Sunday 2 August 2015

NEWS: Human-Rights Abuses & No Sense of Humor

Photo via The Wall Street Journal.
"The Venezuelan government announced last week that it will hold parliamentary elections on Dec. 6. This news wouldn’t have attracted much attention if it weren’t the result of a 30-day hunger strike by imprisoned opposition leaders Leopoldo López and Daniel Ceballos. It is encouraging to see the Venezuelan government make motions toward respecting democracy—but a true election cannot be held when more than 75 political prisoners languish in jail.

Venezuela must be held accountable for its human-rights abuses. We can start by speaking out against the imprisonment of the numerous opposition figures. Unfortunately, important voices—namely, Venezuela’s neighbors in Latin America—have remained muted.

This reluctance to take a stand is startling. Venezuela’s economic and security situation is dismal, as is the government’s response to citizen frustration. Since the 2014 street demonstrations, during which hundreds of thousands of Venezuelans protested against the corruption and repression that plague the country, President Nicolás Maduro’s government and state-sponsored thugs have killed at least 43 people and arrested more than 3,000." Read the rest of Desmond Tutu's article in The Wall Street Journal. E.T.P. 3'


"Standup comics here say they have no shortage of material: the president claims to have talked to a bird, one political candidate said Tylenol grows on trees and, amid shortages of a key bathroom staple, the National Guard occupied a toilet paper factory.
But using such absurdities in comedy sketches is getting harder amid a government clampdown on political satirists.
Some humorists have been blacklisted by state-run theaters and hotels, and local governments in several towns won’t even allow them to perform. Comedy programs that poke fun at the government have disappeared from Venezuelan TV. A few humorists have given up and moved abroad.
“It is getting worse every day,” said Emilio Lovera, whose satirical TV program, “Misión Emilio,” was abruptly canceled last year. “I can no longer work on television.”
Comedians here aren't calling for an anti-government uprising. But their pointed barbs about rising crime, skyrocketing inflation and corruption invariably paint President Nicolás Maduro as bumbling and morally bankrupt at a time when his socialist government is showing less tolerance for dissent. His administration has jailed opposition politicians, violently put down street protests and pressured independent news outlets with lawsuits and fines." Read full article in The Wall Street Journal. E.T.P. 6'

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