[OPE] analysis of the 'human rights watch' visit to vzla [and more]!

From: <glevy@pratt.edu>
Date: Thu Sep 25 2008 - 14:30:31 EDT

Mike L asked that I call your attention to the following
"excellent" analysis
which was written for another list by
Joaquin Bustelo.
In solidarity, Jerry

---------------------------- Original Message
Subject: [Fwd: excellent analysis of
the 'human rights watch' visit to vzla [and more]!]
"michael a. lebowitz" <mlebowit@sfu.ca>
Date: Thu,
September 25, 2008 12:00 pm 

Re:  It's about fucking time 
From/: "Joaquin Bustelo" <jbustelo@gmail.com 
Date/: Fri, 19 Sep 2008 22:09:19 -0400

Louis succinctly summed up the expulsion from Venezuela of
imperialist agent Jose Miguel Vivanco, Latin American director of the

so-called "human rights" watch outfit, with this pithy
subject line. But,
still, a few more things can profitably be noted.

The thing about Vivanco is, this was an obvious, conscious

The timing and location of Vivanco's Thursday
press conference in
Caracas was communicated to the imperialist and
opposition media many days
in advance. The event was carefully
coordinated so that it would be
transmitted live by capitalist TV
locally and internationally through CNN en
Espaņol (and
perhaps additional outlets). It was even slated to begin on the
hour (because Venezuela's local time is 1/2 hour off imperialist
Eastern Time) to make it more convenient.

What surprises me
is that the revolutionary government let him into
the country AT
ALL, for while citizens of many countries may be able to
Venezuela for tourism with a minimum of visa formalities --or none at
all-- it is an entirely different matter if you come in a professional

capacity or to do work. The same is true of the United States and
many other
countries, if not all of them. Some French journalists a
while back got in
hot water and expelled from the U.S. when they
came over as tourists and
tried to cover the winter Olympics, I
think it was. The only extraordinary
thing about how Vivanco was
treated is that they helped him pack his bags
and simply ushered him
to the airport and invited to leave, rather than
dumping him in jail
while the Venezuelan equivalent of la migra figured out
what to do
with such a conscious and blatant violator of immigration laws.

Somehow, I doubt this was an oversight, but rather a statement by
the revolutionary government. They consciously LET Vivanco have his
"Venezuelan is a dictatorship where no one can criticize the
press conference so it could be transmitted
"Live from Caracas," without
interference or interruption,
both within Venezuela and throughout the
hemisphere. An expression
of what in Spanish we would call "sovereign"
contempt for
the yanqui fabrications.

I know in the Spanish-language US
newsroom where I work, the irony
was not lost on many. And then,
just in case someone thought that Vivanco
got away with it not
because the revolutionary government is simply unafraid
criticism, especially such a contemptible source, but rather because this

was someone from Washington, they kicked his ass out of the country
so hard
he landed in Sao Paulo.

Where, it should be
noted, he was interviewed ONCE AGAIN this
morning, this time by
phone, by CNN en Espaņol, about how "brutally" he had
been treated. Vivanco was livid. Why the Chavista thugs didn't even let
use his Blackberry to call another press conference! Not that it
because opposition TV station cameras just HAPPENED to be
in Vivanco's hotel
room when the Venezuelan immigration authorities
came calling late, late
last night. Now all the TV news producers
--and the CIA-- are saying": thank
God for coincidence!

Two things that should be noted, the first being the overall
ideological CONTENT of Vivanco's presentation. While the group calls
"Human Rights Watch," this is the old
anti-communist CIA front "Helsinki
Watch." What it tries
to do is convince everyone that human rights consist
of rich people
being allowed to use their money to impose on society the
they want to convey, and that's it. There are no other human
No political nor --heaven forbid!-- social or economic rights other
than the right of rich people to use their money to impose their will on

society as a whole.

While it was "Helsinki
Watch," the outfit had the brutal
arbitrariness of the
Stalinists in Moscow and other East European capitals
to help its
credibility. Nowadays it is such a shameless CIA sock puppet
that it
doesn't even bother to issue at least a token, ritual denunciation
of the American concentration camp and torture center in Guantanamo for


Thus while Vivanco claimed in his Caracas presser
that Chavez had
"used" the 2002 coup to deprive certain
elements of their "human rights," he
had not a word to say
about the coup itself being a *monster* violation of
the human
rights of the ENTIRE Venezuelan NATION. Nothing about the human
rights of the Venezuelan people to have the government they elected
once, but REPEATEDLY-- in power, nor to have carried out the
project on behalf of poor and working people that THIS
government was
elected to put in place. The only human right that
exists is that of the
moneyed minority to oppose and block the will
of the majority by any means,
fair or foul (though if truth be told,
exclusively foul).

