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Venezuela's Nightmare: The Death of Democracy

Domingo Guzman de Frutos Arismendi

March 29, 2004; Page A19 - Wall Street Journal. Caracas, Venezuela - I would like to thank Mary Anastasia O'Grady for her insightful and well informed columns, especially " Chavez's Nasty Battle Against the Popular Will" (Americas, March 19).

Our nightmare includes the massive firings from public office and nonrenewal of passports for anyone who signed the democratic petition for a constitutional recall vote, the grotesque kidnapping of all the branches of government, the imprisonment, torturing, killing and raping of normal individuals who rightfully protest against a government that, though democratically elected, long ago departed from our constitutional paths and imposed on us its truly dictatorial and communist ways. It is hard to believe even for those of us who are trapped in it everyday, but the nightmare is inexorably plunging us into civil war.

Not only your leaders, but the American people, our traditional friends and allies, should be aware of the atrocities being perpetrated in the name of the "Bolivarian Revolution." This "revolution" is nothing less than an effort of continental proportions to implant a neo-communist regime in the region (destroying everything we believe in and have fought so hard for). And the effort is aided by international terrorist groups and foreign nations and is funded by Venezuela's significant oil revenues. These oil revenues are funding a multimillion-dollar propaganda campaign aimed at confusing the issues and buying "the revolution" the time to stand solidly in the region.

John Kerry's "Statement on Venezuela" published March 19 on his own Web site, shows a definite, very much appreciated and welcomed preoccupation for our country's democracy. With all respect, I would say to Mr. Kerry that Venezuela's democracy is already an illusion and that the "effort to preserve" it is late in coming. As things stand, the effort should rather be made to repair it. With all that implies and for all our sakes.

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