I cant’ help but be extremely worried. A new wave of repression and intimidation seems to have started today, as the Government attempts to leverage the paramilitary charade into a full scale witch hunt:
-Baruta Mayor Capriles Radonsky is jailed, despite the fact that the Penal Hall of the Venezuela Supreme Court had already ruled that Mayors have to be tried while they are free, as they represent no escape risk.
-Not only was Deputy Rafael Marin’s house raided without a warrant, but from well-informed sources I understand he was held at gunpoint with a machine gun. Moreover, the Head of the intelligence police told the media that “It is very clear that (Marin) is involved, so he should stop complaining”. Well, if it is so clear, why doesn’t he go to the assembly and has the Deputy’s immunity removed? Marin later called him a “bandit”
-The Head of the intelligence police says they have an eight page “Counter revolutionary plan”, warns of further searches and announces “surprises”. He says “Don’t say names, but you will see”. Eight pages!! Wow! How elaborate!
-The farm of media tycoon Gustavo Cisneros is also searched, his only sin apparently that it was close to (miles!) where the paramilitary were captured last Sunday. President Chavez had accused Cisneros of plotting against him, but nothing was found in the raid.
-Reporters from El Universal covering the home raids around Caracas were stopped by a military intelligence Colonel named Manuitt, abused and threatened. My translation of one of the reporters’ articles follows.
-A Judge ordered both active and retired military; most of them low rank and not well-known, captured.
-The People’s Defender says that he is suspicious of US participation in the paramilitary charade due to “historical evidence”
-The Minister of Defense warns that people should be on alert because they have “suspicions” that there will be attacks on both opposition and Government leaders by paid assassins. If he knows so much, how come he does not stop it? I thought that is part of his job.
The whole charade is getting to be suspiciously blown out of proportion by the Government. I am now leaning toward the belief that the paramilitary force was indeed a Government plan to justify arbitrary detentions in the name of national security. They were discovered and had to advance the plan, making it look really bad. Reportedly, the owner of the farm where the paramilitary were supposedly kept said that his farm would be about the worst possible location for something like that, as it has a church and a Bolivarian circle less than half a mile away.
This is the first time that I have felt the Government was stepping over the legal line in very clear fashion, without shame. People are being jailed right and left, in violation of rulings and with little or no evidence. The raids on homes are not even legally supported. A deputy had his immunity violated. Reporters are once again abused, but this time threatened with death by the military police!.
Hopefully, this is not a sign of worse things to come, but it looks very bad and bleak to me.