Monday, June 04, 2007

OAS and RCTV

The OAS General Assembly opened yesterday, and the general theme is “Energy for Sustainable Development.” That alone will be interesting to watch because of the disagreements about moving forward on ethanol production, which goes along “food vs. fuel” and “corn vs. sugar” axes.

But the timing of the meeting means that the sideshow will be RCTV. The U.S. submitted a copy of the Senate’s call for the OAS to do “something.” The question is whether representatives of other countries really want to get involved, as there is resistance to hopping on the U.S. bandwagon. Plus, strong statements from the U.S. tend to backfire and create more sympathy for Chávez.

The Venezuelan government has said that discussion of RCTV would constitute “interference,” but if you’re a member of the OAS, then you have agreed to submit to such interference. That’s the whole point, though if the debate gets contentious Chávez may well follow up on his threat to withdraw.

At any rate, you could easily come up with a Fantasy OAS game. Count up and get points for every mention of:

--lapdog

--lackey

--censorship

--freedom

--empire

--silencing

--oligarchy

--imperialism

6 comments:

Boli-Nica 12:26 PM  

The irony of this whole situation is that Venezuela especially under Carlos Andres Perez, has a long history of using the OAS as a forum to press against human rights violations by member states. During the 70's Venezuela was a strong opponent of the Somoza regime's strong arm tactics against the Nicaraguan press, that led up to the killing of the La Prensa editor.

As far as "interference" in member states internal affairs, a more recent example is the strong stance the OAS took against the so called "Fujimorazo.." Arguably there are many paralells between what the former Peruvian leader did, and what Chavez is doing now in terms of centralizing power, arguing they have an electoral mandate.

Basically, the OAS is simply doing to Venezuela, what it has done with other leaders: be they democratically elected or not.

Justin Delacour 2:44 PM  

Carlos Andrez Perez?? Human rights??

The families of the victims of the Caracazo might have a few choice words to say about that.

I don't think this OAS business is going anywhere. Even lap-dog Lapper over at the Financial Times is lamenting that the OAS isn't taking up the issue. Moreover, Lula's top adviser, Marco Aurélio Garcia, just came out in defense of Chávez. Here's what he has to say: "We don't think that any democratic rule has been violated. I've been to Venezuela more than a few times. In few countries have I seen a press talk with such freedom as in Venezuela."

With regard to the Brazilian position on debates within the OAS, Garcia affirmed that he didn't want to see the OAS return to the exercises of the 1960s. His statement was in clear reference to the OAS meeting of 1962, in which Cuba was suspended from the organization under pressure from the United States.

Boli-Nica 3:21 PM  

Talking about the Caracazo..didn't the OAS condemn the Venezuelan government for that?

Anyways...To many people in Latin America, Venezuelan leaders -mostly from the AD, starting with Betancourt were seen as a pro-democracy force. They refused to recognize regimes that come to power by force. And CAP himself took in many exiles from South American countries under military rule.

mcentellas 4:14 PM  

Regardless of whether one agrees w/ the RCTV decision or not, or how one feels about the Chavez regime in general, I don't buy the argument that nations can't comment on the "internal" decisions of other states. I think people have a right (if not a duty) to speak out on issues of human rights & social justice in other countries. Plus, I'm pretty sure that Chavez has had choice things to say about US domestic politics (and its leaders). The idea that "state sovereignty" covers all manner of sins is a dangerous one.

Greg Weeks 4:45 PM  

Both are true. Venezuela helped the Sandinistas overthrow Somoza, and then was also condemned by the OAS for the Caracazo.

Boli-Nica 5:37 PM  

Bottom line is the OAS since the 1970's sometime under influence by blocks such as the "Pacto Andino" has condemned internal government actions. OAS has called out regimes of the left, right, elected or non-elected, many times independent of the US position.

If the OAS calls out Venezuela for closing the station, it is following a long and established precedent.

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