Posts Tagged ‘Human Rights’

US to impose sanctions on Venezuela officials

| December 11th, 2014 | No Comments »
Financial Times

By Andres Schipani

The US Congress on Wednesday voted to restrict travel and freeze assets on some Venezuelan government officials it accuses of human rights abuses during a crackdown on protests against socialist President Nicolás Maduro earlier this year.

More than 40 people have died during a wave of protests by students and members of the Venezuelan opposition against curbs on democratic liberties, rampant crime and a deteriorating economy in the embattled Caribbean nation.

The US Senate approved the measure earlier this week. Now the House of Representatives has passed it, it will be sent to President Barack Obama to sign it into law.

In late July, after peace talks between the government and opposition came to nothing, the US state department imposed a travel ban on some Venezuelan officials.

On Tuesday Mr Maduro lashed out on national television and radio at the possibility of an “insolent imperialist” move, warning that “if ... Read More

EU must act against ‘ever increasing authoritarian practices’ in Venezuela

| December 11th, 2014 | No Comments »
Parliament Magazine

By Dita Charanzová

In a desperate move to preserve the Chavista regime, president of Venezuela Nicolás Maduro has been resorting to extreme and desperate measures to prevent his government from collapsing. Maduro’s struggle to preserve his power is alarming, and the situation is quickly deteriorating.

As a result of the ever increasing authoritarian practices being employed, Venezuelans are suffering further restrictions on their freedom of expression, greater censorship over the media, police brutality – especially against protestors – and the arrest and detention of the political opposition.

The recent arrest of opposition leader and former national assembly deputy Maria Corina Machado on 3 December for allegedly plotting to assassinate president Maduro signalled the continuation of the government’s desperation to silence and punish opposition.

This is why I, together with my colleague Fernando Maura Barandiarán, have initiated a resolution on behalf of ALDE for the European parliament to address the persecution of democratic opposition in Venezuela ... Read More

U.S. House Passes Bill Sanctioning Venezuelan Officials

| December 11th, 2014 | No Comments »
Wall Street Journal WSJ-01

By JOSÉ DE CÓRDOBA

The U.S. House of Representatives unanimously passed a bill Wednesday sanctioning Venezuelan officials who had allegedly committed human rights abuses earlier this year.

The bill requires the U.S. to lift the visas of the Venezuelan officials and calls for the government to freeze any assets such officials might have in the U.S.

The bill, which passed the Senate on Tuesday by voice vote, is expected to be signed into law by President Barack Obama .

Sen. Robert Menendez (D., N.J.), a sponsor of the bill, called on other governments to deny Venezuelan officials involved in human rights violations “entry into their countries and access to their financial systems.”

On Tuesday in Caracas, Venezuela’s president, Nicolás Maduro, blasted the bill when it passed the Senate. “We don’t accept insolent, imperialist sanctions,” Mr. Maduro said in a nationally broadcast speech to military personnel. He angrily accused U.S. officials of “interfering” in Venezuelan affairs.

Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R., Fla.), who ... Read More

U.S. Moves to Penalize Venezuelan Officials

| December 10th, 2014 | No Comments »
Wall Street Journal WSJ-01

BY JOSÉ DE CÓRDOBA

The U.S. government moved closer to hardening sanctions on Venezuelan officials for alleged human rights abuses after Senate lawmakers passed a bill that now heads to the lower house, which has backed a similar proposal, for a vote this week.

The Senate voted late Monday to freeze the bank accounts and assets and decline visas to Venezuelan officials allegedly involved in a violent crackdown this year on Venezuelan protesters in which 43 people were killed. In May, the House overwhelmingly approved, by voice vote, a similar sanctions bill.

Florida congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen said the Senate legislation would be brought to a vote this week in the House, saying it was important to “not allow the actions of President Nicolás Maduro] to go unpunished.”

In Caracas, Venezuelan Mr. Maduro reacted angrily to the bill. “Outrage and condemnation is what we feel towards the White House,” Mr. Maduro said in a televised speech ... Read More

Chairman Menendez Applauds Passage of Venezuela Defense of Human Rights and Civil Society Act

| December 8th, 2014 | No Comments »
US Senate

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Robert Menendez (D-N.J.), Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and author of the bipartisan Venezuela Defense of Human Rights and Civil Society Act, issued this statement following the bill’s passage in the U.S. Senate.

