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18/06/04 Oscar Heck: Human Rights Watch! Wow! What a powerful statement! Venezuela

 Venezuela's Electronic News —


NEW FEATURE: displays the last 100 stories published on, sorted by date! commentarist Oscar Heck writes:  On June 17, 2004, Human Rights Watch and Jose Miguel Vivanco published an article called “Venezuela: Judicial Independence Under Siege.” The article criticizes and ostracizes Chavez and his government for attempting to change the laws regarding the Supreme Tribunal of Justice (TSJ).

But who is Jose Miguel Vivanco?

What is Human Rights Watch?

What are their roles?

What do they have to do with Venezuela?

Maybe some readers can help out here – because I have found some information which I cannot decipher (mentioned later below regarding Jose Miguel Vivanco).

According to a Counter Punch article dated May 25, 2000 …”Jose Miguel Vivanco, a Chilean-born, Harvard-educated lawyer who heads Human Rights Watch Americas””

The article goes on to say: “The fact that Human Rights Watch should lend itself vigorously to the effort to push the military aid package (for the Colombian “drug‰ wars) through Congress is bad enough –”

“…People like Vivanco and unscrupulous outfits like Human Rights Watch will testify glowingly to great progress in imparting respect for human rights in the Colombian police and military. The killings of labor organizers, peasant leaders, church workers and any other threat to the right wing drug lords in Colombia will go on, done by the paramilitary death squads supervised by the army and the drug lords (very often identical) with extra direction from the CIA.”

The above statement, I believe, speaks for itself and clearly outlines HRW’s support for the US-invented “war on drugs.”

What more does HRW support … I wonder?

Here is a very interesting looking piece of information which I am not able to decipher or to understand. It is called a “social network diagram” and it appears that Jose Miguel Vivanco is linked to people like Colombia’s President Uribe, US-backed Colombian General Alejo Del Rio (who some claim was directly involved in attrocities), AUC’s Carlos Castano, Luis Camilo Osorio (Colombia’s Attorney General), Wayne S. Smith (head of the Center for International Policy, Cuba Project) … and lots of other “influential” people.

If any readers out there can decipher the “social network diagram,” it would be interesting to get some feedback.

Now … what is Human Rights Watch?

Human Rights Watch is a NY-based organization which has offices in New York, Brussels, London, Moscow, Hong Kong, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and of course … Washington(!).

HRW’s claims “We challenge governments and those who hold power to end abusive practices and respect international human rights law.”

If this were truly the case, why would HRW and Vivanco state the following?

“In the 2002 coup, Venezuela’s democratic order was attacked by some of Chávez’s opponents. But today the biggest threat to the country’s rule of law comes from the government itself,” and … “The Venezuelan government is undermining the independence of the country’s judiciary ahead of a presidential recall referendum…” (He is referring to the fact that the National Assembly is passing laws to change the judiciary regulations regarding judges‚ appointments to the Supreme Court.)

Especially being a Harvard graduate with all sorts of connections to “influential” people, Vivanco seems to have little understanding of democracy. It is the elected representational National Assembly which through democratic majority vote, is pressing for modifications to the Supreme Tribunal of Justice (TSJ). Vivanco, who obviously sides with the USA and with the Venezuelan opposition insinuates, through HRW’s latest attack on Venezuela, that Chavez and the Chavez government are acting undemocratically … “President Chavez‚ governing coalition has begun implementing a new court-packing law that will strip the Supreme Court of its autonomy.” The Venezuelan TSJ has traditionally never been autonomous and has been composed primarily of a bunch of more-than-lazy, Miami-vacationing, corrupt, president-hand-picked semi-professional, bribe-taking pseudo-lawyers. It is about time that the Venezuelan government, through majority vote, act … and quickly.

Also, for Vivanco’s information, a majority vote in the National Assembly is a majority vote, which means 50% +1. It may not be convenient for the Venezuelan opposition or for the US government that pro-Chavez elected National Assembly members represent over 50% of the house … but that is reality … and it is just too bad for Vivanco and gang.

Being so “pro-humanity” Vivanco should be able to accept a majority democratic vote with no question.

This is the way life is. Simple as that.

This is how it works and it is a fair way … as any rational human would agree.

Majority rules.

Does it mean that because the Venezuelan National Assembly is using a majority-vote system to modify/create laws that the Venezuelan government is being abusive?

Not for a minute.

Abusive were the Venezuelan governments of the past, which ran the country, including the TSJ, by uncontestable decrees .. and if anybody dared speak up against the President, he/she would simply be disappeared … journalists and “human rights activists” included. Furthermore, as far as I know, the TSJ has been one of the most corrupt institutions in Venezuela and was never and independent body. The TSJ bent to the threats of the President or to the whims of the highest bidder.

Vivanco should go get a job with the US State Department or the Central “Intelligence‰ Agency.

Personally, I believe that Vivanco is either a CIA employee (due to the inaccuracies in his “intelligence”) or a puppet of the US State Department (due to the inaccuracies in his “intelligence”).

Most strikingly is the fact the oh-so-suddenly, just before the referendum is to take place, HRW coincidentally publishes a lengthy report criticizing the Venezuelan government … while coincidentally a slew of anti-Chavez articles are published in the mainstream US media … and coincidentally, the US State department vilely attacks Venezuela again.

HRW is a so-called human rights organization which bases its statements on false information (”intelligence”) and pro-USA stances … just as the killer-Bush government used false and fabricated “intelligence” to justify their murdering of over 10,000 innocent Iraqis in order to gain full control of some of the world’s largest oil reserves.

Vivanco and gang dare to call themselves supporters of “human rights,” when in fact, they are promoting anti-human-rights groups like the Venezuelan opposition and openly discrediting a majority-vote National Assembly democratic process … simply because Chavez and his government are not “suitable-money-hungry-power-hungry-exploiting-war-killer-machine” partners to the USA‚s dehumanizing attacks on Latin America … attacks which HRW appears to wholly support (as in the USA-invented “war on drugs,” which is a facade for the USA to acquire the natural resources in the region and to gain full control of the highly profitable coca and opium plantations).

Human Rights Watch should seriously consider becoming a direct branch of the US State Department … or the fountain of “intelligence” for the US Defense Department.

I may be wrong, but I cannot find any statement from HRW which condemns the USA’s criminal invasion of Iraq. Instead, when reading through their website, they appear to put the USA on a pedestal as the world‚s leader in human rights related issues. (Humph!)

One of the few relatively meaningful statements I found on their website regarding the USA’s committing of atrocities and injustices abroad was: “It is unlawful for the United States to hold detainees in Iraq without charge or trial while claiming it has transferred sovereignty to an Iraqi government.”

Wow! What a powerful statement!

Oscar Heck More commentaries by Oscar Heck

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