December 10, 2008
PRAGUE, Czech Republic -- Former presidents of the Czech Republic, Poland and South Africa say there is a lack of freedom and democracy in Venezuela.
Vaclav Havel, Lech Walesa and F.W. de Klerk say Venezuela restricts individual freedom and does not tolerate ``dissent and different thinking.''
The former presidents made the comments in an open letter released Wednesday -- the U.N. International Day for Human Rights.
They also say that opponents of Hugo Chávez's presidency are persecuted and call for ``guarantees for free expression and respect for human rights for all Venezuelans.''
Venezuela recently expelled two human rights activists after they presented a report criticizing Chávez's human rights record.