Thursday, March 05, 2009

And speaking of international courts: Venezuela loses one at the CIDH

It is not only Sudan head honcho who got into trouble with international courts, Chavez also did. Today the last instance international tribunal of the Americas, the Interamerican Court in Costa Rica (CIDH), made an important if not sweeping decision. In it it condemns the Venezuelan government for intimidating practices against Venezuelan journalists. It underlines that the violent language of the state (that is, Chavez) has been a factor in creating unnecessary hardships to journalists as they try to perform their job. It also says that the state has been lax in investigating those who attacked journalists performing their job (that is, partial and ineffective justice).

Now, before you think this is really not a big deal let me remind you that this decision if for old cases and that since that time the situation of journalists and freedom of expression has degraded a lot in Venezuela. As such it sets a convenient precedent, tells people that it is worth to report any attack from chavismo hordes and that justice will eventually come. As such future decisions against the Venezuelan state will be more easy to prove at the CIDH level if chavismo does not amend its ways. Some of these results could deal with outright freedom of expression and freedom of information cases where Chavez is really weak since he closed RCTV.

What are chavismo options? Well, it can reject for the second time in a row a CIDH decision and aggravate its standing in Latin America. After all today the Paraguayan Parliament rejected the entry of Venezuela in Mercosur because Venezuela is not a country democratic enough. Not to mention that the Brazilian Senate, Lula pressure and sweet business deals notwithstanding, is also demurring in giving a green light to Venezuelan entry. Going this way will soon enough make Venezuela a pariah state as it will be forced to leave the OAS system. Which might be what Chavez wants anyway. After all chavismo today was busy trying to present it as a success because the CIDH did not condemn Venezuela on ALL counts...

Or it can chose to abide by the decision and stop harassing opposition journalists.

I guess it is not really necessary to set a poll as to what the government will do, no?

-The end-

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