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Ambassador ?lvarez: Senators Ignore Political Bias of IACHR Report

 The ambassador of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela to the United States, Bernardo Álvarez, today warned Senator Richard Lugar (R-Ind.) and Senator Christopher Dodd (D-Conn.) of the political bias of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) against the government of Venezuela. In a letter, Ambassador Álvarez responded to a joint statement made by the two senators calling for a hearing at the Organization of American States (OAS) on an IACHR report on democracy and human rights in Venezuela.

“Venezuela rejects the reports from the OAS's Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR), because the IACHR is a politicized entity biased against Venezuela,” wrote Ambassador Álvarez. “The organization’s Secretariat, for example, supported the coup against President Hugo Chávez in 2002,” highlighted the diplomat.

“If we agree that the free will of the people to elect their representatives to be the bedrock of all political rights, then the Secretariat’s [of the IACHR] failure to defend the legitimate President of the country during the coup in 2002 disqualifies it from being an impartial observer and promoter of the political, civil, economic, social and cultural rights enjoyed by the Venezuelan people,” he added. “The IACHR is not the proper space for an objective discussion of human rights in Venezuela.”

“It is unfortunate that your reading of the report does not take into consideration the political manipulation of human rights by the IACHR with respect to Venezuela over the past eight years,” stated Ambassador Álvarez.

In relation to the supposed threat posed to the political rights of the Venezuelan people, Ambassador Álvarez noted, “Venezuelans enjoy a vibrant political system where they are free to express themselves through a variety of ways, including protests, elections and free access to the media.” Álvarez also highlighted the 2007 Amnesty Law granted to those who participated in the 2002 coup, except those that committed crimes against humanity.

“If the U.S. Senate were truly concerned about human rights in the region, it should ask its mission to the OAS to promote a discussion regarding the case of Luis Posada Carriles,” wrote Ambassador Álvarez of the case of the man known as the “Osama bin Laden of Latin America.” Posada Carriles is wanted in Venezuela for having blown up a civilian airliner and killed 73 people. Regardless, he lives freely in Miami, Florida.

“The U.S. Senate may also want to ask its OAS Mission to investigate how the US government protects two former members of the Venezuelan National Guard, José Antonio Molina and German Valera,” added Ambassador Álvarez. Molina and Valera are wanted in Venezuela for allegedly placing explosives in front of the Colombian and Spanish consulates in 2003.

Finally, the Venezuelan ambassador highlighted the advances of the Constitution of 1999; the impressive advances in diminishing levels of poverty, social exclusion and inequality; as well as the 14 free and transparent elections held in Venezuela over the last decade. “Human rights are a matter that concerns us all. In fact, especially given the violation of human rights by the Venezuelan governments of the past, their promotion and protection is at the very core of Venezuela’s Bolivarian Revolution,” pointed out Álvarez.

Embassy of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela to the U.S. Press and Communications Office / March 2, 2010

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