Archive for March 9th, 2004

The desaparecidos can not be ignored or spinned away

March 9, 2004

 


The spin doctors are active, very active. After yesterday’s accusations that the dead are the responsibility of the opposition, today Minister of Information and Communications Jesse Chacon accused the media of promoting violence, saying that local media even carried instructions on how to make a Molotov cocktail this weekend. Chacon also denied there were any political prisoners in Venezuela and said that the injured were an order of magnitude less than what the opposition was charging.


 


Thus, we entered a third day of spinning, as the Chavez Government continues to try to deflect international criticism of the Government induced repression and violence of the week that followed the march of February 27th. Amazing isn’t it, that ever since President Hugo Chávez gave his cynical defense of his Government in  front of the diplomatic corps last Friday, there has been nobody  injured, nobody killed, nobody disappeared?  In fact, that first attempt at spinning went so badly, that those that Chavez claimed did not exist, or were dead, have been coming out of the woods to say they are who they claim to be, they signed to recall Hugo Chavez and they would do it again.


 


Then there is the outrageous case of the Minister of the Interior and Justice, infamous General Lucas Rincon, who has yet to explain why he said Chavez had resigned on April 12th. 2002, or why he rejoined the Chavez Government. But there he was, suggesting all the deaths of the repressive week were simply caused by the opposition, saying the military carried none of the weapons that are shown in dozens, if not hundreds of pictures in the media, including this blog.


 


But as Daniel explains in his blog, to suggest that someone was killed by a marble fired by a shotgun and that the marble actually went through the person’s body, as in the case of Jose Vila, is so incredibly outrageous that it could only come from this cynical Government. Maybe the Venezuelan military should get rid of all the FALs they buy and get these more dangerous shotguns, cleverly designed by the opposition.  They should be cheaper than and as deadly as the feared emblematic weapon of the Venezuelan military. Meanwhile, Jose Vila’s family mourns and the witnesses have yet to be interviewed by the police.


 


But you see, the Government is losing this fight. I am not sure what they expected to gain from the repression or the violence. Maybe they thought the few remaining officers of the Venezuelan armed forces that are not loyal to Chavez would come out openly and be purged. Or maybe they thought that they could justify declaring a state of emergency, with Lula and Kirchner as witnesses of the violence of the opposition. Instead, the two Presidents friendly to the “process” were outraged by what they saw, telling Chavez what they thought and leaving early.


 


Then, came the condemnation by many countries. All of a sudden the friendly countries of the European Union began leading the charges and the pressure against the Chavez repression. Last but not least, a public poll today says fewer than 15% of those polled said the Armed Forces did a good job during that week of repression, with close to 60% rejecting it strongly.


 


But the spin Doctors have a problem. You can try to spin away deaths, you can try to spin away injured, you can blame someone for the violence, and you can say nobody was tortured. But see, you can not spin away those that have disappeared. Yes, eight Venezuelans disappeared amidst the violence and the repression. Amnesty International knows it and the list of names is right there and here staring at and challenging the Chavez administration. The Coordinadora Democrática has provided names and ID numbers and they are nowhere to be found. You can accuse somebody else of a murder. You can manipulate the numbers. But you can not magically make somebody turn up alive, particularly if they are dead and you likely know about it.


 


Thus, the Chavez administration is trapped in its own lie. Curiously, none of these Government officials, from Lucas Rincon, to Jesse Chacon. to Chávez himself, has addressed this issue or said anything, anything at all, about the missing. They simply are ignoring them. Sadly, there is a long history of desaparecidos in Latin America’s bloody history of state repression. Even more sadly, the Chavez Government has just joined this list of the cruel and barbaric regimes. As the issue takes center stage in the next few days, it will open new cracks in the façade of the regime. It will continue to show the world the true face of this outlaw regime. In contrast with those that Chavez said did not exist but are alive, the desaparecidos of the Chavez regime are likely to be dead and can not be inored or spinned away.

The desaparecidos can not be ignored or spinned away

March 9, 2004

 


The spin doctors are active, very active. After yesterday’s accusations that the dead are the responsibility of the opposition, today Minister of Information and Communications Jesse Chacon accused the media of promoting violence, saying that local media even carried instructions on how to make a Molotov cocktail this weekend. Chacon also denied there were any political prisoners in Venezuela and said that the injured were an order of magnitude less than what the opposition was charging.


