3 overseas leaders who know how repression and tyranny work speak out on censorship of Trump and election skepticism
When people with experience of political corruption and repression warn Americans about danger signs in the current efforts to shut down dissidents, we should take note. The democratically elected leaders of 2 major Latin American countries are speaking up and warning Americans about the efforts to censor and repress skepticism about the legitimacy of an election. They are joined the leader of Russia’s opposition, the bête noire of Vladimir Putin, in whose pocket Donald Trump supposedly resides.
Ryan Saavedra of The Daily Wire reports on the leader of Mexico, a country with a history of political corruption and questionable elections:
Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador [AMLO, as he is called – TL] condemned social media companies for censoring President Donald Trump this week, saying that he does not “accept” the move as being okay.
“I don’t like anybody being censored or taking away from the the right to post a message on Twitter or Face(book). I don’t agree with that, I don’t accept that,” López Obrador said.
“How can you censor someone: ‘Let’s see, I, as the judge of the Holy Inquisition, will punish you because I think what you’re saying is harmful,’” he continued. “Where is the law, where is the regulation, what are the norms? This is an issue of government, this is not an issue for private companies.”
El Preisdente de Mexico, Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO)
Photo credit: Luicheto CC BY-SA 4.0 license
AMLO is not the sole Mexican official warning us:
‘The Washington Post reported that presidential spokesman Jesús Ramírez doubled down on the message from López Obrador, writing on social media: “Facebook’s decision to silence the current leader of the United States calls for a debate on freedom of expression, the free exchange of information on the web, democracy and the role of the companies that administer (social) networks.”
The leader of Latin America’s biggest nation, Brazil, also has been warning of the dangers of election fraud and the suppression of Trump’s voice, as Reuters reports:
Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro on Wednesday reiterated baseless [Reuters’s allegation-TL] allegations of U.S. election fraud and continued to back President Donald Trump, as the American leader’s supporters invaded the U.S. Capitol building. (snip)
On Wednesday, Bolsonaro said he had followed the storming of the U.S. Capitol by Trump supporters seeking to overturn the president’s election defeat. The breach forced lawmakers to evacuate and Congress to postpone a session that would have certified Biden’s victory. (snip)
“There were lot of reports of fraud, a lot of reports of fraud,” he added, in a video posted on social media, without providing evidence.
Reuters also disagrees with his comparison of electoral fraud in Brazil to what might have happened in the US in November:
Bolsonaro also took the opportunity to repeat a baseless complaint that his own 2018 election victory was tainted by fraud and he should have won without a runoff.
While our Latin neighbors in the Western Hemisphere warn us, the leader of the Russian opposition to Putin, a man who survived an assassination attempt by poisoning, is also deeply concerned by what he sees going on here. Ryan Saavedra of The Daily Wire:
Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny, a fierce critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin, slammed Twitter on Saturday for its censorship of President Donald Trump, calling the move “unacceptable.” (snip)
“I think that the ban of Donald Trump on Twitter is an unacceptable act of censorship,” Navalny said. “Of course, during his time in the office, Trump has been writing and saying very irresponsible things. And paid for it by not getting re-elected for a second term.”
“The election is a straightforward and competitive process. You can participate in it, you can appeal against the results, they’re being monitored by millions of people. The ban on Twitter is a decision of people we don’t know in accordance with a procedure we don’t know,” he continued. “In my opinion, the decision to ban Trump was based on emotions and personal political preferences. Don’t tell me he was banned for violating Twitter rules. I get death threats here every day for many years, and Twitter doesn’t ban anyone.”
“Among the people who have Twitter accounts are cold-blooded murderers (Putin or Maduro) and liars and thieves (Medvedev). For many years, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram have been used as a base for Putin’s ‘troll factory’ and similar groups from other authoritarian countries,” he continued. “Those who denied COVID-19 exist freely and communicate on Twitter. Their words have cost thousands of lives. And yet, it was Trump who got banned publicly and ostentatiously. Such selectivity indicates that this was an act of censorship.”
“Of course, Twitter is a private company, but we have seen many examples in Russian and China of such private companies becoming the state’s best friends and the enablers when it comes to censorship,” he continued. “If you replace ‘Trump’ with ‘Navalny’ in today’s discussion, you will get an 80% accurate Kremlin’s answer as to why my name can’t be mentioned on Russian TV and I shouldn’t be allowed to participate in any elections.”
“This precedent will be exploited by the enemies of freedom of speech around the world. In Russia as well. Every time when they need to silence someone, they will say: ‘this is just common practice, even Trump got blocked on Twitter,'” he concluded. “If @twitter and @jack want to do things right, they need to create some sort of a committee that can make such decisions. We need to know the names of the members of this committee, understand how it works, how its members vote and how we can appeal against their decisions.”
When people who know tyranny first-hand warn us, it would be foolish to ignore them.