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May 25, 2012

The U.S. Human Rights report: losing friends and alienating allies

The U.S. State Department released it's 2011 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices yesterday, where it highlighted violence in Honduras and Mexico, mass detentions in Cuba and an executive power-grab in Venezuela. Read the story about it here and see the full report here. 

Today, Venezuela responded, calling the annual report "irresponsible."

"It is particularly scandalous that the U.S. government aspires to establish itself as a “world judge” in terms of human rights and meanwhile largely does not accept the agreements of the Universal System to promote and protect human rights, nor its mechanisms of oversight and control," the foreign ministry said in a statement.

They have a point. The United States never ratified the OAS' Inter-American Human Rights Commission, or the International Criminal Court. According to this 2009 Human Rights Watch article, the U.S. hasn't ratified an international human rights treaty since 2002. 

While Venezuela's reaction was to be expected, the HR report also drew fire from the US top ally in the region, Colombia. While President Juan Manuel Santos was ringing the opening bell at the NYSE this morning, Colombian Foreign MInister Maria Angela Holguin told the W radio station that the report was "unfair" because it doesn't recognize the progress the country has made on the human rights front. 


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Dave Palmer

If the U.S. had any sort of a record as a defender of human rights in Latin America, maybe it would have some credibility. But the dead of El Mozote say otherwise.

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jim wyss

Inside South America is written by Jim Wyss, the South America bureau chief for the Miami Herald and McClatchy Newspapers.

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