Human Rights Watch (HRW) condemned Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez on Tuesday in a new report that details how the abuse and consolidation of power under his watch has taken a heavy toll on human rights.
For years, President Chavez and his followers have been building a system in which the government has free rein to threaten and punish Venezuelans who interfere with their political agenda, said José Miguel Vivanco, Americas director at HRW, who noted that the human rights situation is worse now than it was four years ago.
Today that system is firmly entrenched, and the risks for judges, journalists, and rights defenders are greater than they've ever been under Chavez.
The president's power lies in all Venezuelan institutions, the report claims, and HRW has little hope that its report, which provides concrete examples of corruption within the courts, media and military, will change Chavez's policies. The last time HRW issued a damning report on the country, the government allegedly detained and then expelled group representatives by force.