Damage Control on the massacre, but no punishment on cover up?

September 26, 2006


Some
damage control on the part of the Government, which in the end only complicates
matters:

–Chavez recognizes
there was excessive use of weapons and cynically begins talking about the
human rights record of the Government as if Fort Mara,
Puente El Llaguno, Plaza Altamira (twice) and many others had occurred in some
other era. Maybe someone should show him the video of the song by Panaminian Ruben Blades Prohibido Olvidar.

We are still waiting for those guilty of Fort Mara
to be charged. (In fact Chavez said one day it was a media scandal and the surviving
soldier had light injuries, he died that night). Chavez admits that there was
no confrontation.

–Chacon says
there were only six people dead, in a slip of a tongue, which may have meant,
thanks God there were only six.

–Andres
Velasquez takes the Government to task, saying
that the Government first denied the event ha taken place, then it said there
was a confrontations between miners, then the Minister said it was a confrontation
between the military and the miners and now the President admits there was excessive
use of weapons and expresses doubts about the version of a confrontation. Velasquez
ratifies that there are ten people dead, in contrast with Chacons only six
version. Who is right?

–The Brazilian Foreign Ministry office announces that it has asked the Venezuelan Government for “detailed information” on the event, as some of the “seven” dead are Brazilian, introducing a new number for the deaths as well as a new monkey wrench into the affair.

The problem is that the law in the whole Bolivar mining region has become the Law of the Jungle as the military tries to enrich itslef (What else is new?) at the expense of the miners. There continued to be reports that a lot of gold owned by the miners is missing and that there are some miners that have yet to be found.

From a punlic relations point of view, the
problem at this time is that the President and the Minister of the Interior and
Justice are giving versions which are exactly the opposite of what both the
Minister of Defense, General Ivan Baduell and the Governor of Bolivar State,
retired General Francisco Rangel Gomez have said, not once but three times, falling into a trap of too many contradictions.

Will they
then punish only some lowly soldiers for the massacre and not the high ranking
Government officials for trying to cover the massacre three times, as well as covering up what the source of the conflict is?

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