Sunday, October 23, 2005

Oct 23/05 - On the human wrongs of a fraudulent “revolution”: the dreadful state of Human Rights in Venezuela

PMBComments: last week a little noticed set of events took place in Washington. Seven highly respected Venezuelan Human Rights NGOs presented - in public at a WOLA sponsored event and in private in a formal hearing of the Interamerican Commission on Human Rights - a wretched picture of how little universal rights and individual life are respected by the so called "Bolivarian revolution."

In front of both audiences, a sobering picture was documented that stripped the current government of any moral authority to chastise the past, or even condemn the "evils of capitalism" within and beyond our borders. Seven years after he was first elected, President Chávez presides – like an autistic tribal chieftain - over a criminally negligent state apparatus that has turned it attention obsessively towards power preservation and turned its back repeatedly on hard earned citizen's rights and the indisputable duties of any democratic government.

Just a few days ago, OAS Secretary General, José Miguel Insulza, stated in a speech that "an effective protection of all human rights, including those of an economic, social and cultural nature, an independent judicial branch and a free and pluralistic press, are basic, indispensable factors for consolidating the rule of law and democratic governance, as well as strengthening the confidence of citizens in democratic government".

It was within this context, that representatives from Provea, Cofavic, Observatorio Venezolano de Prisiones, Centro de los Derechos Humanos de la Universidad Católica Andrés Bello , Instituto Prensa y Sociedad (IPYS), Vicaría de los Derechos Humanos e Instituto de Estudios de Derechos Humanos de la Universidad Central de Venezuela, denounced the "endemic impunity" that defines Venezuela today.

Thousands of forced disappearances, tens of thousands of unsolved murders, soaring mortality rate among the ill-treated prison population, continued attacks against journalists, increasing persecution of Human Rights defenders, complete obliteration of the country's judicial system, and multiple threats against freedom of expression are just some of the dishes in the wicked smorgasbord that Mr. Chávez pretends to conceal by repeatedly screaming such imbecilities as "death to capitalism" and "the US has plans to invade us."

At the WOLA event, the Venezuelan team was vehemently attacked by stooges of the Venezuelan Information Office which were commissioned by the Venezuelan Embassy to disrupt the event. They attacked the messengers with all sorts of groundless accusations but failed to dent any of the gruesome facts and arguments presented.

At the CIDH, the mood was somber and the commissioners where clearly shaken by the scale of the abuses presented and documented. It is very likely that sooner rather than later the CIDH will be forced to declare that the situation in Venezuela constitutes an extremely serious violation of the right to life (Article 4), the right to security and integrity of the person (Article 5) and the right to personal liberty (Article 7) under the American Convention on Human Rights, to which Venezuela is a party. And when this happens, Chávez's apologists and leeches alike will have to come to terms with the fact that elections are not the only thing that matters in democratic societies. PMB