After initiating a comprehensive restructuring process, the Venezuelan Society of the Red Cross now has a 12-month period to elect new members for the institution. This decision comes in response to a ruling (No. 1057) issued by the Supreme Court of Justice (TSJ) on August 4, which ordered the dismissal of its current directors.
The broad restructuring order comes after the Attorney General of the Republic, Tarek William Saab, reported the opening of an investigation into the “alleged harassment and mistreatment” committed against volunteers and workers of the national Red Cross by the organization’s president, Mario Villarroel.
The Venezuelan Red Cross confirmed its initiation of the restructuring process through the social media website X with the appointment of the new Restructuring Board made up of members of civil society and the academic and business sectors, under the leadership of businessman Ricardo Cusanno.
“The Restructuring Board of our National Society, which will request the accompaniment of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies and the International Committee of the Red Cross, has been confirmed and will focus on updating statutes, creating transparency mechanisms, the integrity of volunteers, and holding democratic elections within 12 months,” the Venezuelan Red Cross announced on X.
Se confirma la Junta Reestructuradora de nuestra Sociedad Nacional, que solicitará el acompañamiento de la @ifrc y el @icrc, se centrará en la actualización de estatutos, la creación de mecanismos de transparencia,
— Cruz Roja Venezolana (@CruzRojaVe) August 7, 2023
Who are the new members of the board?
The following list outlines the new members in this restructuring process of the Venezuelan Red Cross:
Ricardo Cusanno: Lawyer, specialist in Corporate Law, Venezuelan businessman, former president of Fedecámaras.
María Fátima Garces: Academic Vice Chancellor of the Central University of Venezuela, pioneer in studies of obesity and metabolic syndrome in children and adults and autism spectrum disorder, with a PhD in biochemistry.
Alberto C. Vollmer: President of Ron Santa Teresa and founder of Proyecto Alcatraz. The Vollmer family was historically linked to the Andrés Bello Catholic University and in 1963 donated an 80-acre plot of land to the university to build its headquarters in Caracas.
Juan Simón Muñoz: Surgeon who graduated from the Central University of Venezuela with a specialization in clinical cardiology. Director of the Hemodynamics Service of the La Floresta Medical Institute, Rescarven Clinic, and Vista California Clinic.
Rubén Limardo: Athlete and Olympic medalist, president of the Athletes Commission of the International Fencing Federation.
Jhoanna Pantoja: President of the Nursing School of the Central University of Venezuela’s Student Center and volunteer at the Venezuelan Red Cross.
Griswill Fonseca: young Venezuelan OB-GYN doctor and expert in first aid and contraceptive programs.
“Together, [the board] will work with our volunteers and active leaders to adhere to the International Red Cross’s Fundamental Principles and our auxiliary role among public powers in our country,” the Venezuelan Red Cross wrote on its X account.
7️⃣Griswill Fonseca, joven médico ginecobstetra venezolana, experta en primeros auxilios y programas anticonceptivos.
— Cruz Roja Venezolana (@CruzRojaVe) August 7, 2023
Through an official statement, the Venezuelan Red Cross explained that it will reach out to the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent (IFRC) and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) for assistance with the restructuring process,.
These organizations will be expected to participate in confirming the promises outlined by the Venezuelan Red Cross above.
Tasks of the Restructuring Board
After the TSJ’s ruling that established Cusanno as the chair of the new ad hoc Restructuring Board, the following tasks were established:
1) Coordinate, within seven business days following its notification, the appointment of the members that will integrate the ad hoc Restructuring Board, made up of highly recognized people from various sectors of the national life of Venezuela, after which [the board] will designate and inform this Constitutional Chamber of the integration of the aforementioned board.
2) Guarantee continuity in the service provided by the Venezuelan Red Cross; respect for the workers, men and women, and volunteers of the institution; and compliance with its objectives, purposes, and principles.
3) Manage and exercise the custody of current and future assets that make up the assets of the Venezuelan Red Cross and of the rights and actions that it possesses.
4) Carry out an evaluation and internal reorganization of the Venezuelan Red Cross in order to modernize its structure and operation, for which purpose the Restructuring Board has a period of one year from the beginning of the exercise of the position. This period may be extended.
5) Evaluate the current regulations in accordance with the Constitution of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela and the current legal system.
6) Proceed to call internal elections to elect the authorities that make up the Venezuelan Red Cross through a participatory and democratic process in order to guarantee the full functioning of that national humanitarian organization.
7) Collaborate with the Public Prosecutor’s Office in the criminal investigation and prosecution processes that are being carried out against the outgoing National Steering Committee of the Venezuelan Red Cross, as well as in any other related processes that require its participation, and the fulfillment of the results determined by the powers previously indicated.
Translation: Orinoco Tribune
Janna Corredor#molongui-disabled-linkMay 9, 2023