Imperialist Meddling, IACHR Style

So, Chávez’s latest anti-imperialist brain fart – his demand to pull out of the OAS’s main Human Rights body, the IACHR – means Venezuela is now simultaneously calling Cuba’s exclusion from the OAS an imperialist aggression and demanding to be excluded from a key OAS body, on grounds of imperialist aggression. ‘mmmmkay

(Can anyone seriously doubt that, if there had never been an embargo, the Cubans would be blaming their economic stagnation on the iniquities inherent in having to trade with a capitalist superpower like the United States?)

Be that as it may, Chávez’s outburst provides as good an excuse as we’d ever need to go back and read through the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights’ latest country report on Venezuela, which dates back to 2009. It’s no wonder the Petrocaudillo wants out: in its measured, plodding, lawyerly way, the Commission does a real number on the guy.

After the break, you can see what they have to say about the “cadenas”, for instance. [Spoiler alert: ouch!]

[All emphasis is my own.]

409. The IACHR recognizes the power of the President of the Republic and the high authorities of the State to use the communications media with the aim of informing the population about economic, social, or political issues of national relevance, that is to say, about those questions of preponderant public interest that they must be urgently informed of through independent communications media. In effect, as the Inter-American Court has stated, “making a statement on public-interest matters is not only legitimate but, at times, it is also a duty of the state authorities.”[349]

410. The exercise of this power, however, is not absolute. The fact that the President of the Republic can, by virtue of the powers conferred by Venezuelan laws, interrupt the regular programming of the public and private communications media in the country does not authorize him to exercise this power without limits: the information that the president transmits to the public through blanket broadcasts should be that which is strictly necessary to serve urgent informational needs on subjects of clear and genuine public interest and during the time that is strictly necessary to transmit such information. In effect, as previously mentioned, freedom of expression protects not only the right of the media to disseminate information and their own and others’ opinions freely, but also the right to be free from having content imposed upon them. Principle 5 of the Declaration of Principles on Freedom of Expression explicitly establishes that: “[r]estrictions to the free circulation of ideas and opinions, as well as the arbitrary imposition of information and the imposition of obstacles to the free flow of information violate the right to freedom of expression.”

411. Some national organs of States party to the American Convention, applying international standards, have indicated that “it is not just any information that legitimizes the President of the Republic to interrupt regular programming; rather, it is that which deals with a collective interest in the knowledge of facts of importance to the public that are truly necessary for the real participation of citizens in the collective life. […] [A]n intervention, even by the President of the Republic, without any type of limitation, restricts the right of citizens to inform themselves about other issues that interest them.”

413. The lack of control in the exercise of this power could degrade the legitimate purpose of this mechanism, converting it into a tool for propaganda. Already in the Joint Declaration of 2003 of the Special Rapporteurs for Freedom of Expression, it was clearly established that “[m]edia outlets should not be required by law to carry messages from specified political figures, such as the president.”[352]

414. In summary, any intervention by the president using this mechanism must be strictly necessary to satisfy urgent requirements in matters of evident public interest. Permitting governments the unlimited use of independent communications media, under the justification of informing citizens about every issue related to the functioning of the state or about different issues that are not urgent or necessary and that the citizenry can obtain information about from other sources, leads to, in practice, the acceptance of the right of governments to impose upon the communications media the content that they must broadcast. Any obligation to broadcast content not chosen by the media itself must conform strictly to the requirements imposed by Article 13 of the American Convention to be considered as an acceptable limitation on the right to freedom of expression.

Out! Out! We need out of this dastardly imperialist plot!

Lawyers! They have lawyers!!

The horror…the horror…

36 thoughts on “Imperialist Meddling, IACHR Style

  1. I was wondering when someone would point out the contradiction between demanding that the imperialist exclusion of Cuba from the OAS be ended, while simultaneously announcing that Venezuela rejects OAS institutions as originating in Washington. Nice work!


  2. I actually don’t see the contradiction much. The OAS is an imperialist body, according to chavista myth, therefore they exclude Cuba and want to impose things on Venezuela that el pueblo mesmo rejects. Therefore, we want to leave too.


    • Well, they keep demanding that Cuba be let back in to this imperialist body!!

      It’s like the old lady complaining about the restaurant… “the food is terrible…and such small portions!”


    • I agree that it is not so contradictory a position: This club won’t accept my good friend, therefore, on moral grounds, I don’t want be a member any longer in support of my friend.


      • if that were their position, they would have said so at the cumbre. “We will leave the OAS if it doesn’t admit Cuba.” No one ever made leaving conditional on anything.


  3. So , the question that begs asking is, why now? Chavez has been railing against the CIDH and the Corte IDH (those two really need different acronyms) for years now. In fact, one of his main arguments when he announced that we would be leaving was the CIDH’s actions … on April 11th, 2002. It took him ten years to nurture that grudge and finally decide to leave. What about leaving after the Corte IDH rules in favor of Leopoldo Lopez a few months ago?

    Now, if we put our conspiracy hats, one might be tempted to think that it’s because the government is planning an all-out Cubanization. The Consejo de Estado, leaving the OAS before they can kick us out, etc. I hate to say it, but it makes one go hmmmm….


  4. For the record, this is not the first time Chavez has threatened to leave the IACHR.

    Will he keep his word this time? I think he won’t. But never underestimate how far a desperate man can go.

