Enough botox in this shot to choke a horse,
The human rights branch of the Organization of American States issued a blistering 300-page report Wednesday against Venezuela, saying that the oil-rich country run by President Hugo Chávez constrains free expression, the rights of its citizens to protest and the ability of opposition politicians to function.
The report, compiled and written by the OAS’s Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, reflects growing concern in the region over how one of the organization’s member states is governed. The document holds legitimacy for human rights investigators and diplomats because it has the imprimatur of the commission, which is run independently from the OAS and largely free of its political machinations.
“This is a professional report, and the commission has been progressively more critical about Chávez over the years,” said Michael Shifter, an analyst who tracks Venezuela for the Inter-American Dialogue in Washington. “There’s a growing sense of the greater risks of human rights abuses and authoritarianism in Venezuela.”
The commission has in the past issued major reports about serious violations in a number of countries, notably targeting the military junta in 1970s-era Argentina and the quasi-dictatorship of Alberto Fujimori in Peru.
Chávez has railed against the OAS as beholden to the interests of the United States. Venezuela declined to cooperate with the commission, its members said, prompting commissioners — jurists and rights activists from Antigua, Argentina, Brazil, Chile, El Salvador and the United States — to hold hearings and seek out Venezuelan activists and politicians to compile information about the suspected abuses.
Was about time they did.
Related reading: Cancun secrets
I used this article in the podcast but didn’t have time to link to them before air time,
US refuses to endorse British sovereignty in Falklands oil dispute
Senior US officials insisted that Washington’s position on the Falklands was one of longstanding neutrality. This is in stark contrast to the public backing and vital intelligence offered by President Reagan to Margaret Thatcher once she had made the decision to recover the islands by force in 1982.
“We are aware not only of the current situation but also of the history, but our position remains one of neutrality,” a State Department spokesman told The Times. “The US recognises de facto UK administration of the islands but takes no position on the sovereignty claims of either party.”
Well, I’ll say this for Obama: He’s consistent. Whether it’s the Poles, the Czechs, or the Brits, the message is clear. On his watch (too kind a word) longstanding American allies can be expected to be taken for granted, insulted and, if convenient, dumped. Now, every country (including, of course, the U.S.) must do what it needs do in the pursuit of its national interests, and those alone. In foreign policy nothing else should count. But a clear view of what those interests are is indispensable, and that must include a full understanding of what the consequence of particular actions might be. If Obama is again showing that, with him at the helm, the U.S. is not a reliable ally to its friends, then he must learn to expect less from those friends.
In the words of a State Department spokesman:
“We are aware not only of the current situation but also of the history, but our position remains one of neutrality. The US recognises de facto UK administration of the islands but takes no position on the sovereignty claims of either party.”
The remarks had echoes of an earlier statement by a senior State Department protocol official who, when asked about the shoddy treatment of the British Prime Minister in March last year, responded:
“There’s nothing special about Britain. You’re just the same as the other 190 countries in the world. You shouldn’t expect special treatment.”
Even by the relentlessly poor standards of the Obama administration, whose doctrine unfailingly appears to be “kiss your enemies and kick your allies”, this is a new low. The White House’s neutrality in a major dispute between America’s closest friend and the likes of Venezuelan tyrant Hugo Chavez, Argentina’s biggest backer, represents the appalling appeasement of an alliance of anti-Western Latin American regimes, stretching from Caracas to Havana – combined with a callous indifference towards the Anglo-American alliance.
President Obama, once hailed as our first European President, has thrown out the United State’s long-standing special relationship with our closest ally. Obama chose, under a false pretense of neutrality, to side with a corrupt, agressive Argentine government that is backed by Hugo Chavez and is threatening a blockade of British territory.
The Falklands have oil, therefore Argentina is back demanding that the islands be “returned” to them, particularly since Cristina Fernandez needs both cash and a political distraction:
Escalating Falklands oil dispute goes to UN
The diplomatic row over the Falkland Islands deepened dramatically after Argentina announced that it would take its protests over British oil exploration to the United Nations today.
At the Rio Group summit in Mexico yesterday, Buenos Aires won unprecedented support from other Latin American states for its demand that the UK stop drilling in waters near the islands.
Argentina’s Foreign Minister is to meet the UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki Moon. A resolution is also set to be tabled in the UN General Assembly condemning Britain for allowing Ocean Guardian to begin drilling 60 miles north of the islands after Argentina annouced new shipping controls. Desire Petroleum, which is operating the rig, has said that the drilling will take about a month. Further exploration is likely by other companies.
David Miliband, the Foreign Secretary, insisted that the exploration was fully within international law.
Of course, Chavez has interjected himself into the dispute, asking Queen Elizabeth to return the islands to Argentina in yet another display of his characteristic ignorance, during his Sunday rant, Alo Presidente,
But back to Mexico for the Rio Group summit,
At the Rio Group summit, Argentina scored a coup in the war of words when 32 heads of state backed its “legitimate rights . . . in the sovereignty dispute with Great Britain”. Hugo Chávez, the Venezuelan President, used a television address to reiterate his support, bellowing: “Give the Falkland Islands back to Argentina, Queen of England.” But it was the backing of countries such as Chile and Brazil that has concerned British diplomats.
Hardly surprising that Chile and Brazil would take that side, but the summit – ironically called “The Summit for Unity” – was not all smiley faces. Chavez and Uribe got into a spat, after which Chavez was interviewed by CNN where he declared “If it weren’t for the table and friends, Uribe would have assaulted me. I told him to go to hell.”
Such is the sad state of South American politics this afternoon. I was talking to a friend yesterday who suggested I recycle headlines from the 1980s – on the Falklands, for instance.
However, in view of the Obama administration’s lame foreign policy it’s not surprising that these sorts of issues are coming back.
Welcome to the Carnival of Latin America and the Caribbean.
The big story of the week, and probably the stupidest, is Argentina’s renewed claims to the Falklands, which they call Malvinas. Obviously Cristina needs to create a distraction.
Insulza debe abandonar la OEA
British cruise ship tests Argentine blockade in Falklands
As the war of words between Argentina and Britain continues, it’s business as usual for the cruise ships naviagating the South Atlantic waters.
¡Que se quede en Cuba!
And from the past, TANGO
2003 Interview with Robert Duvall on his movie, Assassination Tango, in Spanish, La obsesión de Duvall llega al cine
“Assassination Tango”, filmada en Buenos Aires, se estrenará mañana
Robert Duvall y Luciana Pedraza hablan de la película
This week’s big story: Chavez’s nationalizing the oil contractors, removing books from public libraries, threatening Globovision, all for the purpose of consolidating power around himself, which was the subject of this morning’s podcast. See the links under Venezuela below.
Another big story: while the OAS aims to legitimize the Cuban regime by granting it membership in the organization, the Cuban government rejected the idea via an article by Fidel Castro in Granma, the official organ of the Cuban Communist Party.
In other news, Peru is also granting asylum to Bolivian ministers who oppose Evo Morales. as you may recall, Peru recently granted political asylum to Venezuelan opposition leader Manuel Rosales.
At the Melia Cohiba
UPDATE, Tuesday 12 May,
Welcome, Dodgeblogium readers. Please visit often.