Archive for October 9th, 2002

Quaoar: Mike Trujillo’s website is excellent!

October 9, 2002

Before leaving for the march wanted to make sure I Posted the website for one of the discoverers of Quaoar Mike Trujillo. The page has lots of interesting information including a comparison of Quaoar to Pluto, the Earth and the Earths’ moon. It has a discussion of why they dont think it is a planet, its orbit and even a picture of the planet (or some pixels indicating there is an 800 mile in diameter planet there!). Very cool stuff!!


Critique of the Human Rights Watch report on Venezuela

October 9, 2002

Human Rights Watch has just issued a report on Venezuela which I find extremely disappointing. Somehow, the call in April to defend the rights of Chavez and his supporters by HRW is not being applied to the defense of the opposition::

“the police detained several Chávez supporters and searched numerous homes without complying with basic standards of due process “

The Chavez Government has been overstepping due process and the Constitution with illegal arrests for weeks, this time around HRW says nothing about this. Why? The same can be said of the earlier call by HRW:

“The Venezuelan authorities should immediately conduct a thorough and impartial investigation to determine who is responsible for the killings and other serious human rights abuses committed during the recent political unrest”

No such an investigation has been carried out due to the fact that Chavez’ MVR has blocked any efforts in the National Assembly (They have the majority to approve it!!!!) to establish an independent committee to determine the truth of what happened in April. In fact, all people jailed for the deaths in April were Government employees, including a City Council member. They were freed by a pro-Chavez Judge, an order that was rescinded by the Supreme Court which fired the judge that day. The judge was hired a week later by a pro-Chavez Mayor.

In its current report HRW says:

“We call on the international community, and the U.S. government in particular, to support efforts underway in Venezuela to promote a negotiated and peaceful settlement to the present political impasse within the framework of the Venezuelan constitution and the rule of law, including strict adherence to human rights principles”

But it fails to note that the Constitution has been violated repeatedly by the Chavez administration which controls the judicial and Congressional powers. The Chavez administration has been searching homes, detaining people and arresting people without following the law and the Constitution and nobody protects Venezuelans from that. Not a single home search or arrest has been witnessed by a representative of the Attorney General’s office, as required by law and military police has been used against civilians, which is illegal. Civil Disobedience within article 350 of the Constitution is our only mechanism for a way out unless Chavez resigns.

“Both utilize tactics of inflammatory rhetoric and confrontation, creating conditions that are likely to lead to more violence”

The only group that has generated or encouraged violence is Hugo Chavez and his Government. There is no declaration or act by the opposition calling for violence. Frequently and as recent as today Hugo Chavez has called for people to defend his revolution with their blood and weapons. It is Hugo Chavez that has called for people to take over private property, which led to the death of two inspectors that were prospecting property for confiscation. All opposition marches have been extremely peaceful, the same can not be said of the bolivarian circles which have taken over violently roads in the city and staged violent demonstrations in which only once has the Government used force to stop them. But two weeks ago a peaceful march made up mostly of middle aged women was gassed by the National Guard which also used plastic bullets. Chavez had threatened us for two years with the weapons of the military. Here they are for the first time. Will there be more?

“Sectors of the opposition continue to seek President Chávez’s removal prior to the end of his term, with little regard for the legality or constitutionality of how that goal is achieved”

Yes, the people want Chavez to leave because with his regular violations of the Constitution and violations of human rights in April his Government is no longer legitimate. The only way legally to get rid of Chavez is for him to resign or be tried. To be tried the Supreme Court has to allow a trial. Since he controls the Supreme Court, all suits against the President, including the one for crimes against humanity have been set aside or dismissed by the Venezuelan Supreme Court. So what are people to do? Wait until the Armed Forces are cleansed by Hugo Chavez? Or until the 12 year term of Supreme Court justices expire? How can we even have an election with a submissive electoral council?

“Far from providing fair and accurate reporting, the media by and large seek to provoke popular discontent and outrage in support of the hard-line opposition”

Where was HRW when Hugo Chavez forced the media regularly to show his four-five hour speeches under the threat of shutting them down?. Where was HRW when Hugo Chavez shut off the media on April 11th.? Where was HRW when Hugo Chavez addressed the nation on April 11th. while the peaceful demonstration was being shot at? Did they watch the Government channel during their stay in Venezuela? The Government channel reports daily the wonderful state of and economy that has shrunk by over 10% so far this year and with unemployment running at the highest level in 20 years, but yet HRW does not criticize them?Please!!!!!

“We also urge the Venezuelan opposition and government to accept an OAS “facilitator” as soon as possible to promote dialogue and a democratic solution to the present political crisis”

Up to now only the opposition has committed to signing the agreement. Hugo Chavez has not said once that he will sign it. Why is this? Who is against dialogue? The opposition which was selectively excluded from the dialogue commission in May, or the Government who picked who it wanted to have a dialogue with?

“Finally, we wish to underscore the crucial work being carried out by Venezuelan human rights organizations such as PROVEA, the Red de Apoyo, COFAVIC and the Vicaría Episcopal de Derechos Humanos. They are performing an important and difficult role in defending human rights in a polarized and complicated situation, and in promoting dialogue at the local level. The Venezuelan human rights community deserves the full support of the OAS’s Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, and the international community more broadly”

The only part of the report we can fully agree with!!!!!! Does HRW point out how the Chavez administration regularly seeks to discredit most of these institutions? Why not? Why so gentle on Chavez and so harsh on the opposition? Being elected does not give the right to a President of violating the Constitution, the law and human rights almost daily!!!! Hitler was elected too!!!

Bad job HRW, shame on you!!!!!

Venezuela: Military and Intelligence police attempt to detain a General, people stop them

October 9, 2002

Military and Intelligence Police attempted to detain General Rosendo in a suburb of Caracas without an order from a judge or the presence of someone from the Attorney General’s office. Hundreds of neighbors surrounded the General and the police thwarting the arrest. Half an hour later (now) the event has turned into a demonstration. Genral Rosendo is an active General who has been without assignement since April and this afternoon held a press conference calling the Chiefs of Staff “weak” and asking Hugo Chavez to resign and leave.  7:43 PM EST

Venezuela: Coup rumors as I write this at 6 PM EST

October 9, 2002

Many rumors in Caracas at 6 PM EST as I write this. The march is tomorrow, but programming in TV stations is strange to say the least. Lots of reruns of the same news and only one true bulletin reporting the Chiefs of Staff of the Armed Forces were at an emergency meeting. A second rumor is that President Chavez had asked the military to establish a state of emergency and they had refused to do it. Stay tuned…….