From Today’s El Nacional an article by Jaime Requena
Dr. Pepper’s Justice
On October 17th. President Chavez announced from the city of Oxford that he had designated Dr. William Pepper, Director of the International Human Rights Seminar of that University as Head of his commission to study the events in April. To that effect, the American lawyer was invited to start his work with a visit to the country starting next November 5th. There are abundant reasons to think that Dr. Pepper is not the ideal person to carry out an independent and impartial investigation of those crimes, which Venezuelan society has been clamoring for. They have nothing to do with his ideological conceptions or his academic credentials. The objection has to do with the objectivity that Dr. Pepper has shown in those matters relating to the analisis of the actions of the Government of Hugo Chavez Frias and the imprudence of namingm someone, for such a delicate position, without consultation or approval of other more interested in knowning the truth.
Last week, many, among those the writer of these lines, saw our efforts to raise our voice of protest in front of the academic community of Oxford for the nomination of Hugo Chavez Frias as a speaker on human rights simply bypassed. The moderators of the forum led by Dr. Pepper, rejected our electronic messages of protest and in a gesture that says very little about their proclaimed respect for freedom of speech, they made all possible efforts to block public access to their electronic forum, filtering only those that showed backing for the official initiative.
This is given as background as a live example of the impartiality that, we are sure, will dominate the conduct of Dr. Pepper. However, as if this small story were not sufficient, I invite the readers to look at the rest of said statement, justifying the invitation of President Chavez to speak at Oxford, which is an apology for the law of the funnel and an ode to the epic statistics of those that have seen the light in the command of the revolution. It forgives Chavez for his coup on February 4th. 1992 on the basis of a legitimate right that assisted him to rebel militarily, from the moment he was convinced that public institutions were rotten by corruption. Today, when a large part of the population covets an equal sentiment, not only about the Presidency and those that surround it, but about the new public powers and thousands of other things, Dr. Pepper condenms as coupsters the civic protests of the opposition and qualifies them as insignificant, when he compares them with the magnitude of the attendance to the mass acts convoked by the Government, a matter which he appears to be the only one to see. Much like our President, in his virtual Sunday program, Dr. Pepper ends blaming the local media for broadcasting the social, economic and political malaise, which should not exist, since according to him, the levels of indebtness and the standard of living have never been better.
Since this is the way things are, it is obvious that Dr. Pepper, having already taken sides, would never be able to issue a just and impartial judgement about the actions and conduct of the Chief of State. And that, in my opinion, disqualifies him from judging who was responsible for each of the visceral massacres of the month of April.
Finally, with that designation our Chief of State ends recognizing that neither the legislators nor justice work. As a Venezuelan, I am interested in learning the reasons that could assist the members of the Supreme Court to allow Dr. Pepper to act as their replacement.