Posts Tagged ‘OAS’

#SOSVenezuela, Maria Corina, and the OAS

Saturday, March 22nd, 2014

As I reported yesterday, the OAS voted yesterday to shut out the media and the public from Maria Corina Machado’s testimony. Here’s the video she prepared for the OAS:

34 OAS ambassadors didn’t see [the] video; 385,000 citizens have

Thanks to Panamanian ambassador @ArturoVallarino, Maria Corina was able to testify at the OAS, albeit behind closed doors:

In an unusual move, Maria Corina Machado, an opposition lawmaker whom the Venezuelan government is trying to put in prison, was made a temporary member of Panama’s delegation to have access to the organization, which so far has largely failed to act on, or even publicly debate, the continuing crisis in Venezuela.

We did it!!! The voice of the Venezuelan people was heard at the OAS!!!

The OAS’s closed-door vote is a shameful spectacle, a triumph of autocracy over democracy.

In violation of the OAS charter,

the representatives of these so called “democracies” had to start by protecting the repressor, Dictator Nicolas Maduro, violating not only the Charter of the OAS, but Ms. Machado’s rights and that of the opposition to be heard in a forum which is supposed to be there to defend the basic rights of people across the Americas.

And while I can understand the strong dependency of the weak Caribbean economies on the stupid (or is it?) largesse of the even more stupid revolution, I was most disappointed at how so many of these Latin American countries were ready to prostitute themselves in order to protect their mercantile interests. It is remarkable how low these mostly leftists Governments have fallen. Despite being democratically elected, they were not willing to give a voice to the over 50% of Venezuelans that find themselves discriminated against and repressed by the Maduro Dictatorship.

And in doing so, they are trying to defend the most repressive Government, save for Cuba, to have risen in the region in the last two decades. How these representatives and their Governments can sleep at night is beyond me, more so when some of them were victims of similar repression in the past.

But somehow they are short sighted enough in thinking that this will not happen again in their countries and that their commercial interests are being protected by their unethical actions. Both premises are actually wrong. As the world turns, their countries may swing back to repression and they may need the same type of solidarity Venezuela’ opposition deserves today. But more importantly, their belief that their actions in support of the Maduro Dictatorship will somehow lead to payment of Venezuela’s debts with their countries or companies is simply wrong. As stated by Minister Ramirez or the President of the Central Bank, Nelson Merentes, there is no money to pay anything but the foreign currency budget they have established for the year 2014.

So, forget it! You will not collect under Dictator Maduro. In fact, you would probably have a better chance under a change in Government that would put order in the economy and reduce some of the absurd subsidies present in the Venezuelan economy. Only in this case, could Venezuela receive loans and cut subsidies which would, with very strict management, allow it to pay its debts with these countries, that so easily supported what can not be supported under any moral framework.

While Maria Corina was allowed to speak at the OAS, a student, and the mother of one of the protestors killed were not, as the Brazilan ambassador labeled their presence “a circus“.

These countries voted for openness:

Canada
Chile
Colombia
Costa Rica
USA
Guatemala
Honduras
México
Paraguay
Perú

Daniel Duquenal sees the vote as a breakdown of the OAS.

Simeon Tegel of Global Post writes on Why the OAS doesn’t want you to hear what this woman has to say
The Organization of American States blocked press access to hear a staunch opponent of Venezuela’s government

Machado faces the prospect of being jailed like Leopoldo Lopez, another opposition leader who has encouraged the demonstrations against widespread food shortages, skyrocketing inflation and the horrendous violent crime wave engulfing Venezuela.

Separately, two opposition mayors have been arrested in the last 48 hours — with one already sentenced to 10 months in jail — for failing to remove the street barricades put up by some of the protesters.

Upon her return, Maria Corina will be facing charges of murder and treason,

The attempt to silence Machado on trumped up charges follows the pattern of treatment opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez has experienced. Lopez was arrested in February on charges including murder, arson and incitement and immediately placed in a military prison. Some of those charges were later dropped but charges of incitement remain.

Venezuela journalist Nelson Bocaranda writes that Maduro’s paying Cubans to vandalize.