The second thing that should be noted is
the TIMING of the event. It
comes at a time of stepped up
provocations against the sovereignty not just
of Venezuela, but of

Yet whether Evo Morales is proving to be a masterful
politician with
his temporizing tactics against the "half
moon" autonomists, or just got
lucky, it turns out the result
of the recent weeks of maneuvering has been
that the opposition last
week had enough rope to hang itself, or at least to
give itself such
a severe whipping that it's close to being on life support.
opposition has isolated itself from regional backing, including
Brazil's, which is very important, the trump card they had been secretly

(and not so secretly) been counting on.

And they
succeeded in at least *formally* uniting ALL of South
against them. This is important. Until Monday's summit in Chile,
only convened on Saturday afternoon, BTW, UNASUR --the fledgling Union
South American Nations-- had been a hope, or, at MOST, a plan. On
Monday it
became a REALITY.

How? Why? Well, on the 11th,
there was a massacre in Pando
Department in Bolivia of pro-Morales
marchers. And I think all of a sudden
the presidents of Brazil, of
Chile, of Argentina, of Peru, of Uruguay and
Paraguay all saw a page
of their own histories from the 1960's, 1970's or
1980's flash
before them.

Perhaps if it had not been on the anniversary of
the Pinochetazo
(Pinochet coup) in Chile in 1973, September 11, the
reaction might not have
been so strong. Or perhaps if President
Bachelet of Chile hadn't been
president pro-temp of UNASUR. But as
it was, this is a history that the
presidents of South America,
called together by one of their own, and
speaking at least this once
as true representatives of their peoples,
unanimously responded to
with "never again."

So they gave Evo Morales's
government their full support as the
legitimate government of
Bolivia, and denied any legitimacy whatsoever to
those who would
either overthrow him or dismember the country, whether
officially or
just in fact.

And in the process UNASUR was truly born. For
once, Latin American
states, dealing with a political crisis with
dire regional implication in
which the United States was OBVIOUSLY a
major player --for it was the
expulsion of the American "verga
de oro," Ambassador Goldberg, that
detonated the escalation of
the crisis in Bolivia-- took a stand WITHOUT the
United States and
*against* the designs of American imperialism.

And it even had
repercussions BEYOND South America, to Central
America, with its
weak, balkanized republics, where Honduras, in a gesture
of dignity
and solidarity with Bolivia, cancelled the ceremonial, formal
presentation of the new yanqui ambassador's credentials. A tiny, purely

symbolic act of dignity and rebellion -- but from such cracks,

These events are a harbinger of the
future when we Latin Americans
will not only be "un pueblo sin
fronteras" --a single people without
borders-- but also without
the humiliating tutelage of the OAS, the
"Organization of
American States," so justly condemned by the greatest Latin
American patriot of them all as "el ministerio de colonias
yanqui." (The
U.S. Ministry of Colonies).

Meanwhile, the yanqui-inspired provocations of the autonomists
finally forced Bolivia's raucous left, with its many problems and
to see its way clear to uniting in its big majority
around defense of the
Morales government. And the opposition is
effectively divided, with the
Pando departmental prefect in prison
facing murder charges for the Sep. 11
massacre, and the others
disavowing what he did and seeing no alternative
but to accept the
restoration of the functioning of central government
offices and
institutions in their areas as the price for the government
into a dialogue with them. Again, a small, symbolic thing, but of
extreme importance: formal, official, and on the ground recognition by
wannabe leaders of a slaveholder's rebellion of the
sovereignty and
authority of the central government headed by
compaņero Presidente Evo
Morales over the entire territory of
the Bolivian nation.

Venezuela is, of course, a different
matter. The revolutionary
government is firmly in control. Vivanco's
rehash of trumped up charges and
long since discredited horror
stories might, at most, send a message to the
opposition that
Washington --however distracted by its collapsing financial
is still with them (for whatever that may be worth by Monday

But it also shows regular working people in
Venezuela that Chávez is
right, their real enemy is U.S.
imperialism. For while Vivanco may speak
with a Chilean accent, the
real provenance of his provocation was there,
printed quite plainly
in the booklet detailing Chavez's supposed "abuses"
he handed out to journalists: "Made in USA."


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Received on Thu Sep 25 14:39:20 2008

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