Regulating free speech in Venezuela, but will it apply to the Chavez Government?

July 30, 2009

(Este post en español aquí)

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Today, the General Prosecutor Luisa Ortega went to the National Assembly to propose in her words, for the State to “regulate freedom of speech”. I have so many problems with that sole sentence that I will simply use the text she presented to the National Assembly and ask her, figuratively speaking, if it is not the Government that she is part of and has been part of for almost ten years that is the biggest and most regular violator of all of the points she made  today. In her words, she proposes to penalize anyone or any media that :

“Whose actions or omissions damage the right to opportune information…”

The Chavez Government does not allow all of the media into some official acts, this limits and damages the right of Venezuelans to opportune information.

“…information which is true and impartial…”

Has the Prosecutor ever seen VTV? That is the most partial view of the news in the country, which acts not only as the spokesman for the Chavez Government, but for Chavez’ party PSUV, a totally partial view of the news, which includes lies and manipulations daily.

“which threatens the social peace….”

Has the General Prosecutor ever heard Chavez’ Sunday program Alo Presidente? Doesn’t Hugo Chavez attempt against the social peace of Venezuela when he reminds everyone that his revolution is armed? Doesn’t he violate social peace when he threatens to take over private property and claims that the State can take it over when it is justified. (This is also a lie according to the Venezuelan Constitution)

“the security and independence of the Nation….”

When the President of the Republic allows Cuban officials to run Venezuela’s intelligence services, Venezuela’s identification office and now its ports, isn’t he and the Government he presides going against the security and independence of the country? When Chavez attempts to involve Venezuela in the Honduran conflict, isn’t he threatening for personal use the security of Venezuela?

“…that generate the sensation of impunity…”

Doesn’t all of the anti-crime policies of the ten years and the intromission of politics in the Judicial system during the Chavez Government generate a “sensation of impunity”? Doesn’t the Anderson case investigated by none other than you, Luisa Ortega who promotes this Bill, “generate the sensation of impunity”?  Doesn’t the partial way in which opposition Governors and politicians are persecuted generate a “feeling of impunity?

“Anyone that divulges through the media a fake news item which affects public peace..”

When her predecessor accused the opposition of plotting Anderson’s murder, he affected public peace and was lying. When Chavez says Colombia is ready to invade us, he is lying and attempting against public peace. Is General Prosecutor Ortega ready to prosecute the President any time he lies on his Sunday TV program or any of the hundreds of his obligatory speeches and diatribes that the media is forced to broadcast?

“anything that causes a prejudice against the State…”

Does this mean that her office will prosecute whenever someone causes a prejudice from the State? Like Chavez taking over companies and reducing their value within a year of taking them over? Or Ramirez hiring more and more people to see if that way things get done?

and in closing, she says:

“anyone…that promotes hate”

Did the General prosecutor hear the statements made by Minister of Energy and Oil and President of PDVSA Rafael Ramirez in which he stated in no uncertain terms that he “hates the oligarchy and the opposition” and that anyone that does not join a socialist committee is “suspect of conspiring”

Doesn’t someone that openly says he hates 40% of the population promote hate? Does that mean that the General Prosecutor will stop Ramirez from saying such things in the media? Didn’t see you saying anything about that when he did and you were the General prosecutor, an independent power supposed to uphold and defend the law. Were you out of the country that week? Just being servile? Or simply a coward?

and when it comes to promoting hate by “race, religion, nationality, ideology or political affiliation”

Well, Ms. Ortega, I just don’t know where to start. Should I tell you to view the Hojilla TV program in the Government’s TV station? Or how about Chavez’ statements about Israel, Jewish people, Colombians, the Church, the US, black people, women, Condoleeza Rice…should I continue? Because Hugo Chavez can be right down sexist, racist and discriminatory. Do you remember the Tascon/Chavez list?

Do you really ever watch TV? Or do you spend your days only watching Globovision to see if you can catch them doing something? Do you ever watch Hugo Chavez, La Hojilla or VTV?

Or do you simply want to find a limit to gag, control and impose limits on the right of free speech of those that are not in agreement with the Government you are a part of?

By the way, you are supposed to be an independent power, but you ain’t!

21 Responses to “Regulating free speech in Venezuela, but will it apply to the Chavez Government?”

  1. Gerry Says:

    Holy shit man!
    Perfect summation.

  2. Nur_Ich Says:

    to sum it in 3 words : We are screwed!
    If they approve that ley, we cannot say anything anymore.

