El Pais: It is a crime to protest in Venezuela

August 30, 2009

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From Spain’s El Pais: It is a crime to protest in Venezuela

Protesting in the streets of Venezuela is, from now on, synonymous with crime. The Venezuelan Attorney General Luisa Ortega, has announced it will open proceedings against all those citizens who “protest for any reason” and that in hher opinion, only seek to “destabilize the constitutionally elected Government. “I wish that those who rise up in hostility against the constituted Government , should know what are now consequences,” Ortega said, while she moderated her owm radio program “in line with the Public Ministry”, which airs every Friday at a  state broadcaster . Her opinion is that (these) behaviors fit perfectly into the crime of civil rebellion “that under Venezuelan law is punishable by 12 to 24 years in prison.

The aim is to establish that marches are civil rebellion

AIn early July, also through her program, Luisa Ortega also proposed that Parliament approve a controversial “crimes against media law” to punish the media for disseminating information that “incited hatred” or generated “anxiety” among the population.

The first “rebels” at the discretion of the prosecutor, are already behind bars. The prefect of the city and 11 workers from the office of Mayor of Caracas, governed by opposiont’s Antonio Ledezma, were arrested Wednesday for participating in the march which took place on Saturday 22 August against the recently adopted Education Bill, which removes some autonomy from universities and establishes a system to establish the “new consciousness” at socialist schools. . All were accused of “obstructing public roads”, “incitement to crime” against police and injuries. According to the prosecutor, this protest, which involved thousands of Venezuelans, was convened by the parties of opposition and civil society organizations to generate “a climate of violence” and “create a scenario similar to the 11 and 12 April 2002, when there was the coup in Venezuela that removed Hugo Chávez from power for 48 hours.

The statements by the Prosecutor has been nothing but another sign in the marked tendency of the government of Hugo Chávez for the criminalization of protest. Since 2007, at least 300 students have been arrested for participating in demonstrations against the closure of private TV channel Radio Caracas Television and against the constitutional reform proposed by Chavez to establish the indefinite re-election since then, 256 of them have to present themselves regulraly in fron of a  judge regularly and are banned from leaving the country.

Both President Chavez and Prosecutor Diaz have criticized the union of journalists, who is also ready to protest against the growing threats to freedom of expression in Venezuela. Two weeks ago, 12 reporters were assaulted with sticks and stones by a group of Chavez’ supporters while distributing leaflets in downtown Caracas, against one of the articles of the new Education Bill which provides for the immediate closure of media to disseminate content generate “terror” in children.

Chavez justified the beating, saying that this protest was a “provocation” against the people, while the prosecutor said that the journalists involved in such acts cease to be journalists and become politicians. The person responsible for this aggression, only one worker was arrested Avila state TV channel, was released a week later.

6 Responses to “El Pais: It is a crime to protest in Venezuela”

  1. An Interested Observer Says:

    You can be sure that, if the shoe were on the other foot, preventing protest would be the crime. Hypocrites. When the definition of crime depends solely on which side you agree with, rather than the act itself, there’s a serious (mental) problem.

  2. Roberto Says:

    How many of those now in power were burning Coca Cola trucks in the “good old days?” How bout it, Tarek?

  3. Deanna Says:

    Has anybody noticed that the Venezuelan women in power are worse than the men? Is that payback for the abuse they got in their past???

  4. m_astera Says:

    Deanna-

    No, it’s because only psychopaths have the lack of conscience that enable them to play that game at that level. Human women have empathy and sympathy. Psychopaths have neither, so they have a competitive advantage. See Andrej Lobaczewski’s book “Political Ponerology”.

  5. Bob Taylor Says:

    Let´s hope chavez´s red monkeys get the message soon that chavez has to go before Venezuela is destroyed.No investment,no employment,millions lost as no tourism….Crazy !!If there is going to be a coup let´s hope it is SOON !!!!

  6. Joe Cool Says:

    Now 11/2 years have past since the last blog and conditions in Venezuela have gotten worse. Empathy by the Venezuelan people have cost them their country. They are in the downward spiral into the maelstrom of despair and I see no solution to their problem. Venezuela is fast becoming the Cuba of South America where doctors will earn $30.00 a month, but, with all of the rice and beans they can eat. Chavez followed the “Castro Doctrine” from the very first day he was in office and he has become more extreme as the years go by. Unfortunately, the Chevron corporation is in bed with Hugo and the USA doesn’t have the guts to say we are not going to buy oil from you anymore. For Hugo to loose $80,000,000 a day from the USA, his economy would collapse!


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