Monday, September 29, 2008

Human Rights Watch in Venezuela: Lies, Crimes and Cover-ups

A Very Good Piece

By James Petras

"Human Rights Watch, a US-based group claiming to be a non-governmental organization, but which is in fact funded by government-linked quasi-private foundations and a Congressional funded political propaganda organization, the National Endowment for Democracy, has issued a report “A Decade Under Chavez: Political Intolerance and Lost Opportunities for Advancing Human Rights in Venezuela” (9/21/2008


The Human Rights Watch Report on Venezuela is a crude propaganda document that, even in its own terms, lacks the minimum veneer of ‘balance’, which the more sophisticated ‘humanitarian’ imperialists have put out in the past. The omissions are monumental: No mention of President Chavez’ programs which have reduced poverty over the past decade from more than 60% to less than 30%; no recognition of the universal health system which has provided health care to 16 million Venezuelan citizens and residents who were previously denied even minimal access; and no acknowledgment of the subsidized state-run grocery stores which supply the needs of 60% of the population who can now purchase food at 40% of the private retail price.

HRW’s systematic failure to mention the advances experienced by the majority of Venezuelan citizens, while peddling outright lies about civic repression , is characteristic of this mouthpiece of Empire. Its gross distortion about labor rights makes this report a model for any high school or college class on political propaganda.

The widespread coverage and uncritical promotion and citation of the ‘Report’ (and the expulsion of its US-based authors for gross intervention on behalf of the opposition) by all the major newspapers from the New York Times, to Le Monde in France, the London Times, La Stampa in Italy and El Pais in Spain gives substance to the charge that the Report was meant to bolster the US effort to isolate Venezuela rather than pursue legitimate humanitarian goals in Venezuela.

The major purpose of the HRW ‘Report’ was to intervene in the forthcoming November municipal and state elections on the side of the far-right opposition. The ‘Report’ echoes verbatim the unfounded charges and hysterical claims of the candidates supported by the far right and the Bush Administration. HRW always manages to pick the right time to issue their propaganda bromides. Their reports mysteriously coincide with US intervention in electoral processes and destabilization campaigns. In Venezuela today the Report has become one of the most widely promoted propaganda documents of the leading rightist anti-Chavez candidates.

For the partisans of democracy, human rights and self-determination, every effort should be made to expose the insidious role of HRW and its Pinochetista propagandist, Vivanco, for what they are – publicists and promoters of US-backed clients who have given ‘human rights’ a dirty name. "

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