Sunday, July 19, 2015

Human Rights in Venezuela

Human Rights in Venezuela

by Stephen Lendman

America gives them short shrift, abusing them horrifically worldwide. Venezuela enshrines them in its Constitution. They're fundamental and matter.

Pro-right-wing Foro Penal Venezolano (FP) abuses human rights it claims to defend. It gets USAID and National Endowment of Democracy (NED) funding to instigate violence - destabilizing Venezuela, aiming to replace its Bolivarian government with fascist rule.

Last week, the State Department honored it with its annual Human Rights Defender Award - given exclusively for political reasons, not to individuals or groups "show(ing) exceptional valor and leadership in advocating for the protection of human rights and democracy," as the State Department claims.

America is the most egregious human rights violator on a global scale. It tolerates democracy nowhere - at home or abroad.

FP supported last year's US orchestrated street violence - revolt of the rich in affluent and well-off Caracas and other communities exclusively. 

The State Department lied claiming it "advocates for human rights and rule of law in Venezuela and abroad." Venezuelan media freedom is the hemisphere's best. 

Not according to US officials -  turning truth on its head saying "the government silenced media outlets and blocked Internet access (while) Foro Penal provided timely, critical and independent information during (2014 street protests) and continues to defend and promote human rights despite the risk of government suppression."

Venezuelan National Assembly President denounced the award - accusing FP and likeminded groups of receiving "back(ing) (from) foreign parties and organizations," as well as participating in "forums abroad (and) lying about the Venezuelan reality."

FP never defended the human rights of victims of last year's right-wing violence, Cabello explained - included dozens killed and over 800 injured.

The Latin American Foundation for Human Rights and Social Development (Fundalatin) is Venezuela's oldest human rights group. 

Its President Sister Eugenia Russian calls her nation "a state that respects human rights. Our Constitution is broad, open, pluralistic (and) participatory" - polar opposite the way America is governed, a police state systematically waging war on freedom.

Under Chavez and Maduro, Venezuela instituted important human rights advances. It plans additional measures ahead - including institutional reform and better coordination with social movements.

Vice President Jorge Arreaza calls human rights "indivisible." A newly announced four-year plan intends promoting a "culture of human rights" - involving strengthening their institutions.

It's part of a Bolivarian commitment ensuring all Venezuelans receive essentials to life - including employment, housing, food, education and healthcare.

Venezuela spends 62% of national income on social services and investments. Venezuelans receiving pensions are tenfold numbers pre-Chavez.

Primary education students get government provided laptops. Increasing efforts are made to "democratize" access to goods and services.

Plans call for establishing a national human rights institute (expanding programs begun by the 2014 created National Council for Human Rights), strengthening higher education human rights programs, and instructing teachers in the importance of respecting fundamental rights everyone deserves.

Steps to be taken follow extensive discussions between state authorities and Union of South American Nations' representatives.

Recommendations included promoting dialogue between government and opposition groups. "Venezuela has accepted" proposed ideas, Arreaza said.

President Nicholas Maduro explained current steps planned took shape several years earlier. A "proposal (was) submitted to public consultation (in) a socialist democracy," he said.

In 2012, Venezuela became a UN Human Rights Council member for the first time in his history. Its envoy Jorge Valero said:

"This is a demonstration of the strength of the (Bolivarian) revolution in the world, and the successful state policies to protect the human rights of all Venezuelans without exception."

Internationally recognized human rights supporters Rigoberta Menchu (a Guatemalan 1992 Nobel Peace Prize recipient) and former Colombian Senator Piedad Cordoba (involved in FARC-EP peace talks) praised Venezuela's initiative.

Menchu said it's "an example of democracy for the world to follow." Cordoba explained human rights defenders worldwide are "committed to the truth - that Venezuela does not violate human rights but rather defends them," in sharp contrast to its northern neighbor abusing millions for unchallenged wealth and power.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at 

His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."

Visit his blog site at 

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