Archive for November 16th, 2004

A small victory for decency and justice

November 16, 2004


Once in a while, there is a small ray of light. Maybe it was international pressure, maybe not, maybe these people or some of them have some decency left in them, but the truth is that today’s decision by the Supreme Court to take away the case against Sumate from the Courts, is  indeed very good news.


 


Essentially the Court said it would take over the case against Sumate’s leaders Maria Corina Machado, Alejandro Plaz and others seen in the picture above and orders the Court to accept the evidence provided by the defense. It orders the process to continue with the accused in freedom and goes as far as saying that a trial may not even take place! Moreover, the Court says the defendants were denied their right to due process by both the Cpurt and the Prosecutor’s office. .


 


Now, just to put it in the proper perspective, this is the same accusation against Suamtethat the Attorney General/Prosecutor called only ten days ago “the exhaustive investigation carried out by the Court….led to 36 elements to prosecute”.


 


In any other country, the decision today by the Supreme Court and the charges made should lead to the resignation or removal of the Prosecutors and/or the judges involved. But not here. When there is no sense of decency, when revenge and political motivations determines the priorities of mediocre people placed in important positions to defend the indefensible, this is not what happens or may happen.


 


Attorney General/Prosecutor Isaias Rodriguez is morally corrupt, turning an independent power into an arm of the Government to persecute rather than prosecute the opposition.  While illegality is the rule of the day, crime is up, corruption is up, Rodriguez directs his office towards intimidating those that dare question or challenge the Government. In the case of Sumate, the hate and need for revenge is extreme. Imagine a group of people who dared to help organize things so that the Government would not cheat in the petition to request Chavez recall. The truth is that without Sumate, there would have been no recall vote. Moreover, Sumate did not have to pay the thousands of volunteers that worked for it like the Government does whenever it needs its supporters to do something. Sumate was in fact capable, efficient and its work was done largely by volunteers. This had to be eliminated so the Rodriguez came up with the ridiculous charge that Sumate “conspired against the political form that the Nation has been given”. When a Government calls true democracy a conspiracy, you know there is something very rotten in the minds and hearts of its leaders.


 


Note: I was a proud Sumate volunteer

A small victory for decency and justice

November 16, 2004


Once in a while, there is a small ray of light. Maybe it was international pressure, maybe not, maybe these people or some of them have some decency left in them, but the truth is that today’s decision by the Supreme Court to take away the case against Sumate from the Courts, is  indeed very good news.


 


Essentially the Court said it would take over the case against Sumate’s leaders Maria Corina Machado, Alejandro Plaz and others seen in the picture above and orders the Court to accept the evidence provided by the defense. It orders the process to continue with the accused in freedom and goes as far as saying that a trial may not even take place! Moreover, the Court says the defendants were denied their right to due process by both the Cpurt and the Prosecutor’s office. .


 


Now, just to put it in the proper perspective, this is the same accusation against Suamtethat the Attorney General/Prosecutor called only ten days ago “the exhaustive investigation carried out by the Court….led to 36 elements to prosecute”.


 


In any other country, the decision today by the Supreme Court and the charges made should lead to the resignation or removal of the Prosecutors and/or the judges involved. But not here. When there is no sense of decency, when revenge and political motivations determines the priorities of mediocre people placed in important positions to defend the indefensible, this is not what happens or may happen.


 


Attorney General/Prosecutor Isaias Rodriguez is morally corrupt, turning an independent power into an arm of the Government to persecute rather than prosecute the opposition.  While illegality is the rule of the day, crime is up, corruption is up, Rodriguez directs his office towards intimidating those that dare question or challenge the Government. In the case of Sumate, the hate and need for revenge is extreme. Imagine a group of people who dared to help organize things so that the Government would not cheat in the petition to request Chavez recall. The truth is that without Sumate, there would have been no recall vote. Moreover, Sumate did not have to pay the thousands of volunteers that worked for it like the Government does whenever it needs its supporters to do something. Sumate was in fact capable, efficient and its work was done largely by volunteers. This had to be eliminated so the Rodriguez came up with the ridiculous charge that Sumate “conspired against the political form that the Nation has been given”. When a Government calls true democracy a conspiracy, you know there is something very rotten in the minds and hearts of its leaders.


