Foreign Policy Blogs

IACHR Issues Strong Critique of Venezuela

Late last month the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) released a lengthy report that described a weakening of democratic freedoms and rights in Venezuela.

In its overview, the Commission stated that the country experiences:
“political intolerance; the lack of independence of the branches of the State in dealing with the executive; constraints on freedom of expression and the right to protest peaceably; the existence of a climate hostile to the free exercise of dissenting political participation and to monitoring activities on the part of human rights organizations”.

You can find the report here.

According to the Washington Post, “the report praised Venezuela’s government for reducing poverty and illiteracy and increasing access to healthcare, but said that did not justify eroding civil rights”.

Not surprisingly, Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez declared that the Commission’s report was biased, and he views the IACHR and its affiliation to the OAS as no more than a representative of US interests. Venezuela has not allowed the IACHR to visit since 2002, and so a large part of the report’s evidence was based on interviews with persons outside the country. Admittedly, any persons who left Venezuela over the past decade are much more likely to be opponents of the current administration.

The IACHR’s website states that it is an autonomous organization, and its members are said to “act independently, without representing any particular country”. Thematic reports include analysis of women’s rights in Chile (2009) and violence against children in Colombia (2006). Aside from Venezuela the most recent country reports are for Honduras (2009), Haiti (2008), and Bolivia (2007). There are not any reports directly focused on the United States, but in 2006 the IACHR released a statement calling for the closure of Guantanamo.



David D. Sussman

David D. Sussman is currently a PhD Candidate at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy (Tufts University), in Boston, Massachusetts. Serving as a fellow at the Feinstein International Center, he was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship to study the lives of Colombian refugees and economic migrants in Caracas, Venezuela. David has worked on a variety of migrant issues that include the health of displaced persons, domestic resettlement of refugees, and structured labor-migration programs. He holds a Masters in International Relations from the Fletcher School, where he studied the integration of Somali and Salvadoran immigrants. David has a B.A. from Dartmouth College and is fluent in Spanish. He has lived in Colombia, Honduras, Nicaragua, Mexico and Venezuela, and also traveled throughout Latin America. In his free time David enjoys reading up on international news, playing soccer, cooking arepas, and dancing salsa casino. Areas of Focus: Latin America; Migration; Venezuela.