Ken Roth (the executive director of Human Rights Watch) used his Twitter account to call several ALBA bloc governments the “most abusive” in Latin America. The article he linked to in his Twitter message was about criticism that Venezuela, Ecuador and Bolivia recently made of the Inter-American Human Rights Commission.
Below is Roth’s message:
No vested interest, of course: Latin America’s most abusive governments attack OAS Inter-American human rights system. trib.al/g1sepJ
Anyone remotely familiar with HRW’s reports from Latin America (as presumably Roth is) should be well aware of what an outrageous remark he made. HRW has extensively documented how, for decades, with generous support from the USA, the Colombian government and closely allied paramilitaries have murdered tens of thousands and forcibly displaced millions. Thanks to Wilileaks, we know that US officials privately estimated 257,089 people murdered by right wing death squads in Colombia and that 34 indigenous groups have been pushed to near extinction (i.e. genocide)
I sent an email to HRW asking them if they now rank countries by “abuse” levels and if they could explain Roth’s criteria. I don’t expect a reply. I’ve been trying for years to get HRW to answer a few simple questions. For example
When a coup deposed Chavez for 2 days in 2002, why did HRW’s public statements fail to do obvious things like denounce the coup, call on other countries not to recognize the regime, invoke the OAS charter, and (especially since HRW is based in Washington) call for an investigation of US involvement?
I posed these and other questions in the following piece that critiqued a voluminous HRW report on Venezuela published in 2008.
As for the Inter-American Human Rights Commission, it also wrote a deeply flawed and lengthy report about Venezuela in 2010
And, like HRW, the Inter-American Commission disgraced itself by the way it responded to the 2002 coup in Venezuela. In fairness, the Inter-American Commission did somewhat better than HRW in its reponse to the 2004 coup in Haiti and the human rights disaster that followed. However, as explained in these articles (here and here) that hardly sets the bar very high:
There are vested interests within the human rights industry that oppose reform.