Posts Tagged ‘Organization of American States’

#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.

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.