Today, the same day he reappeared live on tv to sign a new law that is supposed to be good for the workers, Hugo Chávez, president of Venezuela, declared that he will retire the country from the Inter-American Commission for Human Rights.
I will not discuss the consequences of this decision -since I’m not a jurist- but, from the simple view of a non specialist, I’m wondering what can lead a state to retire itself from a institution whose only mission -as you can see here– is to “promote and protect human rights in the American hemisphere”.
One of the main reasons for the existence of supra states institutions is to avoid a “well intentioned” state to act unwisely against its own people. With this decision, the government of Venezuela is basically saying: “you know what? We never make mistakes, we know what is best for our people, and if -in the future- we need advice from abroad about human rights, we can always ask for recommendations to our friends…you know…from Cuba”.
But here’s the thing: there is no such thing as a perfect state (even the Vatican says that there is a “papal infallibility”, not a “Vatican” one). And advice, legal action and monitoring from abroad should be a good thing for any democratic state. “Democratic” being here, obviously, the keyword.
Made famous as an incomplete cliché, the famous quote from Lord Acton says: “Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men”.
Right now -it seems- the greatest men are on the venezuelan government.
Think about it Mr. President, and take back the promise you make today, (won’t be the first time) because we all make mistakes, and we all need people around to tell us how to amend them. It’s only human, right?