Provide Evidence, Mrs. Bachelet

By Pasqualina Curcio Curcio on July 6, 2019

The United States has made standard the practice of politicizing and utilizing human rights as an excuse to invade territories and violate sovereign nations. The system of the United Nations, meanwhile, through ambiguous speeches, not taking any stance or demanding the respect to the international law, has been indulgent to the imperial power and the interests of large capitals. It has been complaint for the war policy. In a shameful and disgraceful way, it has joined in with the lies and manipulation. It has been in fact an accomplice.

Humanity continues waiting for the evidence of the weapons of mass destruction in Iraq —the lie used to justify an invasion of that country on behalf of the U.S. in 2003, leading to the death of over one million people.

As humanity, we continue waiting for the evidence of the statements made by the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navy Pally, in a 2011 report that led to the military invasion in Libya under the excuse of a humanitarian intervention.

Irresponsibly, High Commissioner Pally said, “Although reports are still patchy and hard to verify, one thing is painfully clear: in brazen and continuing breach of international law, the crackdown in Libya of peaceful demonstrations is escalating alarmingly with reported mass killings, arbitrary arrests, detention and torture of protestors. According to some sources, thousands may have been [sic] killed or injured… According to several accounts, killings have also been carried out by foreign fighters who were and reportedly continue to be brought into the country and equipped with small arms and light weapons by the Government to suppress the protests.”

Without any evidence at hand, on the contrary being very aware that the information was not verified and patchy, Pally’s words led to resolution A/HRC/RES/S-15/1 on March 3, 2011, establishing: “The Human Rights Council expresses deep concern with the situation in Libya, strongly condemns the recent gross and systematic human rights violations committed in Libya, including indiscriminate armed attacks against civilians, extrajudicial killings, arbitrary arrests, detention and torture of peaceful demonstrators, some of which may also amount to crimes against humanity.”

We can’t help but wonder, when did they verify such reports? Were there effectively thousands of killed and wounded? How many exactly? Did they verify the extrajudicial killings, arbitrary arrests, and torture cases? Where is the evidence of such serious accusation that led to a war that still persists and has destroyed Libya?

Further infringing on Libya’s sovereignty, The Human Rights Council also adopted; “Decides to urgently dispatch an independent, international commission of inquiry, to be appointed by the President of the Council, to investigate all alleged violations of international human rights law in Libya.”

Pally’s statements and the U.N. Human Rights Council resolution A/HRC/RES/S-15/1 led to the 1973 Resolution adopted by the U.N. Security Council on March 2011, declaring a no-fly zone in Libya  and thus paving the way for NATO’s military invasion. Meanwhile, in the African country, a parallel government known as the National Transitional Council was imposed by political opponents of then president Gaddafi.

High Commissioner Michelle Bachelet, with the same style as her predecessor Navy Pally, has just released a report on the human rights situation in Venezuela. Highly inaccurate, with no verified neither verifiable information, full of errors, omissions and falseness, this report lacks the accuracy and seriousness demanded by these type of position papers, whose results put at risk peace not only in Venezuela, but in America as a whole.

We will not use this article to highlight that Bachelet’s report is bias for using information provided only by opposition stakeholders and ignoring the official data and reports of organizations such as Fundalatin. A lot has been written about it. We will not show either the lack of methodological accuracy in collecting, processing and analyzing the information. It has been discussed too.

We will not focus either on systematizing the contradictions of the High Commissioner when she stated that human rights are not ensured in Venezuela while the Human Rights Council itself just passed the Universal Periodic Review presented by this country and while the United Nations itself through PNUD which included Venezuela in the list of countries with high human development index.

We will not confess to being disappointed because Bachelet did not strongly condemned the military intervention threats by the U.S. or because she did not urge to immediately end the economic, financial and commercial blockade against the Venezuelan population, or because she did not reject the calls to hatred and violence on behalf of opposition stakeholders, which resulted in fascist actions including burning human beings alive.

We will not even express to be astonished because she did not condemn the murder attempt against President Nicolas Maduro on August 2018, neither the attempted coup d’état on April 2019, nor the invasion attempt on the Colombian border last February 23, or the attempt to usurp the post of President of the Republic on behalf of self-proclaimed Juan Guaido and his intention to conform a parallel government, or because she did not mention the sabotage to the electrical grid that left the entire Venezuelan people without that service. Perhaps those are events so blatant and notorious that she did not consider to include them in her report.

We will not even mention to be surprised because the High Commissioner did not quote Dr. Alfred De Zayas, U.N. Independent Expert on the Promotion of a Democratic and Equitable International Order, who presented a report after visiting Venezuela in 2017 stating in detail the need of recognizing the economic war, unilateral coercive measures and the attack to the currency as decisive causes of what is occurring in the country in economic and social matters.

We will take a moment, however, to demand the High Commissioner show evidence and preciseness of each of the serious accusations she made in her report. Evidence that all Venezuelans and the entirety of humanity deserve out of respect.

Bachelet concluded that “…there are reasonable grounds to believe that grave violations of economic and social rights, including the rights to food and health, in Venezuela. The Government refused to acknowledge the magnitude of the crisis until a short time ago and did not adopt proper measures. As the economic crisis deepened, the authorities began using social programs in a discriminatory manner, based on political grounds, and as an instrument of social control.”

