Did Anyone Notice That Brazil Was Just Reelected to a Seat on UN Human Rights Panel?

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The answer to the above question is probably not, since countless stories have recently appeared in the U.S. media about Venezuela winning a seat on the UN Human Rights Council while ignoring or barely mentioning that Brazil, led by far-rightist Jair Bolsonaro, was reelected to a spot during a vote yesterday.

The Trump administration pulled out of the Council last year, saying it was biased against Israel, which the U.S. government supports no matter how atrocious its human rights record. Also, Trump pulled out of the organization at the same time that the Council was calling the administration’s immigration policies, in particular splitting up migrant families, as “unconscionable.”

An item published in August at the Center for Economic and Policy Research, “A Tale of Two Policies: Trump’s Hypocrisy and State Violence in Venezuela and Brazil,” was critical of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro’s human rights record. But it also noted “the disproportionate media attention directed at Venezuela’s human rights situation, in comparison to other Latin American nations.”

Human rights have always been highly politicized. If you’re with the United States on foreign policy, you can literally get away with murder. If you’re against us, you’ll be targeted. The media invariably follows the cue, which is why Venezuela winning a seat on the UN Council was the focus of coverage while Brazil’s reelection with Bolsonaro as president was largely unremarked upon.

(For a roundup on Bolsonaro’s human rights record and fascist sympathies, check out this item at Foreign Policy in Focus. Also keep in mind that Bolsonaro was elected after his predecessor, Dilma Rousseff of the Workers Party, was illegally removed in a congressional coup d’etat, and with the likely winner of the election, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, locked up on trumped up charges in legal proceedings led by judge Sergio Moro, who Bolsonaro named as his justice minister.)

Last month, the Miami Herald‘s Andres Oppenheimer, a long time apologist for pro-U.S. human rights abusing governments and ardent champion of regime change in Venezuela, wrote that he “almost choked on my coffee” when he first heard that Caracas might get a UN Council spot.

He learned about this, he said, during an interview with Ernesto Araujo, Bolsonaro’s foreign minister. After that interview, Oppenheimer wrote a sympathetic story saying that Trump and Bolsonaro “are talking about forging a special relationship between the two biggest economies of the Americas.”

So who’s Araujo? Well, he has said that Bolsonaro’s victory resulted from “Divine Providence,” that “Cultural Marxists” created climate change and that Trump’s vision is “not an economic and political doctrine, but the longing for God.”

He also wrote a very strange essay in The New Criterion in January, in which he denied, like his boss, that Brazil’s 1964 to 1985 coup-installed government was a military regime. And there was this:

My detractors have called me crazy for believing in God and for believing that God acts in history—but I don’t care. God is back and the nation is back: a nation with God; God through the nation. In Brazil (at least), nationalism became the vehicle of faith, faith became the catalyst for nationalism, and they both have ignited an exhilarating wave of freedom and new possibilities…Now we can live in a world where criminals can be arrested, where people of all social strata can have the opportunities they deserve, and where we can be proud of our symbols and practice our faith. The psycho-political control system is finished, and this is nothing short of a miracle.

Needless to say, none of this made Oppenheimer swallow his coffee during his interview with Araujo and his ensuing story called for Brazil to continue “pressing for democracy in Venezuela.” No worries about democracy in Brazil.

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