While this is going on, Maduro claims that Venezuela’s the country with the highest democratic participation, and that his government has eradicated hunger. I can’t wait for the US lefties to repeat those two gems, the way they tout how Hugo Chavez “improved the economy drastically and ameliorated poverty drastically”, and Cuba’s “excellent free healthcare”.

Food shortages in fact now run at 47.7% of what’s demanded, along with shortages of water and electricity.

Antigovernment demonstrators in Caracas faced off against riot police armed with tear gas and water cannons on Friday after Wednesday’s arrest of another opposition leader:

There’s another demonstration scheduled for today, too. The official protest death toll in Venezuela is up to 31.

RELATED:
VENEZUELA’S MADURO THREATENS TO ARREST MORE OPPOSITION MAYORS

UPDATE:
Linked to by Doug Ross and Babalu. Thank you!


LIVE: OAS hearing on Maria Corina Machado blacked out?

Friday, March 21st, 2014

UPDATE:
4:40PM EDT: AFP reports OAS bars press for session on Venezuela

Among the countries voting with Brazil to keep out the press were Nicaragua, Uruguay, El Salvador, Argentina, Venezuela, Bolivia and all but one of the Caribbean countries. Barbados abstained.

Panama had accredited Venezuelan lawmaker Maria Corina Machado to its delegation so she could speak about the situation in Venezuela where 31 people have been killed anti-government protests since February 4.

Voting with Panama against closing the OAS session were the United States, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Mexico, Paraguay, Peru, Costa Rica, Guatemala and Honduras.

Machado said the vote against opening the session reflected “the totalitarian vocation of the Venezuelan regime.”

Machado is a proponent, along with jailed opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez, of an opposition strategy called “the exit” which seeks to force President Nicolas Maduro’s resignation under pressure of street protests.

The government is threatening to strip her of her parliamentary immunity and charge her with murder over the street protests.

The Venezuelan case was discussed two weeks ago at the OAS in a special session of its permanent council, which also was held behind close doors.

Caracas Chronicles:

Out of the 17 Spanish speaking countries in OAS, 9 voted against the Maduro regime, just 8 for it.

In fact, all we saw today was the payoff from a long-running strategy by the Chávez regime to buy off small, weak Caribbean island states with oil subsidies. The thirteen smallest countries in OAS voted as a block to support the government, including every Caribbean statelet and every non-Spanish speaking country except for the U.S. and Canada.

All today’s vote really shows is that the government went on a shopping spree in the Caribbean, buying off weak states on the cheap. But it’s a funny kind of Bolivarian alliance, isn’t it, where 14 out of 22 countries supporting you don’t speak Bolívar’s language.

UPDATE:
11:07AM EDT: Session closed. No more video.

EARLIER:
10:10AM
Will democracy survive the OAS today?

I was attempting to connect to the Organization of American States hearing where Venezuelan Assemblywoman and national opposition leader Maria Corina Machado is scheduled to speak. Surprise! The http://www.oas.org/ website is down:


Service Unavailable

Sources in DC say that the servers in the US government and Congress cannot access the OAS site, either.

Venezuela, Ecuador and Nicaragua want the meeting closed to the press.

Panama demanded this meeting three weeks ago. Canada, the US, and Peru insist on proceeding according to OAS rules. Allan Culham, the Canadian ambassador, was particularly eloquent.

10:59AM
They are voting now (watch at OAS Live). 22 votes in favor of closing, 11 against, 1 abstained.

CELAC: Maduro & Cristina want Puerto Rico’s independence

Monday, January 27th, 2014


Sayonara, suckers.

Puerto Ricans’ opinions don’t matter to the tinpot Venezuelan dictator or to the Evita-wannabe, because they need a distraction from driving their own countries to ruin:
Crises Squeeze Two Latin Leaders
The leaders of Argentina and Venezuela were set to attend a conference in Cuba to debate Puerto Rican independence on Tuesday, as their countries faced their most acute economic crises in a decade.

On the streets of Argentina and Venezuela, many asked what their leaders were doing in Cuba when they were struggling with Latin America’s highest rates of inflation and the palpable fear that things could worsen when private investment is veering toward a recovering American economy.

The fact is,

independence for Puerto Rico, which was handed over by Spain after the Spanish-American war, has never gotten much traction. In a 2012 referendum, 61% voted for statehood and only 5% for independence.

Puerto Rico’s independence party has such low turnout that they needed to re-register after general elections.

