Condie vs. Hugo

| June 5, 2007

(Photo from Venezuela Llora, Venezuela Sangra) 

In my favorite city in the world (Panama, RP), my favorite Secretary of State dueled with my favorite villains, the Venezuelan government according to Carmen Gentile in the Washington Times;

  Miss Rice hurled the first salvo, saying freedom of speech is not a “thorn in the side of democracy,” a direct reference to the shutdown of RCTV by Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez because of critical reports about his government.
    “Freedom of speech, freedom of association and freedom of conscience are not a thorn in the side of government. They are the beginning of justice in every society,” Miss Rice said during her opening remarks to OAS foreign ministers.
    “Disagreeing with your government is not unpatriotic and most certainly should not be a crime in any country, especially in a democracy,” she said.
    Venezuelan Foreign Minister Nicolas Maduro struck back, saying, “Venezuela demands respect for its sovereignty.”
    He sought to turn a critical eye on the United States, saying the OAS should conduct an investigation of how the United States treats detainees at U.S. Naval Base Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, instead of concerning itself with the closure of a Venezuelan TV station.
    After his address to OAS leaders, Miss Rice asked for and received an opportunity to rebut the Venezuelan minister’s remarks.
    “As to issues in the United States of human rights, of how we fight the war on terror, the detention of unlawful combatants at Guantanamo, on immigration policy, on any issue, I am quite certain that it would be difficult for any commission to debate more fully, to investigate more fully, to criticize the policies of the United States government then is done every night on CNN, on ABC, on CBS, on NBC and on any number of smaller channels in the United States,” Miss Rice said.

Now, Ms. Rice should’ve mentioned Chavez’ prisons and the conditions there as compared to the facility at Guantanamo and she shouldn’t have walked out so that the Venezuelan could describe Guantanamo unchallenged;

The Venezuelan foreign minister said Guantanamo was akin to”something monstrous, only comparable to the Hitler era.”

I’m pretty sure that any of Chavez’ political enemies aren’t as well-treated as the monsters in Guantanamo. I’d like Chavez to prove otherwise – like where are the 200 demonstrators he arrested last week being held and in what condition?

According to the Associated Press (via Washington Post), Rice called for the OAS to get involved;

At the meeting, she urged the OAS to send its secretary-general, Jose Miguel Insulza, to Venezuela to look into the closing of the station and deliver a full report on his findings.

Maduro struck back, waving a couple of red herrings, like the Left tends to do;

Maduro, speaking after Rice, reacted angrily, saying her comments were an “unacceptable intervention is the internal affairs of a nation, and that is why we reject it.”

“Venezuela is asking for respect,” he said. “We demand respect for our sovereignty.”

Maduro defended the decision not to renew RCTV’s license as “democratic, legal and fair” and accused the United States of repeated violations of human rights, including at the U.S.-Mexico border where immigrants “are chased and hunted like animals” and at Guantanamo Bay, where he said terrorism suspects are being “held hostage.” 

Too bad Nancy Pelosi was busy trying to decide how to keep her fellow Democrats out of jail or she could’ve taken the opportunity to support Venezuelans.  

In the meantime, I learned from Pheistyblog that RCTV has three daily news broadcasts on YouTube. It’s the #1 subscription on YouTube for the week – #2 for the month at this writing.

In the meantime Daniel at Venezuela News and Views reports that Chavez’ forces are denying entry into Caracas of bus loads of young people, while students have taken to the High Court to defend their right to protest Chavez. from Daniel’s link to El Universal;

Thousand university students walked Monday up to the Supreme Tribunal of Justice (TSJ) to file a petition in the collective interest, on behalf of their rights to demonstrate.The students planned to request TSJ to ensure their right to hold demonstrations across the whole city. Last Friday they were not allowed to go to the National Assembly (AN), downtown Caracas.”The idea is to secure the right to protest. And we asked also the opportunity to take the floor at the Parliament. Sovereignty resides in people and people delegate it to the National Assembly,” said Stalin González, the president of the Federation of University Student Councils (FCU) at Central University of Venezuela (UCV), AFP quoted.

Unfortunately, the courts have no power over Chavez since the Venezuela Legislature gave him unlimited power to rule by decree back in January as we were warned by Fausta Wertz.

In other news from Latin America, the Today Show is broadcasting from Havanna this week and the Babalu Blog has a Blog Burst going on for questions Matt Lauer should be asking the Cuban government while he’s there. Henry “Conductor” Gomez also critiques Wolf Blitzer’s interview with Ricardo Alarcon, Cuba’s president of the National Assembly pronouncing Wolf Blitzer a dolt. So I guess it’s unanimous now.

Category: Foreign Policy, Hugo Chavez, Media

Comments are closed.