 


Note: I was a proud Sumate volunteer

DBC’s comment about internacionalistas

November 16, 2004

DBC posted this comment that I think deserves to be posted for everyone to read:


Brunilde — I was following up on your comment to SH “Chavez transformed a pluralistic society into a “we and then” society where everything is black and white. This happens only in fundamentalists states. Your views then, clearly show the type of Chavist fundamentalism that is currentl! y governing Venezuela.” It’s frustrating to watch as the norms and mechanisms of a democratic society are used to construct a militaristic, monopolistic one-party police state, irreversibly. Like a virus using its host until it dies. The opposition has lost, and lost, and lost again – legitimately at times, questionably at others.There is less and less transparency as time goes by and power accumulates. A comment by one of the Brit camaradas after the RR,over on Fernando Toro’s blog, sticks with me – to paraphrase, “The victor doesn’t ask for a post-mortem”. When El Proceso is complete, and the opposition says “But, you cheated”, the Chavistas/SinestroFascists/Mullah-equivalents can say “The victors don’t ask for post-mortems, and to the victors go the spoils”. The thing the Bolsheviks said to the Mensheviks (sp?). It’s futile to carry on a political discussion with the internacionalistas, when for the true-believers, politics are just a means to an end. The public face is a neutral observer, but the actual face is that of a Missionary eager to see a Utopian sociopolitical experiment implanted in Venezuela. Whether the Venezuelans want it or not. If, when Venezuela ends up like Iran, with a popular political fury that turns into a totalitarian, unending rule by the keepers of the Revolution, with a new generation fed up with the mullahs, but unable to express that frustration electorally, meaningfully—what do the Weisbrots and Pallasts, the Pulpos and Roy Carsons, the Guardians, the Canadian Professors holed up in posh hotels, “observing”, the Steven Hunts—-what will they have to say to those future Venezuelans? They won’t be accountable for the Proceso they are cheerleading, helping to build, and most likely the internacionalistas would call them contrarevolucionarios, Esqualidos. Fascistas, gusanos, what have you. The political convulsions in Venezuela aren’t Black/White – had Miquilena opted to annoint Arias Cardenas, you wouldn’t have this insane confrontational political realignment- but the stakes have become just that. The true believers, in Venezuela and abroad, understand this, be they firebrands in the AN or wolves-in-sheeps-clothing supporters carrying Chavez’s water. The opposition in Venezuela hasn’t this clarity, or has intended to ride the tiger, or has been forced into th defensive, into a smaller and smaller corner. This isn’t a debate at Oxford, it’s a contest, and the parties aren’t playing by the same rulebook. The future of Venezuela is at stake -or was-, so debating some extranjeros entrometidos, lecturing Venezuelans about –their own country– while they’re sitting back in the States, or Britain, or Academia—they’re cheerleading or actively building a state they won’t live in, one they’d never allow the opposition in their own countries to install, without accountability. Me choca. I suppose I’d like to see, say, the late Amalia Perez Diaz (a true reencauchada) giving them hell – “Atrevidos, insolentes, sinverguenzas,fuera de mi pais! Larguense”…

DBC’s comment about internacionalistas

November 16, 2004

DBC posted this comment that I think deserves to be posted for everyone to read:


Brunilde — I was following up on your comment to SH “Chavez transformed a pluralistic society into a “we and then” society where everything is black and white. This happens only in fundamentalists states. Your views then, clearly show the type of Chavist fundamentalism that is currentl! y governing Venezuela.” It’s frustrating to watch as the norms and mechanisms of a democratic society are used to construct a militaristic, monopolistic one-party police state, irreversibly. Like a virus using its host until it dies. The opposition has lost, and lost, and lost again – legitimately at times, questionably at others.There is less and less transparency as time goes by and power accumulates. A comment by one of the Brit camaradas after the RR,over on Fernando Toro’s blog, sticks with me – to paraphrase, “The victor doesn’t ask for a post-mortem”. When El Proceso is complete, and the opposition says “But, you cheated”, the Chavistas/SinestroFascists/Mullah-equivalents can say “The victors don’t ask for post-mortems, and to the victors go the spoils”. The thing the Bolsheviks said to the Mensheviks (sp?). It’s futile to carry on a political discussion with the internacionalistas, when for the true-believers, politics are just a means to an end. The public face is a neutral observer, but the actual face is that of a Missionary eager to see a Utopian sociopolitical experiment implanted in Venezuela. Whether the Venezuelans want it or not. If, when Venezuela ends up like Iran, with a popular political fury that turns into a totalitarian, unending rule by the keepers of the Revolution, with a new generation fed up with the mullahs, but unable to express that frustration electorally, meaningfully—what do the Weisbrots and Pallasts, the Pulpos and Roy Carsons, the Guardians, the Canadian Professors holed up in posh hotels, “observing”, the Steven Hunts—-what will they have to say to those future Venezuelans? They won’t be accountable for the Proceso they are cheerleading, helping to build, and most likely the internacionalistas would call them contrarevolucionarios, Esqualidos. Fascistas, gusanos, what have you. The political convulsions in Venezuela aren’t Black/White – had Miquilena opted to annoint Arias Cardenas, you wouldn’t have this insane confrontational political realignment- but the stakes have become just that. The true believers, in Venezuela and abroad, understand this, be they firebrands in the AN or wolves-in-sheeps-clothing supporters carrying Chavez’s water. The opposition in Venezuela hasn’t this clarity, or has intended to ride the tiger, or has been forced into th defensive, into a smaller and smaller corner. This isn’t a debate at Oxford, it’s a contest, and the parties aren’t playing by the same rulebook. The future of Venezuela is at stake -or was-, so debating some extranjeros entrometidos, lecturing Venezuelans about –their own country– while they’re sitting back in the States, or Britain, or Academia—they’re cheerleading or actively building a state they won’t live in, one they’d never allow the opposition in their own countries to install, without accountability. Me choca. I suppose I’d like to see, say, the late Amalia Perez Diaz (a true reencauchada) giving them hell – “Atrevidos, insolentes, sinverguenzas,fuera de mi pais! Larguense”…

