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Venezuela needs help: any volunteers?

By Aleksander Boyd

London 08.04.04 - We live in the information era, or so we would think. However there's an issue that does not seem very clear for very many outside my country (Venezuela). The struggle has become one of ideologies, sort of like a Muslim trying to convince a Jew about the benefits of his religion. As with many subjective things in life it is impossible to reach an agreement, presidential charisma seems to run counter to objectivity. Exemplary case is the love affair that the world’s left, anti-American/capitalism/globalization and environmentalists movements are having with Hugo Chavez. They advocate for human rights and egalitarian societies in their own countries yet they seem to have been spelled by the Venezuelan president discourse of saving the poor from years of exploitation, having introduced the race card that up until his arrival to the country's politics was non-existent in Venezuela.

It saddens me to see how these useful idiots are playing into the hands of a criminal. Recently a Labour MP proposed an Early Day Motion in the House of Commons to request the US government to stay out of Venezuelan affairs. I wonder why they are not so equally firm in their request to the government of Cuba, that to date has received the equivalent of $1 billion in oil shipments and has sent more than 20.000 militia-men guised under the medical and sport programmes. In a time when the Venezuelan president cries foul about US imperialism and intervention we have the biggest most palpable proof of leverage by a foreign power in the country which is none other that Cuba’s Fidel Castro. At times when the oil is being used as a political tool we have the American conglomerates receiving advantageous deals in the country, their production counting for nearly half of PDVSA’s output. At times when our government plays the role in the international stage of saviour of the disenfranchised, we see an alarming augmentation of cases of governmental brutality, constant use of excessive force to placate peaceful demonstrations, systematic violation of the most fundamental human rights, political prisoners, utter disregard for constitutional principles and not observance of the rule of law.

Notwithstanding the troop of useful idiots would have you believe that it is about a race struggle obviating the sad truth and more importantly the indisputable facts. Much has been said about the political opposition for whom I will not advocate but very little about the concerns of the apolitical citizenry. As director of an international NGO I want to make clear, for the umpteenth time, that what we want is freedom from interference (yes that includes Cuba), and policies to tackle unemployment, crime, education and health. This has to be implemented in sustainable manner and not irresponsibly to upsurge in popularity surveys.

What we want from the international community is to call upon all political actors (government included) to respect the constitution, human rights principles, freedom of speech and association and to upheld the rule of law. It is not an extraordinary thing to expect, or is it?

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