Citation: 2020 RLLR 77
Tribunal: Refugee Protection Division
Date of Decision: March 9, 2020
Panel: C. Ruthven
Counsel for the Claimant(s): Constance Nakatsu
RPD Number: TB8-30661
Associated RPD Number(s): TB8-30706, TB8-30822, TB8-30660
ATIP Number: A-2021-00800
ATIP Pages: 000110-000123
REASONS FOR DECISION
 These reasons and decision are in regards to the claims for protection made by [XXX] (principal claimant), [XXX] (youngest female claimant), [XXX] (male claimant), and [XXX] (eldest female claimant).
 Each is claiming protection pursuant to section 96 and subsection 97(1) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act. The panel heard the claims jointly, pursuant to Refugee Protection Division Rule 55.
 The principal claimant’s full allegations are set out in her Basis of Claim Form and related narrative, including the narrative amendments. The claims of the male claimant, the eldest female claimant, and the youngest female claimant each rely on the narrative of the principal claimant. In summary, the claimants fear persecution in Venezuela due to the anti-government political opinion of the three eldest claimants.
 The principal claimant and the male claimant each joined the Primero Justicia political party in 2010. The eldest female claimant subsequently joined Primero Justicia in 2011. Their participation included distributing flyers in their respective neighbourhoods, and attending weekly meetings. The principal claimant and the male claimant loaned out sound equipment from their business for use by Primero Justicia at rallies and marches.
 The principal claimant and the male claimant were assaulted and threatened on three occasions related to the 2012 presidential campaign. In [XXX] 2012, just prior to the official campaign start, the principal claimant and the male claimant were threatened by three chavistas on motorcycles. The principal claimant was threatened as she was pushed against a wall, and told to stop supporting Henrique Capriles Radonski. On [XXX] 2012, chavistas again attacked the principal claimant and the male claimant in Puerto Cabello. The male claimant was injured with a stick, and he required hospital treatment for an abdominal injury. Finally, the principal claimant was threatened on [XXX] 2012 at a march in Barinitas.
 The principal claimant, the male claimant, and the eldest female claimant were threatened by men on motorcycles in Carabobo State on [XXX] 2013, as they were setting up sound equipment for a Henrique Capriles Radonski rally. The men physically assaulted the eldest female claimant, and they showed the principal claimant a threatening gesture.
 The physical attacks escalated to include specific mention of claimant names by the attackers. On [XXX] 2013, the eldest female claimant organized an opposition rally in her neighbourhood, to coincide with International Workers’ Day. Men on motorcycles approached the eldest female claimant, and threw a tear gas canister at her while calling her name, and referencing the principal claimant. The eldest female claimant was treated for gas inhalation.
 The adult male was physically assaulted on [XXX] 2014 at a march in support of Leopoldo Lopez and other opposition figures. The adult male fell to the ground unconscious. During the subsequent hospital treatment, the adult male was diagnosed with [XXX]. He was affected by the medicine shortages in Venezuela, but he was able to access [XXX] in Carabobo State.
 In [XXX] 2017, national protests began to escalate. The National Guard invaded the San Diego neighbourhood where the four claimants were residing at the time. The son of the principal claimant was arrested, but his release was later secured by the principal claimant’s intervention. Her son fled to the United States of America in [XXX] 2017. In [XXX] 2018, the eldest female claimant was assaulted by colectivos, as she stood in line to buy food.
 The members of the colectivos specifically asked about the principal claimant. The principal claimant was herself subsequently refused food sales in [XXX] 2018, as the principal claimant did not possess a card which showed her chavista support.
 On [XXX] 2018, the eldest female claimant and the youngest female claimant departed Venezuela, and they entered the United States of America. On [XXX] 2018, the principal claimant and the male claimant departed Venezuela, and they entered the United States of America. The claimants crossed the land border into Canada on [XXX] 2018, and they each made their claims for protection.
 The panel finds that the principal claimant, the male claimant, and the eldest female claimant are each Convention refugees, pursuant to section 96 of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, based on their anti-government political opinion.
 The panel also finds that the youngest female claimant is a Convention refugee, pursuant to section 96 of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, based on her imputed political opinion.
 The panel finds that each of the claimants has established their identity as a national of Venezuela, based on a balance of probabilities. Each claimant presented their Venezuela passport. The panel finds no reason to doubt the authenticity of any of these four documents.
 The panel found the principal claimant and the eldest female claimant to be credible witnesses. Both the principal claimant and the eldest female claimant testified in straightforward manners, and there were no relevant inconsistencies in their oral testimony or contradictions between their oral testimony and the written submissions.
