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State Department: Human Rights Abuses Continued in Latin America


The State Department report says political harassment, arbitrary arrests, killings, and other human rights abuses continued in Latin America last year.

It blamed all sides in Colombia's long-running war - government forces, paramilitaries and leftist rebels - for human rights violations, but said the majority of those abuses were committed by illegal armed groups.

In Cuba, it said problems included harassment of political opponents, arbitrary arrest and detention of human rights advocates, denial of fair trial, and severe limitations on freedom of speech, the press and movement.

In Haiti, it blamed the national police for disappearances and arbitrary killings. It said corruption was widespread in all branches of government, and internal trafficking of children and child domestic labor was a problem.

In Venezuela, it cited unlawful killings of criminal suspects, torture and abuse of detainees, as well as official intimidation on the media, political opposition and human rights groups.

The report said other problems in Venezuela included illegal wiretapping and searches of private homes and businesses, and widespread corruption in all levels of government.

It said Guatemala, Nicaragua and El Salvador faced problems of human trafficking, harsh prison conditions and arbitrary arrest and detention.

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