Archive for August 16th, 2005

Another sad anniversary of fraud, murder and impunity

August 16, 2005

A year ago today, the day after the recall referendum, a group of
people, mostly women, were protesting at Altamira Square the results of
the recall referendum, when three guys in motorcycles showed up and
started shooting at them. One lady, Mrs. Maritza Ron was shot dead,
seven others including one Deputy of the Solidaridad Party were injured
in the shooting. The world press caught the shootings on video and
photos. You can see some of them below

Below
are also a picture of Mrs. Ron being taken away, as well as a picture
from her burial, when other women carried her coffin, a very symbolic
act and tribute in a country where by tradition men usually carry out
that task.

A
few days later two of the men were captured, including the man in the
red beret. Amazingly enough their attorneys are arguing self-defense
against unarmed men and women who were peacefully exercizing their
right to protest. To this day, there has been no condemnation of the
murder by the Government, no speedy trial, or priority given to the
case as in those against opposition figures. What we do know is that
the same guy appeared as if by magic
at the burial of murdered Prosecutor Danilo Anderson, at a time that he
was supposed to be in prison. Even the murderers have special
priviliges in this outlaw Government.

The murder of Maritza Ron
is another tragedy of this confrontational administartion that has
divided Venezuela, where hundreds of murders and injuries remain
impune, while the full force of the Prosecutor’s office is used daily
to keep opposition figures in check, with nothing ever resolved. Where
obscure articles of outdated laws are revived to prosecute their so
called enemies, new laws are created to limit them or new charges
applied with remarkable efficiency. But her murder is more symbolic to
me, because that day she was just being the true opposition to this
Government we really have, the acts of common people like her, of which
there are millions, and not of political parties, people that despite
the very real and veiled threats, the impunity and the overwhelming
control of the institutions by the Government, live to fight another
day, to demand that their rights and the law be respected and to unmask
the true nature of this autocratic and militaristic Government. May she
rest in peace.

August 16, 2005


Ana Julia Jatar wrote this excellent article which was published in
yesterday’s El Nacional (by subscription) and you can also find the
original in Spanish in her website. Here is my translation:

Mr.
President…What are you laughing at?
by Ana Julia Jatar

When I see
the Venezuelan President smile with joy and satisfaction when signing an
economic agreement with his counterparts of Argentina, Brazil and Uruguay, it
reminds me immediately of the words of that famous protest song that Soledad
Bravo used to perform entitled “Mister Minister, what are you laughing at?,
dedicated to all of those that reach the heights of power and forget the
poverty and anguish of those “down below”.

The smile
of the President and his presents to other countries has an impact when you
contrast it with the desperate cries of the mothers of the prisoners at the La
Pica prison. Those poor mothers clinging to the bars of the jail, as if it were
an imaginary rope that is tied to her son at the other end and that, when she
holds on to it, may help her prevent that he may be taken away by that horror.
It just so happens that those women do not know if their loved ones may be
among the nine dead. In the face of that mistreatment and in the absence of
information on the part of the authorities, they can’t even manage to see among
the decapitated and burned bodies that were thrown at the courtyard some
familiar feature that will confront them with the terrible pain that, finally,
the rope broke and that holding on to the bars will not return their jailed
son, husband or brother. The situation in Venezuelan jails is a shame for all
of us. Because of it, we can not understand why one can subsidize Argentinean shipyards
so they can build ships without competitive bidding, but one can not alleviate
the souls of the Venezuelan men and women that have to live with the humiliation,
pain and shame generated by a prison system, criticized by all organizations of
human rights of the world. That is why I ask Mr. President…What are you
laughing at?

The President’s smile and his presents to other countries impacts us, while his
own followers realize the vices of an electoral system servile to the designs
of the Miraflores Palace and because of it, the resounding failure of his much
ballyhooed representative democracy starred by the people themselves. The
tupamaros, ideological allies of the President, have taken to the streets to
protest against the National Electoral Council.

These
rabid followers of yours Mr. President have been battling with bottles and guns
other followers of yours, because they feel that their votes were not counted
and they demand the democracy that you promised them. That is why, Mr.
President, when you run to Brazil to give a ”resounding backing” to Lula’s democracy
and you hug with a big smile the Brazilian President, I can but ask you…

 What are
you laughing at?

The
President smiles next to his Uruguayan counterpart, Tabaré Vázquez,  who gladly accepts (how could he not to?) not
only the subsidy to Venezuelan oil but a block of the Orinoco oil belt, which
requires for its production technology of which the Uruguayan oil company Ancap
has no idea about. To make matters worse, when the agreement was signed, he
makes it clear that the Uruguayans will have up to 15 years to pay and that,
according to him; Venezuelans will accept barter in case they can’t pay us. Who
has President Chávez asked to dispose of the inheritance of our grandchildren
in this manner?

