Civil Liberties

Walesa Banned, Wilders Detained


Nobel laureate, former Polish prime minister, and hero of the Cold War Lech Walesa will not be allowed to visit Venezuela ahead of that country's referendum on extending the rule of Hugo Chavez. El Jefe told Venezuelan media that Walesa was unwelcome in Caracas, where he was set to meet with opposition student groups, and would be prevented from entering the country. After Walesa cancelled his visit, Chavez claimed that he would, in fact, be allowed through customs but would be "closely monitored" on his visit.

After being told that he wouldn't be allowed out of Heathrow airport, Dutch parliamentarian Geert Wilders flew to England to attend a screening of his short film Fitna in the House of Lords. Fearing that the feelings of its Muslim citizens would be hurt, censorious British authorities detained Wilders and prevented him from exiting the airport. The Dutch MP was quickly dispatched back to Holland by Britain's heroic Home Secretary, Jacqui Smith. Civilization is—thank god—safe and, thanks to Ms. Smith, Wilders is now a free speech martyr. And the understatement of the day goes to Dutch Foreign Minister Maxime Verhagen, who complained to The Times that "The fact that a Dutch parliamentarian is refused entry to another EU country is highly regrettable."