    But I told just today to my wife (who is journalist) : If we don’t have demonstrations until end of the week on the streets because of that, then we don’t deserve better. Then they can freely shut down any opposition media, i really don’t care.

  3. island canuck Says:

    “If we don’t have demonstrations until end of the week on the streets because of that, then we don’t deserve better.”

    Venezuela is on vacation. No one will do anything.

    I have completely lost faith that the population as a whole will stand up to this bully.

  4. Roberto Says:

    If this law gets passed, along with the Social Property law and the new Electoral law, then the circle will almost be complete.

    What will it take for Venezuelans to begin to defend Democracy?

  5. Anon Says:

    If this law gets passed we will be rid of Chavismo forthwith!!

  6. Robert Says:

    She is simply a mouthpiece for Chavez saying things for him he dare not speak himself. If no demonstration arise from this and no internal and international media outrage, then the noose tightens .

  7. FC Says:

    “Or do you simply want to find a limit to gag, control and impose limits on the right of free speech of those that are not in agreement with the Government you are a part of?”

    That’s what this is all about, make no mistake about it.

  8. Kepler Says:

    Roberto,

    Venezuelans are selling themselves very cheaply. Some beer, a roof, for others “business as usual” is fine. Most Venezuelans, of every sort, just react when they have the problem in front of them. It is hic et nunc to the extremes.

  9. Mediocriollo Says:

    All facts – well put. Now if you would publish this after this law is passed (a foregone conclusion!) then you would have violated the law for attacking the State or its institutions. Enough said.
    Question – does a blog get included in the term “media”?

  10. HalfEmpty Says:

    Venezuela is on vacation. No one will do anything.

    I’m starting to think this is a chronic condition.

  11. Nur_Ich Says:

    In every south american country a president like chavez would have been kicked out long ago, just veenzolans are like every time : no vale, yo no creo… untils it’s too late… and next time again.. no vale, yo no creo…

    so about a general uprising about those laws : no vale, yo no creo :(

  12. Charly Says:

    Nur_Ich, South America has had plenty of people like Chavez such as Cipriano Castro in Venezuela. Brazil even had an emperor and a whole dynasty of monarchs. Will Chavez be the next Jean Bedel Bokassa, emperor of the now Central Africa Republic? Stay tuned.

  13. GB Says:

    3rd President of the USA, Thomas Jefferson had it figured out…

    All tyranny needs to gain a foothold is for people of good conscience to remain silent.
    ****
    All, too, will bear in mind this sacred principle, that though the will of the majority is in all cases to prevail, that will to be rightful must be reasonable; that the minority possess their equal rights, which equal law must protect, and to violate would be oppression.
    ****
    Information is the currency of democracy.

  14. GeronL Says:

    Wow. They only use the bully pulpit against the opposition media in America. For now anyway.

  15. firepigette Says:

    ““anyone…that( who) promotes hate””

    that would be Chavez to a tee

  16. Roberto Says:

    Yes, FP, but who guards the guardians?

    In this case, no one.

  17. Gerry Says:

    English law:
    There is no written constitution.
    And “you cannot sue the crown” on the basis that the crown can do no wrong. (This gives government virtual immunity from everything – Also includes local authorities).(yes there are instances where the government might be called to task – but I can’t think of any).

    Chavez and his minions will, “of course”, invoke this very non-socialist approach.

    Its the same as God sending a letter to the head of the Jesuits and the head of the Franciscans to respond to their inquiry as to which was the greater order.
    Jesus wrote ” All men are equal” Signed ‘Jesus SJ.’

  18. Kepler Says:

    Off topic:
    Venezuela is off a list of EU preference treatment but they haven’t published it yet in the EU portal due to “political sensibilities”

    http://venezuela-europa.blogspot.com/2009/08/sense-and-sensibility-or-european-union.html

  19. Martin Says:

    That last post by Kepler is, for me, in a way the most disturbing of all. What ARE they afraid of, at this point? It sometimes seems to me that Hugo Chavez has the entire world locked into a huge conspiracy of silent deceit and denial. Based on what? His economic power was never that huge, and is now dwindling seriously. It’s something more than that; whatever our opinions of him, we have to recognize this. There are dark shadows here that the civilized world somehow is unable or doesn’t want to look at; in the meantime a monster is growing in this darkness that will soon be ‘slouching towards Bethlehem’ before we know it.


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