Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Insulza Allows Human Rights Violations - HRF

Completly agree with this statement: Insulza allows Human Rights Violations
vdebate reporter
OAS Head Faulted for Inaction
Insulza Allows Human Rights Violations, Says HRF

NEW YORK (August 20, 2008) —The Human Rights Foundation (HRF) launches the “Inter-American Democratic Charter and Mr. Insulza” program today with an open letter to José Miguel Insulza, secretary general of the Organization of American States (OAS), decrying his unwillingness to enforce the charter’s mandate to protect democracy in the Americas. HRF will send monthly digests to Insulza detailing violations of human rights and democracy in the continent, with the hope that the secretary general will take note and do his job.

The letter, cosigned by HRF President Thor Halvorssen and Chairman Armando Valladares, observes that under Insulza’s watch at the OAS, the governments of Bolivia, Ecuador, and Venezuela have acted in clear violation of the democratic principles set forth in the Charter.

Such violations include infringements on fundamental rights, ranging from freedom of the press and expression to freedom from torture and tyranny – the shutting down of an independent television station in Venezuela and the recent state take-over of media in Ecuador; the government-sanctioned lynchings and political violence that have resulted in 40 deaths in Bolivia; the obliteration of judicial independence in Venezuela and Bolivia and the dissolution of the congress in Ecuador; and political persecution in all three countries.

The letter reminds Insulza that on September 11, 2001, every nation in the Americas approved the Inter-American Democratic Charter, a document that recognizes the need to defend democracy not only from unelected dictatorships but also from popularly-elected governments on the continent. The democratic clause found in Article 20 of the charter establishes a formal response mechanism that the OAS secretary general may initiate when democracy in a member state is under threat.

“Despite clear transgressions of the charter by the governments of Bolivia, Ecuador, and Venezuela, the secretary general of the OAS has failed to implement the democratic clause. HRF is categorical in its belief that Mr. Insulza should fulfill his duties as secretary general. We will continue to campaign until he protects human rights and democracy in the Americas from all types of violators, whether elected or not,” said Javier El-Hage, HRF’s General Counsel.

HRF is an international nonpartisan organization devoted to defending human rights in the Americas. It centers its work on the twin concepts of freedom of self-determination and freedom from tyranny. These ideals include the belief that all human beings have the rights to speak freely, to associate with those of like mind, and to leave and enter their countries. Individuals in a free society must be accorded equal treatment and due process under law, and must have the opportunity to participate in the governments of their countries; HRF’s ideals likewise find expression in the conviction that all human beings have the right to be free from arbitrary detainment or exile and from interference and coercion in matters of conscience. HRF’s International Council includes former prisoners of conscience Vladimir Bukovsky, Palden Gyatso, Armando Valladares, Ramón J. Velásquez, Elie Wiesel, and Harry Wu.


Contact: Thor Halvorssen, Human Rights Foundation, (212) 246.8486,
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Sunday, August 17, 2008

Chavez's Charities aren't what they seem and Che Guevara Myth

It is not Chavez's Charities........ because is not Chavez's money. It is our venezuelans money.
vdebate reporter
Chavez's Charities Aren't What They Seem
Hugo Chavez hoped his social-service projects--funded with revenue from the national oil company--would help him win a constitutional referendum. The reality, however, is that Chavez's "missions" are proven disasters--both economically and politically, according to Alvaro Vargas Llosa, director of the Independent Institute's Center on Global Prosperity. Mercal, a mission ostensibly devoted to subsidizing food for the poor, is rife with corruption, with government workers stealing the food and selling it for higher prices on the black market. Barria Adentro, a medical mission supported by Fidel Castro, has lost 60 percent of its Cuban doctors to desertion.
"It would seem that many of the Cubans were pursing emigration rather than altruism when they traveled to Venezuela to help Chavez establish Barrio Adentro," writes Vargas Llosa in his latest column for the Washington Post Writers Group.
The Chavez administration claimed that Mercal and Barria Adentro reached 70 percent of Venezuela's poor. But two researchers with no particular axe to grind, Yolanda D'Elia and Luis Francisco Cabezas, found that at its peak in 2004, Barrio Adentro reached no more than 30 percent. "Today, it reaches no more than one in five poor Venezuelans, while six of every 10 citizens supposedly fed by Mercal are not really benefiting from that program." Price controls and inflation have made chicken, meat, eggs, and milk a hard-to-find luxury. Many supermarkets have been forced to close. And Venezuelans have had to turn to stores that do not participate in the Mercal program. Chavez, Vargas Llosa concludes, vastly over promised and vastly under delivered.

Also of note, in a recent letter to the editor of the Wall Street Journal, Vargas Llosa criticized an article that underreported the number of executions committed by Che Guevara. "While it is true that he executed hundreds 'from the Batista regime,' he also executed people not connected to the regime," he wrote. "Javier Arzuaga, the Basque chaplain who served at 'La Cabaña' [prison] at the time, told me that among the 800 prisoners there were some journalists, businessmen and merchants."
"Mission Not Accomplished," by Alvaro Vargas Llosa (7/16/08) Spanish Translation
"Che Guevara Was No Hero to the Many He Abused," by Alvaro Vargas Llosa (Wall Street Journal, 7/2/08) Spanish Translation
Purchase Lessons from the Poor: Triumph of the Entrepreneurial Spirit, edited by Alvaro Vargas Llosa.
"Lessons from the Poor shows that the mightiest soldiers in the war on poverty are poor people themselves.... The message of the book is profoundly hopeful--as governments remove obstacles to entrepreneurship, there is much potential for the poor to lift themselves out of poverty."--William R. Easterly, Professor of Economics and Director, Development Research Institute, New York University
Purchase The Che Guevara Myth and the Future of Liberty, by Alvaro Vargas Llosa
"The Che Guevara Myth and the Future of Liberty is a timely and masterful critical piece on the Left's heroic figure and on the Latin America he tried to change but only made worse in the process. Che Guevara has become a myth to many around the world who really do not understand or know who this man was all about. Alvaro Vargas Llosa exposes the real Che with the facts of who he really was. He takes off the beret, the cigar, the façade of the handsome revolutionary figure and exposes the violent, unjust, and arbitrary side of the real Che. More importantly, Vargas Llosa puts his demystification of Che in the context of what has gone wrong with Latin America in the past decades."--
V. Manuel Rocha, former U.S. Ambassador to Bolivia and Argentina

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