(That guy is CIA, Judge: Bravo!, That guy is ETA, Judge: Jailed!)
Oswaldo Alvarez Paz, the one time Governor of Zulia State and 1993 Presidential candidate for COPEI, was jailed today because…
I am not so sure.
You see, Alvarez Paz is supposed to be in jail for saying things like:
“Venezuela has turned into an operations center that facilitates the business of drug-trafficking”
live on much hated Globovision.
But, Alvarez Paz did not make this up, in fact, I wrote not long ago about a report by none other than the United Nations in which the UN said that Venezuela had become the “the largest transit country for cocaine in the world”.
He also said that “the Chavez government has links to illegal, armed groups in Latin America”
once again, this is not new, the Spanish Audiencia Nacional accused the Venezuelan Government of precisely that recently, when Judge Velazco accused the Venezuelan Government of supporting ETA and FARC and setting up some explosives training exercizes using Venezuelan military and an ETA operative to train the FARC to blow up some Colombian Presidents or something like that.
So, Alvarez Paz did not invent the wheel in what he said, much like General Uson, who was jailed for five years for suggesting some Army soldiers were burned by a flame thrower. So, what’s up?
Because Minister of (In)Justice El Aissami said that Alvarez was imprisoned “because he lied” is as stupid as it gets. If we jailed Venezuelans who lie, the whole Cabinet would be in jail, from Chavez and his constant reinterpretation of the electric problem and the possible Guri collapse, which started with it is going to collapse if you don’t stop using energy, to it is the oligarchs who invented that it could collapse, to Giordani’s claim that the “Mutuos” created an avalanche of inflation, to El Assiami’s claim that crime is down, the Government lies, distorts and mutilates the truth daily without blinking. Just El Assiami’s claim that it was not Chavez but the “independent” Judiciary that jailed Alvarez Paz, should make Pinocchio’s nose pale in comparison.
Because in the end, Alvarez Paz was fairly irrelevant in Venezuela’s politics by now. He is not running for the National Assembly, is not that visible or even controversial.
So, what’s the grudge?
My feeling is the Government, yes Hugo Chavez himslef, wanted to intimidate and choose someone that was not a key leader of the opposition so that the message would get across without affecting someone involved in the upcoming elections or the Mesa de Unidad.
It is a warning to everyone to be careful, anyone can be arrested on the spot: Be careful what you say, nobody is untouchable, we are looking at you, this Dictatorship will not tolerate much!
As simple as that. Ramiro and Hugo are watching!
Because, among other things, Alvarez Paz is being accused of promoting hate, defamation and “conspiracy”. A conspiracy of one, which at least in Spanish makes little sense, but the robolution has never been a big one about making sense anyway.
But it is a scary step. The Chavez Government has decided to jail someone just because…To set an example. It is a new direction, overt, clear and direct intimidation.