“Today, the United States Senate sent a clear and unequivocal message to the Government of Venezuela.  For too long, Venezuelans have faced state-sponsored violence at the hands of government security forces and watched their country’s judiciary become a tool of political repression.  Venezuelan leaders like Leopoldo Lopez and Maria Corina Machado have become the target of vicious government-led campaigns that seek to silence them for speaking out in defense of democracy and the rule of law. We in the United States have an obligation to shine a bright spotlight on Venezuela’s abuses and must object to the severe human rights violations committed by ... Read More

Cuba hasn’t earned embargo’s end

| October 27th, 2014 | No Comments »
The Miami Herald

In October of 1960, the United States imposed an embargo on exports to Cuba covering all commodities except medical supplies and certain food products. That was the beginning of a trade embargo that still endures and still inspires heated debate.

The anniversary of the embargo, plus this week’s upcoming vote in the United Nations condemning it — which the United States will lose, as usual — have prompted calls for a reassessment. Dropping the embargo altogether would require action by Congress. Meanwhile, anti-embargo advocates say, there’s a lot the president can do to soften or minimize its effects and open the door to restoring full ties with Cuba.

We disagree. Such a move would be premature and utterly lacking in justification at this time.

Granted, Raúl Castro has loosened the reins on the tightly controlled economy to permit more individual businesses. Some citizens can own property, and new rules are designed to encourage ... Read More

Cuba should not be rewarded for denying freedom to its people

| October 21st, 2014 | No Comments »
From the Washington Post

By the Editorial Board

THE OTHER day, Fidel Castro wrote an opinion column for Cuba’s state-run newspaper, Granma, as he has done periodically from retirement. He lavished praise on an editorial in the New York Times that called for an end to the U.S. trade embargo on Cuba. But Mr. Castro had one complaint: The Times mentioned the harassment of dissidents and the still-unexplained death of a leading exponent of democracy, Oswaldo Payá, and a younger activist, Harold Cepero, in a car wreck two years ago.

The assertion that Cuba’s authoritarian government had yet to explain the deaths was “slanderous and [a] cheap accusation,” Mr. Castro sputtered.

So why has Cuba done nothing to dispel the fog of suspicion that still lingers over the deaths? If the charge is slanderous, then it is long past time for Mr. Castro to order a thorough investigation of what happened on an isolated Cuban road ... Read More

UN Human Rights Chief Calls on Venezuela to Free Lopez & Protestors

| October 20th, 2014 | No Comments »
Latin American Herald Tribune

GENEVA — The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, expressed serious concern on Monday at the continued detention of Venezuelan opposition leader Leopoldo López, as well as more than 69 other people who were arrested in the context of public protests that took place across Venezuela over several months starting in February this year.

“The prolonged and arbitrary detention of political opponents and protestors in Venezuela is causing more and more concern internationally,” High Commissioner Zeid said. “It is only exacerbating the tensions in the country.”

According to information received by the UN Human Rights Office, over 3,300 people, including minors, were detained for brief periods between February and June, and more than 150 cases of ill-treatment, many of them torture, were reported. At least 43 people were killed during the protests, including one public prosecutor and nine members of the security forces. Journalists and human rights defenders ... Read More

Venezuela’s Election to UN Security Council Can’t Hide Its Weakness

| October 17th, 2014 | No Comments »
Commentary

By Ben Cohen

The good news is that Turkey didn’t manage to get itself elected to the UN Security Council. The bad news is that Venezuela did, as was expected. So come January, the chavista regime will have an unprecedented say in world affairs for a two-year term as one of the Security Council’s non-permanent members.

This marks the fifth time in the UN’s brief history that Venezuela will serve on the Council. The last occasion was in 1992-93, when its representative was Ambassador Diego Arria, who distinguished himself by highlighting the genocide then raging in Bosnia, and by speaking out on behalf of human rights more generally. Two decades later, the situation has flipped entirely–the current crop of genocidaires, rogue states, and terrorists, particularly in the Middle East, will discover to their satisfaction that there are few friends more loyal than Venezuela’s present rulers.

As Arria himself pointed out in a recent ... Read More

Venezuela Joins U.N. Security Council for Two-Year Term

| October 17th, 2014 | No Comments »
Wall Street Journal WSJ-01

By Ezequiel Minya

CARACAS—The United Nations on Thursday voted Venezuela on to its Security Council, granting the South American country a long-coveted trophy of international standing and placing a persistent thorn in the side of the U.S. on the U.N.’s most influential committee.

“This is a moment of great pride for all of Venezuela,” said President Nicolás Maduro from the presidential palace in Caracas. “The world has given us support. We should feel happiness in our hearts that we are a country that is admired and loved.”

Not everybody was celebrating the victory. Though the Obama administration resisted calls from Venezuela’s critics to mount a campaign to derail its entry into the Security Council, U.S. officials on Thursday criticized Venezuela’s record at the U.N.

