CARACAS, Thursday October 23, 2008 | Update
European Parliament condemns Chávez for political rights abuses in Venezuela

The resolution was adopted by 51 votes to 1, during Strasbourg plenary session of the European Parliament

The EP also rejects the "arbitrary" expulsion of Human Right Watch director (Handout Photo / Miraflores Press Office)
Thursday October 23, 2008  01:21 PM


The European Parliament condemned on Thursday the government of President Hugo Chávez for the disqualification of nearly 300 Venezuelan opposition politicians and the expulsion of two senior officials of a human rights advocacy group, through a resolution adopted by the rightwing political parties.

The text, harshly questioned by the leftist parties and by Venezuela, was adopted by 51 votes to 1, during Strasbourg (an Eastern France city) plenary session of the European Parliament in the framework of "cases of violation of human rights, democracy and rule of law," AFP reported.  

With the exception of one member of the European Parliament, the Party of European Socialists (PES), the Green Party and the Group of the European United Left/Nordic Green Left (GUE/NGL) decided not to participate in the vote as a boycott over what they consider a move that "scorns" the European Parliament. 

The resolution presented by the European People's Party (EPP, rightwing), the ALDE (Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe) and the UEN (Union for Europe of the Nations) demands the Venezuelan government to review the disqualification of 272 politicians, most of them from Venezuelan opposition parties, which may not be candidates in Venezuela's regional elections next November.

The resolution rejects "categorically" the "arbitrary" expulsion of Human Rights Director, José Miguel Vivanco, and of the deputy director, Daniel Wilkinson, "for having issued a report criticizing Venezuela's actions against civil liberties and human rights during the 10-year tenure of President Hugo Chávez".

The rock of discord

A shipment of over 30,000 tons of phosphate arrived at Puerto Cabello port in late July on board the Shi Long Ling, a Chinese-flagged vessel that began its long journey in northern Africa. The cargo boat docked on July 26 after traveling more than 3,200 nautical miles. Undoubtedly, this would just be considered one in many cargo ships crisscrossing the oceans if it were not for the fact that Venezuela has denounced Western Sahara occupation by Morocco and yet purchases the territory's natural resource products from the occupying power.

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