Human Rights,  Latin America

Chavez government’s vote on gay rights doesn’t excuse its contempt for democracy

First, some rare credit to the Venezuelan government for going against its “brother” nations Cuba, Iran and Syria in the UN General Assembly to oppose the amendment to remove sexual orientation from the resolution on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions.

But of course the Chavez regime’s vote on this issue does not excuse its long record of contempt for the rules of democratic government– most recently manifested when one of Chavez’s top military aides, Henry Rangel Silva, told the Ultimas Noticias daily newspaper that the military would not accept an opposition victory in Venezuela’s 2012 presidential election.

Did Chavez fire Rangel for his rejection of electoral democracy and the rule of law? No. Did he at least condemn Rangel’s remarks and call for an apology? No. He promoted Rangel to General-in Chief and denounced Jose Miguel Insulza, Secretary General of the Organization of American States, who called Rangel’s remarks “unacceptable.”

At a meeting in Paris, the Socialist International approved a resolution saying Rangel’s remarks “violate democratic principles and the political rights of citizens.”