Tyranny Expands — And, No, Not at U.S. Companies

By May 15, 2007Labor Unions, Trade

In Venezuela, Hugo Chavez continues to build his Cuba-style communist dictatorship, insulated from complete economic collapse — for now — by oil profits.

Expropriation, the repression of dissent, even more attacks on private property, and now the destruction of the independent media.

For years defenders of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez have harped on what they described as the domination of the country’s independent media by his opponents — proof, it was said, that Chavez was no dictator. In two weeks that argument will lose all credibility. By then, Radio Caracas Television, or RCTV, Venezuela’s most popular television network, will almost certainly be off the air — on Chavez’s personal order.

A lot has been happening in Venezuela the past few months. Having obtained the power to rule by decree from a rubber-stamp congress, Chavez has nationalized telecommunications and electricity companies, taken over oil fields developed by multinationals, and formed a single pro-regime political party. For Venezuelans, however, the loss of RCTV will be the greatest shock. For 53 years the television network has been a national institution, counted on for its wildly popular soap operas and variety shows as well as for its news coverage.

Meanwhile, over at Human Rights Watch, the international protector of liberty, activists are enraged at …..Wal-Mart.

Until yesterday, the lead item on lobbying organization’s webpage was a report attacking the nation’s largest private-sector employer for resisting unionization. The hyperventilating, multilingual report also advocated passage of the anti-democratic and dishonestly named Employee Free Choice Act, which would destroy secret ballots in the workplace. Union activists immediately seized on the report to lobby Members of Congress for passage of the “card-check” legislation.

And the last news release on Venezuela’s growing tyranny available on the Human Rights Watch country-by-country webpage? It was released on July 28, 2005. Nearly two years ago.

Good they have their priorities straight.