The last referendum was also a victory for Chávez, attested to by our own Jimmy Carter:
Finally, after three hours, we offered to the still irate opposition leaders our services in resolving any of their remaining doubts before we had to leave (after two more days). Having insisted all during election day on a 20 point defeat for Chavez, their pollster (Súmate) admitted before leaving that their data now showed only a five point defeat and that quick count data were still being received. Early the next morning, they reported that these results were reversed, with 55 percent supporting Chavez, but opposition leaders still were claiming massive fraud and a victory for their side. Final voting results, including the centers with manual ballots, showed 59-41 in favor of Chavez, with his victory in 22 of the 24 states.
Funny enough, US have had some weird experiences regarding elections lately, but we still keep that self righteousness that allows us to judge everybody's business from the top of sanctity we supposedly live in. (In fact, lately I have thought that US people may take some advise from Lebanon and Ukraine where people who really care for democracy stood their ground until justice and fairness were uphold... without the questionable help from a Supreme Court.)
Well, back to that US Report condemning Cuba and Venezuela. It's interesting that US faults Cuba and Venezuela, both countries with strain relations with US because they have no intention to bow to the master, however, there are many other human rights issues all over the world with governments with which US maintains very cordial relations (in fact, that has been historically the case: remember that picture of Rumsfeld shaking hands with Saddam when a bunch of Kurd were still grasping for a breath of air after the gassing?).
But now I'm concerned with Cuba. Does the report refers to Guantánamo Bay, or to the rest of the island? In fact, there seems to be a lot of evidence of brutal human right violations on that naval base there. Even some overzealous women were overreaching in terms of their torture mechanism, which seems specially repulsive to me, as a woman, and as a tax payer. The right wing Administration is all for religion in the schools, virginity pledges and abstinence only education, but have no problem trafficking with sex, and breaking people's religious faith when it's in it's interest. I really don't know how they could be this cynical.
In fact, those women in uniform doing that should have been twice ashamed of themselves: there has been a continuous fight to create a place of respect and equality for women on the Armed Forces, and then they allow themselves to be used as meat to break detainees. Now the US army is playing in the pimp business. Could you tell me the MORAL difference between that and prostitution? Did they clear that with their pastors? I certainly prefer my daughters to have sex before marriage than to use sex to break people's faith.
The extent of the abuse, and the direct part taken by CIA personnel on it has many people there more than a bit concerned, as we have seen reported in the Within C.I.A., Worry of Prosecution for Conduct.
I guess at some point Americans will realize that they can not keep claiming a higher road, and passing judgment on others when their government routinely practices a double standard policy that creates enemies all the world over. When the Abu Graib pictures came out the first phrase uttered was: that's un-American. Why? What do we assume that America is in itself saint and pure? America does not exist. What exist are the people of America, therefore everything good that an American does is American, and so it is everything bad an American does. It's very easy to disown the “bad apples,” and claim the heroes.