The picture of the smile of the President turns into a hateful grimace, when
you compare it to the desperation in the faces of those ill with cancer that
can not be taken care of today because there aren’t sufficient radiotherapy instruments
in the country. In a cry of desperation, the Venezuelan Society for Oncological
Radiotherapy has asked that a national emergency be declared on the treatment,
that a “Mision Radioterapia” be decreed if it is necessary, because gentlemen, cancer
does no wait for anyone. And until when, do we Venezuelans have to wait for the
President to devote himself to solving the problems of this one, his country,
instead of going around solving those of our “other” brothers, by the way much
richer than us?

Venezuela is falling apart…


literally speaking, roads sink, hospital can’t cope, the promised housing does
not show up, there are riots in the penitentiaries, elections do not solve the
problem, because there is a huge problem with the elections, the money is not
sufficient but the President decides giving countries such as Brazil a lot of
money, which has an income per capita 58% larger than Venezuela’s, or to
Uruguay with citizens 68% richer than us, we understand that Kirchner, Tabaré
Vázquez and Lula laugh, but you Mr. President…What are you laughing at?

August 16, 2005


Ana Julia Jatar wrote this excellent article which was published in
yesterday’s El Nacional (by subscription) and you can also find the
original in Spanish in her website. Here is my translation:

Mr.
President…What are you laughing at?
by Ana Julia Jatar

When I see
the Venezuelan President smile with joy and satisfaction when signing an
economic agreement with his counterparts of Argentina, Brazil and Uruguay, it
reminds me immediately of the words of that famous protest song that Soledad
Bravo used to perform entitled “Mister Minister, what are you laughing at?,
dedicated to all of those that reach the heights of power and forget the
poverty and anguish of those “down below”.

The smile
of the President and his presents to other countries has an impact when you
contrast it with the desperate cries of the mothers of the prisoners at the La
Pica prison. Those poor mothers clinging to the bars of the jail, as if it were
an imaginary rope that is tied to her son at the other end and that, when she
holds on to it, may help her prevent that he may be taken away by that horror.
It just so happens that those women do not know if their loved ones may be
among the nine dead. In the face of that mistreatment and in the absence of
information on the part of the authorities, they can’t even manage to see among
the decapitated and burned bodies that were thrown at the courtyard some
familiar feature that will confront them with the terrible pain that, finally,
the rope broke and that holding on to the bars will not return their jailed
son, husband or brother. The situation in Venezuelan jails is a shame for all
of us. Because of it, we can not understand why one can subsidize Argentinean shipyards
so they can build ships without competitive bidding, but one can not alleviate
the souls of the Venezuelan men and women that have to live with the humiliation,
pain and shame generated by a prison system, criticized by all organizations of
human rights of the world. That is why I ask Mr. President…What are you
laughing at?

The President’s smile and his presents to other countries impacts us, while his
own followers realize the vices of an electoral system servile to the designs
of the Miraflores Palace and because of it, the resounding failure of his much
ballyhooed representative democracy starred by the people themselves. The
tupamaros, ideological allies of the President, have taken to the streets to
protest against the National Electoral Council.

These
rabid followers of yours Mr. President have been battling with bottles and guns
other followers of yours, because they feel that their votes were not counted
and they demand the democracy that you promised them. That is why, Mr.
President, when you run to Brazil to give a ”resounding backing” to Lula’s democracy
and you hug with a big smile the Brazilian President, I can but ask you…

 What are
you laughing at?

The
President smiles next to his Uruguayan counterpart, Tabaré Vázquez,  who gladly accepts (how could he not to?) not
only the subsidy to Venezuelan oil but a block of the Orinoco oil belt, which
requires for its production technology of which the Uruguayan oil company Ancap
has no idea about. To make matters worse, when the agreement was signed, he
makes it clear that the Uruguayans will have up to 15 years to pay and that,
according to him; Venezuelans will accept barter in case they can’t pay us. Who
has President Chávez asked to dispose of the inheritance of our grandchildren
in this manner?

The picture of the smile of the President turns into a hateful grimace, when
you compare it to the desperation in the faces of those ill with cancer that
can not be taken care of today because there aren’t sufficient radiotherapy instruments
in the country. In a cry of desperation, the Venezuelan Society for Oncological
Radiotherapy has asked that a national emergency be declared on the treatment,
that a “Mision Radioterapia” be decreed if it is necessary, because gentlemen, cancer
does no wait for anyone. And until when, do we Venezuelans have to wait for the
President to devote himself to solving the problems of this one, his country,
instead of going around solving those of our “other” brothers, by the way much
richer than us?

Venezuela is falling apart…


literally speaking, roads sink, hospital can’t cope, the promised housing does
not show up, there are riots in the penitentiaries, elections do not solve the
problem, because there is a huge problem with the elections, the money is not
sufficient but the President decides giving countries such as Brazil a lot of
money, which has an income per capita 58% larger than Venezuela’s, or to
Uruguay with citizens 68% richer than us, we understand that Kirchner, Tabaré
Vázquez and Lula laugh, but you Mr. President…What are you laughing at?

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