Not that democracy matters to anyone at the upcoming CELAC

Apparently, the first objective of that organization, as declared, is: “To reaffirm that the preservation of democracy and democratic values, the validity of the institutions and the Rule of Law, a commitment to the respect for, and the validity of, all human rights for all, are the essential objectives of our countries.”

What do these people understand democracy to be? Cuba, like the other countries hatched by the now-extinct Soviet Union, is a one-party dictatorship older than half a century where no individual freedoms exist and no human rights are respected. While the CELAC is being held, the political police harasses and bashes the Ladies in White and the opposition democrats who dare to protest. Is anyone unaware of this?

Cuban dissidents are holding their own forum:

Cuban dissidents and activists plan to hold a forum on democracy in Havana on Jan. 28, parallel to the Summit of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States, or CELAC, opposition sources told Efe on Saturday.

Organized by the Center for the Opening and Development of Latin America, or CADAL, and the dissident group Arco Progresista, the forum hopes to bring together members of the opposition like Guillermo Fariñas and Jose Daniel Ferrer, Ladies in White leader Berta Soler, blogger Yoani Sanchez and activist Antonio Rodiles, among other representatives of civil society on the island.

Cuban police will block the opposition’s meeting.

OAS Secretary General Jose Miguel Insulza is attending CELAC, but refused to meet with any dissidents, thereby offering further evidence of the OAS’s irrelevance.

Elsa Morejón, whose husband Dr. José Daniel Ferrer, leader of the Patriotic Union of Cuba (UNPACU) was arrested after meeting with the ambassadors of Spain and the Netherlands this week and transported away from Havana for the duration of the summit, tweeted,

The only country in the Americas without free elections or multi-party [system] in 56 years, will host the #CELACSummit. Unbelievable.

But look at the bright side: The more Maduro, Cristina, and their ilk cackle about Puerto Rico, the fewer the Puerto Ricans who’ll side with them.

Post re-edited to add links.

UPDATE:
My tweet,
#CELACSummit As if there isn’t enough poop in #PuertoRico, @NicolasMaduro & @CFKArgentina want to bring theirs.

RELATED:
Puerto Rico: La crisis final del “ELA”

Again, the US wants Argentina and Great Britain to enter into negotiations over Falklands???

Wednesday, June 8th, 2011

Update, Friday June 10,
Please also read Argentina and the Falklands: A background post

This is beyond insane,
Another slap in the face for Britain: the Obama administration sides with Argentina and Venezuela in OAS declaration on the Falklands, and is not the first time,

Washington backed a similar resolution in June last year, and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton made it clear in a joint press conference with Cristina Kirchner in Buenos Aires in March 2010 that the Obama administration fully backs Argentina’s calls for negotiations over the Falkands, handing her Argentine counterpart a significant propaganda coup. The State Department has also insultingly referred to the Islands in the past as the Malvinas, the Argentine name for them.

There are a few things to consider:

  • The Falklanders are British, and wish to remain British.
  • Britain won the 1982 war.
  • Additionally, Cristina Fernandez needs both oil, and a distraction.

Nile Gardiner:

The declaration calls for Argentina and Great Britain to enter into negotiations over the sovereignty of the Falklands, a position which London has long viewed as completely unacceptable. It also comes in the wake of increasing aggression by the Kirchner regime in the past 18 months, including threats to blockade British shipping in the South Atlantic.

Hat tip: Tree Hugging Sister.

UPDATE
Welcome, Hot Air readers!
Linked by Moe Lane, too; thanks!

UPDATE, Friday 10 June,
Linked by Instapundit and Stanislaus. Thanks!

And, do bear in mind, as Ed points out, that

the OAS declaration comes in response to a threat of military action from Argentina, which has publicly talked about a blockade of British shipping in the region over sovereignty claims by Buenos Aires.

Beyond insane.

Linked to by Open Market. Thanks!
Open Market:

Argentina is now run by the Peronist Party, whose founder, Juan Peron openly sympathized with America’s fascist enemies in World War II, and knowingly gave refuge to fleeing Nazi war criminals.  Argentina’s recent Presidents, Nestor and Cristina Kirchner, have nationalized private pensions and plundered the private sector to pay for big government and welfare schemes.  The OAS declaration “comes in the wake of increasing aggression by the Kirchner regime in the past 18 months, including threats to blockade British shipping in the South Atlantic.”

