Freedom of Speech? Not in Venezuela. Hugo: You struck out!

January 17, 2010

So, a group of students in the middle of the deciding game to see who goes to the next stage pull out a billboard that says:

“Three strikes, crime, water and lights, Mr. President, you struck out!”

The National Guard arrests them, takes their sign even if no law was violated.

They have been released, but their protest was violently stopped, even if no crime was committed other than show the country the truth.

37 Responses to “Freedom of Speech? Not in Venezuela. Hugo: You struck out!”

  1. Floyd Looney Says:

    Don’t you guys have local police departments? Why use the National Guard for something like this?

    “They have been released” – doesn’t mean they won’t be punished in some way.


  2. Looney

    Some of us prefer the term Nazional Guard.

    They are the one that take care of all politically sensitive events, such as baseball games where police is woefully inadequate. It is a state policy, not to have worthy police departments.

  3. framethedebate Says:

    I apologize in advance for this one. The fat man says he is open to improving relations with the evil empire on the same day he questions the motives of U.S. aid to Haiti. Seriously, how did the Fatman get elected. Each day for eleven years I have sat back and questioned the Venezuelan electorate and this includes the oppostiton. With all the RED meat the fatman offers up, with the amazing levels of inept decision making, waste, etc, etc, it is hard to imagine how maintaining and amassing such power by such a lying fool could ever be accumulate without military force outside the Third World. I suppose when Venezuela joins the Third World, I will have a revelation that makes it all completely understandable.

  4. Toldyouso Says:

    Framethedebate, in my view (many others may disagree) when Chavez was first elected, he did so as consequence of 30 years of rotten democracy (the one of now is not a democracy and it is not rotten but decomposed). Many literate people that now oppose him supported him, many corporate and specifically 2 Spanish banks financed him, etc. so he had an endless source of funds to campaign, etc. In general people had hope we would be what he said he would be and for whatever moronic reason blocked out of their minds the images, events of 92 and how these bastards killed for example the employees of VTV, etc.
    It is a very long story with many details, etc. and as everything in life with many sides and versions however, this is how I remember it.

  5. Toldyouso Says:

    Framethedebate, in my view (many others may disagree) when Chavez was first elected, he did so as consequence of 30 years of rotten democracy (the one of now is not a democracy and it is not rotten but decomposed). Many literate people that now oppose him supported him, many corporate and specifically 2 Spanish banks financed him, etc. so he had an endless source of funds to campaign, etc. In general people had hope he (not “we” typo)would be what he said he would be and for whatever moronic reason blocked out of their minds the images, events of 92 and how these bastards killed for example the employees of VTV, etc.
    It is a very long story with many details, etc. and as everything in life with many sides and versions however, this is how I remember it.

  6. Deanna Says:

    They also have a national police which doesn’t take care of anything because according to them, any local or regional problem is not under their purview. Of course, it’s difficult to find any type of police in most places (or nazional guard for that matter) and that’s why crime is so rampant.

  7. concerned Says:

    Three strikes and your out…That’s funny. Funny in the fact that the students did it, and secondly because it is innacurate. Chavez has had far too many nonproductive swings and at bats. In fact, I can’t remember the last time he even singled. He has been swinging wildly at important agenda for years, and missing with every swing like a pinata that is pulled out of the reach of a child. It is time Chavez is benched for a more productive hitter.

  8. concerned Says:

    inaccurate…it’s early

  9. moctavio Says:

    Well, he is not a one at bat wonder…

  10. maracucho importado Says:

    just read george orwell’s “animal farm” or “rebellion en la granja”, written 60 years ago,,, and you will know how he did it and why.

  11. Broken down man on a Halifax Pier Says:

    He still gets elected! It says far more about the Venezuelan people than it says about inept opposition.

  12. framethedebate Says:

    Broken down,,,,Completely agree! It was not long ago that a Venezuelean electorate supported the Fatman’s referendum.

  13. framethedebate Says:

    Additional note. I cannot wait to hear the pearls the Fatman spews about the recent election results coming from Chile.

