The recent announcement that former Haitian dictator Jean Claude Duvalier will stand trial for corruption charges related to his embezzling of millions of dollars, but not for his role in the murder, disappearance and torture of thousands during his presidency has sparked outrage throughout Haiti and from human rights advocates across the world.
The Mexican president in the Dock? Well, not yet, but charges of “crimes against humanity” were filed last Friday in the International Criminal Court in the Netherlands against President Felipe Calderón, the Secretaries of Mexico’s Army, Navy and Public Safety, and notorious drug trafficker Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán.
The U.S. government and its right-wing allies are using human rights as a political weapon to discredit those governments in the region that have most aggressively undermined U.S. hegemony. This article was originally published as the introduction to the September/October 2011 issue of the NACLA Report on the Americas.
The human right to work is increasingly under attack in the United States, especially for unauthorized immigrants. The recent case of The French Gourmet restaurant in San Diego shows how bad things have become. It also highlights the need for human rights and migrant rights activists to directly challenge a system that criminalizes non-citizens for laboring without official sanction.
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement promised in June to be more discriminating in terms of who it targets for arrest and deportation. A recent raid of a home in southern California, however, shows the hollowness of the pledge. It also displays the inherent dangers of the immigration policing apparatus for civil and human rights.