It seems like yesterday when I was blasting Human Rights Watch in 2002 for criticizing the opposition for things that Chavez did routinely, right after the aftermath of Chavez departure in 2002. I really thought that Vivancos’ reports at the time were bad, except for their support of human rights organizations PROVEA and COFAVIC. The Chavez Government on the other hand paraded Vivancos and his report both locally and abroad to show what the bad guys in the opposition were doing. My own personal opinion is that Vivancos was watching things from afar at the time. He was naïve, but thankfully he came and stayed a while and got the true picture of what was going on.
In fact, turn the clock back five more years and the same happened at that time with PROVEA and COFAVIC. Chavez used to quote these NGO’s reports, hail them for their work, and say that these were the true patriots. Until they began criticizing him…In fact, the only moment I ever doubted my non-support for Chavez was precisely when he praised these organizations that I admired so much.
Well, today HRW is the same for the Chávez administration, Vivancos is a CIA operative, paid by who knows who, a representative somehow of the US, as if he had no track record in defending human rights. The Chávez administration wants nothing to do with him, as Vivancos dared to come to Caracas and call the Venezuelan judicial system “so weak” that it justifies for the OAS to invoke the Interamerican Charter over the issue.
Vivancos in his speech yesterday cited not only the lack of judicial responsibility, but also pointed out the threats to freedom of speech via legislative measures like the Content law, the reform of the Penal code that has led to actions without precedent, the persecution of human rights fighters as well as the disregard by the Venezuelan State for the precautionary measures of the Interamerican human rights commission.
But to my amazement, I wonder where all those people that called for better treatment of those that staged the 1992 coup in Venezuelan jails are today? They were not only well treated, but they were pardoned, paid their military pensions and many were even hired by the Caldera Government to run social programs. Where are these fighters for human rights today when the Venezuelan judicial system is a travesty? When ONG’s are persecuted for the simple fact that they try to defend voter rights? When women are trampled on the streets by Robocop looking fascist National Guards? When the number of people killed in confrontations with police is up five fold? When homicides are p three fold? When innocent civilians are shot death in the streets while they are protesting against the Government? When Chavista groups armed to their teeth kidnap and intimidate international reporters? When TV stations and radio stations are intimidated by Government officials or supporters? Where are you people? Do you simply have a double standard?
I will never forget my visit to Argentina many years ago, right after the last military dictatorship. I met a bunch of what were then to me kids, that were going to attend a course I gave at the time. They told me about their university class. How they were all persecuted for being academics. I asked how many there were, fourteen was the answer. And only five had actually survived. I asked them how this could be. They said nobody cared, whether in Argentina or abroad, they were just abstract numbers. Life simply went on And things did not happen overnight there. This was at the end. We can not let the same happen here. Hopefully Vivancos, PROVEA and COFAVIC will continue fighting and letting the word out. But will you?
Do not let Venezuela follow the path of Argentina or Cuba, do something!