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Venezuela: News round up from a dictatorship in the making

By Daniel Duquenal | Venezuela News and Views

16.03.05 | Sometimes it is really disheartening to read the news. Not necessarily for their gruesome content, but for what they imply in the general scheme of our unfortunate country. The hour must be crucial as El Universal shows an infrequent zeal at translating into English many of the news reported below (English text link in bold).

The burnt soldiers relatives will have nothing of it

The interesting development here is that the families of the two young soldiers burnt to death refused the army to be involved in the funeral, refused to have military honors rendered to them. This by itself is quite telling! And goes a long way to show the fast degradation of the army image in Venezuela among its people. Even after fort Mara the army was still linked to the funeral, but today, when the opposition is at its weakest to manipulate such an issue, the families of the victims take a rather courageous stand, if you ask me!

Meanwhile the family of the soldier accused to set up that new fire (the convenient scapegoat?) say the he was forced to confess a crime he did not commit, and even said that they had been threatened themselves. Government of course denies but it has a hollow ring to it. The fact is that even if the government operated well (at least they did turn investigation to civil justice instead of to military justice) the track record since Fort Mara is so dismal that credibility is lost.

What we are seeing is simply the fate that waits for any army that links its fate to an authoritarian government.

Private property is a thing of the past

There might be valid reasons to expropriate large tracks of lands to distribute among the landless peasants. However, in a judicial system where the rule of law is the norm, there must be a process of appeal and of indemnization at least for the work put into the land by the soon to be ex-owners. After all they built roads, infrastructure, prepared land for cultivation, etc... and this is the fruit of their labor.

But the INTI, fast sinking into the infamous status under the hack direction of bad boy Otayza has announced that it will not bother waiting for the appeal to take place and does not feel bound to consider indemnization. Now, in his expose Otayza even went as far as saying that the "republic" could not recognize property that dates from colonial times. Huh? Isn't that a way to say really that the present government will recognize only what it sees fit to recognize? Aren't we rewriting history here? But it got better. Otayza said that all final decisions will be taken by Chavez himself. We thus loop the loop and come back to El Supremo, now sole arbiter of all things in the land, just as under the times of Gomez when he was quietly and steadily expropriating the land of his political enemies to add it his own or his pals. Not to mention the said colonial times.

Thus endeth the concept of private property in Venezuela. I wonder who will be coming to invest in Venezuela after this round of land seizure only justified to satisfy the ego of El Supremo.

Freedom of expression officially curtailed

Readers of this blog are aware that the process to limit freedom of expression in Venezuela has started long ago, already when "bolivarian" mobs where attacking journalists or laying siege to newspapers or TV station that did not praise enough El Supremo. Well, I guess we can put an official date this week.

First, the IAPA issued its official condemnation, downgrading Venezuela freedom of expression barely above Cuba and Haiti. The communication minister, Izarra now far removed from his days as a journalist in the quest of truth, lashed in the only way left for the scoundrel: shoot the messenger. In his words, it is El Supremo the victim.

But he also went a step further and swore in yesterday the commission that will monitor the media expression. This commission, if I understood things right, has 7 members appointed by the government and only 3 appointed by independent sectors (one of them of dubious independence itself). Just in case there is any doubt about the partiality of this commission that will be involved in deciding violations of the law and the fines, one of the members was caught by the Globovision cameras dressed in white and chavista red, doing the chavista salute of the violent fist in hand, a repeated punching. I mean, geez, they are unable to even pretend...

The march to rewrite history

But all of these news of course are simply part to the effort to rewrite history. Now that the high court has begun to take down previous rulings not favorable to chavismo, it is easy for this one to rewrite rural history, or to decide who is the one saying the historical truth. Appointed hacks now have no rein to their desire to flatter El Supremo and collect at the cash register as I showed above. Thus it is good to leave this already depressing page with two articles.

Michael Rowan writes on how Easter Island inhabitants used all of their resources until they died of starvation, something waiting for us as oil money is simply distributed. I picked one paragraph that is quite telling:

Freedom for the poor, like money for food, medicine or the bus, is scarce. The little handouts from government are like the dimes the gloved hand of the billionaire John D. Rockefeller deposited in the wretched palms of the starving children of poisoned coal miners in West Virginia last century -as John D. basked in their pitiful smiles.
Chavez as the new tycoon. Fascinating concept!

Last, the editorial from Venecomia, aptly named "The conqueror writes history", concludes with those chilling words:

With this double murder of the Rule of Law and the right to property, plus the pressure that is being brought to bear on the freedom of expression through coercion and sanctions, the country is now definitely under a dictatorial regime.

I wonder we will put a penny in Venezuela if they are not willing to morally compromise with the El Supremo. But from what I can see , there are many people willing to turn a blind eye to evil. Nothing new under the sun. Meanwhile, woe is us, the few people who believe in law, individual responsability and mutual respect.

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