Wilpert, Gregory. 2011. “How Venezuela’s Right Discovered Human Rights.” NACLA Report On The Americas 44, no. 5: 29-32.

In this article, Gregory Wilpert discussed the influences of Human Rights that Venezuela has experienced. Furthermore, he argued that the right wing used similar forms of protest that the left wing used during the time of the Caracazo. He compared this event to the 2002 coup attempt against Hugo Chavez. The attempted coup illustrated a shift of power as well as a similar form of protest that was observed during the Caracazo. In 2002 the left wing was in power though Chavez while the right wing protested in order to have an investigation about the violations of Human Rights under Chavez’s control in Venezuela and to have political prisoners that were imprisoned in 2002 released. While observing the right wing and left wing perspectives  about the violations of Human Rights, he put into question the constituents of Human Rights abuses.

The strengths of this article come from the different perspective that it takes. It pointed to the potential manipulation of Human Rights by the opposition in Venezuela. It argued  the biased image that the media communicated in support of the opposition. Furthermore, it argued that the opposition group attempted to provoke the violation of Human Rights in order to prove that the government was violating their rights such as the right to protest and repressed their Freedom of Speech. A weakness of this article, is found in the one sided perspective that it offers. While it defended Hugo Chavez it failed to point out Chavez’s weaknesses and mistakes and failed to point to the strengths of the opposition group.

This article is relevant to the Human Rights course in Latin America in the question that it poses about the constituents of Human Rights. As in this class we explore Human Rights, it is essential to understand how it differentiates from law and too understand the components and context of it. Furthermore, it pointed to the uses of Human Rights and illustrated that while they can offer protection and can be violated, they can also be manipulated.

Tags: Venezuela, 2002 Coup, Student Protest, Human Rights

Venezuela 2002  This image is of the student hunger protest that occurred after the 2002 attempted coup against Hugo Chavez. The protest sought to create awareness about Chavez’s violation of Human Rights as well as for the release  of political prisoners that were imprisoned during the attempted  coup. This image came from utsandiego.com.

By: Silvia Martinez

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