US lawmaker: Chávez seeks to silence human rights activists
The president of the Foreign Affairs Committee, House of Representatives of the United States, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen said the proposal to remove Venezuela from the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) "will have widespread negative implications for democracy and fundamental freedoms" in the South American country
The president of the Foreign Affairs Committee, House of Representatives of the United States, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen on Wednesday criticized the decision of the Government of Venezuela to withdraw from the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights. In her view, such a move is a new attempt to "silence" human rights advocates.
On Monday, President Hugo Chávez announced that Venezuela would withdraw from the "infamous" Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) of the OAS, which he described as a "mechanism used by the United States" against his country.
In this regard, Ros-Lehtinen, a Florida Republican representative, said in a statement that Chávez "again is trying to silence advocates of human rights throughout the hemisphere." His proposal to remove Venezuela from the IACHR "will have widespread negative implications for democracy and fundamental freedoms" in the South American country, Efe quoted.
The Venezuelan people, Ros-Lehtinen warned, "will be denied the right to sue their oppressors in an unbiased environment."
Ros-Lehtinen also criticized the fact that Chávez has caused chaos in the Venezuelan economy by implementing "failed centrally-planned economic policies."
Chávez, added the lawmaker, has undermined freedom, individual liberties, and human rights in the formerly prosperous South American nation, "and now he wants Venezuela to abandon an important regional human rights body."
His actions "clearly show his willingness to ignore democratic principles and his refusal to respect the Inter-American Democratic Charter," she said.
The IACHR, recalled Ros-Lehtinen, is "a key forum for the oppressed who seek justice for the countless outrages by power-hungry despots in the region."
"Responsible nations" have an obligation to fight against attacks on human rights and democracy in Latin America, said Ros-Lehtinen.
José Vicente Rangel clearly said: "We are not conducting negotiations threatened with a gun in the head." He warned behind closed doors in the midst of the social upheaval occurred during the oil strike in 2002 and 2003. Dissenting Timoteo Zambrano answered back that no other option was available: "The thing is that otherwise, you do not negotiate."