Venezuela expels two human rights workers

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Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez has expelled two senior monitors from Human Rights Watch after the organization published a report critical of his presidency.

The Associated Press reports: ‘Jose Miguel Vivanco, the group’s longtime Americas director, was expelled along with deputy director Daniel Wilkinson for engaging in political acts while in the country on a tourist visa, the government said.

' ‘We aren’t going to tolerate any foreigner coming here to try to sully the dignity’ of Venezuela, Foreign Minister Nicolas Maduro said. Vivanco is Chilean and Wilkinson is a U.S. citizen.

‘Kenneth Roth, executive director of Human Rights Watch, called the expulsion ‘further evidence of Venezuela’s descent into intolerance.’


‘The rights monitors were handed a letter Thursday night accusing them of ‘anti-state activities.’ Their cellphones were seized and their requests to contact their embassies were denied, Human Rights Watch said.
‘They arrived in Sao Paulo, Brazil, on Friday morning.’

You can read the Human Rights Watch report, called ‘A Decade Under Chávez: Political Intolerance and Lost Opportunities for Advancing Human Rights in Venezuela,’ here.

It reports: Discrimination on political grounds has been a defining feature of the Chávez presidency. At times, the president himself has openly endorsed acts of discrimination. More generally, he has encouraged his subordinates to engage in discrimination by routinely denouncing his critics as anti-democratic conspirators and coup-mongers —regardless of whether or not they had any connection to the 2002 coup.

Earlier this month, Chavez expelled the United States ambassador from Venezuela, claiming to be showing solidarity for his leftist ally President Evo Morales of Bolivia, who had done the same days earlier.

Read more about Venezuela here.