Residents of the Falkland Islands have eminently sound reasons for wanting to remain in Britain, the birthplace of parliamentary democracy, rather than Argentina, which has too often been ruled by authoritarian strongmen like Peron or by military governments.  The United Kingdom scores higher on international measures of property rights and the rule of law than Argentina does.

Linked by Murdoc. Thanks!

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Zelaya returning to Honduras

Friday, May 13th, 2011

Just what the country doesn’t need,
Ousted Leader Is Set to Return to Honduras

Former President Manuel Zelaya is expected to return to Honduras within a month, ending an exile that began nearly two years ago when he was ousted in a coup, an aide and a key supporter said Wednesday.

Conditions are right for Mr. Zelaya to return from the Dominican Republic after the Honduran Supreme Court dropped corruption charges against him, said Rasel Tomé, a senior aide of the former president.

Mr. Zelaya’s return could pave the way for Honduras to be reincorporated into the Organization of American States, which suspended the country after the coup in June 2009.

The United States and many other countries in the hemisphere have long since restored diplomatic ties with Honduras, but some nations, including Venezuela and Brazil, have declined to do so.

Honduran President Pepe Lobo says Honduras will be readmitted to the OAS before June 5.

Hugo Chavez will be gloating this weekend on his cadenas.

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said she was confident that the O.A.S. would restore Honduras.

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Will the hunger strike in Venezuela lead to another Egypt? #OperacionLibertad #HuelgaDeHambre

Saturday, February 19th, 2011

While the US goes broke and the Middle East bursts in riots, students have gone on hunger strike in Venezuela protesting human rights conditions in the country.

Noticias 24 reports that the students are dehydrated but in stable condition. The strike started on January 31 at the OAS office with a dozen students but by now a total of 67 people are on hunger strike in several locations in 10 states across the country, including the Brazilian embassy in Caracas. The protestors are requesting that all political prisoners named in a list of 27 people be freed and given medical attention:

The protestors, mostly university students and youth activists, have been calling for the OAS to investigate allegations of human rights abuses in Venezuela as well as for the release of jailed opposition figures they believe are political prisoners. OAS Secretary General Jose Miguel Insulza has said that he could not meet with the protesters in Caracas without an invitation from the Venezuelan government.

Maduro said the protest should be handled internally, without the intervention of the U.S. or international organizations. He also alleged that right-wing opponents of Venezuela’s socialist government were operating from Miami and playing a part in orchestrating the hunger strike.

About a dozen students and activists began a fast Jan. 31 outside the local Caracas office of the OAS. Some news reports have stated that the protest has grown to include as many as 65 protestors.

The protesters have called for the release of several jailed opposition figures including two jailed members of the national parliament. One of the officials faces corruption charges while the other has been found guilty of being complicit in a homicide.

Bryan Llenas writes, Venezuela Student Hunger Strike Gains Momentum, Gov. Worried About a “Virtual Egypt”

On Friday, the hash tags #OperacionLibertad, and #HuelgaDeHambre saw feverish activity as tweets supporting the Venezuelan hunger strike poured into those conversations.

“#OperacionLibertad is for all Venezuelans!,” Milagros González tweeted in Spanish. “They aren’t in a hunger strike for nothing! They are using their bodies as a tribute to the survival of Venezuela.#OperacionLibertad,” Rafael Marín wrote.

This Venezuelan social media awakening comes months after an amendment to the Social Responsibility Media law that allows the government to restrict Internet messages and access. The measure stated that the use of Facebook and Twitter to spread “media manipulation” would be prohibited.

Hoewver, Llenas’s article trivializes the plight of the hunger strikers by comparing them to the University of Puerto Rico students striking over a $800/yr tuition increase.  I am also doubtful that the strike will lead to Egypt-like riots at this time.

The Venezuelan situation is a lot different: Venezuela News and Views explains,

The fact of the matter here is that the regime has long ago placed human life in the bargain department.  How can you explain that Chavez does not lose any sleep over the thousands and thousands of violent murders taking place every year in Venezuela?  When someone has the chutzpah to say that those murders are not his responsability then you know he is not hurting whatsoever.

