Alleged Venezuelan political prisoner (more on that below), Yon Goicoechea, had an op-ed published in the New York Times that made the following claim:
A health minister was fired for releasing his department’s annual report, revealing that infant mortality has returned to 1950 levels.
In 1959, Venezuela’s infant mortality rate (IMR) was 61.9 deaths per 1000 live births. Throughout the 1950s it averaged about 70 deaths per 1000 lives births. As of 2015, UNICEF said Venezuela’s infant mortality rate was 12.9 – so a health minister said it increased by about 400% since 2015 according to Goicoechea. To put it another way, the minister supposedly claimed infants now have a better chance of surviving in Haiti or even in Sub-Saharan Africa than in Venezuela. Venezuela really has become one of those countries for which it is possible to write just about anything and have it published. As crazy as Goicoechea’s claim is, it is not even the wildest that has been made. George Eaton, a UK journalist, believes that over 100% of Venezuelan infants die before their first birthday.
Anyway if a Venezuelan health minister said anything like that, he richly deserved to be fired.
Goicoechea also wrote this in his op-ed:
The United Nations, the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International have all described my detention as arbitrary and called for my release.
People who know how these groups performed in Haiti since 2004, will be unimpressed. Unfortunately, thanks to the “free press” very few people know. All these groups – to varying degrees – lend support to U.S. crimes, so how they report on a state the U.S. has targeted should be view with a lot of caution.
Haiti’s democratically elected president was kidnapped by US troops on February 29 of 2004. For two years Haiti was ruled by dictatorship under Gerard Latortue, who was installed by the US and its allies: the key ones in this case were France and Canada and of course the tiny Haitian elite. UN troops (known as MINUSTAH) provided muscle for the dictatorship and perpetrated atrocities. In 2010, through criminal negligence, MINUSTAH also caused the deaths of about 10,000 Haitians through a cholera epidemic it brought to Haiti.
Human Rights Watch (HRW) and Amnesty International never referred to Latortue’s government as “dictatorship”, never denounced the U.S. –perpetrated coup against Aristide, and never demanded that he be reinstated. For several years, HRW never even took the side of Haiti’s cholera victims against the UN who, with the help of the Obama administration, fought to evade accountability.
In July, Tarek William Saab, who was then Venezuela’s Ombudsman, said Goicoechea should be released. Saab is now the Attorney General since the firing of Luisa Ortega in August. Many cases are being reviewed due to corruption under Luisa Ortega, so they may well be checking things over in Goicoechea’s case to ensure Ortega did not “miss” anything.
Lastly, if harsh and unjust imprisonment (which may be what happened in Goicoechea’s case – I don’t know) makes a country a dictatorship then Venezuela is in a very large club of dictatorships that includes the United States.