We’ll get going with this week’s Venezuela : Down The Rabbit Hole segment, Chapter 16/ No Soap Box Here shortly, but first some recent news. Last week was very telling as far as who these countries around the world really are (not that we didn’t really already know). With the big meeting in New York of the UN General Assembly it was a good opportunity for Michele Bachelet, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, to release a lot of information to the public. In her opening statement she teased some of what would be coming out but it was very telling that most of the media and all the authoritarians around the world focused on one thing. She said in her open, among many other things, that her office supported the lifting of unilateral sanctions around the world that “harmed the people”. We have made our position clear here at talesfromteodoro.com. In order to buy into Bachelet’s line of reasoning you have to believe that those under sanction will have a “come to Jesus” moment and reverse course actually using the freed-up finances for the good of the people. We don’t believe it for a second as the reasons for the sanctions are due to a blatant disregard for the good of the people by these authoritarian regimes.
It was very telling that the list of those lauding Bachelet’s opening statement, all the authoritarians like Venezuela,Cuba,Iran, Belarus,etc., were the exact same ones criticizing her when she actually released the reports containing real information on what these countries had been up to. We talked at length last week about the OHCHR (Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights) report from the FFM (Fact Finding Mission) in Venezuela completely discrediting Venezuela’s judiciary. I wouldn’t bring it up again except for the fact that it was also very telling that as the meetings went on in New York and the discussions continued on various countries around the world each violating country was compared to Venezuela. They seem to be the new “gold standard”.
In a statement from gov.uk the UK International Ambassador for Human Rights, Rita French, had a couple of very telling things to say. One was “…Madam High Commissioner (Michele Bachelet),The Venezuela regime has clearly not been taking it’s Human Rights obligations seriously in recent years.” She cited the death of political prisoner,Gabriel Medina, who was denied requested healthcare, one of nine political prisoners that have died in custody in Venezuela since 2014. She continued, “Do you see any signs this may change in the near future?”
Then we have the OHCHR telling us that the Human Rights situation in Belarus continues to worsen with more than 650 political prisoners and continued with more on the lack of independence of the Venezuelan judiciary. Unsurprisingly, Belarus and Venezuela rejected the report because they were not approved by the governments concerned.Uhh…OK. So we shouldn’t believe them because you refuse to admit your culpability?
CGTN reported that while they were rejecting the OHCHR report Venezuela and Belarus went on to decry the “politicization” of Human Rights” in China. Funny, they don’t deny that the reports are true, just that they’re being politicized. I’m waiting for them to play the “Sovereign Nation” card.
On the flip side we have Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International issuing a statement of support for UN FFM reports saying that “there is no prospect of individual investigation or accountability at the national level.” We also have Venezuela’s 2015 National Assembly ( just to clarify, this is the duly elected,mostly opposition National Assembly) agreeing to send the 2nd FFM report to the ICC. This will add to the pressure on the ICC to officially open an investigation into the Human Rights violations and Crimes Against Humanity committed by Maduro and the Chavistas.
We also have another statement from Hugo Caraval “The Chicken” saying he has shared some “very valuable information” with the ICC and the UNHR Commission. In light of this we have Telesur reporting that Venezuela is seeking to extradite “The Chicken” back to Venezuela even as he awaits extradition to the US. They talk about him being wanted for an assassination plot against Nicolas Maduro but there’s no mention of why he is being detained in Spain (hint: it has nothing to do with charges in Venezuela).
You know, it’s funny,as these countries line up on each side of the Human Rights issues in these authoritarian countries I can’t help but think back to two things.OK, so on one side of the issue we have the primarily democratic countries, the US, EU, etc. and on the other side we have the heavy handed countries like Venezuela, Cuba,Iran,China,etc. What I think back on are a statement by then President Trump referring to (without naming) “these ‘shit hole countries’.” We all knew who he was talking about and,as was often the case, he probably should have found a more diplomatic way to say it but then I think of Chris Rock… “I’m not saying I agree with it ….but I understand!”
There’s a lot more recent news but nothing that can’t wait until tomorrow. What do you say we head Down The Rabbit Hole?
Chapter 16/ No Soap Box Here
No, I’m not referring to a few years ago when there was no detergent in Venezuela (yes folks,no detergent unless you had a black market supplier or maybe every month or two you could wait in line for 8 hours to buy a couple of kilos… I had never bought a 20 kilo bag of detergent from a black market guy before). I’m talking about the figurative “getting on your soap box.” In the US it’s called free speech. It applies to individuals, journalists, media,everybody. In Venezuela it’s a thing of the past.
The repression of free speech in all it’s forms is in high gear in Venezuela but it didn’t happen over night.As always, it began with a simple declaration that was accepted by everyone and didn’t seem like a big deal at the time.In 2000 Hugo Chavez was riding high.People were fawning all over him both domestically and internationally.He was fond of speaking for hours at a time going off on all kinds of rants and diatribes, sometimes for as much as 4-6 hours. Nobody was more enamored with Chavez’s popularity than Chavez himself,so much so that he issued a declaration requiring all broadcast television stations to show his speeches live and in their entirety.There was no push back by anyone…anywhere.
To be continued…
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