The subtitle of this column is a sentence by Desmond Tutu pronounced with reference to apartheid. Furthermore, it applies to any political and legal order designed to limit rights. With which it is valid for any type of autocracy.
This offers the opportunity to discuss the current authoritarian regression in Latin America. The proposal here is that too many actors in the international community have opted for "neutrality"; which, for the above, is a form of intervention in favor of the oppressor. To this end they invoke an archaic conception of sovereignty according to which a government can act at will within its borders.
It is a fallacious argument, states can not do what they want simply by exercising territorial sovereignty. Moreover, in the real world, no State is exempt from any kind of interference from abroad. This occurs because of the action, or omission, since the Archbishop Tutu indicates actors outside the state, not state and supranational. States have international commitments that they must honor.
This is the case of the Inter-American System, a series of conventions and treaties that force states to observe democracy and human rights. As in any international regime, the principle of reciprocity is founded between the parties. A part of the sovereignty is then transferred and transferred to that supranational instance. Peace and security, essential public goods, derive from shared norms and are achieved through mutual control.
Thus, these tools include penalties. The Inter-American Democratic Charter, for example, plans to suspend and even expel recidivists from the system. The Rome Statute, for its part, which establishes the International Criminal Court, states that serious violations of human rights such as war crimes, genocide and crimes against humanity are not subject to the status of limitations and universal jurisdiction.
In this way, these agreements institutionalize the intervention mechanisms. As most of the countries of the Americas are part of both systems, they are obliged to accept these rules and the consequent intervention by virtue of the assumption of their obligations freely and voluntarily. Moreover, many of these states have incorporated this international norm in their constitutional architectures.
In this way, the call for neutrality and non-intervention means that the current discussion goes through an area of euphemism, a rhetorical arsenal to justify crimes. The single party system is played entirely in Venezuela with Maduro and in Nicaragua with Ortega. The first one that falls will drop the other. This could cause a domino effect: the perpetuation of Evo Morales would then be a chimera, Castro's Cuba would be left without buffer in its periphery. Here again it is a matter of reciprocity but between dictators. As a result, non-intervention is your most valuable concept.
They are not the only ones. This is also the case with the governments of Uruguay and Mexico, although they are not dictatorships. For the former, his silence in the face of the crimes of Maduro led him to distance himself from his closest allies, both geographically and for strategic interest. In fact, the other Mercosur countries are severe critics of the Venezuelan dictatorship. The inconsistency is more than obvious when it is noted that, on the contrary, the government of Tabaré Vázquez condemns the abuses of Ortega in Nicaragua.
In Mexico, the government changed last December and López Obrador arrived with Estrada's doctrine and the principle of no intervention under his arm; a distorted version of it, that is. Because this idea can not be seen except in its historical specificity, that is, a vital notion in the nineteenth and early twentieth century for a newly independent, vulnerable country exposed to the fragmentation and loss of territory. This was the meaning of not intervening: maintaining the territorial integrity of the country.
The subsequent doctrine of Estrada in the thirties, however, was not an impediment to denounce Mussolini, Franco, the Third Reich and fascism in general, nor to conduct a noble asylum policy both in the country and in its embassies in European capitals. Then in the seventies, Mexico condemned the dictatorships of the southern cone, receiving exiles with generosity and even interrupting diplomatic relations with Pinochet. Something similar happened when Lopez Portillo broke relations with Somoza in the days preceding the revolution, providing strategic support to the Sandinista Front.
Nobody asks Lopez Obrador something different. Intervening means condemning, morally censuring, exerting diplomatic pressure and showing solidarity to those whose rights are violated by a dictatorship. It happens that the meaning of the concept changes according to who uses it. So much so that Mexico now refrains from signing statements condemning the crimes of Maduro in the Lima group and in the OSA, because what happens in Venezuela is an "internal issue" and the president "does not look for causes".
Double standards to say the least, this suggests an arbitrary selection, but an ideological reading of human rights. In any case, the Mexican government abandons its tradition and evades its international obligations. Mexico is also part of all the conventions and treaties mentioned above. Crimes against humanity are never an internal issue.
It is that human rights are neither right nor left. If there is no intervention, there are no human rights. In situations of abuse, the oppressor always invokes sovereignty and not intervention. The reason is simple: keep private oppression. The victim has no place to turn because the law is unjust and there is no independent justice or political will to pursue.
The victim has only the intervention of the international community to make this public oppression and to equate a fundamentally asymmetric power relationship. The non-intervention, like the neutrality that Tutu mentions, is only the rhetorical tool of complicity.