Hugo Chavez, Sean Penn, Oliver Stone and human rights, a reality check

In his Miami Herald column yesterday Andres Oppenheimer wrote about the Organization of American States (OAS) in particular its recent victory over several member countries who are trying to stifle the OAS on matters of human rights.

Mexico — alongside Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Panama, Canada and the United States — succeeded in defeating a proposal by Venezuela, Ecuador, Bolivia and Nicaragua to strip the 34-country Organization of American States’ human rights commission of most of its funding, and to significantly reduce its powers.

When you read about this bloc of countries, with Venezuela at the forefront, you have to wonder how otherwise apparently intelligent people are either unmoved, or unaware, or just plain refuse to believe that anything is wrong. When the OAS criticized, rightly, the US about the prison camp at Guantanamo, everyone heard about it. Yet when countries such as Venezuela are cited for attacks on media restrictions it falls on deaf ears.

Sean Penn, Oliver Stone et al. were all over late Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez when the cameras were rolling. Do they choose to ignore his media limitations? Did they just fall hook, line and sinker for his charm? It’s not a rumour or an unfounded accusation that he shut down media outlets, it’s a fact. An inconvenient fact, but a fact nonetheless.

(The OAS has) criticized both the United States for its prison camp in Guantánamo, and Venezuela, Ecuador and Bolivia for their constant attacks on press freedoms.

Venezuela and its allies, whose presidents already control all government branches and want to clamp down on the last vestige of criticism in their countries — the media — had mounted a diplomatic offensive over the past two years to effectively silence the two OAS agencies.”

As I’ve blogged elsewhere, Chavez talked a good presidency, but that’s all it was, talk when it came to actually helping the poor, Chavez was much more likely to give money to foreign tyrants than to help his own citizens. You might be able to understand poor, desperate, uneducated people living in squalor hanging their hopes on Chavez and taking him at his word. But otherwise bright folks seeing him as anything but a tyrant himself is mind-boggling.

Published by DCMontreal

DCMontreal - Deegan Charles Stubbs - is a Montreal writer born and raised who likes to establish balance and juxtapositions; a bit of this and a bit of that, a dash of Yin and a soupçon of Yang, some Peaks and an occasional Frean and maybe a bit of a sting in the tail! Please follow DCMontreal on Twitter and on Facebook, and add him on Google+

4 thoughts on “Hugo Chavez, Sean Penn, Oliver Stone and human rights, a reality check

  1. It’s true. The average Cuban received more money from Venezuela than did the average Venezuelan. Of course, all $6 billion/year went into Fidel’s pocket.

  2. Capriles isn’t interested in anyone’s “freedom” except the “freedom” of the tiny minority of Venezuelan capitalists and the landed aristocracy to rob the working class and peasantry of Venezuela. That’s what “freedom of the individual” means under capitalism: the “freedom” of a capitalist or landowner to savagely exploit the workers and peasants so that the wealthy 1% can steal the wealth of the nation for themselves while their “fellow Venezuelans” starve.

    That said, Chavez was no revolutionary; after 14 years in power he had still not overthrown the capitalist system, preferring to enact timid reforms of that system – all of which can now be overturned as soon as the capitalist class manages to bribe enough workers into casting their votes for their oppressors, the capitalists – this time in the person of Capriles, with the US military and the CIA poised to back Capriles’ forces up in the usual fashion. See: Salvador Allende, Chile, 1970-73.

    Chavez was also not a “tyrant” or “dictator”. Dictators don’t allow their political opponents to go around agitating for the overthrow of their dictatorship; neither do they bother with elections. Chavez was simply a left-liberal bourgeois reformist who spouted fake-”socialist” rhetoric because he had delusions of grandeur of becoming a great international hero of “the people” like his idol, the “Napoleon of the retreat”, Simon Bolivar. See Karl Marx’ appraisal of Bolivar here: http://wp.mep2pWGj-qq Like Bolivar, Chavez’ bombastic declarations never matched his actual results “in the field”.

    What is needed in Venezuela – and throughout the capitalist world, and, more than anywhere else, the US – isn’t pompous, blowhard “great leaders” like Chavez who talk revolution but enact timid reforms of capitalism. What is needed is revolutionary workers parties whose many capable leaders are all dedicated to the overthrow of the capitalist system worldwide and its permanent replacement with egalitarian socialist workers republics in a system far more democratic than any capitalist country could ever hope to be. Only then can we make food, clothing and shelter, quality education and healthcare “inalienable rights” that can’t be swept away at the next election.

    Independent Workers Party of Chicago

    1. Thank you for your insightful comment. I agree with much but not all of it. Democracy requires transparency and elections in Venezuela are anything but transparent. When voting machines are owned by a company owned by the president, and media is controlled by the government no possibility of a fair election exists. If Venezuela is to become a country for all Venezuelans elections free of fear tactics and manipulation must take place.

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