Saturday, September 20, 2008

US Ambassador expelled from Venezuela

CARACAS, September 11.—Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez has ordered the U.S. ambassador in Caracas, Patrick Duddy, to leave the country within 72 hours, a measure that was adopted in solidarity with Bolivia, and at the same time informed Washington of Venezuela’s decision to cut off supplies of crude oil to that nation, the AFP reported.

Evo & Hugo

President Hugo Chávez"As a gesture of solidarity with Bolivia, from this moment on, the Yankee ambassador in Caracas has 72 hours to leave Venezuela," the president said during an election campaign rally in Puerto Cabello, 120 kilometers west of the capital, for his party’s candidate for regional elections in November.

The Bolivarian leader expressed his support for Bolivian President Evo Morales, whose government is experiencing a crisis that has been incited by reactionary forces in the country. Morales had also expelled Washington’s representative in La Paz, accusing him of being behind the opposition’s maneuvers.

Chavéz’ announcement came just hours after the Venezuelan administration presented taped recordings of conversations and denounced an attempted coup d’état against Chávez, planned by active and retired military officers with the full support of the U.S. administration.

Likewise, the President announced that he would halt oil sales to the United States if the Latin American country is to become the target of an attack by the White House.

Speaking live on television, Chávez also gave instructions to his Foreign Minister Nicolás Maduro to arrange for the immediate return of the Venezuelan ambassador in the United States.

The president stated that "when there is a new government in the United States," Venezuela will send an ambassador but as long as President Bush is in power, Caracas will have no diplomatic representation in that country.

The Bolivarian leader placed responsibility for the tense situation on the U.S. government, which is "behind all the maneuvers of political destabilization currently underway in Latin America," he stated.

Translated by Granma International •

Venezuela Expels Human Rights Watch Director for “Meddling Illegally”

September 19th 2008, by James Suggett -

Mérida, September 19, 2008 ( The Venezuelan government expelled two employees of the U.S-based NGO Human Rights Watch (HRW), Americas Director José Miguel Vivanco and Americas Deputy Director Daniel Wilkinson, after the two presented a report that praised Venezuela's 1999 Constitution but harshly criticized the "government's willful disregard for the institutional guarantees and fundamental rights that make democratic participation possible."


In a press release, the Venezuelan Foreign Relations Ministry said Vivanco and Wilkinson "have done violence to the constitution" and "assaulted the institutions" of Venezuela by "meddling illegally in the internal affairs of our country."

The ministry also said the HRW report is linked to the "unacceptable strategy of aggression" of the United States government. The ministry said the expulsion of Vivanco and Wilkinson was in the interest of "national sovereignty" and "the defense of the people against aggressions by international factors."

Constitutional lawyer and National Assembly Deputy Carlos Escarrá explained to the press, "The constitution of Venezuela expresses that a foreigner with a tourist visa cannot make commentaries against the President of the Republic."

Venezuelan Foreign Minister Nicolás Maduro warned in a press conference that "any other foreigner... who attempts to come to Venezuela and use our democratic order, with the total freedom of expression, to assault our institutions in a rude manner... will receive the same reply."

HRW's report, titled "A Decade Under Chávez: Political Intolerance and Lost Opportunities for Advancing Human Rights in Venezuela," says the two-day coup against President Hugo Chávez in April 2002 was the "most dramatic setback" to the human rights guarantees of the 1999 Constitution, but that the Chávez administration has since used the coup as a pretext to undercut those rights.

Specifically, the government has engaged in "discrimination on political grounds," "open disregard for the principle of separation of powers," and has "undercut journalists' freedom of expression, workers' freedom of association, and civil society's ability to promote human rights in Venezuela," according to the report, which bases its conclusions on interviews conducted over the past two years.

Expulsión del Director de Human Rights Watch (En Español)

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