  14. Megaescualidus Says:

    “Funny in the fact that the students did it, and secondly because it is innacurate…”

    Yes, innacurate as it may be the sign does reflect three very serious issues people in Venezuela have to deal with on a day-to-day basis. Innacurate as it may be the sign did go to the heart of the discontent people are feeling. I do agree with you Miguel with your comment a few posts back where you said that electricity rationing does affect everybody, particualrly the poor, not just “los oligarcas” (or the middle class, for that matter).

  15. HalfEmpty Says:

    LOL Very base….. ball. What’s yoze guys need is deh Don Drysdale.

    To quote one of my favorite players, Orlando Cepeda….

    “The key to going against Drysdale,” the man known as The Baby Bull once said of his National League nemesis, “is to hit him before he hits you.”

  16. Diego Says:

    In many countries of the world’s free est countries its forbidden to put up banners with ‘political’ messages at sporting events, usually by the owner by the venue. I don’t know what Venezuelan law stipulates, but the removal of such a banner needn’t say much about the freedom of expression in a country itself.

    Let’s take for example the Stadium Policies of DC United, a Washington based football (soccer) team. “Signs, Banners, and Flags: Item may not contain commercial or political messages of any kind.” http://www.dcunited.com/fan-guide/stadium-polices/stadium-policies.

    Freedom of expression? Not in the United States ;)

  17. moctavio Says:

    Here it is not illegal, Chavez’ party does it regularly. BTW the students were beaten up by the Natzional Guard

  18. Not Diego Says:

    @Diego:

    Freedom of Speech is something that only applies to the government, not to private citizens. I mean, the owner of a private night club has all the right in the world to kick anyone out of his private club just for saying that he doesn’t like the curtains, and that in no way or form will involve any violation of Freedom of Speech.

    The government, however, cannot simply send the Nazional Guard to beat up people for saying the wrong thing.

    In essence, private citizens have rights. And among those rights is the right to determine who can and cannot enter their property and what they can do once they are in. The owner of a stadium has all the right to ban whatever the hell he wants to ban so long as it doesn’t involve requiring other people to break the law.

    The government doesn’t have such rights. The government belongs to everyone. It can set some rules regarding the use of government property and the proper conduct of its citizens (e.g., you can’t enter the DMV naked, you can’t insult a judge while on trial, etc.), but the government cannot set arbitrary rules that apply only to a group of people but not to other group (if the banner had been pro-Chavez, would the Nazional Guard had beaten them too?).

  19. Diego Says:

    Well, in the US the majority of the stadiums might be private property, in many other countries (in both Latin America and Europe), stadiums are the property of the municipality and at the same time have strict bans on the use of political slogans in banners or any other items. All this in name of security. And I don’t see the problem with that.

    I don’t know the ‘house rules’ of Venezuelan stadiums, but I can imagine that if people do not comply with the regulations (such as the one on political banners), the banner will be removed and the people that brought the banner in will have to leave the premises. If these people then do not comply with the instructions by the GN, they can be removed (forcefully if necessary).

    Problems start when certain political texts are allowed and others not (I don’t know if there were any pro-government banners brought in by the crowd?).

  20. Luis G Says:

    So Diego basically says: ‘I don’t know what the laws in Venezuela are like, I don’t know about the José Bernardo Pérez Stadium’s rules are like. I can’t even find Venezuela on a map, but everything Venezuelan Government does is absolutely legal and correct, so I support the beatings of students for critisizing the Government.’

    Text book PSF.

  21. moctavio Says:

    Diego: The students were clubbed by the Guards, is that also ok in the US?

    I repeat, there are no such rules here and Chavez’ PSUV party has taken advantage of it, not anymore, people would torn down the banners.

  22. Juancho Says:

    Students are clubbed. Meaning La Guardia is still loyal to El Prez. How long can that continue – for the various police/military/guardia forces within Venezuela to continue beating down everyone but staunch Chavistas? It’s an interesting question, not that the possibility of significant civic unrest seems likely in the not too distant future.

    What do we know for sure? As a rule, people never simply give up power. The police/military/guardia now wield vast power. They are accountable to nobody, since there is no longer any means of insuring human rights in Venezuela. There are rapidly becoming no public institutions that are viable as anything but forces run amok. What will stop these forces once civil unrest starts to boil over, as it surely will as more jobs vanish, the B shrinks to insignificance, the lights go out, etc.

