Human Rights Watch is not known to be led by right-wing hawks. So when they are seriously concerned about the human rights situation in Venezuela, it’s time to listen up – not just for… well… right-wing hawks.

Their new 230-page report “examines the impact of the Chávez presidency on institutions that are essential for ensuring respect for human rights and the rule of law: the courts, the media, organized labor, and civil society.”

Venezuela: Rights Suffer Under Chávez

And if you are still not convinced that his 21st century socialism looks pretty much like the old fashioned 20th century kind, the Venezuelan government’s reaction to the report may be of interest to you:

Venezuela: Human Rights Watch Delegation Expelled

“The government expelled José Miguel Vivanco, Americas director at Human Rights Watch, and Americas deputy director Daniel Wilkinson on September 18, 2008, hours after they held a news conference in Caracas to present a report that describes how the government of President Hugo Chávez has weakened democratic institutions and human rights guarantees in Venezuela.”

Three latin words come to mind: Quod erat demonstrandum.