    I see this as a political curvebull with three purposes:

    1. Smokescreen to distract public opinion from other issues.
    2. Electoral position to unify his base and please the hardcore crowd.
    3. Admission of guilt that he and his government don’t care about human rights.


      • They can withdraw, but its not retroactive, and they need to give a year’s notice, thus the Court would still have jurisdiction over any violation that happens up until one year after the government denounces the Convention. Considering Chávez’s health and the notice, the withdrawal is almost symbolic.
        Funny that they call the Court imperialist when it was precisely the one that declared the responsibility of Venezuela for such things as the executions of the Caracazo, the Amparo massacre, the mutiny in el Retén de Catia, that were a very important part of the chavista speech against the 40 years.
        Artículo 78

        1. Los Estados Partes podrán denunciar esta Convención después de la expiración de un plazo de cinco años a partir de la fecha de entrada en vigor de la misma y mediante un preaviso de un año, notificando al Secretario General de la Organización, quien debe informar a las otras partes.

        2. Dicha denuncia no tendrá por efecto desligar al Estado parte interesado de las obligaciones contenidas en esta Convención en lo que concierne a todo hecho que, pudiendo constituir una violación de esas obligaciones, haya sido cumplido por él anteriormente a la fecha en la cual la denuncia produce efecto.


        • El Amparo? El Amparo? Wasn’t that the event where Chacín was involved in the planning? Where he was planning to go to carry out the executions but failed to go just because he had an accident? Chavismo is full of contradictions and the democratic forces haven’t shown that as they should. Let’s remember Chavez praised time after time Pérez Jiménez, who tortured many of his future pals, and let’s remember Roger Cordero, PSUV deputy, took part in the Masacre de Cantaura.
          Chavismo is a contradiction within a contradiction.


          • Deep down Chavismo doesn’t really hate the right, it hates the civilian form of government, discussion, debate and dissent.


            • Chavez has no problem with the right, the only problem he has with people to the right of him is that they oppose him. He is happy to become close allies of the most “right wing” governments on earth, Iran, Belarus, Zimbabwe.

              If Hitler were ruling Germany, Chavez would be best buddies with him up until he invaded the Soviet Union. They are both fighting the common enemy of US imperialism, resent moves that they see as attacks on their countries independence and want to improve the lot of their people against the will of some shadowy faceless group. As a bonus, they both think powerful Jews are dominating world politics to the detremint of humanity.


          • You mean Rodriguez Chacin?
            Actually you can go on the website of Walter Marquez and download a PDF version of his book regarding El Amparo and the aftermath. I believe it was Henry López Sisco who could not attend the proceedings due to an helicopter accident a few days prior. Rodríguez Chacín did belong to the CEJAP (the government mixed unit which carried out the “operations”) but I don’t recall references to him in the book.


              • But he’s mentioned. The real players in that book are Camejo Arias, the military judge, and Lopez Sisco.


            • So, he just murdered one or two?
              I mean: if the military in power say our politicians, under 40 years old, are “4th Republic”…and the military in power were one way or the other involved in such things as El Amparo


  5. What I’d like to know is who is this action even carried out for? Die-hard followers at home? They would support anything Chavez does. Pulling out of CIDH means that they’re not even trying to present themselves as a normal government abroad any more, but it’s not like CIDH has any enforcement powers anyways. Is he hoping that other ALBA governments follow Venezuela’s lead and end up weakening CIDH?


  6. Sigh……you all seem to forget that the IACHR has never condemned the april 2002 coup d’état in Venezuela and which implies direct support for the non-democratic opposition. Now if that situation was remedied with an international apology to Venezuela and its people plus an outright condemnation of the coup then all this “problem” with CIDH which never supports Venezuela in anything, would not have reached the level it has done.

    We need to withdraw totally from the OASD and be in CELAC, Unasur, Mercosur and ALBA.

    Bottom line – we do not need to be in an organization that is two faced and supports fascist coups as did this blog and its owner – not forgetting to metnion the US, Spain and Colombia.


    • Es que si aunque sea leyeran…

      From the same 2009 report:

      It is noteworthy that the reaction of the Commission to the attempted coup d’état was immediate and decisive, even though other international instances had not yet made any pronouncements about these serious events. In its press release of April 13 in relation to the occurrences of April 11 and the subsequent alteration of the constitutional order, the Commission issued a press release in which it expressed, among other things, its strong condemnation of the acts of violence that took the lives of at least 15 persons and caused injuries to more than one hundred. Additionally, the Commission lamented the fact that during the days of April 12 and 13, arbitrary detentions and other violations of human rights were committed; deplored the removal from office of the highest authorities from all of the branches of government; and warned that these acts constituted an interruption of the constitutional order as defined in the Democratic Charter. The Commission also affirmed that:

      […] the Commission is closely monitoring the unfolding of events arising from the removal or resignation of President Hugo Chávez Frías. The Commission deplores the dismissal, by a decree issued by the government that took office on April 12, of the highest officers of the judiciary and of independent officials within the executive branch, and the suspension of the mandate of the members of the legislature. These developments, in the IACHR’s opinion, could constitute an interruption of the constitutional order as defined in the Democratic Charter. The IACHR urges Venezuela to promptly restore the rule of law and the democratic system of government by guaranteeing full observance of human rights and basic freedoms.[3]

      4. During the on-site visit to Venezuela carried out in May of the same year, President Chávez thanked the Commission for these actions and extended an invitation to the Commission to visit Venezuela when it considered it necessary to give continuity to the observance of the human rights situation in the country.[4]


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