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VenEconomy :On the subject
of being doubled-faced


This Thursday, September 24, the Venezuelan President, Hugo Chávez, stated before the assembly of the United Nations that there were two Barack Obamas, one who spoke of peace at the United Nations and another who promoted military bases in Colombia.

In the opinion of a vast majority of Venezuelans, President Chávez would do well to apply that same statement to himself, since he maintains a discourse of peace, union, and love when addressing audiences abroad and a very different discourse of confrontation, aggression, persecution, and violence when dealing with the mass of the population that is critical of his political project.

And while we are on the subject of being two-faced, the behavior of the international community and that of its representative bodies when it comes to the problems facing the peoples of the region is worthy of mention.

Adopting a two-faced stance has become increasingly frequent in their vacillation between defending democratic rights and the principles of freedom in the majority of governments and their indifference to failures of governments to respect those same rights of their peoples.

It would seem that the governments of the world have invented a double yardstick by which to measure how far those in government abide by their country’s constitution and the commitments undertaken in international treaties and agreements.

The OAS, like the majority of its member governments, have endorsed with a conspiratorial silence the advance of a dictatorship in Venezuela that has expropriated private land, property, and companies wholesale. They have not called to account the Maecenas of a fair number of governments in this southern hemisphere for the continued closing down of media, the judicial persecution of the owners of those media, and the harassment of dozens of journalists. They have not questioned the totalitarian network of laws that today has the Venezuelan population cowed. They have shown unworthy indifference towards the fate of the political prisoners from the events of April 2002 and the dozens more that have since swollen the long list of imprisoned dissidents, among them journalists, businessmen, politicians, workers, and the latest victim, the student Julio César Rivas. They have kept their mouths shut over the violent repression of demonstrations by a population demanding respect for their labor rights and the meeting of their social needs. They have even been indulgent with the Venezuelan President’s brazen forging of close ties with some of the world’s consummate despots who have been implicated in bloody incidents in their own countries, two of whom are arriving this weekend on the Island of Margarita: Muhammad al Gaddafi, a military man, despot, and autocrat who has held power in Libya for the past 40 years; and Robert Mugabe, another military man and the fierce dictator of Zimbabwe since 1980, who has plunged his people into unemployment of 80% and inflation of 10,000% a year and mutilated and imprisoned more than 4,000 businessmen.

Today, the people of Honduras is being subjected to strong international pressures, the brazen interference of foreign governments in their domestic affairs, and calls by governments of the region on their armed forces to take part in an uprising. In the case of Honduras, that same international community is taking the trouble to exercise its authority and protest at violations of human and constitutional rights, which, if true, are totally reprehensible, while it turns a blind eye when those same violations occur elsewhere.

It is time for the international community to join its two yardsticks in order to judge and call to account both de facto dictators and heads of government who act like dictators while boasting of having been “democratically elected.”


VenEconomy has been a Venezuela's leading specialized publisher on financial, political and economic data since 1982. VenEconomy's Points of View on the issues of the day, as seen by VenEconomy during the last week. Petroleumworld does not necessarily share these views.

Editor's Note: This commentary was originally published by VeneEconomy on 09/25/2009. Petroleumworld reprint this article in the interest of our readers .

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Petroleumworld News 09/29/09

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