Wednesday, October 15, 2008

From the NYRB

An article authored by the Human Rights Watch (not the Human Rights Foundation) workers who were expelled from Venezuela after publishing a report that was critical of Chavez.

I've got no dog in this game, but others have noticed inconsistencies in HRW's methods. So in the interest of fairness, give them a read, too.

H/T to the BoRev: HRW used Alek Boyd as a source. That doesn't bode too well.

Update: Blog From Bolivia had a thoughtful post on this situation when it occurred. Read it here.


They say it's a cold world said...

Regardless of the quality of HRW's report, research, methods, conclusions, etc., kicking them out of the country under the circumstances they describe is about as a boneheaded a public relations move as I can imagine, and one that is almost impossible to imagine without a sort of official arrogance. This kind of thing doesn't happen in young, vibrant, revolutionary societies, but creeps in as the bureaucracy becomes entrenched and perceives itself as invincible. The Venezuelan officials responsible for spiriting the HRW folks unceremoniously out of the country should be purged, even as the report is criticized. I don't want to be a pessimist, but I don't see that happening.

mgrace said...

I think you are right. Jim Shultz from Blog From Bolivia had a good post on this when it happened, which mirrors your thinking. Here's the link, and I'll also put it in my post:

Bina said...

Vivanco and Co. can whine all they want about this, but the Venezuelan government was right to expel them when, and even HOW it did. Not a hair on their heads was harmed, and they simply complied when instructed to leave. I have the proof on video here:

Clicky linky

Bad PR? For sure, but much more so for HRW than Venezuela. Because this is just one more lie that HRW has been caught in.

BTW, it's very funny that they attack the so-called lack of autonomy of the Venezuelan judiciary. Considering that it's ALWAYS been this way, and it's not some new innovation of "ten years under Chavez", one wonders what all the fuss is about. Hell, even in the US, the Supreme Court is not wholly autonomous--it's appointed by the president, and after seeing all the right wing nuts and outright duds they've installed there lately, I wonder why HRW isn't squawking about that.

Oh, and Jim Shultz is, unfortunately, wrong about HRW not being a "right-wing organization with an agenda". It is exactly that, and has been since its inception as "Helsinki Watch", which was dedicated to cataloguing alleged human rights abuses behind the Iron Curtain. It was anticommunist through and through. Vivanco, in particular, has a shady past--as an apologist for Pinochetism, no less:

More clickiness

And the American Association of Jurists, not exactly a hotbed of Chavista partisanship, found this so-called report thoroughly useless, except perhaps as cat-box liners:

Still more clickiness

Finally, there's this amusing bit from HaitiAnalysis:

Ahhhh, clickable goodness!

Nope, they're not at all devoid of right-wing agendas. On the contrary, they're out to make right-wing agendas palatable to the left, or to get the left on side with them. They are, at best, only half-assed about human rights; Amnesty International and the ICRC are infinitely better sources than HRW. Don't be fooled, folks.