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Venezuela: what Chavez' sovereignty means

By Aleksander Boyd

London 25.01.05 | File and rank chavistas, echoing the president's favourite mantra, are screaming out loud that Venezuela's sovereignty has been breached. They feel incensed by the arrest, by Venezuelan officials in Venezuela, of COLOMBIAN FARC leader Rodrigo Granda. Frankly it puzzles me; I can not begin to understand why some of my compatriots can feel outraged by the capture of an individual who has devoted his life to the furtherance of narcoterrorism. It is estimated that, between 1985 and 2003, up to 3 million Colombians have been displaced due to the conflict between guerrillas and the government of that country. Very many people have been assassinated, wounded or have suffered greatly at the emotional level owing to this crisis. Thus when I see Venezuelans chanting "Rodrigo, amigo, el pueblo esta contigo" "Rodrigo [Granda], friend, we are with you" I simply can not believe my eyes and conclude that it is impossible to think straight on an empty stomach.

Chavez' sovereignty concept

Hugo Chavez has got a peculiar understanding of the meaning of sovereignty. For six years now, he has been relentlessly branding the argument that the USA is breaching our sovereignty. The events of April 11 2002, which led to his temporary removal by the Venezuelan army, were planned by his enemies in Washington; "they took me to an unknown prison island off the coast and wanted to kill me" he maintains. Grandiloquent accounts besides, none of the supporters of Hugo Chavez seem to be worried in the slightest by the political clout and leverage that the worse living dictator of the Americas has in our nation, read Fidel Castro. A summary of Chavez' definition of sovereignty: Venezuelan oil goes to Cuba for free; Venezuelan monies go to fund insurgents such as Evo Morales and Antauro Humala; economic sanctions and oil embargoes are imposed on other nation's governments to further 'Bolivarian' agendas; Cuban agents permeate all Venezuelan state's institutions; the 'Bolivarian revolution' is but a tacky copy of Castro's; constitutional rights and personal liberties are trampled upon on a systematic and daily basis; a new legal agreement concedes supra-territorial jurisdiction to the Cuban security and espionage apparatus to effectively come to Venezuela to capture any Venezuelan they deem to have faulted Cuba's 'legal system'; wanted narcoterrorists live in Venezuela protected by Hugo Chavez' administration; a confrontational State policy governs foreign relations; alliances with rogue states are forged... Now, can someone please explain to me how the aforementioned fits with the definition of sovereignty? Here are some of Oxford’s Reference Online definitions:

- the authority of a state to govern itself or another state;

- is the claim to be the ultimate political authority, subject to no higher power as regards the making and enforcing of political decisions. In the international system, sovereignty is the claim by the state to full self-government, and the mutual recognition of claims to sovereignty is the basis of international society.

There are many more but none of them mention or associate with, even briefly, the word "selective" which, in my view, underpins Chavez' actions. For there is ample evidence that Venezuela's sovereignty has been breached by foreign powers (read Fidel Castro, the Colombian narcoguerrillas and so on) with the leniency of Venezuela's president. Thus whose sovereignty does Hugo Chavez, and his legion of supporters, defend? Should I be arrested by Cuban agents, in my next visit to Venezuela, for calling Fidel Castro a criminal serial killer; which Venezuelan institution will defend my sovereign rights?

Between the chavista concept of sovereignty and the one contained in the dictionaries I rather espouse and advocate for the latter. Shame that Chavez' famished supporters are incapable of realising how Colombian and Cuban terrorists' rights have preference in the 'legal system and governance model' of Venezuela.



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