There is always big news about Venezuela whenever President Chavez does anything, but I wanted to show a little comparison of Venezuela and its neighbor Colombia when it comes to “dictatorship” and human rights after seeing the recent Reporters without Borders rankings on freedom of the press worldwide.
“In Colombia, if you run for office from the left you have to be willing to die”
Interesting articles about Colombian opposition party, Polo Democrático , and president Alvaro Uribe. Colombia is the one nation in South America run by a right-wing government. The elected president is in bed with the right-wing paramilitaries (AUC) that traffic drugs and are on the State Department list of terrorist groups. Polo Democrático is a new effort for democratic left-wing politics in Colombia (as opposed to the violent communist FARC rebels) since the left-wing Patriotic Union party was destroyed by assassinations in the 1980s. Union organizers and peasants are also routinely killed.
If Polo wins the 2010 elections (assuming all their politicians aren’t murdered before that), all of South America will have leftist governments. Keep in mind here that Colombia has probably the worst human rights record in the hemisphere but got $728 million in American taxpayer assistance (“approximately 80 per cent of which was military and police assistance”), the #1 recipient of American aid in Latin America. Third in the world after Israel and Egypt.
Press Freedom in Venezuela
There has been a lot of talk and media coverage about how the president of Venezuela (a leftist) is destroying freedom of the press in Venezuela with his recent cancellation of the broadcasting license of RCTV (Radio Caracas Television). But compare that record to that of its neighbors.
The three countries with the worst press freedom are Cuba, Mexico, and Colombia (the latter two being our closest allies in Latin America and run by conservatives) while Venezuela is in line with most of its neighbors. Peru (if you look at the rankings) is also below Venezuela. Why don’t we hear much about Colombian violence against journalists, or even that an American journalist was killed in Mexico? Anti-left double standard anyone? Can you tell me which opposition parties have been systematically murdered in Venezuela? That’s because there wouldn’t be any.
So why is Chavez the only bad guy here?
- Book review of a biography of Chavez
- NarcoNews article about Uribe denouncing human rights organizations