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Human Rights abuses in Venezuela

By Daniel Duquenal

16.12.04 | As the list of Human Rights abuses in Venezuela remains without serious State investigation, Teodoro Petkoff in today's Tal Cual editorial revisits an issue that is still causing many problems. Namely, the odium seen against those who dared call for a Recall Election which, if indeed Chavez won by 60%, should be instead a cause of celebration and reconciliation for the country. All the pettiness and misery of chavismo could hardly be better encapsulated than through this symbolic issue.

My translation. The first picture is from the cover of Tal Cual showing representative Luis Tacon, one of th emost loathsome members of the chavista machinery. And the end of article the Weil cartoon of today.

How much longer with the Tascon list!

A few days ago we celebrated Human Rights Day. On this occasion [Vice President] Jose Vicente Rangel made a speech where he affirmed, among other gross exaggerations, that under this administration nobody had never been tortured and that never, never, were Human Rights violated. Of course, when Rangel speaks of torture he only thinks of tortured politicians. The systematic torture applied by the police corps to the common delinquents, this one, it seems, is not torture; that one does not make noise nor does it perturb the vice president’s sleep.

In fact, the death of the young Juan Carlos Zambrano in a military installation of Zulia, allegedly tortured, did not even cause a slight frown. When all is said, Rangel would argue, he was just a “recogelatas” [1] and, who cares about the death of a “recogelatas”? Of course the Provea report on the increase of torture and abuse by the police departments was already put to the index by [communication minister] Izarra, with arguments copied from past Adecos and Copeyanos ministers, who also disqualified reports from Provea in past times with accusations of political partisanship. There is nothing less creative than the ethical degradation. It is the same, no matter what is the color of the beret [2]

Now, since Rangel states that this administration has never violated Human Rights, it would be quite enlightening to look at the famous, for its (bad) reputation, “Tascon list”.

Can there be something, in addition of low, despicable, vile, ignoble and coward, that would encroach more Human Rights than the elaboration of a list where the names that figure in it are condemned to a political and labor apartheid? This list has been used and is used to fire uncounted numbers of public employees who signed to petition for the Recall Election. This one was also used and is used to deny or delay the emission of ID cards and Venezuelan passports for those who signed the petition. Who ever is in it does not exist for the state. Does this violate or does not violate Human Rights? That list has been used and is used to negate contracts or commercial transactions with the State to numerous businesses. Does this violate or does not violate Human Rights? To sign for the convocation of a Recall Election is a right established in the constitution. Why, thus, should one who exerts that right be punished through the denegation of that most basic Human Right that is the right to work?

Putting aside the physical torment, it is difficult to imagine another aggression to Human Beings as hard as depriving one’s way to earn a living just because of a political opinion. No matter if this takes place as a delayed sanction, or through the humiliation caused by the self imposed inhibition to exert one’s rights because of the fear of losing one’s job. This, Rangel, how would it have been qualified by that journalist who became famous and appreciated for denouncing violations of Human Rights in a not too distant past?

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1) name used for poor people and indigents reduced to pick up cans in trash to bring to recycling

2) chavismo uses a red beret but we used to have white berets in the AD days
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This cartoon refers to a project announced this week for a new National ID card that would include a micro chip. Translation: 1) Please Mrs, your smart card [note the red beret, chavismo symbol] and 2) Sorry, but we cannot help you [note the Firmo, signed up]. This is actually not a joke.

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