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Venezuela’s Information Minister open lies

By Martin A. Peña T., translation Aleksander Boyd

On April 5, making use of the State television channel, the Minister of Information and Communication Jesse Chacon lied, when in an apparent gesture of taking responsibility he resigned from office owing to a fault in which his ministry had occurred (false information regarding the burning of 8 soldiers in Fort Mara) that caused President Hugo Chavez to say in his dominical programme that the burns suffered by said soldiers were slight. Hours later Venezuelan citizens learned that one of the soldiers had died and a second one was in a coma.

It is our belief that the minister knowingly lied to the country for he knows the laws, rules and other norms -given that he retired from the army- that establish that the administrative mechanisms required impede the President of the country, who in turn is the commander in chief of the army, to opine in such grave matters based on flawed information prepared by his ministry. Said argument is ludicrous if we were to revise the following articles:

1. Art 62 & 63 of the Organic Law of the National Armed Forces states that the execution of presidential orders falls upon the Minister of Defence who is also the intermediary between the President and military officials.

2. Art 94 of the Garrison Service Rules, contemplates that related to daily reports or documents that contain all relevant information occurred during the previous 24 hours; cases of interns in emergency units or soldiers reprimanded or disciplined need be reported without delay. Moreover it is obligatory for garrisons to produce such reports and send it to the respective Superior Command daily.

3. When incidents can be typified as offences or crimes, it corresponds to military justice to learn about said incidents. Art 28 of the Organic Code of Military Justice cites “the President of the Republic, the Minister of Defence, Commanders in Chief of the army and the navy, Commanders of military jurisdictions (garrisons and so on) are subject to Military Justice.

After reading the articles mentioned and taking into account that the responsible to inform the President about the day to day activities and happenings of the army is the Minister of Defence, it is impossible to believe that the words with which the President referred to the case of the burnt soldiers derived from information provided by the Information Minister.

Brigade General (R)

Manuel A. Piña T

Attorney

C. I. 3.252.294



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