 The panel finds that the principal claimant coherently explained the involvement of herself, her husband, and her mother in the campaigns of opposition candidates, as well as the campaigns of Primero Justicia, since approximately 2010. Similarly, the panel finds that the eldest female claimant provided detailed and spontaneous testimony about her motivation to join Primero Justicia.
 The panel found that neither the principal claimant nor the eldest female claimant exaggerated or embellished their testimony, and they each provided spontaneous details about their own personal involvement in the anti-government rallies and marches in Venezuela.
 Despite the above, the panel finds that there were allegations presented for these claims that were not supported by the oral and written evidence. These allegations relate specifically to the male claimant being targeted in his medical care, namely having a [XXX] refused based on his anti-government involvement in Venezuela. The panel accepts that the male claimant has suffered long-term [XXX] (now diagnosed as end-stage [XXX]), and that these [XXX] challenges require regular and ongoing [XXX] and prescription treatments. Other diagnosed medical problems for the male claimant include [XXX] and [XXX].
 Although the panel finds that there was sufficient medical evidence presented to support the ongoing and long-term medical challenges for the male claimant, the panel notes that limited evidence was adduced to support that the male claimant faces a risk of harm in Venezuela, related to the authorities denying him any medical treatment that is available to other citizens of Venezuela.
 The male claimant testified that he attempted to obtain a [XXX] in both Italy and Venezuela. He was not successful in either country. The claimant further testified that he travelled to Caracas every two months, but that around 2015 or 2016, he was told that there was a general crisis in the health care industry, and that a [XXX] would not be available to him, due to lack of resources. The male claimant clarified in his testimony that he never received a phone call regarding the availability of a [XXX] to be [XXX] his body.
 This testimony from the male claimant is in contrast to the Basis of Claim Form narrative statements provided by the principal claimant regarding an urgent trip to Caracas by the male claimant and the eldest female claimant on [XXX] 2017. The narrative statements also indicated that there was a [XXX] available for [XXX] for the male claimant, but that the [XXX] was subsequently denied to him at the Caracas hospital.
 The panel carefully reviewed the presented post-hearing documentation related to possible side effects of four prescriptions taken by the male claimant, and the panel notes that for the past six months, family members of the male claimants have approached [XXX] of Hamilton, Ontario regarding declining [XXX] functioning, as well as increased [XXX], and increased [XXX] on the part of the male claimant.
 Based on the objective medical evidence presented the panel accepts that, on a balance of probabilities, the male claimant faced [XXX] challenges during his testimony at the hearing. The medical documentation in support of these [XXX] difficulties was not presented to the panel until after the date of the hearing, so the panel is left to balance the differences in the evidence presented, namely between the Basis of Claim Form narrative statements and the testimony of the male claimant.
 The panel finds insufficient reliable evidence was adduced to corroborate a specific targeting of the male claimant in Venezuela, based on his health conditions.
 Despite this negative credibility inference, the panel finds that the credible testimony of the principal claimant, in conjunction with the credible testimony of the eldest female claimant, and in consideration of the supporting documents presented, have cumulatively provided sufficient evidence that the principal claimant, the male claimant, and the eldest female claimant were each long-term members of the Primera Justicia political party, and that they actively and publicly participated in anti-government rallies and marches in support of high-profile opposition candidates over the past ten years.
 The credible evidence of the political participation overcomes the sole negative credibility inference.
 The claimants presented fifteen photographs regarding the involvement of the principal claimant, the male claimant, and the eldest female claimant in opposition rallies and marches in Venezuela. The panel finds that the principal claimant’s testimony provided spontaneous details about the background of these photographs, and as such added to the credibility of the claims made by the three eldest claimants.
 In support of their claims for protection, the claimants also presented copies of their Primera Justicia membership certificates, business registration documents for [XXX], and medical documentation related to serious injuries sustained at protest marches and rallies in Venezuela between [XXX] 2013 and [XXX] 2018. The panel finds no reason to doubt the authenticity of any of these documents. As such, they were assigned high probative value, based on their relevance to the allegations put forth by the claimants.
Subjective Fear Considerations
 The panel putto the claimants at the hearing some possible subjective fear considerations, namely their failure to claim asylum during their time in the United States of America, as well as the return of the principal claimant and the male claimant to Venezuela in the two years that lead up to their decision to depart Venezuela permanently.
 The male claimant testified that he travelled to Italy in [XXX] 2017, as he wanted to seek out the possibility of a [XXX] in that country. When it became obvious that to the male claimant that he would not receive a [XXX] in Italy, the male claimant returned to Venezuela.
