Two events prove that Venezuela faces a bifurcating choice on Sunday. Two separate events, one at the top and one at the bottom of the political food chain, which simply show the world that Chavismo not only has lost all scruples, but it aims to control the daily lives of all Venezuelans if it is allowed to spend six more years in power.
The first one, was the statement made by the Minister of Defense General Rangel Silva that Capriles’ statement that he will name an active General as his Minister of Defense only aims to destabilize the Venezuelan Armed Forces. Rangel Silva followed this up by saying that no active General would accept the post with Capriles, because the opposition candidate aims to “desarticulate” the Venezuelan Armed Forces. Later the General, when asked if it was appropriate for him to criticize a candidate, answered that this somehow is part of the “new democracy” and that he was forced to respond because of the “disdain” shown by candidate Capriles towards the Armed Forces.
Coming from the same man, declared a drug kingpin by the DEA, who once said that he would never recognize a Commander in Chief other than Hugo Chavez while he was Minister of Defense and coming so close to the election, the General’s words are not only anti democratic and insulting to anyone’s intelligence but show the dangers ahead of continuing for another six years under the Chavez autocracy.
Fortunately, the Ministers message shows that Capriles statement had the desired effect: It tells Rangel Silva, who has little influence on most high ranking military and commands no loyalties beyond the cronies that surround him, that he may find internal resistance within the military should he decide to join any attempt not to recognize Sunday’s results should Capriles be the winner. And it shows the Minister is no democrat when he tries to interfere with Capriles’ right to say who will accompany him, should he win the Presidency.
And if this shows how putrid Venezuela’s Chavista democracy is at the top, the same goes for freedom at the bottom of the Chavista food chain with the decision to shut down all Government offices tomorrow, so that Government workers can “accompany and support” President Chavez, in the closing rally of his campaign. But these civil servants will have to show up for work, so that their bosses can check their presence and take them to Chavez’ rally under the threat that if they do not show up on Thursday or attempt to leave the rally, this could endanger their career and /or originate a demotion or a transfe to a job in the Interior, rather than Caracas. This form of political harassment also shows how the freedom and the rights of Venezuelans would be increasingly limited should Chavez win on Sunday.
It is indeed a bifurcation in our path to a better future. A Chavez victory would lead to further limitations to freedom at the top and at the bottom, while a Capriles victory will lead to more plurality and democracy. Tomorrow, I will give you my final take on what I think will happen and I certainly hope Venezuelans choose the path of a more open society.
Venezuelans deserve better.