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Re Venezuela: Open Letter to Ken Livingstone Mayor of London

By Aleksander Boyd

Dear Mr Livingstone,

As director of a London based international NGO concerned with the political and social strife affecting Venezuela I am deeply disturbed to learn that you have lent your credibility by taking part in the signature of a manifesto, allegedly penned by Tariq Ali, in which various personalities take a rather distasteful partisan stance vis-a-vis the situation in said country.

It seems to me that nothing could be furthest from your duties and responsibilities, as our Mayor, than to takes sides in an inÚdit electoral process, totally alien to the UK or to London for that matter, that could lead, for the first time in the said country's contemporary history, to the democratic recall of Mr Hugo Chavez president of Venezuela.

Mr Ali states in the opening remarks of the manifesto "...the struggle that the majority of the Venezuelan people are waging in defense of their right to freely determine their future." Indeed what the majority of the people of Venezuela are trying to do is to make use of a constitutional right (art. 72) which allows to recall public officials.

Continues Mr Ali with the following "...we wish to denounce the disinformation campaign that is being orchestrated by the major media and that attempts to characterize as a tyrant, a President who has consistently respected the rule of law and the country's Constitution." Quite frankly to say that President Chavez has "consistently respected the rule of law and the country's constitution" evidences firstly the sheer ignorance that Mr Ali has of the country's constitution and its legal precepts and, secondly it demonstrates his obnubilated understanding of what constitutes respect for the rule of law. Violations to the Venezuelan constitution, to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and to the Inter American Chart by Hugo Chavez have been commented ad nauseum by international jurists. The latest example of the aforementioned is the declaration by Human Rights Watch Director Jose Miguel Vivancos with respect to the threat to the independence of the judiciary in Venezuela by the illegal passing of an amendment to the Organic Law of the Supreme Court.

Please find enclosed links to the manifesto and an article published recently by the Guardian. Should you wish to become better informed in regards to the gross human rights violations in the country, perhaps you could revise the corresponding section of Amnesty International.,12716,1276281,00.html

My request, as director of Pro Venezuela Organization and as a London resident who voted for you, is please do not permit for your name to be used for such questionable reasons. Should you wish to lend a helping hand to the establishment of a climate of consensus and respect in Venezuela do call for all actors of the crisis to respect one another, human rights and the constitution.

Faithfully yours,

Aleksander Boyd

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