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Harassment and Persecution of Americans Reported in Venezuela

Editorial | El Impulso

Caracas 17 April 2005 | United States Ambassador William Brownfield is urged to look after United States citizens residing in Venezuela. José Agustín Gómez, leader of the Un Solo Pueblo party (One People), after warning that “a xenophobic persecution has emerged against the people of the United States,” urged the Ambassador of the United States in Venezuela, William Brownfield, to look after United States citizens residing in Venezuela, “given that the Venezuelan government and its followers are persecuting them.” Gómez formulated this call for action during a press conference held yesterday, during which he repudiated the arms race and the establishment of the military reserve by the government of President Hugo Chávez Frías.

“We stand totally against the establishment of the military reserve, which would be made up of more than one million two hundred thousand persons, because they are leading us, perhaps, to an armed confrontation with the United States, which we do not want".

In reference to the “Tascón List”, whose “burial” was ordered by the President of the Republic, Hugo Chávez, last Friday, he maintained that the Chief Executive explicitly admitted that this list had been an instrument of persecution" against Venezuelans who signed in petition of the recall referendum and now there is an attempt to file it away without redressing the consequences it generated.

“The President admitted there was a felony committed by functionaries of his government who denied job opportunities to humble citizens, because they had signed against Chavez as they tried to remove him from power. Well, that will be lodged as a complaint before the International Court of Human Rights, insofar as it constitutes a violation of human rights," he advised.

Concerning the announcement made by the list's author, Deputy Luis Tascón, of the creation of a new web page for receiving reports about alleged violations of the human rights of persons who were persecuted for having signed, he stated that “Mr. Tascón had better be the first one on that new list, given that this persecution was driven by the publication of his original web page.”

He went on to say “we will take it upon ourselves to enter him into that page, because his list is like the one the Gestapo had for persecuting Jews. The same thing happened here in Venezuela,” he stated.

Gómez deemed less than serious the words of the President Chavez concerning the "burial" of the aforementioned list, alleging that “the President is lying to us every minute. He told us he would never wear a military uniform again and last week he wore a uniform at a function at Fuerte Tiuna... Nobody believes it; that list is still active... They want to wash their hands, because now they are being accused of crimes against humanity".

Translation by W.K.

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