    Right now, Venezuela is almost entirely sustained by the private sector. It is rather complicatd to explain how this actually works, save that it mirrors the two-tiered system we used to have with the dinero – a bullshit “official” rate (public sector), and a much more realistic black market rate (privat sector). The financial turnover within the private sector is really the only viable, market-driven economic activity within Venezuela today. Once the private sector really starts to go south – as more and more things are appropriated and controlled by govermental fiat – civic unrest will increase, and the police/military/guardia triad could really get wild.

    I hope this never escalates into true violence, but the general sense on the calle is that there simply is no way for any of this to end well or peacefully. Far too many morons and grifters and picaros have been installed in positions of power, and for the country to ever transition back to self-sufficiency and democratic stability, the Chavistas – many of whom are vastly underqualified – will have to be replaced. And I don’t expect for them to go quietly. Who does?

    I very much hope I am mistaken about all of this, but the stories just keep getting a little darker and more surreal every day.

    Jauncho

  23. GWEH Says:

    the mood is souring… merchants and store owners are pissed. I have no doubt the regime knows violence is coming and is taking inspiration from Cuba, Iran and others.

  24. An Interested Observer Says:

    Floyd Looney, read something like this http://abouttheshuffle.blogspot.com/2009/04/simonovis.html to get an idea about why the police don’t get involved more. The cops who were shooting at citizens who were firing at them are in jail. The citizens who were firing guns at the cops are free; in fact, the President has called them “heroes.” Can you name another city in the world where things “work” that way?

  25. Floyd Looney Says:

    That is crazy. I had been under the impression that Venezuela was a relatively stable nation that elected a dictator. Lately I am starting to think that violence is going to be the only way out of this. That is very sad, by the way, but if it comes to that I hope the Chavistas are wiped out as a political force.

  26. Floyd Looney Says:

    By the way I can think of only case at the top of my head where citizens took up arms against local corrupt authorities. It is a much-ignored case that I have never seen in a school history book. It took place in 1946 in Athens, Tennesee.

    http://www.lawfulpath.com/ref/tnrevolt.shtml

    Of course, no one died. The corrupt officials even returned to town, I think one of them ran a successful business.

  27. Bob Taylor Says:

    Lets hope for more protest like this one although chavez doesn´t need any help regarding bad publicity !!

  28. An Interested Observer Says:

    Floyd, a very interesting story, and I’d never heard of that either. Note that the citizens caught the police, yet refused to kill them. I can’t prove this, but I doubt that would have been the case that day in Caracas. And do note the key difference – in TN, the cops were the corrupt officials in person. in VZ, the cops were, at worst, working for corrupt officials, and even if that’s true, less corrupt than the officials the citizens were supporting. It was upside-down on many levels, none of them justifiable.

  29. Francesco Morazani Says:

    Micheletti is out of a job as of this week.

    I am sure he would like to relocate to Venezuela.

  30. El Panadero Says:

    Why did Chavez get elected? Yes the poor people and the rich elite bought his message, one because they thought he would get them something for nothing and the other because they thought he “was one of them” after all. (Hmm I wonder where I have seen that kind of enlightened, benevolent “Democratic” takeover). But the truth is that the elections were rigged. Venezuela’s touch screen election machines are programmed by a company owned by one of his cousins. In one of the referendums there was an inordinately high number of machines reporting the exact same percentage of For/Against votes. Statisticians reviewing the data said that result was statistically possible but with a very low probability.

    They may be cheaters, but they aren’t stupid. They don’t rig the vote the way they did under Hussein in Iraq where the vote comes out 99.9% in favor. They know enough to set up a result that looks plausible, but is still a fraud.

    In so far as the police is concerned, there have always been a variety of police forces, municipal, national guard, Technical Police (like the FBI) and even a State Intelligence Police (dressed in black uniforms and a cross between an internal CIA and Nazi SS). In the pre-Chavez days they were all corrupt and mostly inept. Now they have been re-organized with significant power given to a national Military Intelligence Directorate (DIM) to conduct operations for political purposes, not crime control. Crime is unabated and out of control.