Amen of those who die in Venezuelan jails shot by the other inmates as if nothing!

The way the regime has managed the natural disaster victims since 1999 is another telling sign: they are simply exploited for political purposes and real help is barred if it does not serve the regime purposes.  For memory, the refusal of help from the US in 1999 or the confiscation of the relief truck of Voluntad Popular last year.

And equally as damaging if not as bloody, is the total ignorance by the regime of the brain and energy drain that Venezuela is suffering.  For all practical purposes these people leaving Venezuela in search of better hopes under other skies should be also accounted with the “death toll” of the people we will never see again.

The reality here is that we are dealing with a regime who is not afraid to eliminate its opponents.  It has not been that obvious so far in an era of Internet and CNN, but all the signs are there, do not be mistaken, elimination is an ever present option for these people.

The US media’s attention is elsewhere, which makes the possible outcome all the more unpredictable.

Cross-posted at Real Clear World.

UPDATE, Monday February 21,
Welcome, Instapundit readers!

25107

The Colombia/Venezuela kerfuffle Carnival of Latin America and the Caribbean

Monday, July 26th, 2010

LatinAmerWelcome to this week’s Carnival of Latin America and the Caribbean. This week’s big story: Colombia and Venezuela are disputing evidence presented at the OAS that Chavez is harboring FARC terrorists. Mary O’Grady writes about Where the FARC Goes to Fatten Up
Dramatic evidence presented by Colombia at last Thursday’s OAS meeting in Washington puts Hugo Chávez on the hot seat.
(emphasis added)

In a two-hour presentation before the permanent council at the Organization of American States, Colombian OAS ambassador Luis Alfonso Hoyos laid out a series of photos, videos, maps, satellite images and computer documents that Colombia claims show the rebels using Venezuela as a safe haven much the same way they were using Ecuador.

Mr. Hoyos also charged that Venezuela knows about the guerrilla camps—some of which have been there for a long time—and has done nothing about them. Indeed, the Venezuelan National Guard sometimes consorts with the rebels, Mr. Hoyos said.

Given this new information, Mr. Chávez’s reaction to Colombia’s 2008 incursion into Ecuador now looks logical. Bogotá justified that raid on the grounds that its appeals to Quito to go after FARC taking rest and relaxation in its territory had gone nowhere. Now we know that Mr. Chávez had reason to believe he would be next.

But Mr. Uribe launched a different sort of offensive on Thursday. Instead of a military operation, he bundled new intelligence on the FARC’s Venezuelan outposts and dropped it like a bomb on the OAS permanent council.

The facts were no surprise. For years, Bogotá has been complaining—with no shortage of proof—about the friendly treatment Venezuela gives the guerrillas. But by packaging and delivering the new evidence as he did, Mr. Uribe put Mr. Chávez, very publicly, on the spot. More importantly, he has forced the issue with his hemispheric counterparts.

Mr. Hoyos told the OAS that there are some 1,500 rebels across the border in more than 75 camps. There they regroup, organize, train and prepare explosives. This safe-haven status, he explained, produces more kidnapping and drug trafficking on both sides of the border. And more carnage in Colombia: Graphic photos of rebel victims flashed on a screen while he spoke.

Mr. Hoyos did not call for sanctions against Venezuela. Instead he asked for an international commission to verify Colombia’s claims. He promised that his government could provide the “precise coordinates” of farms and haciendas where the rebels are ensconced. “If what is there is only a little school and humble peasants, there would be no problem with an international commission to verify if Colombia’s accusation is not true,” Mr. Hoyos argued.

CENTRAL AMERICA
Central America: Cultivation Central
Central America is rapidly becoming an important global trading partner as its fruit and vegetable exports grow.

LATIN AMERICA
Making Latin America More Competitive

SOUTH AMERICA
175 people killed in South America cold spell

ARGENTINA
Democracy or exclusion? Argentine politicians favor Twitter over journalists

BRAZIL
The Skeletons in Brazil’s Closet

China invests heavily in Brazil, elsewhere in pursuit of political heft

CHILE
Chile Fishermen Fight to Recover From Quake

Cierre de pasaje genera polémica/ Venta de viviendas sube en junio/ Puerto Octay se declara zona típica

COLOMBIA
Why Colombia did get so personal yesterday at the OAS?

