Washington: Harassment of opposition in Venezuela and Cuba continues
The government of President Hugo Chávez continues to use the judiciary to intimidate and selectively prosecute political, union, business, and civil society leaders who were critical of government policies, said the report issued by the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor, US Department of State
The US Department of State complained in a yearly report on human rights published on Thursday that there is growing harassment of opposition activists in Venezuela and Cuba.
The report added that the concentration of power in the executive branch continued to increase significantly in Venezuela. It also stressed that the government harassed privately owned TV stations and other media outlets.
The government of President Hugo Chávez used the judiciary "to intimidate and selectively prosecute political, union, business, and civil society leaders who were critical of government policies or actions," the report said.
Using a law adopted in December 2010, that gave the Venezuelan president broad authority to decree laws, Chávez enacted 26 laws, including some of them "restricting fundamental economic and property rights," it said.
Particularly the US administration voiced concern about "government actions to impede freedom of expression and criminalize dissent."
Washington acknowledged that the government of President Chávez has punished lower-ranking officials, "but there were no investigations or prosecutions of senior officials for alleged corruption or abuses."
Washington also said that opposition is persecuted in Cuba.
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Around 1.5 million Venezuelans have decided to emigrate in search of a better future for their families. The figure accounts to between 4% and 6% of the overall population. Approximately 88% of these expatriates have made up their mind to emigrate over the last 15 years.