Venezuela HRW report

Kenneth Roth

Executive Director
Human Rights Watch

Mr. Roth,

Your letter of Jan. 7 defending the report on Venezuela produced by Human Rights Watch is of interest to me.

I am a student of Venezuela and have met and talked with Greg Wilpert personally about Venezuela politics and current events so I have considerable background with regard to this matter. I find your defense of the clearly defined reference to flaws and inaccuracies in the HRW report on Venezuela to be weak. I think your defense of the RCTV decision criticism to be especially weak. You are basically saying that, even though the decision to revoke the license was justified, it was done in a manner which did not involve due process. I hope that you do not support criticizing making the right decision through the wrong process justifies a major criticism of any Government. I should now point out that there was more than one alternative for the Chavez Government to pursue in the RCTV case and the one chosen was also well within the law and consistent with the Constitution. Although the Chavez Government took another tack than the one you wanted them to take, the one taken was legal and Constitutional. Your Organization must, in order to maintain credibility, be careful about such criticism as it then throws a bad light on other investigations which you may undertake.

Mr. Wilperts clarification of the Judicial system in Venezuela and his pointing out that decisions are not one-sided as your report suggests and his clarification and explanation of the true situation in Venezuela regarding Governmental employment discrimination by Mr Wilpert are understandable and balanced whereas the HRW accusations are not. Again I must say that your credibility is suspect.

It is distressing but eye-opening to me to see an Organization such as Human Rights Watch go to the bottom of the heap of Organizations I have admired in my long lifetime. I am sorry your organization is now putting out reports lacking in credibility. I do not know if there are unspoken goals or agendas in your reporting. I hope not. But, whether it is incompetence or intentional misrepresentation, it appears that your reporting is no longer reliable or credible.


Charles Koch