U.S. State Department criticizes Ecuador and other Andean nations for human rights violations, corruption and lack of press freedom

Jul 11, 2015 | 8 comments

In its annual report on human rights, the United States State Department found violations in all five Andean nations, including Ecuador, saying the worst were in Venezuela.

Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro waits for the arrival of Panama's President Ricardo Martinelli at the Miraflores Palace in Caracas...Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro waits for the arrival of Panama's President Ricardo Martinelli at the Miraflores Palace in Caracas July 8, 2013. Martinelli is on official visit in Venezuela. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins (VENEZUELA - Tags: POLITICS HEADSHOT)

Venezuela President Nicolas Maduro. Venezuela was singled out for the harshest criticism in the U.S. State Department report.

In Venezuela, the U.S. claims that the government “selectively” intimidates political opponents and in the worst cases, imprisons them on of “questionable” charges. “There is a culture of arbitrary arrests, torture and imprisonment of protestors against the government,” the report says.

The U.S. also accuses the Venezuelan government of “widespread corruption” and for using threats against journalists to silence dissent.

In neighboring Colombia, the U.S. claims that a corrupt and inefficient legal system means that justice is seldom achieved. It says the system is particularly unfair to the country’s black population.

The report also says that drug trafficking appears to be on the increase and that money from it is increasing the level of corruption among local officials. It said the situation has led to an increase in “extrajudicial killings” which include journalists and those fighting against the drug trade.

Lack of judicial independence and restraints on the freedom of the press are the State Department’s main charges against Ecuador. Specifically, the report cited the 2013 act that established fines and penalties for media that overstep new reporting rules.

The report also accused President Rafael Correa and his government of verbal attacks on opponents that are a “form of intimidation” that are “not conducive to a healthy civil society.”

Bolivia is subject to “the widespread corruption and inefficiency of the judiciary, arbitrary arrests, and “very poor” prisons conditions,” according to the U.S. report.

It also criticized press restrictions and violence against women that goes unpunished.

In Peru, the State Department says that human trafficking, violence against children and women, and general judicial and government corruption has worsened in recent years. “The rule of law is not in evidence in many cases,” the report says.

The U.S. also complains about poor prison conditions in Peru and ongoing threats against journalists and human rights advocates.

Commenting on the report, Ecuador’s Exterior Minister Ricardo Patina said that he considered it a case of “the pot calling the kettle black.”

 

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