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US Reports Human Rights Abuses in Latin America


The U.S. State Department's 2006 Human Rights Report cites Venezuela and Cuba for violating citizens' rights and harassing non-governmental organizations.

Assistant Secretary of State Barry Lowenkron says the situation in Venezuela is getting worse with intimidation of the press and efforts to silence the opposition. The report added the Venezuelan government continues to harass the opposition and non-governmental organizations.

As for Cuba, the report said the Communist country continues to violate virtually all the rights of its citizens, including the fundamental right to peacefully change their government. It said in 2006 the government increased its harassment of dissidents and others seen as a threat to the government.

The congressionally-mandated annual report said citizens in Haiti showed their commitment to democracy by going to the polls three times in 2006. But it said much remains to be done to restore the rule of law, including restraining and vetting the Haitian National Police and overhauling Haiti's judicial system.

For Colombia the report says that although serious problems remain the government's respect for human rights has improved.

In Chile, the report said the government generally respects the human rights of its citizens, but added there were problems with abuse of detainees and inmates.

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