Bogota Brouhaha
Why is Colombia putting the screws to Chavez now?

CUBA
Cuba—Is It Different This Time?

Capitol or Bat House

A Cuban Dissident Asks: Why do you (heart) Marxist-Leninist Autocrats?

The Suffering of Guantanamo Prisoners

Democratic Senator Menendez Threatens Filibuster Over Cuba Sanctions

ECUADOR
Ecuador Leader Falters in Bid to Consolidate Power

GUATEMALA
Ugh! Bowls of Human Fingers and Teeth Found in Mayan Tomb (h/t Gates of Vienna)

HONDURAS
Cultural differences: Consumer complaints

MEXICO
No, Texas Hasn’t Been Invaded, original post here.

New Terror Threat On Mexico Border

Mexico prison guards let inmates out for massacres

The gang at Gomez Palacio were responsible for 33 murders in three incidents, including the massacre of 17 people at a rented hall filled mainly with young adults. They fired more than 120 rounds into the crowd; it was the bullet casings that led investigators back to Gomez Palacio. The prison director and three of his henchmen have been placed under house arrest, although considering this story, that may wind up being more secure than prison anyway.

This should impress the truth on people, which is that the problem in Mexico isn’t American guns, or any kind of guns at all. The problem in Mexico is corruption.

Mexico: Prison guards let killers out, lent guns

NUGENT: Dear Mexico …
American dream is attainable for those who share our values

Terrorism in Mexico?

PANAMA
Foreign banking for U.S. citizens just got a lot more dfficult

PERU
Peru declares states of emergency in 16 regions due to cold wave

PUERTO RICO

Puerto Rico requests FEMA aid for 17 flooded areas

VENEZUELA
Rumble at the OAS: Colombia vs. Venezuela

A very personal rant: Screw Maradona, Long Live Abdus Salam and throw Richard Feynman into the mix!

Chávez intenta nuevamente apoderarse de Globovisión

Chavez says Venezuela now owns almost half of opposition channel Globovisión

Will the U.S. Hand Chávez a License to Kill?
Venezuelan dictator Hugo Chávez’s record of providing money, arms, political support, and, yes, safe haven to groups waging a murderous war against a sovereign state openly violates international law.

Behind exhumation of Simon Bolivar is Hugo Chavez’s warped obsession

PRESIDENTE, VAMOS A EXHUMAR EL POLLO, LA LECHE, EL ARROZ…

Qué hacer con Hugo Chavez?

And, Stoned, as always,

Oliver Stone: ‘Jewish-Dominated Media’ Prevents Hitler from Being Portrayed ‘in Context’

The director, who recently met with Iranian President Ahmadinejad, also slammed the U.S. policy toward Iran as “horrible.”

“Iran isn’t necessarily the good guy,” said Stone. “[B]ut we don’t know the full story!”

The Scarface screenwriter had even more encouraging words for socialist Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez, who Stone called “a brave, blunt, earthy” man. The director has recently been promoting his Chavez-praising documentary called “South of the Border.”

When the interviewer pointed out that Chavez has had a less-than-stellar record on human rights, Stone immediately dismissed the criticism.

“The internet’s fully free [in Venezuela],” said Stone. “You can say what the hell you like. Compare it with all the other countries: Mexico, Guatemala, above all Colombia, which is a joke.”

While Stone has not been as blunt about his views on Jews and the Holocaust in the past, he has been outspoken in his fondness for Chavez and his disagreements with the U.S.’s policy on Iran.

On ABC’s Good Morning America on July 28, the director told anchor George Stephanopoulos that he “absolutely” believes Chavez is a good person, and claimed that there was “there’s no pattern of censorship in this country [Venezuela].”

IMMIGRATION
Deportation of illegal immigrants increases under Obama administration

The week’s posts and podcasts:
Chavez breaks relations with Colombia over evidence presented at OAS
Moratinos falls for a sucker game
I’m not the only Latina supporting the Arizona SB 1070
“The Mandela of Cuba”
El Diario’s spy, Vicky
Venezuela, Syria and Iran, sponsors of terror VIDEO

Special thanks to Dick, Maggie, and Maria.

