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Asylum seekers: Hugo Chavez's latest legacy

By Aleksander Boyd

London 29.05.05 | Whomever said that there was no such thing as political prosecution in Venezuela? Was it CEPR's 'pundit' Mark Weisbrot who 'set the record straight' before the US Senate stating:

It is true that there are human rights abuses in Venezuela. But these are not different from those in the rest of Latin America, and I have not heard any reputable human rights organization argue that they have worsened under the five years of Chavez' government. Nor have they argued that the government has engaged in any systematic repression of political dissent.

An English Immigration Judge of one of the UK's Asylum and Immigration Tribunals begs to differ, as a matter of fact he recently allowed an appeal on asylum and human rights grounds to a young Venezuelan couple. In his "analysis of evidence and findings of fact" one can read disturbing things such as "...the police had links to vigilante groups... the police and military committed unlawful killings of criminal suspects... torture and abuses of detainees persisted... the government conducted illegal wire tapping of private citizens... President Chavez, officials in his administration and members of his political party consistently attacked the independent media, the political opposition, labour unions, the courts, the church and human rights groups. Many government supporters interpreted these remarks as tacit approval of violence... one NGO documenting 231 unlawful killings from October 2003 through to September of the following year... it would be unduly harsh to expect the Appellant to relocate anywhere within his home country since on my findings he would continue to be at risk given the way in which the regime in Venezuela deals with political opponents without there being any sufficient protection..." [sic].

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