The near civil war in Venezuela as its brave citizens take to the streets protesting President Hugo Chavez's assault on their civil liberties, most recently shutting down an opposing television station, evoked this mild response from the Carter Center, founded by former US president and Chavez pal, Jimmy Carter. The Carter Center called for dialogue Thursday between President Hugo Chavez and opponents protesting his decision to force an opposition TV channel off the air, while calm returned to the streets after three days of demonstrations. The Atlanta-based organization founded by former President Jimmy Carter expressed concern about the potential for escalating violence after the government halted broadcasts by Radio Caracas Television on Sunday. Police have repeatedly clashed with angry crowds hurling rocks and bottles since Chavez refused to renew the station's broadcast license. "Healthy democracies require spaces for political dialogue and debate to allow divisions about the future direction of the country to be addressed in peaceful ways," the Carter Center said. . . . The Carter Center, which has observed past elections here, said it is concerned that "non-renewal of broadcast concessions for political reasons will have a chilling effect on free speech."
"A plurality of opinions should be protected," it said. "The right of dissent must be fiercely defended by every democratic government."
That's right--just dialogue as if both sides were morally equivalent. Apparently strongly condemning Chavez's outrageous decision would be too chilling.