Thursday, July 11, 2019

Michelle Bachelet Blasts Maduro

I had been meaning to write a post on Michelle Bachelet's scathing report on human rights in Venezuela after her visit leading a UN team, but hadn't gotten to it. I did a Twitter thread with quotes from the report (which you can read here). You can also take a look at Andrés Cañizález's article in Global Americans.

Taken along with Bachelet's own comments, the UN is saying that the Venezuelan government is both inept and intensely brutal toward its own citizens, and that Nicolás Maduro is incapable of fixing any of it. It is so condemnatory that Cañizález notes the following:

Venezuelan activists such as Uzcátegui and Luis Francisco Cabezas, general director of the civil society organization CONVITE, believe that the document itself is written in a language that should serve as input for the International Criminal Court (ICC), since the report reiterates the systematic nature of the violations of human rights with cases of torture, forced disappearances and the right to life. The report also includes that individual criminal responsibilities should be acknowledged. 
The fact that Bachelet is the driving force of this report negates any effort to frame it as ideologically driven. As presidential candidate, after all, she brought the Communist Party into her coalition and was routinely called a Communist by the right. The Chilean Communist Party actually criticized the report, but they don't even try to criticize her. There is no way Bachelet suddenly became a tool of the right, a pawn of the Empire, or anything like that. She is firmly on the left and has enormous credibility. There is no wiggle room.

The government says the report is untrue and that it will publish a response. It will be hard, however, to use the "economic war" argument to explain the "dismantlement of democratic institutions" or "electric shocks, suffocation with plastic bags, water boarding, beatings, sexual violence, water and food deprivation, stress positions and exposure to extreme temperatures." Coming from Bachelet, this packs a serious punch.


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