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Venezuela: Where do I stand?

By Gustavo Coronel

March 2, 2004 - Considering that:

* Hugo Chávez Frias has violated the popular mandate that he received in 1998, after winning the Venezuelan Presidential Elections, installing a progressively authoritarian regime in the country, which harasses and excludes a political dissidence that already exceeds 65% of the voting population;

* The regime of Hugo Chávez has led the country in only five years to a tragic social, economic and political debacle;

* Hugo Chávez Frias has made of hate and social resentment the two main strategic objectives of his regime, turning traditionally cordial Venezuelans against each other;

* The regime of Hugo Chávez Frias is made up of corrupt and inept bureaucrats who have squandered USD $150 billion of national income during the last five years while multiplying our domestic debt by a factor of eight during the same period;

* Hugo Chávez Frias himself is a corrupt and undemocratic leader, who violates the Constitution and Laws of the country at will;

* The regime of Hugo Chávez Frias is no longer supported by the majority of the people but anchored by an oligarchy of armed thugs and of military cronies who have been given anti-meritocratic promotions in order to buy their loyalty;

* Hugo Chávez Frias has eliminated all vestiges of institutional checks and balances within the State, totally loading the political dice to suit his objectives;

* The regime of Hugo Chávez Frias is aligning themselves with the most despicable tyrants and terrorists in the planet, such as Castro, Qadhafi, Mugabe and the Colombian guerrilla, leading Venezuela into rapid international isolation, as a pariah and rogue State;

* The representative and participatory nature of the Hugo Chávez Frias regime is non- existent, since even their followers are excluded from political decision making;

* The regime of Hugo Chávez Frias has tragically increased poverty, unemployment and national criminal rate, while opening the doors of our country, our schools and our public institutions to thousands of Cuban intelligence agents and political indoctrinators. . . .

I have decided, as a citizen, that:

* As of today I do not recognize Hugo Chávez Frias as the legitimate President of our country because legitimacy is not only of origin but essentially of performance;

* I do not recognize the authority of the Cabinet Ministers of the Hugo Chávez regime, or the authority of the national government bureaucrats or the authority of those members of the armed forces who have deviated from their institutional role in order to support an ignorant and authoritarian regime;

* I do not consider myself bound to the defense of this government since this government is no longer a legitimate representative of the nation.

* I will do all, which is in my power to accelerate the ousting of this mediocre and corrupt political regimen within the boundaries of the Constitution and of the legitimate Laws of the country.

* I will be guided, from now on, by the dictates of Article 350 of the Venezuelan Constitution, which gives me the right and the duty to rebel against a government which has become illegitimate due to their corruption and to their systematic violations of the Law.

* In order to act within the precepts of Article 350, I will engage in active civil disobedience in whatever opportunity I might have. If by doing so I cause mild inconvenience to my fellow citizens, I ask their understanding and forgiveness. What is at stake in our country is much more important than mild inconveniences. Our democracy and freedoms are in imminent danger.

* I will openly say in my country and abroad, to whoever wants to listen and, even if no one listens, that this is a government of dishonest, inept and corrupt bureaucrats.

* I will denounce in all national and international fora the crime committed by the oligarchy led by Hugo Chávez, Ali Rodriguez and Rafael Ramirez against the Venezuelan State Petroleum Company, PDVSA, and will gladly attend any hearing as a witness for the prosecution of this criminal gang which has transformed PDVSA from a leading international energy company into a mediocre third world organization.

* I will write incessantly against this authoritarian political regime and will present their alignment with despots like Castro and Mugabe as the best proof that we are under a dictatorial rule.

* I will single out, in my protest, the main culprits of the crime now being commited against the Venezuelan people: Chávez, Rangel, Garcia Carneiro, Acosta Carles, Rincon Romero, Bernal, Maduro, Flores, Vivas, Barreto, Ron, Varela, Carrasquero, Battaglini, Jorge Rodriguez, Isaias Rodriguez, Mundarain, Ameliach, Lara. These are the members of the oligarchy of terror.

This is where I stand.

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