  31. [...] Then there is the meltdown Chávez faces at home. Despite the recovery in oil prices, the Venezuelan economy is deep in recession and continues to sink even as the rest of Latin America recovers. Economists guess inflation could rise to 60 percent in the coming months. Meanwhile, due to a drought, the country is threatened with the shutdown of a hydroelectric plant that supplies 70 percent of its electricity. And Chávez’s failure to invest in new plants means there is no backup. There is also the crime epidemic — homicides have tripled since Chávez took office, making Caracas one of the world’s most dangerous cities. At a recent baseball game a sign in the crowd read: “3 Strikes-Lights-Water-Insecurity/President You Struck Out.” [...]


  32. [...] out our boy Hugo has had a busy month — when he hasn’t been sending thugs to beat up baseball fans, he’s been censoring the media and getting schooled by [...]

  33. A VENEZUELAN GIRL! Says:

    i’m a venezuelan girl and im seventeen years old. I live in Caracas ( the Capital of my country) and i just want you to know that we were fighting this goverment since we realice how awful it is. But it wasn’t easy at all ’cause there is a lot of people here that even after everything that had happened still believe in CHAVEZ, ’cause they feel relate with him and they believe everything Chavez says. Honestly i think they are just ignorant cause HOW could we live in a country with no freedom of speech ? chavez wants to be the only opinion, the only truth, and that’s imposible in a democracy. But the good news is that actually this loyal followers of him are less that they were before, and everyday that it happens become lower.

    I also just want you to know that live here its not easy at all. The insecurity its beyond your imagination, people die here more than in wars, in the inside of the country everyday there’s cuts off water and electricity EVERYDAY LIKE 4 or 5 hour at day!

    This guy ( ’cause i believe the word president its way too big for him) its taking us to destruction! he wants to take all the big private industries ( banks, oil, electricity, phone lines, etc etc etc). and the ones that he had already taken are broke or the service that they provide its not working.

    Besides he created an increible HATE between rich or middle class people and poor people! he divide our nation in two. and OF COURSe he had stolen OUR MONEY like no other president does before!

    The only thing a lot of venezuelan dream of its a country with security, freedom and opportunities for all of us as equals and that’s why we keep fighting and we will keep fighting.

    All we need from the other countries its to understand what we are living and support us!

    The international comunity that support chavez its cause 1. Chavez its giving OUR MONEY to them to BUY SUPPORT! 2. they thing this wrong-called revolution its what chavez said.

    But you don’t know what its like to live in here and don’t get me wrong I LOVE MY COUNTRY SO BAD and i’m so proud of been a venezuelan but its hard to live in here, its hard to have this JERK as a president.

    But i have a LOT of hopes and all we have left to do its keep fighting!

    I apologice for my english i know its not good, but at least i hope that you understand what i wanted to tell you.


  34. [...] Venezuelan strongman Hugo Chávez is having a bad month. He’s been forced to devalue the currency and impose nationwide power cuts, steps that will worsen a serious recession and Latin America’s highest inflation. The U.S.-led humanitarian intervention in Haiti has undercut his propaganda about an evil American “empire.” As his baseball-crazy country watches its annual championship series, a new slogan has gone viral: “Chávez — You Struck Out.” [...]


  35. [...] Then there is the meltdown Chávez faces at home. Despite the recovery in oil prices, the Venezuelan economy is deep in recession and continues to sink even as the rest of Latin America recovers. Economists guess inflation could rise to 60 percent in the coming months. Meanwhile, due to a drought, the country is threatened with the shutdown of a hydroelectric plant that supplies 70 percent of its electricity. And Chávez’s failure to invest in new plants means there is no backup. There is also the crime epidemic — homicides have tripled since Chávez took office, making Caracas one of the world’s most dangerous cities. At a recent baseball game a sign in the crowd read: “3 Strikes-Lights-Water-Insecurity/President You Struck Out.” [...]


  36. [...] Then there is the meltdown Chávez faces at home. Despite the recovery in oil prices, the Venezuelan economy is deep in recession and continues to sink even as the rest of Latin America recovers. Economists guess inflation could rise to 60 percent in the coming months. Meanwhile, due to a drought, the country is threatened with the shutdown of a hydroelectric plant that supplies 70 percent of its electricity. And Chávez’s failure to invest in new plants means there is no backup. There is also the crime epidemic — homicides have tripled since Chávez took office, making Caracas one of the world’s most dangerous cities. At a recent baseball game a sign in the crowd read: “3 Strikes-Lights-Water-Insecurity/President You Struck Out.” [...]


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