 Although the panel assigned the male claimant’s testimony reduced probative value in relation to the cognitive impairments that he has faced over the past six months (as documented by medical professionals in Canada), the panel notes that this portion of the testimony is supported by passport entry stamps and exit stamps. In conjunction with the presented medical documentation regarding [XXX], the panel accepts the male claimant’s explanation regarding his trip to Italy as being reasonable, under the circumstances.
 The principal claimant provided Basis of Claim Form narrative statements which indicated that her visit to the United States of America in [XXX] 2018 was to care for her son, [XXX] as he was facing [XXX] health issues. The panel acknowledges that the principal claimant returned to Venezuela before her status in the United States of America expired.
 The principal claimant also testified that her son was a resident of the state of Wisconsin in [XXX] 2018. She was aware that [XXX] had made a claim for asylum one-and-a-half years prior to their arrival in [XXX] 2018, but her son had not received any response from the authorities of the United States of America, up until that point. The principal claimant further testified that she had a cousin in Canada, and that she preferred to make a claim for protection in Canada, based on what she had heard about the policies of the administration in the United States of America, especially as it related to Latin Americans (as immigrants). The panel finds these explanations to be reasonable, under the circumstances.
 As such, the panel did not draw any negative inferences from the failure to claim in the United States of America, or the returns to Venezuela by the principal claimant and the male claimant in the two years before their final departure from Venezuela.
Objective Basis of the Claim
 The panel finds that the overall objective evidence supports the claims for Convention refugee protection for the principal claimant, the male claimant, and the eldest female claimant, based on their anti-government political opinion. Separately, the panel also finds that the overall objective evidence supports the claim for Convention refugee protection for the youngest female claimant, based on her imputed political opinion.
Political Profile of the Three Eldest Claimants in Venezuela
 The panel considered whether there was a serious risk of persecution for the principal claimant, the male claimant, and the eldest female claimant in Venezuela, particularly based on their respective political profiles, pursuant to section 96 of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act.
 The panel finds that the totality of the corroborating evidence enumerated above, in addition to the testimony of the principal claimant and the eldest female claimant, has provided sufficient evidence to support that the principal claimant, the male claimant, and the eldest female claimant have each been prominently involved in the opposition movement of Venezuela since at least 2010 (in the case of the principal claimant and the male claimant) and at least 2011 (in the case of the eldest female claimant).
 The panel further finds that, on a balance of probabilities, these prominent roles would reasonably lead to the principal claimant, the male claimant, and the eldest female claimant being associated with the opposition in Venezuela, in the eyes of government groups, and government operatives and agents. The panel accepts the testimony of the principal claimant and the eldest female claimant regarding the motivation of the persons threatening them (at political rallies and in line for food) as being directly related to their support of opposition candidates, and their support for the Primero Justicia political party.
Imputed Political Opinion of the Youngest Female Claimant
 Although the panel finds that the political profile of the youngest female claimant was not in itself enough to draw the attention of the authorities of Venezuela, the panel examined a possible imputed political profile for the youngest female claimant, as it related to her family relationships. The panel notes that the youngest female claimant is the adult daughter of the principal claimant and the male claimant, as well as the granddaughter of the eldest female claimant, and the younger sister of [XXX].
 The principal claimant testified that the youngest female claimant would be targeted upon a return to Venezuela, as the authorities specifically target family members of those individuals who are deemed to be against the government.
 Although [XXX] was not present at the hearing to provide testimony in support of any of the claims for protection, the panel finds that relevant portions of his Basis of Claim Form narrative were supported by the testimony of the principal claimant. The panel notes the authorities of Venezuela have previously attended the residence of the four claimants (including the youngest female claimant), in search of [XXX]. Should the youngest female claimant return to Venezuela, the panel accepts the testimony that she would be sought after in relation to her older brother, her parents, and her grandmother.
Recent Abuses at the Hands of the Security Forces and their Allies
 Abuses have increased in Venezuela, as security forces and allied armed civilian militias, also known as colectivos have been deployed to violently quash protests in February 2019, the Venezuelan Human Rights group Faro Penal documented seven deaths, 107 arbitrary detentions, and 58 bullet injuries that resulted from the use of force by state security forces and colectivos that blocked aid from entering the country.
 The most significant human rights issues in Venezuela included extrajudicial killings by security forces, including colectivos, torture by security forces, harsh and life-threatening prison conditions; and political prisoners. The government of Venezuela took no effective action to investigate officials who committed human rights abuses, and there was impunity for such abuses.