 


Thus, we entered a third day of spinning, as the Chavez Government continues to try to deflect international criticism of the Government induced repression and violence of the week that followed the march of February 27th. Amazing isn’t it, that ever since President Hugo Chávez gave his cynical defense of his Government in  front of the diplomatic corps last Friday, there has been nobody  injured, nobody killed, nobody disappeared?  In fact, that first attempt at spinning went so badly, that those that Chavez claimed did not exist, or were dead, have been coming out of the woods to say they are who they claim to be, they signed to recall Hugo Chavez and they would do it again.


 


Then there is the outrageous case of the Minister of the Interior and Justice, infamous General Lucas Rincon, who has yet to explain why he said Chavez had resigned on April 12th. 2002, or why he rejoined the Chavez Government. But there he was, suggesting all the deaths of the repressive week were simply caused by the opposition, saying the military carried none of the weapons that are shown in dozens, if not hundreds of pictures in the media, including this blog.


 


But as Daniel explains in his blog, to suggest that someone was killed by a marble fired by a shotgun and that the marble actually went through the person’s body, as in the case of Jose Vila, is so incredibly outrageous that it could only come from this cynical Government. Maybe the Venezuelan military should get rid of all the FALs they buy and get these more dangerous shotguns, cleverly designed by the opposition.  They should be cheaper than and as deadly as the feared emblematic weapon of the Venezuelan military. Meanwhile, Jose Vila’s family mourns and the witnesses have yet to be interviewed by the police.


 


But you see, the Government is losing this fight. I am not sure what they expected to gain from the repression or the violence. Maybe they thought the few remaining officers of the Venezuelan armed forces that are not loyal to Chavez would come out openly and be purged. Or maybe they thought that they could justify declaring a state of emergency, with Lula and Kirchner as witnesses of the violence of the opposition. Instead, the two Presidents friendly to the “process” were outraged by what they saw, telling Chavez what they thought and leaving early.


 


Then, came the condemnation by many countries. All of a sudden the friendly countries of the European Union began leading the charges and the pressure against the Chavez repression. Last but not least, a public poll today says fewer than 15% of those polled said the Armed Forces did a good job during that week of repression, with close to 60% rejecting it strongly.


 


But the spin Doctors have a problem. You can try to spin away deaths, you can try to spin away injured, you can blame someone for the violence, and you can say nobody was tortured. But see, you can not spin away those that have disappeared. Yes, eight Venezuelans disappeared amidst the violence and the repression. Amnesty International knows it and the list of names is right there and here staring at and challenging the Chavez administration. The Coordinadora Democrática has provided names and ID numbers and they are nowhere to be found. You can accuse somebody else of a murder. You can manipulate the numbers. But you can not magically make somebody turn up alive, particularly if they are dead and you likely know about it.


 


Thus, the Chavez administration is trapped in its own lie. Curiously, none of these Government officials, from Lucas Rincon, to Jesse Chacon. to Chávez himself, has addressed this issue or said anything, anything at all, about the missing. They simply are ignoring them. Sadly, there is a long history of desaparecidos in Latin America’s bloody history of state repression. Even more sadly, the Chavez Government has just joined this list of the cruel and barbaric regimes. As the issue takes center stage in the next few days, it will open new cracks in the façade of the regime. It will continue to show the world the true face of this outlaw regime. In contrast with those that Chavez said did not exist but are alive, the desaparecidos of the Chavez regime are likely to be dead and can not be inored or spinned away.

For the record

March 9, 2004

 


For the record, here is the picture and the testimony of another one of the Chavez cheaters presented to the Diplomatic corps. Chavez accused this lady of not existing and using the National ID number of somebody who had died named Luis Eduardo Gomez. Well, Maria Gregoria Ibarra, does not look like a Luis Eduardo to me.


 


Corrupted by power or a cynic all along?

March 9, 2004

 


Twenty three years ago, somebody wrote this in the local magazine Bohemia:


 


If the current Government devoted the same amount of energy, the same concern, the same interest, the same effort, the same ingenuity it spends in picking fights, in looking for an altercation, in injuring others, in doing something useful, in working for the country, we would definitely have a great country. Of that there is no doubt…In any case, it is convenient to point out that as the crisis gets more acute and the official failure is larger, the official aggressivity is also increasing…The Government sinks and as it happens with those that fall in quick sand, the effort consists in paddling even more, which means they sink even more…Picking fight does not yield dividends. What citizens elect their Governments for is not to promote fights and waste their time in small time confrontations; they do it so that they work for everyone.


 



 


Yes, it was now Vice-President and chief cynic Jose Vicente Rangel. Corrupted by power or a cynic all along?

Venezuela in the spotlight

March 9, 2004

 


Venezuela continues to be in the spotlight of the media, both traditional and non-traditional:


 


-Not very happy with the New York Times opinion piece which includes this:


 


“As long as Mr. Chávez continues to abide by the rules of


Venezuela‘s constitutional democracy, his opponents are


obliged to do the same”


 


Where have they been?


