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Danilo Anderson: A Sad and Sadly Convenient Death

By Víctor García Crespo

December 4, 2004 | The drama surrounding the assassination of Danilo Anderson, is demonstrating the power and impact of the Venezuelan government imagery on public perceptions given the disturbing questions that is posing: regarding the circumstances and manner by which Anderson was killed as well as the circumstances and manner by which the allegedly material authors of the crime either were killed or arrested. If Venezuela were a "normal" democratic country with "normal" democratic institutions, the results of the crime investigation and police procedures identifying and capturing the material authors of this abominable crime, would have enjoyed complete public support. After all, the whole country repudiated this horrendous crime worthy of being included within that political scourge called terrorism. However, this has not been the case, to be truthful and straightforward have not been precisely one the characteristics of this regime. For some reason, ultimate political ends have always tainted every action of the government, and one that is among the most unsettling for men within the police armed forces and judicial system, is the issue of the "politicization" of these institutions and the exploitation of them, for partisan political or personal ends.

Many questions relating to the case are currently being debated in the mass media since the assassination and the identification of the supposedly responsible of it. Of course, these questions and discussions have not pleased the government, which has already seized the opportunity to attack the owners of the mass media by accusing them of trying "to turn aside the investigation on the murder of Anderson with the apparent intention of concealing the true guilty party." The government has based the fundaments for such a claim on the publication of the statements of the accused persons about violation of their human rights, as well as some concerns of the democratic opposition related to the legality of some home searching by the police without a proper search warrant and the timing of the searching, for instance, of the Hebraic Fraternity for reasons still not totally explained, while the President was visiting, according to his own words, the "great socialist country of Libya" and other Arabs countries.

We have to recognize that Hugo Chávez capacity of political manipulation is amazing, and this feature looks enhanced thanks to the lack of leadership of the opposition. Danilo Anderson's death has not escaped to this "brilliant" capacity to stage-manage political events on behalf of the Bolivarian revolution. We all know that as result of the "democratic elections" the government announced the revolution would be entering in a process of radicalization in order to fulfill its ends. In referring to Anderson’s death the President stated: "One of us has died, but justice will be done" This solely statement speaks by itself. By stating this, Hugo Chávez confirmed a very well known fact: Anderson was a soldier at the service of the revolution instead of an independent general attorney office's employee devoted to impart fair justice. Obviously, since Anderson was "one of us," to express his profound grieve was the right thing for the president to do, but Hugo Chávez has shown in every instance that rightfulness is usually superseded by his convenience. Thus, the government is conveniently, opportunely and expediently using Danilo Anderson death as a tool to radicalize the revolution as well as divert the issue to an attack on the mass media, on the basis of the way Danilo Anderson death has been reported and the comments and question that some have made regarding the facts that are surrounding this event. It is not a coincidence that this attack on the media is concomitant with the recent approval of the very controversial Media Regulation Bill. Instead of offering detailed and trustable information capable to dissipate the shadows and doubts that its investigative actions have provoked, the government has decided to focus on attacking the mass media through accusations of practicing "information terrorism," and has deliberately decided not to answer the questions, rebutting the arguments or clarifying the statements, that different means of communication have rightfully, responsibly and within the legal framework, have broadcasted or printed with regard to the Anderson's death.

It seems evident that through this manipulation what the government is doing is paving the way to justify what very soon will bring about the above mentioned Media Regulation Bill, once the president puts his signature in it, what is: Control the media and news content and to muzzle critics of the government. Because of its very compelling content, I wonder if the following piece of writing, which I have taken the liberty to extract and freely translate into English, from the Newspaper El Universal (12/3/2004), with the signature of the renowned Venezuelan journalist, Nelson Bocaranda, will be allowed to be printed once the Bill comes into effect:

Just some questions: Will it not be that the desperate search for general Néstor González González has taken the government to kill three Venezuelans: one just because of his physical resemblance with the general: attorney Lopez Castillo; another one, German Delgado, who was a former bodyguard of the general and by the time of his killing was bodyguard of the journalist Patricia Poleo, and who presumably was killed by the political police (Disip) on August 3; and Juan Carlos Sanchez, killed in Barquisimeto, and who was seen in several photographs with the "wanted" general? Lopez Castillo was killed near his office of work: Was the police search carried out in the Law Office of De Sola, Pate & Brown aimed to vary if there was a line of vision towards the scene of the killing? Was the police afraid someone might have seen the shooting? Was the killed lawyer aware, or how could he possible have known, that the three cars that intercepted his vehicle were police cars, (three Toyota Corolla vehicles, one of them seen by his neighbors), without any police identification? Why in the police dossier there is not evidence of some objects "removed" from the Lopez Castillo residence, parents of the killed lawyer, like the expensive Apple computer, which belongs to the father or household-electro domestics or the expensive neckties, or the family phone book? How can anyone to have an anti tank mine on his night table? Will it be certain that the pistol that the lawyer Lopez used to have was one caliber 40mm, and he never used it, because it was in the right seat of the car? A policeman was shot during the confrontation: Was the bullet that killed the policeman a 9mm bullet similar to the guns of his colleagues? To whom gave the photos of the shooting a bystander who was able to take three photos, from three different angles, of the confrontation with the camera of his cellular phone? Why the lawyer was shot as soon as he left the car, if he was already wounded and with his arms up?Why the political police (Disip) insist on claiming they did not participate neither in the shooting nor in the home search and make very clear it was the Scientific Police (Cicpc)? And some days later, the Disip again _ sotto voce _ insist again they did not participate either in the searching of the Hebraic Fraternity? When Diosdado Cabello, for long the second in command of the revolution, intervened and decided to point out the mass media as escape goat in the discussion of the Anderson's death investigation: Was it because he wanted to rectify the mistakes of his pupil, the Home Office Minister, Jesse Chacon, or just because he wanted to put him down given his excessive public exposure? How many secrets of the government Danilo Anderson took to his grave about the instructions.

Will we ever know the real true? I don’t know. Maybe we will have to settle for the "convenient true." After all, when that time comes, the Media Regulation Bill will be fully into effect.

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