July 7th, 2009, Fairfax, VA—Americans for Limited Government President Bill Wilson called upon the Senate Foreign Relations Committee to reject the nomination of Arturo Valenzuela to the post of Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs.
“Arturo Valenzuela is soft on Hugo Chavez, soft on the Castro brothers, soft on Manuel Zelaya, and overall has an extraordinarily weak record on defending liberty in Latin America,” said Wilson.
“Valenzuela has even defended Hugo Chavez’s clamping down on press freedom in Venezuela,” Wilson noted. “The United States should not be appointing apologists for tyranny to the nation’s top diplomatic posts. Valenzuela has been wrong on issue after issue with regards to protecting basic civil liberties.”
According to a background published by Americans for Limited Government, Valenzuela has argued for “dialogue and an opening towards Cuba,” defended Venezuela’s cracking down on press freedom while serving at Freedom House, and sits on the advisory board of Americas Watch with George Soros, a group that supports reinstating Manuel Zelaya to power in Honduras.
“Arturo Valenzuela has fundamentally been on the wrong side of history with regards to Latin American policy, and has no place leading policy in this area,” said Wilson.
“He is no friend of freedom,” Wilson added.
According to a November 2008 article by Martin Edwin Andersen, a former employee of Freedom House, who resigned in protest over Valenzuela, the Obama nominee “claimed that violence wasn’t a major issue in Mexico, that there was nothing approaching a state of terror in major cities of the north in the U.S.’s southern neighbor…”
Andersen writes that he had given Mexico “low marks in its country write-up due to the violence and fear created by drug mafias and their police protectors in the northern states bordering the U.S. More than 900 people had been killed in the first nine months of that year and journalists, in particular, had fled several cities in fear. Against all evidence, Valenzuela demanded on giving Mexico a pass on the issue.”
After Valenzuela prevailed on the Mexico issue, Andersen resigned from Freedom House.
Andersen’s commentary also blasted Valenzuela for “being an apologist for Argentina’s corrupt president Carlos Menem” and because “after the Argentine’s corruption was well known, Valenzuela nonetheless sonorously declared that the ‘The Western world owes a debt of gratitude to Carlos Menem’.”
Wilson called upon Senators to “ask tough questions about Chavez, Zelaya, the Castros, and Menem, about Valenzuela’s tenure at Freedom House with regard to the Andersen account, and find out why he consistently supports tyrannical regimes.”
“The question Senators ought to be asking Valenzuela tomorrow is: ‘Does friends of liberty in Latin America have a friend in Arturo Venezuela?’” Wilson concluded.
Arturo Valenzuela Background, Americans for Limited Government, July 2009.
Interview Availability: Please contact Alex Rosenwald at (703)383-0880 or at email@example.com to arrange an interview with ALG President Bill Wilson.
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