Excerpts of column "Runrunes" (Rumors) released on Thursday, November 15
UN & HR. Venezuela's election to the United Nations (UN) Human Rights Council is not, as claimed by Jorge Valero, President Hugo Chávez's ambassador to the UN, "a sample of strength of the revolution, which has become a world benchmark of justice," or the result of "very successful" government policies to protect citizens' fundamental rights. None of these premises have been recognized with this election. It is just the result of political discussions, exchange of votes and reorganization of regional groups, such as the Latin American and Caribbean group, inside the UN. Venezuela and the United States also elected this time- were the only countries that voted in 2006 against the establishment of the Human Rights Council. The US involvement in this forum is understandable. As a permanent member of the Security Council, it usually belongs to all the UN organs. The case of Venezuela, though, like other countries with similar governments, is a political affair. Its intention is to boast a position in the Council to continue "selling" its democratic façade and "legitimacy" in the international community. (...) The only good thing in this issue of Venezuela's election is that, in view of the country withdrawal from the Inter-American System on Human Rights, all complaints will be subject to the UN Council. Therefore, the Venezuelan government will have to sort it out in an attempt at defending what cannot be defended. Several recommendations by UN Member States, including Norway, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and the Czech Republic have been ignored, such as improvement of the conditions in the dire Venezuelan prisons or the conditions of detainees whose basic human rights are outrageously abused by police, military and court authorities.
Translated by Conchita Delgado
As late as Tuesday, February 25, there was some visible response from Gabriela Ramírez's office. Representatives of the Office of the Ombudswoman would visit independent human rights watch groups to find what happened in connection with repression of protests. That day, they visited NGO Provea. The next day, they met with the attorneys of NGO Venezuelan Criminal Forum. They pursued specific data because -they argued- no claims of human rights violations of demonstrators had been filed with the Office of the Ombudswoman.