Mérida, March 3rd, 2010 (venezuelanalysis.com)-- Venezuela’s Ambassador to the United States, Bernardo Alvarez, responded yesterday to a call by US Senators Christopher Dodd and Richard Lugar to open a debate on Venezuela’s human rights record, stating that such a move is “tantamount to intervention.”
Sen. Dodd (Democrat – Connecticut) and Sen. Lugar (Republican – Indiana) have called for a hearing to be held at the Organization of American States (OAS) after the organization’s Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) released a 351-page report criticizing Venezuela for political repression and rampant lack of freedom.
“We are deeply disturbed by some of the report’s observations” wrote the US Senators in a joint statement released on Monday. “Venezuela is a critical testing ground of OAS support for democracy and human rights, where basic civil liberties are under threat.”
In a letter addressed to Dodd and Lugar on Tuesday, Ambassador Alvarez challenged the findings of the OAS commission and the assertions of the two US lawmakers.
The Venezuelan diplomat accused the IACHR of political bias and stated that the commission’s support for the illegal and anti-democratic coup d’etat that took place in Venezuela in 2002 has marred the IACHR’s credibility.
“The overwhelming majority of [the IACHR’s] allegations are simply based on interviews with members of the Venezuelan opposition and newspaper articles from the opposition,” wrote Alvarez in the letter.
The Ambassador cited the 14 internationally monitored national elections that have taken place in Venezuela since 1999 as proof of the country’s “vibrant, if raucous democracy.”
“If the U.S. Senate were truly concerned about human rights in the region,” he wrote, “it should ask its mission at the OAS to promote a discussion regarding the case of Luis Posada Carriles.”
Carriles, a Cuban-born Venezuelan and CIA operative, is believed to be responsible for the terrorist bombing of a Cuban airliner in 1976 which left 75 people dead. Despite extradition requests from Venezuela, Carriles has been living freely in the United States since 2005.
Roy Chaderton Matos, Venezuela’s ambassador to the OAS, referred to the members of the IACHR as “human rights bureaucrats committed to imperialist policies.”
According to Chaderton, every time there is an election in Venezuela, “these organizations attack the Venezuelan government in order to gain some benefit at the polls.”
In 2008, the Washington-based organization Human Rights Watch released a 230-page report that severely criticized the Venezuelan government for human rights abuses, just before its regional elections in November.
This year, the IACHR report comes in the run up to the country’s elections for the National Assembly, Venezuela’s congress.