Human Rights Watch published an article today titled “Unasur: End Silence on Venezuela Abuses“. The article contains a link to a letter signed by Jose Miguel Vivanco, the Executive Director of the Americas Division of Human Rights Watch, and reads:
I would like to respectfully urge you to press the Venezuelan authorities to immediately address the very serious human rights problems the country is facing.
The letter reminds the member states of the Constitutive Treaty of 2008, which highlights the fundamental importance of democratic institutions and the “unrestricted respect for human rights” as “essential conditions for building a common future of peace…”.
Earlier this year, Human Rights Watch published a report on the human rights situation in Venezuela. The report concluded that there was a “pattern of serious abuse” in the way the Maduro government has handled the protests that began in February, and documented cases of torture and arbitrary arrests, among other abuses.
Steel Production Falls Dramatically
The World Steel Association released its monthly report on crude steel production for May of this year. The document tracks steel production in 65 countries, and compares it to data from May 2013, as well as data compiled over the past five months.
Out of the 65 countries examined, Venezuela posted the second worst numbers. Only Algeria fared worse. In South America, Venezuela was dead last.
Between May 2013 and May 2014, steel production in Venezuela fell 37%. Over the past five months, steel production has fallen by 33%.
For the sake of comparison, Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Paraguay, Peru and Uruguay all saw an increase in steel production over the same time periods examined. Between May 2013 and May 2014, Brazil`s steel production fell 4.3%, while Ecuador’s fell 1.3%.
Jorge Roig, the president of the Federacion de Camaras y Asociaciones de Comercio y Produccion de Venezuela [The Venezuelan Federation of Chambers of Commerce] (FEDECAMARAS) made some comments today regarding the scarcity crisis in Venezuela:
This [scarcity] is a consequence of a lack of production at the national level (…) [expropriated] companies are not performing… as they should be.
No one is going to invest in a country where there is no security in knowing that your dividends will give a return, and where you think that [your company] will be expropriated.
The reluctance of UNASUR to release a definitive statement concerning the human right abuses currently plaguing Venezuela reminded me of a quote by Martin Luther King Jr.:
We will have to repent in this generation not merely for the hateful words and actions of the bad people but for the appalling silence of the good people.
This quote is most commonly seen as, “In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends”.