“Unfortunately, Venezuela’s conduct at the U.N. has run counter to the spirit of the U.N. Charter and its violations of ... Read More

5 Dead in Venezuela After Tense Police Standoff

| October 9th, 2014 | No Comments »
ABC News

By FABIOLA SANCHEZ and JORGE RUEDA

President Nicolas Maduro called Wednesday for an investigation into a confusing shootout with police that left a well-connected government supporter and four others dead.

Police before dawn Tuesday raided a high-rise building occupied by presumed members of armed pro-government groups known as “collectives,” leading to a tense, eight-hour standoff that created panic and blocked traffic across several downtown blocks.

Among those killed was former policeman Jose Odreman, the outspoken leader of the 5th of March collective, one of a myriad of sometimes armed groups that provide social services and rally support for the government in poor neighborhoods.

Barely 90 minutes before he was killed, during a brief recess in shooting, Odreman spoke to Venezuelan media and blamed Interior Minister Miguel Rodriguez Torres for the bloodshed and held him personally accountable for any attempt on his life.

Fighting resumed when three police officers were taken hostage by individuals holed up ... Read More

Menendez: Cuba attendance undermines Summit of Americas

| October 3rd, 2014 | No Comments »
The Hill

By Ramsey Cox

Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) blasted Panamanian President Juan Carlos Varela for saying he’ll invite Cuba to the 2015 Summit of the Americas.

Menendez wrote a letter to Varela on Wednesday to express his “dismay” over Varela’s intent to invite Cuba to the summit in April.

“Cuba’s participation would undermine the spirit and authority of the Summit of the Americas,” Menendez wrote. “The Government of Cuba remains this hemisphere’s must enduring dictatorship, having deprived the people of Cuba of democratic rule for more than a half century.

“The Government of Cuba fails to meet even the most minimal standard of democratic governance required for its participation at the Summit of the Americas.”

Menendez said the Cuban government denies its citizens “their most fundamental political and human rights” by criminalizing free expression and dissent. He said one purpose of the summit is to reaffirm the principles in the Charter of the United Nations, which ... Read More

U.S. must raise stakes to get hostage Alan Gross returned by Cuba

| October 1st, 2014 | No Comments »
The Miami Herald

By Frank Calzon

Confronted with the barbaric beheadings of journalists James Foley and Steven Sotloff by the terrorists of the Islamic State, President Obama has rightly changed course and announced a new strategy.

After six lackluster and bewildering years, the president would do well to reappraise his strategy for dealing with Cuba and North Korea, as well. Cuba is still holding hostage a USAID contractor. Alan Gross is ill and has lost 100 pounds in harsh Cuban prisons.

Havana wants “to exchange” Gross for release of Cuban spies in U.S. prisons who have been convicted of “conspiracy to kill U.S. nationals, destruction of aircraft, and murder.” They not only infiltrated Florida military bases, but also set up the killing of four Miami men, members of Brothers to the Rescue, who were flying unarmed civilian aircraft over the Florida Straits to spot fleeing Cubans aboard rafts in need of help.

Raúl Castro, now president of ... Read More

Almagro: Cuba should attend summit

| September 29th, 2014 | No Comments »
The Miami Herald

By Andres Oppenheimer

Uruguay, Peru and Guatemala have nominated candidates to replace Jose Miguel Insulza, secretary general of the 34-country Organization of American States. In the first of a three-part occasional series leading up to January’s vote, columnist Andres Oppenheimer interviews the candidates. Today, he asked Foreign Minister Luis Almagro of Uruguay five questions about his plans for the OAS and attacks from critics. Excerpts:

Which specific changes would you make at the OAS if elected Secretary General?

The OAS must regain credibility and relevance, and become a political convergence mechanism that complements and articulates other (regional) integration processes. In that context, it’s key that the strengthening of democracy and its institutions goes hand-in-hand with an unrestricted defense of human rights and inter-American (human rights) mechanisms, and that their independence be respected by all….

At the same time, it would have to address issues of this century, such as the lack of security among ... Read More

Under pressure at home, Venezuela’s Maduro calls for a more ‘democratic’ U.N.

| September 25th, 2014 | No Comments »
The Miami Herald

By Jim Wyss

BOGOTA- Addressing the United Nations General Assembly for the first time since taking office 17 months ago, Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro said it was time to make good on the dreams of his late boss Hugo Chávez and shake up the staid body.

Echoing other regional leaders, Maduro, 51, said the United Nations had been co-opted by imperialist powers and needed a dose of democracy.

“The U.N. charter is one of the most beautiful poems you can read,” he said. “But it’s turned into a document that has been thrown aside and is trampled permanently.”

“The countries of the world are clamoring for their voice to be heard,” he said, noting that the 15-member Security Council needs to be more representative.

