October 09, 2008

Letter to President Morales

MABB © ®

The opinionated Human Rights Foundation (HRF), based in New York, has sent a letter (along with a report about concerns for human rights in Bolivia) to President Morales expressing alarm on the government's attitude towards the opposition and its efforts at silencing it. The letter also, more or less, accuses Morales of inciting violence through his and his government's discourse.

It makes for an interesting (and amusing) read, considering it comes from an international organization. Both the letter and the report are very critical of Morales.

Read the letter to Morales here and you can read the report here. They are in Spanish, sorry no translations.


Anonymous said...

The Human Rights Foundation is not an unbiased source, at least regarding Bolivia. Their main target has been Hugo Chavez. They have rushed out reports after Bolivian violence that could be quickly blamed on the Morales government. In this case, it looks like they have taken more time to produce a report blaming Morales for this most recent violence.


Anonymous said...

It's spot on. Why do you find it amusing, Miguel?

StJacques said...

I have read both the report and its accompanying letter and I find that the HRF does a very fine job of substantiating its accusations with quotations from the speeches of Morales, news reports, press releases and more; all cited from published sources.  Their allegation that Morales is promoting racial hatred holds up very well on several counts, especially with reference to the armed march against Santa Cruz, which is documented from numerous sources.

And as to the charge that the HRF should not be regarded as fair given their record of taking a hard line against Hugo Chavez; well . . . . DUH!!!!!  Chavez is the worst offender of human rights in the western hemisphere after Cuba.  Even Human Rights Watch, who used to come very close to forgiving Chavez for his excesses, now alleges that his regime has launched a wholesale assault on human rights.  The HRF's record of standing up to Chavez is hardly a disqualification.

But I would also be interested in hearing why you find the report "amusing" MABB.  I'm guessing you think it's a waste of time.


mabb said...

I agree, the report is not the most unbiased and it is completely clear it was written to argument a critical position, yet it is one side of the argument. I think, in order to approach an (unattainable) totally unbiased position one has to look at both sides of the argument. That is why I post these things.

Why do I find it amusing? I just imagine Morales' reaction when reading the letter accusing him of all those things. The image of the reaction is what it is.

Also, the way the letter is written, so direct and factual. It uses a very confrontational language, which I don't think will make any lasting impression on Morales. The fact that the letter is so confrontational, tell me it wasn't written to call upon reflection but to make a point.

And of course we can ponder and even argue whether the letter and the report are spot on or are biased. Personally, I think the letter addresses serious concerns within the Bolivian situation. The way it was done is what amuses me.

StJacques said...

On the "amusing" nature of Morales's likely reaction, I can agree with that, because I doubt any human rights organization can make a true impression upon Evo, with the possible exception of the IAHCR of the OAS, which did not even include a section on Bolivia in its most recent report for the year 2007.

On the question of the possible "bias" of the HRF, I take issue, because they have a record of supporting the causes of left-leaning victims of human rights violations, as in the case of recently-released Ecuadoran dissident Guadalupe Llori, and those of the right as well, which applies to some of the Caracas Nine in Venezuela.  I think they compare very well with the exceptionally-biased Amnesty International and the perhaps slightly more moderate Human Rights Watch, both of whom have very poor records on Colombia in my opinion, where until earlier this year HRW had almost refused outright to condemn the FARC without simultaneously mentioning the Paras, the latter of whom they will discuss unilaterally without reference to the former.  And Amnesty International is a hopeless case, having morphed into an organization concerned far more with cultural issues than the free and equal exercise of legal and political rights.

And as to the "confrontational tone" of the HRF report, I recognize that description as accurate, but I think they should be commended for striking exactly that kind of pose.  Leaving discussions of subjects so serious as political murder and incitement to mass racial hatred to the niceties of diplomatic discourse does nothing different than the OAS's working bodies on human rights and they never accomplish anything.  Confrontation has a purpose and it is warranted here.  Remember, Morales isn't going to do anything anyway, so why waste time trying to be nice?


Anonymous said...

Why do I get the impression that the Morales government (including the Vice-President) is like the wily fox who uses others to accomplish goals that the country of Bolivia needs to fulfill its mandate to the people? Why not take advantage of the schleps of Iran, North Korea and Venezuela? They are desperately seeking affirmation for their policies and Evo (and Linares) are astute enough to take advantage of their largesse. And at the same time, they can thumb their noses at the "empire". Evo cumple!
Buffy :))

mabb said...

StJacques: I see your point. On the bias issue, I take your word for it. I haven't followed the HRF's record that much. I just read the reports on Bolivia and noticed they clearly thought Morales wasn't doing a good job (to put it mildly). And I am not criticizing that. I think is good and wishful that there were a plethora of reports on Bolivia's record on human rights. That way, we don't only see one side of the story but the many sides this complex issue has.

On the point about the confrontational tone. I agree with you. It might be necessary, at this state, to do that.

@Buffy: I think Morales and his government are doing just that.

StJacques said...

Ok Mabb, that is well-spoken on your part.

I just want to add that, even though this discussion and the HRF report have been focused primarily upon the human rights violations of Evo Morales and his government, that I do recognize that the autonomists have committed offenses as well.  I specifically refer to the actions of the various Juventiles in the Media Luna, who have acted violently on numerous occasions against Morales's supporters, and I especially disapprove of the practice of the taking of hostages (rehenes), which the HRF also criticized.

I want to avoid bias as well.

But I do not see planned and organized political murder on the part of the autonomists, nor do I see anything so dangerous as the march of the campesinos against Santa Cruz de la Sierra between the 23rd - 25th of September, in which many of the Ponchos Rojos went armed.  That was an exceptionally dangerous event, given the incitement to racial hatred in Morales's recent speeches, that thankfully was defused before it got out of control.

Given this disparity, I am most displeased to see the dialog between the government and the prefects coming to an end.  I am not at all certain that the next two weeks will witness an orderly resolution of these questions before the Bolivian Congress and what that may portend for the future is troublesome.