After U.N. report on Maduro’s mass murders, region’s leaders can no longer stay silent | Opinion

United Nations High Commissioner on Human Rights Michelle Bachelet’s report about Venezuela
is the most devastating account of state-sponsored mass killings in the region since the days of
South America’s rightist military dictatorships in the 1970s.

So why are so many self-proclaimed human-rights champions remaining silent about it?
The U.N. report says that in Venezuela there were at least 6,856 suspicious deaths of members of
the opposition during government security operations in the 17-month period ending in May 2019.
Many of them were likely extra-judicial executions, the report says.

That figure is more than twice the number of extrajudicial executions and forced disappearances
during Gen. Augusto Pinochet’s 17-year dictatorship, from 1973 to1990 in Chile. It is also
comparable to the number of state-directed killings during a similar period of time during
Argentina’s “dirty war” from 1976 to 1983.

Yet, where’s the public indignation by the self-proclaimed human-rights defenders who have
rightly denounced Argentina and Chile’s rightist military juntas’ atrocities of the 1970s? Where are
their denunciations of Nicolás Maduro’s documented cases of mass murders, torture and illegal
arrests of peaceful oppositionists?
To be more precise:
– Where is Mexico? Mexican governments openly condemned South America’s military regimes’
abuses in the 1970s and even broke diplomatic relations with Pinochet’s dictatorship in 1974. So
why is Mexico’s President Andrés Manuel López Obrador now refusing to strongly condemn
Maduro’s mass killings, instead proclaiming himself to be “neutral” on Venezuela?

– Where is Argentina’s presidential candidate Alberto Fernandez and his vice-presidential
candidate — and the power behind the throne — former President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner?
Why have we not heard a categorical condemnation of Maduro’s death squads from either?

Fernandez de Kirchner built much of her political career denouncing Argentina’s 1970s rightist
dictatorship, although she is not known to have been actively in the opposition at the time. During
her presidency she maintained close ties with Maduro, and she currently is in Cuba, visiting her
daughter there.
– Where are Uruguay’s President Tabaré Vásquez and his predecessor José Mujica? Both belong to a
left-of-center coalition that claims to stand for human rights, but have yet to unequivocall…

 

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