Related Galleries Related Stories Related Blogs Related Links

Maduro also used his speech to denounce the U.S. blockade of Cuba, one of Venezuela’s staunchest allies, and its continued attacks on Syria and Iraq. While Maduro ... Read More

A year after skipping the UN,Venezuela seeks coveted prize

| September 24th, 2014 | No Comments »
The Miami Herald

By Jim Wyss

BOGOTA- During the opening of last year’s U.N. General Assembly, Venezuela provided a dose of chaos and drama when President Nicolás Maduro canceled his inaugural address at the last minute and flew home, citing shadowy threats against his safety on the streets of New York.

On Tuesday, those fears seem to have vanished as the South American leader glad-handed global leaders and faced the press on the sidewalks of Manhattan.

Maduro may have reason to feel confident as he prepares to address the organization Wednesday night: Venezuela seems poised to win a seat on the U.N. Security Council for the first time since 1993.

The last time it vied for a spot, in 2006, under late President Hugo Chávez, the U.S. and others blocked the move. This time around, few seem prepared to get in Venezuela’s way. Despite questions about its human rights record and continuing crackdown on protesters, the country ... Read More

Colombia: Venezuela Must Be ‘Constructive’ at UN

| September 24th, 2014 | No Comments »
ABC News

By Alexandra Olson

Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos said Tuesday that he expects Venezuela to win a seat on the U.N. Security Council and hopes the country will play a “constructive” role on the organization’s most powerful body.

Venezuela’s candidacy won the unanimous endorsement of Latin American and Caribbean countries during a closed-door meeting in New York on July 23. That makes it likely it will muster the two-thirds majority needed to secure the seat representing the region in a secret ballot of 193 member nations at the U.N. General Assembly next month.

The seat would give a high-profile platform for the fiery, anti-U.S. rhetoric of the socialist government of President Nicolas Maduro, the political heir of the late Hugo Chavez. Venezuela is almost certain to ally itself with Russia, and against the U.S., on big issues such as Syria and Ukraine.

“I hope they (Venezuela) can maintain a constructive position,” Santos said in ... Read More

Venezuela’s Crackdown on Opposition

| September 22nd, 2014 | No Comments »
The New York Times

By the Editorial Board

The Venezuelan government early this year responded to a wave of street protests by jailing opposition leaders, deploying the army against unarmed protesters and tightening control of the media. The deplorable tactics have largely driven an inspiring opposition movement underground, depriving Venezuelans of the right to challenge a leader who has put a once-prosperous nation on a perilous track.

The imprisonment and trial of an opposition leader, Leopoldo López, show how far President Nicolás Maduro is willing to go to stave off legitimate grievances in a country he and his predecessor, Hugo Chávez, mismanaged.Mr. López, a 43-year-old Harvard-educated politician, has been jailed since Feb. 18, when the authorities accused him of instigating violent demonstrations. Some 1,700 demonstrators are awaiting trial and more than 70 remain jailed.

Mr. López’s trial, which began in July, is a travesty. The indictment bizarrely ... Read More

AP Interview: Brazil’s Silva Wants Better US Ties

| September 18th, 2014 | No Comments »
The New York Times

By the Associated Press

RIO DE JANEIRO — Marina Silva, a front-running presidential candidate who grew up in the Amazon jungle and could become the first black to lead Brazil’s government, said Wednesday that if elected she’ll improve ties with the U.S. and strongly push for human rights in nations like Cuba.

She spoke exclusively to The Associated Press in her first interview with a foreign media outlet since being thrust into Brazil’s presidential campaign after her Socialist Party’s original candidate died in an Aug. 13 plane crash.

Silva, a former Amazon activist and environment minister who pushed policies that helped Brazil slash the rate at which it was destroying the jungle, has found herself in a dead-heat presidential race with President Dilma Rousseff. The incumbent represents the Workers Party, which Silva herself helped found three ... Read More

Venezuela’s UN Security Council Bid Gains Backing

| September 12th, 2014 | No Comments »
ABC News

By Joshua Goodman

Venezuela’s socialist government has quietly secured the backing of Latin America and the Caribbean to obtain a diplomatic trophy that long eluded the late Hugo Chavez: a seat on the United Nations Security Council.

The unanimous endorsement of Venezuela’s candidacy to represent the region on the Security Council came at a closed-door meeting July 23 in New York, said Amin Cruz, a diplomat at the U.N. from the Dominican Republic, which presided at the meeting.

When Chavez last tried for a seat in 2006, the United States succeeded in torpedoing his campaign. This year, Washington has been mum.

While Venezuela must still muster a two-thirds majority in a secret ballot of 193 member nations at the U.N. General Assembly next month, the lack so far of a rival candidate from the region means the chances of its candidacy being derailed are slim, analysts say.

If it does win a seat, world leaders ... Read More

Page 1 of 612345»...Last »