US bullied Haiti into refusing trade with Venezuela, whilst human rights NGO’s hit a wall and national team is massacred by Peru in Copa América.
Just as the Haiti earthquake was waning down as a media appetite, co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR) Mark Weisbrot put the country back in international spotlight this week.
On Thursday, Weisbrot published an indicting article – Brazil Needs To Quit Haiti – hinting once again at the not-so-humanitarian US intent behind what President Obama stated would be an ‘effort to save lives and [to] support the recovery in Haiti […], knowing that but for the grace of God, there we go.’
Comparing the US occupation there to those in Iraq and Afghanistan and portraying the country as a stage of large-scale power struggles, he made reference to a WikiLeaked document exposing US pressure on the Haitian President to refuse buying oil from Venezuela.
As at the time President René Préval did not yield to such demands, ‘the US government turned against him’, threatening to off its aid to the country and tampering with the results of the November 2010 elections to ‘eliminate Préval’s favoured candidate [Jude Celestine]’, said Weisbrot.
Behind the US’ general dislike for Préval lies the alleged attempt to protect the interests of Big Oil companies like ExxonMobil and Chevron which did not look too kindly on Préval’s striking a bargain with Venezuela right after his inauguration in 2006 – the PetroCaribe deal.
Venezuela offered Haiti to sell its oil at 60% of the price – the remaining 40% being paid in the long term with 1% interest –, saving Haitians US$100m/year ‘for hospitals, schools and emergency needs, such as disaster relief.’
In other news, 5 human rights non-government organizations (NGO’s) were allegedly forbidden legal register within Venezuela because ‘they had as their foundational principles the words “democracy”, “human rights” and/or “civil and political rights”.’
The statement was made by Lilliana Ortega, director of the Comité de Familiares de las Víctimas del Caracazo (Committee of the Family Members of the Victims of Caracazo – Cofavic).
Ortega also told reporters that for a number of NGO’s it has become increasingly difficult to gather testimonies and statements from victims of human rights violations under the scope of the Corte Interamericana de Derechos Humanos (Inter American Court of Human Rights – CIDH)
This incident has been the third major body blow to free speech and human rights in Venezuela these past weeks.
Only 10 days ago major opposition leader Oswaldo Álvarez Paz was sentenced to two years in prison – the judge allowing him to serve his sentence on conditional liberty – for criticizing the government based on ‘false information.’
In addition, the shootout between inmates at the El Rodeo prison complex north of Caracas – which escalated into a month-long resistance against army troops attempting to siege the premises and draw the prisoners out – ended in mid-July leaving 27 reportedly dead, 70 injured, and a stain over Venezuela’s prison conditions, which Chavez himself called ‘the gateway of the fifth circle of hell.’
As for the highly televised Copa América tournament, on Saturday 2-time champion Peru brought an impotent Venezuela to her knees, its attacking armada scoring 4 goals against 1 (highlights) – an unstoppable forward Paolo Guerrero going for the hat trick at the last minute of extra time – and securing the 3rd place in this year’s competition.