Cartoon by Rayma
Today’s spectacle at the Organization of American States was truly shameful for anyone that believes in free speech and the basic rights of people. The Government of Panama had graciously given up its representation to have opposition’s Maria Corina Machado to speak at the OAS in representation of the opposition, to present the case of the repression and the lack of democratic rights that Venezuelans face today.
And instead of accepting that fact, this club that seems to represent the so called “leaders” of Latin American and the Caribbean, proceeded to vote on whether Machado’s speech should be made in a public or in a private forum. In the end, 22 countries voted against the public forum and only 11 voted in favor.
Ironic and depressing that in order to listen to charges of censorship and repression, 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.
But in the end, these mediocre diplomats really blew it. For one thing, Machado’s visit captured even more attention by the refusal to receive her publicly. CNN would not have interviewed her as prominently as they did today. And via that press conference and the distribution of the video she meant to show at the OAS, Machado has made her point and is likely to make it even stronger in the upcoming days.
Here is the video she meant to show to these diplomats who think the world is static:
And it was pitiful to see Brasil’s representative justifying the ¡e private session because of Machado’s “circus”. A circus composed of herself, an elected Deputy of the Venezuelan National Assembly who is likely to have her immunity lifted and jailed upon her return, a student representing the more than 1,600 students jailed so far in one month of protests and a mother. A mother whose daughter was killed by the repressive forces of the Maduro Dictatorship. A mother who is still grieving but thought and believed she would find compassion and understanding in a forum that under normal circumstances is supposed to defend the rights of the people of the Americas.
Instead, she was laughed at and labeled a “circus”. Brasil’s leaders are not as close to God as they may erroneously think.
And this grieving mother was not even allowed to speak and was forcibly removed from the press room of the OAS.
Does it get more shameful and depressing than that?
And while Brasil has proven that it does not have the moral stature to call itself a leader of the region, others have shown to have more dignity, morals and leadership. Starting with Panama, who gave Machado the chance to speak, even if she was silenced by the OAS, using the same censorship techniques that the Maduro Government has so effectively used. And following with these countries:
who seem to understand that one day, they may face the same situation and they would like the same support they gave today to the Venezuelan opposition. I want to thank all of them for their respect of human rights and for their transparent behavior, even if they face the same commercial problems in their interactions with the Venezuelan Government.
Most of the Mercosur countries showed that the letter of their charter is worthless as democracy is simply irrelevant, as had been shown previously in their eagerness and perverted acceptance of Venezuelan into their club of undesirables. But they ratify it today. They could care less. So do we.
To us, they simply show how corrupt, unprincipled and unethical they are.
Let them be punished and judged by history and by their people!