 The regime in Venezuela aggressively seeks to define national identity according to its own ideology. The opposition and anyone critical of the government are denied the status of citizen. The National Electoral Council is by no means impartial, and there are reasonable doubts as to whether the published results reflect voters’ preferences. After President Madura’s razor thin victory, the opposition presented over two hundred substantiated allegations of electoral rule violations. There is evidence of pressure on public employees to attend campaign rallies, and freedom of association and assembly is severely restricted in practice. The vast majority of judges hold provisional or temporary office, and the autonomy and impartiality of public prosecutors is seriously affected by improper interference by political actors.
Risk of Harm for All Four Claimants
 The panel finds that the claimants presented sufficient evidence in the written submissions and testimony to establish that the principal claimant, the male claimant, and the eldest female claimant were each specifically targeted by the actions of the chavistas, and later by the colectivos. The criminal acts included property damage, physical assaults, and threats to their lives. The panel also finds that the preponderance of the evidence points to the youngest female claimant, now an adult, would similarly be targeted based on a perceived anti-government political opinion (in relation to her parents, her older brother, and her maternal grandmother).
 The panel finds that all four claimants have established an objective basis for their respective claims, and that their fears are well-founded.
 The claimants sought police protection in relation to the physical assault against the eldest female claimant, the threatening gesture, and the property damage that occurred in Carabobo State on [XXX] 2013. The principal claimant indicated in her Basis of Claim Form narrative that she was told by the police that it was best for her to leave things as they were, and that the police were only able to provide assistance to them if the motorcycle make, and the licence plate numbers, were known to her as a declarant.
 The panel finds that the lack of further attempts to seek redress with the authorities of Venezuela was reasonable, under the circumstances.
 Based on the venues and timings of the various threats from chavistas and colectivos on motorcycles, the panel accepts the threats of harm were directed at the principal claimant, the male claimant, and the eldest female claimant because they were actively supporting the opposition to the government of Venezuela.
 For more than a decade, political power has been concentrated in a single party with an increasingly authoritarian executive exercising significant control over the legislative, judicial, citizens’ power, including the prosecutor general and ombudsman, and electoral branches of government.
 There were continued reports of excessive use of force by security forces in Venezuela, particularly in the repression of protests over the lack of food and medicine. There were also reports from the Attorney General’s Office that groups of armed people with the support or acquiescence of the government carried out violent actions against demonstrators.
 Although the vast majority of colectivos are peaceful neighbourhood groups, the opposition accuses some of being violent paramilitary wings of the ruling Socialist Party, especially in urban areas. Motorized bands have less structure, but still receive full government support.
 In light of the above, the panel finds that those associated with the opposition in Venezuela are at risk of harm, and as such, it would be objectively unreasonable for any of the four claimants, in their particular set of circumstances, to seek redress or protection from the authorities in Venezuela. The documentary evidence in the National Documentation Package for Venezuela is both clear and convincing, and that it rebuts the presumption of adequate state protection for the four claimants in Venezuela.
Internal Flight Alternatives
 The panel considered possible internal flight alternatives for each of the four claimants in Venezuela. The state and their operatives are the agents of persecution for the four claimants. Given that the government controls the entire territory of Venezuela, and given that the colectivos operate across Venezuela, the panel finds that there is a serious possibility of persecution for each claimant throughout Venezuela, and therefore no viable internal flight alternatives exist for any of the four claimants in any part of Venezuela.
 For the foregoing reasons, the panel finds that there is a serious possibility that each of the four claimants face persecution in Venezuela, pursuant to section 96 of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act.
 The panel concludes that the principal claimant, the male claimant, and the eldest female claimant are each Convention refugees based on their political opinion. In addition, the panel finds that the youngest female claimant is a Convention refugee based on her imputed political opinion.
 The panel therefore accepts all four claims.
 Exhibit 1.
 Exhibit 21 (post-hearing).
 Exhibit 2.
 Exhibit 20 (post-hearing).
 Exhibit 17.
 Exhibit 16.
 Exhibit 16.
 Exhibit 15.
 Exhibit 2 and Exhibit 18.
 Exhibit 2, Exhibit 3, Exhibit 4, and Exhibit 6.
 Exhibit 6.
 Exhibit 7, NDP for Venezuela (30 August 2019), item 1.4.
 Exhibit 7, NDP for Venezuela (30 August 2019), item 2.1.
 Exhibit 7, NDP for Venezuela (30 August 2019), item 4.12.
 Exhibit 2 and Exhibit 18.
 Exhibit 7, NDP for Venezuela (30 August 2019), item 2.1.
 Exhibit 7, NDP for Venezuela (30 August 2019), item 2.2.
 Exhibit 7, NDP for Venezuela (30 August 2019), item 4.12.