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Chavez breaks relations with Colombia over evidence presented at OAS

Thursday, July 22nd, 2010

Having tried unsuccessfully to delay the OAS meeting (which was supposed to be livecast on line but wasn’t) in which Colombia presented video evidence of FARC camps inside Venezuelan borders, Hugo Chavez has now severed relations with Colombia.

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has said his country will sever diplomatic ties with Colombia over claims he harbours militants.

“We have no other choice but to totally break our relations with our brother nation of Colombia,” he said on TV.

The Venezuelan president made his announcement while standing next to the Argentina football coach, Diego Maradona, who was visiting Caracas.

Mr Chavez said that he was acting “out of dignity”.

“I have ordered maximum alert on our border, maximum vigilance on our border which we do take care of,” he was quoted by the Reuters news agency as saying.

During the OAS meeting, the Colombian ambassador to the OAS, Luis Alfonso Hoyos, accused Venezuela of harboring 1,500 terrorists in 39 camps, and provided video evidence, eyewitness accounts, coordinates of the camps’ locations, and photographs, which will be verified by third parties. Here’s part of the video (in Spanish) presented at the meeting:

Colombia demanded that Venezuela stop harboring terrorists and that Venezuela allow an international commission to visit the sites. Venezuelan ambassador to the OAS Roy Chaderton declared the Colombian allegations “a lie”.

Colombia had previously recalled its ambassador to Caracas, Maria Luisa Chiappe.

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US endorses Insulza to continue as head of OAS

Wednesday, March 24th, 2010

Following Insulza’s shameful behavior during the Honduran crisis, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton backs him for another term as head of the Organization of American States (h/t La Gringa):

The United States will support Chile’s Jose Miguel Insulza in his bid for another five years as head of the Organization of American States, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Monday in a letter to the OAS secretary-general that was seen by Efe.

In the letter, Clinton said that it was a “pleasure” to inform Insulza that the Barack Obama administration will support his reelection and that of the assistant secretary-general, Alberto Ramdin, of Suriname, at Wednesday’s special OAS General Assembly in the U.S. capital.

The vote of confidence by Washington comes despite the campaign against Insulza launched a month ago by certain Republican lawmakers and the editorial page of The Washington Post.

As you may recall, the WaPo has gone on record requesting that Obama press for change at the OAS

Despite the adoption in 2001 of a “democracy charter,” the OAS has done little to stem what has been a steady erosion of free elections, free press and free assembly in Latin America during the past five years. When Honduras’s president was arrested and dispatched to exile by the military last year, the organization was aggressive but clumsy — and ended up making a democratic outcome harder to achieve. In the case of countries where democracy has been systematically dismantled by a new generation of authoritarian leaders, including Venezuela and Nicaragua, the OAS has failed to act at all.

The embodiment of this dysfunction has been OAS Secretary General José Miguel Insulza. A Chilean socialist, Mr. Insulza has unabashedly catered to the region’s left-wing leaders — which has frequently meant ignoring the democratic charter. Last year, he pushed for the lifting of Cuba’s ban from the OAS, even though there has been no liberalization of the Castro dictatorship. When Venezuelan strongman Hugo Chávez launched a campaign against elected leaders of his opposition, stripping them of power and launching criminal investigations, Mr. Insulza refused to intervene, claiming the OAS “cannot be involved in issues of internal order of member states.” Yet when leftist Honduran President Manuel Zelaya tried to change his own country’s internal order by illegally promoting a constitutional referendum, Mr. Insulza supported him, even offering to dispatch observers.

The WaPo reasonably requested that

The United States should make clear that it will not support any secretary general whose platform on democracy issues is inadequate. Congress should meanwhile consider whether the United States should continue to provide the bulk of the funding for the OAS when it fails to live by its own charter.

The request fell on the deaf ears of “smart diplomacy.”

Wonders never cease: OAS report rebukes Venezuela on human rights

Thursday, February 25th, 2010

Organization of American States report rebukes Venezuela on human rights

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.

I’ll talk about this and the Falklands Islands oil dispute in today’s podcast at 11AM.

Related reading: Cancun secrets

UPDATE
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.”

Andrew Stuttaford,

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.

Nile Gardiner: The Special Relationship is under fire: Barack Obama’s refusal to back Britain over the Falklands is a disgrace

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.

Dan Spencer:

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.