One comes back to reality and arrives with a positive attitude of trying to ignore the news, but then…
–First I hear about the case of Silvino Bustillos, a former Justice of the Martial Court and retired from the military. Bustillos was part of a group called Bloque Democratico” which ahs had a fairly radical opposition to Chávez with military and right wing tones that I simply do not like. But the case is growing. Reportedly Bustillos was kidnapped by the military intelligence on the day of the regional elections. Even Stratfor talks about the case. And the Minister of Defense rather than dismissing the charges says that they have to be investigated. I can still be a little skeptical until I learn that a person I know, who is also a member of Bloque Democratico, was kidnapped that same day, beaten and threatened. She was held for four and a half hours and is in bad shape. Apparently there were more than these two cases.
–Then I learn that ex-Mayor Alfredo Pena, is being accused right and left. First for his involvement in the April 11 events and now for corruption. So much that the slow Venezuelan Justice has already banned him from leaving the country and two more members of his staff are also being accused. I then hear the President of the Supreme Court say that nobody is immune to prosecution, least of all Sumate and a Justice is recused by the prosecutor in the same case. Well, clearly all pro-Chavez people are immune, dozens of opposition people are being prosecuted and accused and the Chavistas appear to be ethical angels who never do wrong. Funny those that have handled billions of dollars have done it in immaculate fashion, but a $30,000 donation is a state priority. Former Governor Mendoza is also the target of investigations.
–A lot of attention is devoted to removing three zeroes from the currency, as if it had some sort of magical implication. If it did, why not remove four zeroes? At least the virtual effects will last longer.
–The stories of the regional vote are interesting, but I will not bore the readers with them. In the end, the counting of the ballots was once again a charade. In Carabobo state 67% of the ballots boxes that were counted had significant discrepancies with the electronic tally. But it did not matter; electronic beats audit and let’s move on.
–Meanwhile Chavez was in Brazil Dominican Republic and spent nine hours talking to alter ego and supreme hero Fidel Castro. He seems to visit Fidel more than his father. I wonder if both talk at the same time in these meetings. Here is a picture of Chavez in Copacabana. I wonder who does his wardrobe these days.
–Fortunately there is always humor as in this picture of a t-shirt with the “Indepndent Republic of Zulia”. For years the map of Venezuela has been drawn with the British Guyana dashed and the label:”Zone under claim”. Well, the new t-shirts have the map with Zulia state, where the opposition Governor won, as Venezuela and the rest of the country as the “Zone under claim”. At least it relaxes you a bit. But it does not last long.