 


-I had missed, this article in the L.A. Times which has this sentence that I wished more papers had repeated:


 


“Representatives from the Organization of American States and the Atlanta-based Carter Center, who observed the December signature-gathering, disagree with the council. To these experienced observers the signatures looked individual. They say no irregularities were reported during the gathering process”


 


-As well as The Miami Herald, which gives very clear examples of the type of stuff we have been dealing with, including why Venezuelans are so outraged:


 


“The populist leader has marked his presidency with a series of rulings, decrees, rhetoric and maneuvers that bent the rules of the game to his advantage — but mostly managed to avoid openly breaking them.”


 


-Finally, the blog world also recognizes our crisis, blogger Glenn Reynolds of Instapundit, one of the most read blogs around, has made reference to Venezuela for the third time in ten days, with a crushing verdict:


 


VENEZUELA: Chavez is not only crushing civil rights, but is ruling outside the law.


He’s a dictator.

Venezuela in the spotlight

March 9, 2004

 


Venezuela continues to be in the spotlight of the media, both traditional and non-traditional:


 


-Not very happy with the New York Times opinion piece which includes this:


 


“As long as Mr. Chávez continues to abide by the rules of


Venezuela‘s constitutional democracy, his opponents are


obliged to do the same”


 


Where have they been?


 


-I had missed, this article in the L.A. Times which has this sentence that I wished more papers had repeated:


 


“Representatives from the Organization of American States and the Atlanta-based Carter Center, who observed the December signature-gathering, disagree with the council. To these experienced observers the signatures looked individual. They say no irregularities were reported during the gathering process”


 


-As well as The Miami Herald, which gives very clear examples of the type of stuff we have been dealing with, including why Venezuelans are so outraged:


 


“The populist leader has marked his presidency with a series of rulings, decrees, rhetoric and maneuvers that bent the rules of the game to his advantage — but mostly managed to avoid openly breaking them.”


 


-Finally, the blog world also recognizes our crisis, blogger Glenn Reynolds of Instapundit, one of the most read blogs around, has made reference to Venezuela for the third time in ten days, with a crushing verdict:


 


VENEZUELA: Chavez is not only crushing civil rights, but is ruling outside the law.


He’s a dictator.

Lies, lies and more lies

March 9, 2004

Everyone should read Francisco Toro’s list of lies by the Chavez Government, it is so good I had to reproduce it here:


How do we believe that just this once y’all are telling the truth when we’ve seen 10,000,000 lies before, when your leaderership has systematically lied, lied about Bolivar’s teachings, lied about the missing payments to FIEM, lied about the corruption in Plan Bolivar, lied about the sustainability of the exchange rate bands, lied about Oil-to-Cuba, lied about the domestic debt, lied about the CTV election results, lied about the size of the opposition, lied about Montesinos, lied about Ballestas, lied about its border policy, lied about Decree 1011, lied about the process to approve the 49 decree-laws, lied about Plan Avila, lied about the violence on April 11th, lied about the US role on April 12th, lied about the numbers on the street on April 13th, lied about the poverty rate, lied about the Charallave shootings, lied about the Autopista Regional del Centro shootings, lied about the Paro Nacional, lied about Plan Colina, lied about what happened in the old PDVSA, lied about what happens in the new PDVSA, lied about its oil production figures, lied about the pollution on Lake Maracaibo, lied about Intesa, lied about Intevep, lied about Citgo, lied about Ruhr Oel, lied about the Plataforma Deltana, lied about Yucal-Placer, lied about Tomoporo, lied about Free Market Petroleum, lied about the Las Cristinas mine, lied about school-enrollment figures, lied on the future of El Camastron, La Casona and Miraflores, lied about its impact on world oil prices, lied about the firmazo, lied about the reafirmazo, lied about Sumate, lied about the integrity of Cesar Gaviria, lied about the private media, lied about the reconstruction of Vargas State after the mudslides, lied about the links with FARC/ELN, lied about the “millardito”, lied about the infiltration of Cubans into the armed forces, lied about the killing of Jovany Sosa and Evangelina Carrizo and Jorge Tortoza and countless others, lied about Venezuela’s involvement in the coup against Sanchez de Lozada in Bolivia, lied about the Policia Metropolitana’s role in violence in Caracas, lied about racism, lied about the impact of the various “missions”, lied about Carrasquero’s impartiality, lied about the planillas planas, lied about the independence of the Fiscal, lied about the integrity of the Ombudsman, lied about the autonomy of the courts, lied about its commitment to human rights, lied about Pompeyo Marquez’s character, lied, in fact, at just about every turn on just about every significant aspect of policy and politics for over five years?


