. Forty two of these relatives and three direct victims joined to form COFAVIC, an organization that from there on would have an objective: to establish the truth of what really happened and to seek punishment for the guilty.
But these relatives did not limit their struggle to this case, colloquially known as “El Caracazo” (the big Caracas blow). Since 1992, COFAVIC has been advising and taking care of the victims in diverse areas of violations to the rights to life, personal integrity, personal freedom as well as to due process. So far, we have worked in about 500 cases of violations of human rights in Venezuela and we have taken three cases to the Inter-American Human Rights System.