Friday, February 03, 2006

I think I'm starting to "get" Kerry's stance on Venezuela

From during the campaign:

Kerry Statement on Venezuela

March 19, 2004

With the future of the democratic process at a critical juncture in Venezuela, we should work to bring all possible international pressure to bear on President Chavez to allow the referendum to proceed. The Administration should demonstrate its true commitment to democracy in Latin America by showing determined leadership now, while a peaceful resolution can still be achieved.

Throughout his time in office, President Chavez has repeatedly undermined democratic institutions by using extra-legal means, including politically motivated incarcerations, to consolidate power. In fact, his close relationship with Fidel Castro has raised serious questions about his commitment to leading a truly democratic government.

Moreover, President Chavez’s policies have been detrimental to our interests and those of his neighbors. He has compromised efforts to eradicate drug cultivation by allowing Venezuela to become a haven for narco-terrorists, and sowed instability in the region by supporting anti-government insurgents in Colombia.

The referendum has given the people of Venezuela the opportunity to express their views on his presidency through constitutionally legitimate means. The international community cannot allow President Chavez to subvert this process, as he has attempted to do thus far. He must be pressured to comply with the agreements he made with the OAS and the Carter Center to allow the referendum to proceed, respect the exercise of free expression, and release political prisoners.

Too often in the past, this Administration has sent mixed signals by supporting undemocratic processes in our own hemisphere -- including in Venezuela, where they acquiesced to a failed coup attempt against President Chavez. Having just allowed the democratically elected leader to be cast aside in Haiti, they should make a strong statement now by leading the effort to preserve the fragile democracy in Venezuela.

He was widely denounced by sites like Venezuela Analysis and Common Dreams, who said he must retract his position. They likened his position to Bush's, and said he'd bought the right wing propaganda.

I didn't think Human Rights Watch was into "right wing propaganda" personally.

Why would we tolerate the same behaviors from Chavez that we abhor from Bush? Why would Chavez get the benefit of the doubt if Bush doesn't?

Meanwhile, on the liberal messageboard where I post often, I've been told now that the Human Rights Watch is a Right Wing site. Or even worse, the comment "Gee, George Bush does that stuff too. Why single out Chavez. No fair!"

And I've just been made aware that VenezuelaAnalysis, a site that defended Chavez and called for Kerry's retraction, is run by those who are a tad sensitive when Chavez is criticized, and attack those who would hold him accountable for his failures. That's all I ask. I don't seek to attack the guy out of the blue. But neither will I kiss his ring and genuflect in his direction and call him great. And my status as a progressive shouldn't depend on me doing such things.


I condemn them both.


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