You should also read his “fuck you” list to Greg Wilpert and Venezuelanalysis.com. Since I alreday stole half his thunder, go read the rest in his blog. (he has now removed it, but read it anyway)u

More on the pretty revolution

March 9, 2004

Today’s El Nacional has a report (page A-14) on a metting in Maracaibo of PDVSA fired workers. At it, reports CTV leader Froilan Barrios, active PDVSA workers reported that more than 1,000 PDVSA workres were fired for signing the petition to recall President Hugo cahvez.


Such a pretty revolution!

More on the pretty revolution

March 9, 2004

Today’s El Nacional has a report (page A-14) on a metting in Maracaibo of PDVSA fired workers. At it, reports CTV leader Froilan Barrios, active PDVSA workers reported that more than 1,000 PDVSA workres were fired for signing the petition to recall President Hugo cahvez.


Such a pretty revolution!

Affidavit by Father Dorindo Burgos

March 9, 2004


 



 


My name is Dorindo Burgo Arias. Nacional ID number 15792115. I was born on February 6th. 1963 in a town in the Leon province named Celadilla del Paramo. I am Spanish by birth. I belong to religious congregation of the Marists brothers. I arrived in Venezuela on Sept. 26 1982. I nationalized on Sept. 24th. 1992. on Feb. 29th. Around 1 PM I went to Plaza Francia of Altamira with my flag around my neck and the Constitution in my pocket…I addressed those in uniform and from a distance of three to four meters I read to them Art. 68 of the Constitution which reads” The citizens have the right to protest, peacefully, without weapons. It is forbidden to use firearms or toxic substances in the control of peaceful demonstrations” I told them about the crimes that do not prescribe, of the need to achieve peace that we are all brothers and we have to search for peace. I told them I came to them in peace and was not going to confront anyone; I was only asking that the rights of the citizens be respected. I move back to where most of the demonstrators were.


 


After a while we begin to advance, the guards shoot plastic bullets and tear gas indiscriminately (I have participated in many rallies, I have swallowed a lot of smoke. I have never felt so much need to vomit, burning eyes, desperation). Many kids from the surrounding buildings have to be aided by the Red Cross and some taken to hospitals. What impotence, what outrage! There is nobody to denounce this to. The guards throw bombs the opposition retreats. The smoke goes away and starts advancing, so on and so forth.  In one of these advances, they leave lots of cartridges on the street, with D. Lopez and some photographers; I pick up some cartridges and put them in my belly bag. We try to establish a dialog with the officials that direct the guards. We try to reach an agreement we will only reach a certain point they will not throw bombs or bullets. From the back someone throws some stones and bottles. We reach no agreement the guards begin a razzia and advance.


 


We disperse through the side streets. They keep throwing bombs, the guards take the square. With three more people I take refuge in the lower part of the square, next to the entrance to the subway, which is closed. The wind blows takes the toxic gases away. We breath, after a while we try to leave the square, we se the guards and go back. The guards come down; with them there is a photographer. They point at us with rifles, they push us, they scream at us, they insult us, they search us, they accuse us of throwing stones (my principles and values still don’t allow me to do this) they ask me to open the belly bag, they see the cartridges and say I was the one that fired. They see they are theirs. They put us in a line. They take my flag away, my cell phone (which I haven’t seen since and never will). They hit me and I don’t feel it.


 


I ask to talk to their commander and they tell me to shut up. They put me in a motorcycle with a guard in front another in the back. They take me to a truck. It’s a closed truck. They throw me in the truck like a sack of potatoes; all surrounded by insults, hitting me swear words, repeating at all times, don’t lift your heads. More insults, more beating. Once in a while they open the door, more people detained. They keep insulting us, beating us. Throwing the new people on top of us. They threaten with throwing a tear gas bomb inside. I recall what I lived before, the truck is closed. Time goes by, the guards get on the truck. They keep beating us, with their sticks, with their helmets, with their hands, insulting us with words I would not use. The worst part is the position, I have difficulty breathing, I can’t move I have two or three people on top of me; my chest is over a knee. My shoulder against the division of the truck. I try to shout I can’t breathe! I am asphyxiating!They tell us to move. They keep beating us insulting us. There is a boot on my shoulder I see it belongs to a guardsman. He presses it. The truck is moving, I think the worst. I start praying. A guard asks: Are you a squalid ?(nickname for the opposition). I say yes I am, if you mean I am against Chavez I am a squalid. He asks what you do? I tell them I am a priest…they treated me better alter that…


 

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