Venezuela Rebuffs OAS Human Rights Report as 'Propaganda'

The report, which will be taken to the ICC, may be used to justify more sanctions by the US and its allies.

oas.jpg

Luis Almagro and the panel of “experts” present their report. (Lenin Nolly/EFE)
Luis Almagro and the panel of “experts” present their report. (Lenin Nolly/EFE)
By Paul Dobson
Short URL

Merida, May 31, 2018 (venezuelanalysis.com) – Venezuela has questioned the legitimacy and objectivity of a report issued by the Organisation of American States (OAS). The report, which accuses the government of committing crimes against humanity and holding more than a thousand political prisoners, has been described as a “grotesque media-based farce” by Venezuela’s OAS mission.

Luis Almagro, secretary general of the OAS, personally commissioned the 400-page report. Almagro is well known for his outspoken opposition to Venezuela’s Bolivarian government, which was re-elected this month by a landslide margin.

The report refers to events which occurred between 2014 and 2017 in Venezuela, commonly called “guarimbas”, in which the right-wing opposition mobilized its supporters to oust the democratically elected government through force, using tactics such as firebombing public transport networks and nurseries, as well as burning civilians alive due to presumed pro-government affinities.

Additionally, the report compiles alleged evidence of numerous extrajudicial assassinations carried out by Venezuelan security forces as part of anti-crime campaigns.

The OAS report was compiled by a panel of “international experts”, who were all appointed directly by Almagro himself.

The panel reached its conclusions after allegedly hearing testimonies from representatives of Venezuela’s right-wing opposition which itself led the 2014/2017 violence, and expulsed members of the armed forces and judiciary, according to Bloomberg. All of their investigative work was done from afar, because of the group’s purported “incapacity” to visit Venezuela.

The Venezuelan government is in the process of withdrawing from the OAS, which is based in Washington DC, and has frequently denounced the body and its secretary general as being lackeys of the US government.

The Committee of Victims of the Guarimba, which brings together the families of the victims of the violence of 2014 and 2017, has denounced Almagro in the past for not criticising the widespread anti-government violence and focusing only on isolated incidents of police heavy-handedness.

Caracas’ mission to the OAS expressed its “deep and categorical rejection” of this Tuesday’s report, classifying it as part of a “propaganda campaign” by Luis Almagro to discredit the Bolivarian government.

Venezuela’s ex-ambassador to the OAS, Roy Chaderton, pointed to the illegitimacy and bias of the Almagro-appointed “experts”, as “people committed with the White House and the mafias… who are silent about the crimes being committed in Mexico, Central America, Colombia, as well as in the USA itself”.

The report is due to be presented to the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague, which is currently processing a preliminary investigation into claims of human rights abuses during the same time period at the request of Venezuelan anti-government groups. The ICC has yet to announce any conclusions.

Recently, Washington and its allies have deepened sanctions against Caracas following the presidential elections of May 20, which the US-aligned countries failed to recognise despite all international electoral accompaniment declaring them free and fair. The European Council and Canada both announced further sanctions this week.

It is expected that the US and its allies will use the recent OAS report to justify further sanctions or even intervention, with Almagro himself stating that his goal is to “make sanctions as hard as possible”.