DBC’s comment about internacionalistas

November 16, 2004

DBC posted this comment that I think deserves to be posted for everyone to read:


Brunilde — I was following up on your comment to SH “Chavez transformed a pluralistic society into a “we and then” society where everything is black and white. This happens only in fundamentalists states. Your views then, clearly show the type of Chavist fundamentalism that is currentl! y governing Venezuela.” It’s frustrating to watch as the norms and mechanisms of a democratic society are used to construct a militaristic, monopolistic one-party police state, irreversibly. Like a virus using its host until it dies. The opposition has lost, and lost, and lost again – legitimately at times, questionably at others.There is less and less transparency as time goes by and power accumulates. A comment by one of the Brit camaradas after the RR,over on Fernando Toro’s blog, sticks with me – to paraphrase, “The victor doesn’t ask for a post-mortem”. When El Proceso is complete, and the opposition says “But, you cheated”, the Chavistas/SinestroFascists/Mullah-equivalents can say “The victors don’t ask for post-mortems, and to the victors go the spoils”. The thing the Bolsheviks said to the Mensheviks (sp?). It’s futile to carry on a political discussion with the internacionalistas, when for the true-believers, politics are just a means to an end. The public face is a neutral observer, but the actual face is that of a Missionary eager to see a Utopian sociopolitical experiment implanted in Venezuela. Whether the Venezuelans want it or not. If, when Venezuela ends up like Iran, with a popular political fury that turns into a totalitarian, unending rule by the keepers of the Revolution, with a new generation fed up with the mullahs, but unable to express that frustration electorally, meaningfully—what do the Weisbrots and Pallasts, the Pulpos and Roy Carsons, the Guardians, the Canadian Professors holed up in posh hotels, “observing”, the Steven Hunts—-what will they have to say to those future Venezuelans? They won’t be accountable for the Proceso they are cheerleading, helping to build, and most likely the internacionalistas would call them contrarevolucionarios, Esqualidos. Fascistas, gusanos, what have you. The political convulsions in Venezuela aren’t Black/White – had Miquilena opted to annoint Arias Cardenas, you wouldn’t have this insane confrontational political realignment- but the stakes have become just that. The true believers, in Venezuela and abroad, understand this, be they firebrands in the AN or wolves-in-sheeps-clothing supporters carrying Chavez’s water. The opposition in Venezuela hasn’t this clarity, or has intended to ride the tiger, or has been forced into th defensive, into a smaller and smaller corner. This isn’t a debate at Oxford, it’s a contest, and the parties aren’t playing by the same rulebook. The future of Venezuela is at stake -or was-, so debating some extranjeros entrometidos, lecturing Venezuelans about –their own country– while they’re sitting back in the States, or Britain, or Academia—they’re cheerleading or actively building a state they won’t live in, one they’d never allow the opposition in their own countries to install, without accountability. Me choca. I suppose I’d like to see, say, the late Amalia Perez Diaz (a true reencauchada) giving them hell – “Atrevidos, insolentes, sinverguenzas,fuera de mi pais! Larguense”…

The Bustillos case and justice in the revolution

November 16, 2004


It has now been two weeks since the Silvino Bustillos disappearance and as usual the Chavez Government has made a masterful job of making it a non-issue, but anyone that analyzes the details should be very disturbed by the whole affair and how it ahs been handled. I don’t know if Bustillos disappeared on his own or was abducted and tortured. What I do know is that his disappearance has followed a pattern of illegalities and in the end the only thing being investigated is those that reported him missing. Let’s look:


–Bustillos was on line to vote on Oct. 31st. when motorcycles with two people on it show up and attempt to arrest him. The people trying to arrest him identify themselves; Bustillos calls his wife and tells her the names. According to the Minister of Defense Bustillos was creating an “incident”, but none of the witnesses at the voting center recall any disturbance but for the arrival of the armed military intelligence members. The crowd waiting to vote defends Bustillos who ahs a chance to escape.


