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News: International

Venezuela Says U.S. Report on Human Trafficking Reflects “Double Standards”

Mérida, June 19th 2009 (Venezuelanalysis.com) - The Venezuelan Foreign Relations Ministry issued a statement on Wednesday accusing the United States government of arbitrarily wielding its annual Trafficking in Persons Report as a political tool to injure its enemies and reward its allies.

"The false accusations against our country over the course of recent years in this report on the trafficking of persons have served as a justification for a brutal aggression against our people and our government," the Ministry stated. "These reports are nothing other than a tool for imperial politics and aggression toward the countries in the world that develop independent policies."

The Ministry also called it hypocritical for the U.S. to criticize the human rights records of other countries when its own record has been so dismal. "It is scandalous that a country where immigrants are repressed and exploited, especially Latin Americans, their families are separated and border walls are built, and where torture has been practiced and terrorists are protected, pretends to prop itself up as a judge of human rights in the world," stated the Ministry.

In the brief statement, the Ministry demanded an end to "unilateral certifications that, far from helping to promote human rights, seek to hide the double standards that are practiced in the United States and to create obstacles for the establishment of  relationships of equality and respect that should prevail between our countries."

The 2009 report released by the U.S. State Department this week categorizes more than 170 countries into three tiers according to how effectively the U.S. government judges them to be combating human trafficking. Last year, Venezuela was taken off the lowest tier, Tier 3, where it had been placed along with Cuba and Iran, and placed on the Tier 2 "Watch List," where it remained this year.

"The Government of Venezuela does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so," says the report. However, "the [Venezuelan] government did not show evidence of progress in convicting and sentencing trafficking offenders and providing adequate assistance to victims; therefore, Venezuela is placed on Tier 2 Watch List."

The report recognizes poverty, unemployment, and the breakdown of community as factors which lead to human trafficking, but in its evaluation of Venezuela it does not mention the halving of poverty, the reduction of unemployment, the expansion of free primary health care and access to basic foods, and the promotion of community cohesion through community councils as a result of the Chávez government's policies.

The report praises Venezuela's 2007 Law on the Right of Women to a Life Free of Violence, the 2005 Law Against Organized Crime, and the Child Protection Act, which open legal avenues for prosecuting traffickers. It also says the government opened investigations of human trafficking cases and cooperated with INTERPOL on transnational trafficking cases and increased screening at airports. 

The report's main criticism of Venezuela is that these laws are weakly enforced. It highlights a lack of victims' protection services and efficiency in Venezuela's justice system, and a lack of shelters and rehabilitation for victims. It encourages the government to appoint a national coordinator of anti-trafficking measures.

Under the administration of President George W. Bush, the U.S. used its Human Trafficking Report to financially and politically attack Venezuela. Two months before a crucial presidential recall referendum in 2004, the U.S. moved Venezuela from Tier 2 to Tier 3 and threatened to block an Inter-American Development Bank loan to Venezuela as a consequence, a threat it later acted upon after Chavez won the election.

This year, the United States is not among the countries ranked in the report. However, the U.S. Justice Department released a corresponding report on trafficking in the U.S. In contrast to the previous administration, Secretary of State Clinton acknowledged the U.S.'s role in the problem, saying, "Trafficking is a crime that involves every nation on earth, and that includes our own."

Published on Jun 19th 2009 at 6.00pm

Comments

Horrific Human Trafficking by U.S. Contractors in Iraq.

As a U.S. citizen, I find it almost laughable that the U.S. dares to criticize the human rights records of other countries when its own record is so horrible.

The U.S. has commited the most serious of all human rights violations -- by its illegal, offensive invasion of Iraq; its use of torture on detainees kidnapped from Iraq, Afghanistan and other countries around the world; its establishment of secret prisons, refusal to allow the Red Cross to meet with all its prisoners, and holding detainees without charges or trial in inhuman conditions of confinement for years.

The U.S.'s record in Iraq on human trafficking is absymal: it allowed its contractors to import laborers from third world countries such as India and Nepal into Iraq to provide services to the U.S. at the lowest possible cost. Their passports were seized, they were locked into dormitories, and kept as virtual prisoners while the contractors made millions, if not billions, from their slave labor.

The U.S. effectively shielded these contractors from being prosecuted for these illegal practices by passing laws after the invasion which deprived Iraqi courts of any jurisdiction to try the contractors. Nor did the U.S. take any steps to prosecute them under U.S. laws.

The Bush-Cheney administration was responsible for making the U.S. one of the worst human rights violators in the world. The Obama administration, by refusing to prosecute any of the criminals who caused these violations, is demonstrating its complicity with their crimes.

How dare the U.S. sit in judgment on any other nation when it has committed so many war crimes and human rights violations itself -- and is still refusing to investigate and prosecute them?

Venezuela is right to denounce the U.S. report on Human Trafficking. The report's criticism of Venezuela is just another baseless U.S. polemic against this country. The U.S. fears Venezuela because it fears the spread of its Bolivarian socialism will undermine its capitalist profits.

More Imperial nonsense.

Nothing personal, but I hope the economic crisis bankrupts the USA to the point where they have to close down the 750 military bases around the world, and can no longer AFFORD to meddle in the affairs of any other nation, or wage the Fictitious "wars" on drugs and nouns, or write idiotic reports like this one, or indulge in the antics of anti-Chavez bubble-heads like Connie Mack and his south Florida lunatic anti-everything terrorists.

Butt Out

Here in Latin America we are sick and tired of the relentless bullying and finger-pointing and invading by the US to get gringo hands on other countries' natural resources.

So Gringolandia is bankrupt--deal with it, and leave other folks alone.