Venezuela's children: the greatest victims of Hugo Chávez

By Gustavo Coronel

10.08.06 | All of the dictators of our times have paid special attention to the education of children as a tool to consolidate their political power. Stalin's pioneers and Hitler's youth were programs that converted millions of children in blind followers of those dictators. In the Hispanic world Fidel Castro in Cuba, Francisco Franco in Spain, and Eva Peron in Argentina did the same, Castro in an intense manner through the Union of Communist Youth. In Venezuela we never had such attempts. From Guzman Blanco, in the 1870's, to our days Venezuelan dictators had no particular interest in creating a dynasty or an ideologically controlled state. Hugo Chávez is the first Venezuelan dictator trying to do so.

At this time Hugo Chávez is promoting a Venezuelan education program which consists of two main ideological components: one, the conversion of Venezuelan civil society into a military society; and the other, the creation of new generations of Venezuelans having a strong ideological affinity with the Socialist and Communist societies left in the world, the so-called rogue states. This is a process that has been taking place for some time now, before the eyes of an indifferent or unbelieving international audience, a repetition of what happened with Stalin, Hitler and Fidel Castro, to mention just three relatively recent historical examples. World opinion only reacted against these dictators long after they had converted their countries in tragic tools of their abnormal ambitions of supremacy. Even today, in spite of all the evidence, it's still possible to find pockets of vocal Stalin, Hitler or Castro admirers in the democratic world.

It is urgent that the world knows about the crime being committed today by Venezuelan dictator Hugo Chávez in the field of education. The current Venezuelan Minister of Education, a man called Aristobulo Isturiz, leads the execution of this crime. Many years ago Isturiz was a teacher. He later became a labor union leader and entered politics. Although he was originally opposed to Chávez, to the point of suggesting that he used cocaine, he became one of his stooges in the customary manner the unprincipled are converted: he was given an "important" political position, that of Minister of Education. In this high post he loyally follows Hugo Chávez orders.

In a recent speech in the city of Barquisimeto, some 200 miles southwest of Caracas, Isturiz said the following (my translation):

* "Teachers should be the first soldiers of the revolution." A Minister of Education in a civilized country could not utter such a statement. To educate is to teach the young to become capable of choice, to become members of a civilized, open society. Teachers who are ideologically committed to a Communist/Socialist revolution can only produce children who cannot think for themselves;

* "Closing down private schools will not do any harm to Venezuelan education." Private schools in Venezuela represent the last stronghold of true education. Most Venezuelans have their children in private schools, including many Chávez followers. This is due to the dismal quality of public schools, where teaching is tragically poor and where the most basic equipment is lacking. However, the Chávez dictatorship is intent on closing them down because they still teach democratic values.

* "The new Venezuelan education is becoming consolidated with the help of Cuban advisors." This statement is clearly indicative of what Chávez is doing to Venezuelan children, indoctrinating them just as Fidel Castro has indoctrinated Cubans. Castro has converted millions of Cubans in slaves. This is what Chávez is starting to do in Venezuela.

* "We have a single boss: Hugo Chávez." This is the central theme adopted by the Venezuelan dictatorship for the education of Venezuelan children. Minister Isturiz acts like a pimp, bringing children to the government television station to recite poems and to sing songs praising Chávez, Castro and Che Guevara. This is what we remember from Hitler and Stalin's times. This is what has been done in Castro's Cuba.

* "No Director of a public school shall have his, her job validated unless an evaluation is made, so that we are certain that they know what is the type of republic we want." In other words, either the Director of the school falls in line or is dismissed. No ideological deviations will be allowed. This is pure fascism.

* "The curriculum has to be adapted to the historical reality of our country." In other words, what can be taught in Chávez's Venezuela is what fits into his ideological construct. This is the antithesis of true education, which has to do with the objective analysis of history.

* "Those who claim that mass college education leads to loss of quality lie. We will simply not accept quality criteria as relevant." Minister Isturiz favors the elimination of all entrance examinations and passing grades (everybody should pass) and claims that selectivity in college education is not justified. In other words, thanks to the revolution anybody can be a medical doctor or an engineer. Although the members of the Chávez regime promote this philosophy of education, whenever they are ill they fly to Boston or Houston. They do not go to the Venezuelan public hospitals and put their lives in the hands of revolutionary doctors.

In the Venezuela of Hugo Chávez education has given way to political indoctrination of the worst kind. Children are becoming members of revolutionary cadres and are being armed by the criminal regime of Hugo Chávez. This is happening in Venezuela in the 21st-century, a country that is a member of the Organization of American States. This organization has a charter that specifically prohibits this type of perversion. But while the gentlemen representing their governments in this organization spend their days in air-conditioned comfort in Washington, one of the most beautiful cities of the world, a Venezuelan criminal called Aristobulo Isturiz, day after day, instills poison in the minds of Venezuelan children.

It is true that the first reaction should come from Venezuelans themselves. Are we Venezuelans just a bunch of cowards? Why don't we react?

Reading about the way nazism, fascism, Stalinism and Castroism took control of their societies it is not clear that this was due to the fact that all Germans, Italians, Russians and Cubans were a bunch of cowards. They proved their immense collective courage at other times. What is the problem then? I guess that societies subject to this type of process cannot realize what is happening to them because they are too close to the problem, immersed in a day to day progression that robs them of the possibility of acquiring a true perspective on the gravity of the problem. Many individuals are selfish and will not act until they themselves are touched by tragedy. Many are cowards, yes. Many see possibilities of advancement on the basis of the tragedy of others. Many just don't care. Many are plainly afraid and feel isolated from other citizens who might feel the same way. The overwhelming tendency for the members of these societies is to keep muddling through, hoping that something magical will happen or that somebody else will solve the problem for them.

I am convinced that if a well-known member of the international educational community took interest in the Venezuelan situation and started to talk about it, to denounce it as the crime it is, his could become the triggering mechanism needed by the Venezuelan educational community and by the parents of the millions of Venezuelan children who are in imminent danger of political indoctrination, to lead a massive protest against this crime.

I wish someone could help me in this crusade. Venezuelan children need immediate help.