Monday, September 22, 2008

Venezuela expels 2 after human rights report

Venezuela recently expelled two human rights monitors from Human Rights Watch, accusing them of collaborating with the United States. This is an implausible assertion, given HRW's criticism of the Bush regime.

President Hugo Chávez’s government expelled two employees of Human Rights Watch late Thursday night after chafing at their documentation of widespread political discrimination, intimidation of union members and a subservient judiciary.

Armed men in uniforms apprehended José Miguel Vivanco, a Chilean citizen who is the Americas director for the New York-based group, and Daniel Wilkinson, an American who is deputy director for the Americas, and placed them on a flight to São Paulo, Brazil, where they arrived on Friday morning.


The expulsion, broadcast partly on state television here, comes at a time of increasingly erratic actions by Mr. Chávez. In the last week, he expelled the American ambassador, rounded up military officers and accused them of plotting to kill him and clashed with the Vatican over its granting of political asylum to a political opponent.

The Foreign Ministry said in a statement that Mr. Vivanco violated the law by entering the country on a tourist visa to do human rights work. The ministry also said that Human Rights Watch, which is an outspoken critic of the Bush administration, was acting in concert with the United States government in a campaign of aggression against Venezuela.


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