 


–Bustillos goes to the Baruta police station where he is followed by the military intelligence officers. At the station they attempt to detain him, but a prosecutor is there and asks for an arrest warrant which the officers did not have. In fact, The Minister of Defense says the officers were following Bustillos, but he has never revealed why. It is not legal to do what they were doing it without a prosecutor ordering it. Moreover, the Minister has acknowledged that those following Bustillos are the same people the missing Cl. identified on the phone.


 


–Bustillos leaves goes towards the building where he lives and has not been seen since then.


 


–Reporter Manuel Isidro Molina reports his sources tell him that Bustillos was detained tortured and died in the cells of military intelligence.


 


–Bustillos reportedly called his 68 year old sister who says she thought it was him only because the voice called her by a specific name few people use with her. Nothing ahs been heard since from Bustillos.


 


–The Minister of Justice says Bustillos, whose wife claims does not drink, was simply having a good time and partying.


 


–The Minister of Defense opens a procedure against the reporter for defamation under military law.


 


So, we have the illegality of Bustillos being followed, that of trying to arrest him without an order, the illegality of trying a reporter under military law, but the first two are not even being considered.


 


Could Bustillos or his family sue the Minister of Justice for saying he was partying?


 


I bet nothing would ever be done in such a case. But the case against the reporter will now continue even if nobody can actually prove that Bustillos is alive or not. Venezuelan justice only considers now cases brought by the Government against the opposition. Whether defamation or corruption, it is only opposition officials, who are a minority, who are being persecuted and indicted for whatever charges while the hundreds of corruption cases involving Chavez or his cohorts are simply being ignored and set aside. Only today Primero Justicia Mayor Henrique Capriles and Leopoldo Lopez were called to the Prosecutor’s office to charge them with a new crime (remember Capriles was freed on a different charge). Of course, this has nothing to do with the fact that they both got 80% of the votes and if found guilty they have to resign their positions and may never hold public office again.


 


Also today, the president of the Carabobo Electoral Board was jailed as the intelligence police DISIP took over the regional Electoral Board where the tallies of the Governor’s race are being held. The Intelligence police is denying acces to the opposition political parties in another act of totalitarism. Do they have something top hide? Obviously they do…


 


This is what is called justice democracy under this so called revolution.

An interview and some pictures of our magic realism

November 16, 2004


Unfortunately, I am not registered to read El Nacional online, they had a great article today with an interview of Prof. Peter Smith in which he drew parallels between what is happening in Venezuela with Chavez and what happened in Argentina with Peron. The parallels are remarkable down to the way they both got to power and the use of natural resources to retain power. Populism does have a way to take over countries and the results have never been very good.


The same paper had a great picture of Caracas new Mayor and one of his special guests, a Tupamaro activist who delights in imitating figures from the past as seen above from a different angle. In the El Nacional picture this character which can only be called “trasnochado” in ideological terms, was seen behind the opposition Mayors of Primero Justicia in a clear contrast of what should be the future and was the past, although in this case it seems to be going exactly the other way around. On the right above, a picture that shows the level of folkore and magic realism that the country has reached as it was self-appointed “little red riding hood” and senior citizen beauty queen Marlene Vanegas that gave Barreto the band that distinguishes him as Mayor of Caracas.


What can I say, Garcia Marquez with all his imagination, failed to describe what truly may happen in these countries.

An interview and some pictures of our magic realism

November 16, 2004


Unfortunately, I am not registered to read El Nacional online, they had a great article today with an interview of Prof. Peter Smith in which he drew parallels between what is happening in Venezuela with Chavez and what happened in Argentina with Peron. The parallels are remarkable down to the way they both got to power and the use of natural resources to retain power. Populism does have a way to take over countries and the results have never been very good.


The same paper had a great picture of Caracas new Mayor and one of his special guests, a Tupamaro activist who delights in imitating figures from the past as seen above from a different angle. In the El Nacional picture this character which can only be called “trasnochado” in ideological terms, was seen behind the opposition Mayors of Primero Justicia in a clear contrast of what should be the future and was the past, although in this case it seems to be going exactly the other way around. On the right above, a picture that shows the level of folkore and magic realism that the country has reached as it was self-appointed “little red riding hood” and senior citizen beauty queen Marlene Vanegas that gave Barreto the band that distinguishes him as Mayor of Caracas.


What can I say, Garcia Marquez with all his imagination, failed to describe what truly may happen in these countries.

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