Tuesday, 3 February 2009

Human Rights Coverage of Venezuela and Colombia Serving Washington’s Needs

[Rather than independently and critically assessing the Colombian and Venezuelan records, major corporate newspaper editors, to one degree or another, have subordinated crucial human rights questions to what they see as the U.S.’s interests in the region. ]

Human Rights Coverage of Venezuela and Colombia Serving Washington’s Needs

February 2009, by Steve Rendall and Daniel Ward and Tess Hall - FAIR

Click here to download pdf.

Any evenhanded comparison of the Colombian and Venezuelan governments’ human rights records would have to note that, though Venezuela’s record is far from perfect, that country is by every measure a safer place than Colombia to live, vote, organize unions and political groups, speak out against the government or practice journalism.

But a new survey by FAIR shows that, over the past 10 years, editors at four leading U.S. newspapers have focused more on purported human rights abuses in Venezuela than in Colombia, and their commentary would suggest that Venezuela’s government has a worse human rights record than Colombia’s. These papers, FAIR found, seem more interested in reinforcing official U.S. policy toward the region than in genuinely supporting the rights of Colombians and Venezuelans.

Colombia’s ‘appalling’ record . . .

Over the past 40 years, Colombia has been known for its rampant human rights violations, untouchable drug cartels, government-linked death squads and violent guerrilla groups. The principal specialist on Colombia for the nonprofit group Human Rights Watch (HRW), Maria McFarland Sanchez-Moreno, told Congress (4/23/07), “Colombia presents the worst human rights and humanitarian crisis in the Western Hemisphere.” She also noted that government-linked paramilitary groups are largely responsible for Colombia’s grim status.

(click here to view entire article; click here to view the BoRev blog's take on this)

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