We would request her to specify those “reasonable grounds” that lead her to “believe” that economic and social rights are violated. Where is the evidence to back the statement that proper measures were not adopted? And how does she prove the alleged discrimination in social programs? For instance, how does she explain that the house to house food distribution program CLAP is being discriminating   due to political reasons and that it is only being distributed among government supporters? Does it mean that the six million families who receive the CLAP boxes are chavistas?

Is Bachelet suggesting that all the 18 million citizens registered in the Patria Platform are chavists and that 100 percent of the elderly who receive pensions through that system are also supporters of the Bolivarian Revolution, as well as six million families who receive the bonus Homes of the Homeland (Hogares de la Patria), and 700,000 pregnant women who receive the Humanized Birthing bonus?  Let’s remember that we are 30 million people in Venezuela.

She also concluded in her report that “Venezuela has adopted a series of laws, policies and practices over more than a decade that have restricted the democratic space, dismantled institutional checks and balances.”

Where is the evidence for such delicate accusation? It is important that she specifies which laws and policies she is referring to and that she proves how has the democratic space been restricted in a country in which seven elections have taken place since 2013, with the participation of all political sectors and the opposition’s acknowledgement of the government’s victory.

It is important that she explains why she affirms that the democratic space has been restricted in a country in which -according to her own report- demonstrations against the Government increased in number and intensity since 2014: “there were 9787 protests in 2017, 12715 in 2018 and 9715 between January 1 and May 31, 2019.”

Or is the High Commissioner referring to the opponents’ practices, which have been characterized for being less and less democratic, as in the coup attempt on April 30, 2019; or the abstention call ahead of the presidential elections on May 20, 2018; or the attempt to kill the President, recently frustrated by public security forces? If this is the anti-democratic behavior you are referring to, it is worth you explain it in your report.

Bachelet continues by stating: “It all has allowed the Government to commit several human rights violations. Thousands of people, mainly young men, have been killed in alleged confrontations with public forces in the last years. There are reasonable grounds to believe that many of those deaths are extrajudicial killings executed by security forces, especially FAES. These violations require further investigation to determine relevant State and individual criminal responsibility.”

This statement raises any questions, especially when the Government is accused of committing “several” human rights violations. Accuracy is essential in this chapter, as well as supporting evidence.

The High Commissioner states that the authorities have attacked a certain amount of people that thousands have been killed in public force operations and that there are extrajudicial killings. Present evidence, Mrs. Bachelet. Provide the list of the names of the thousands of people who have been “killed” by security forces. These are very delicate accusations which should not be presented with ambiguity in this type of report.

Furthermore, a doubt is raised about why you would  release an a pre emptive judgment, accusing the government at the same time that you acknowledge further investigation is required to determine responsibilities. It seems contradictory and therefore irresponsible.

Bachelet states that, “Misallocation of resources, corruption, lack of maintenance of public infrastructure, and severe underinvestment has resulted in violations to the right to an adequate standard of living related to the collapse of public services such as public transportation, access to electricity, water, and natural gas.”

Present evidence, Mrs. Bachelet, about that the misallocation of resources, corruption and lack of maintenance are the causes of the violation to a right of an adequate standard of living. We are not denying at all that there is corruption in Venezuela but prove that it is the reason, not that the economic war, the attack of over nine billion percent against our currency since 2013, the financial blockade and the sabotage against public services which explains its “collapse.”

Bachelet said there is “an increase in preventable maternity mortality, with an estimated 20% linked to unsafe abortions.” She also said that “The National Hospital Survey (2019) found that 1,557 died in hospitals between November 2018 and February 2019 due to a lack of supplies in the hospitals” and that “the violation to the right to health is the result of the Government’s failure to meet its core obligations, which are inalienable. The violation to essential commitments were linked to a general lack of availability and access to drugs and essential treatments, the deterioration of hospitals, clinics and maternity hospitals.”

It is important that the High Commissioner proves what she said because according to the information provided by the Government, maternal mortality decreased 13.76 points between 2016 and 2018. Furthermore, it is necessary that she presents evidence of the 1557 people who died in hospitals due to the lack of supplies. As a physician, she should know that deaths are not estimated through surveys, but facts. In addition, take advantage and prove that the lack of drugs is due to the Government’s failure to meet its obligation instead of the financial blockade and commercial embargo which have hardened the import of medicines and medical surgical instruments, as well as supplies for their production.

The High Commissioner insists on stating that “The number of people who have been obliged to leave Venezuela has dramatically increased since 2018, increasing to over four million by June 6, 2019. Colombia shelters the largest amount of people, followed by Peru, Chile, Argentina, Ecuador and Brazil.

Mrs. Bachelet, prove that there are more than four million people who left Venezuela. Let us tell you in advance that it will be hard if you do not want to contradict the figures released by the United Nations itself, which indicate that the net migration rate in Colombia, Peru, Chile, Argentina and Brazil is negative. This is to say, the amount of people who left those countries is higher than those who entered there. Therefore, if over four million people left Venezuela towards those countries, it means that many more than four million got out of it. Can you prove where those alleged over four million Venezuelans are?

For peace in Venezuela and America, for respect to the entire humanity, you need to take on a serious and responsible attitude. You should tell the truth.

We are waiting that you present evidence.

Source: Red Angostura, translation Resumen Latinoamericano, North America bureau