Archive for October 10th, 2002

What’s going on at Human Rights Watch?

October 10, 2002

I continue to puzzle at the behavior of Human Rights Watch. On a day that the opposition organized a perfectly peaceful, legal and beautiful march. On a day when Chavez asked the Cabinet and the Chiefs of Staff to allow him to establish a state of emergency to stop the march. On a day when there were six people injured and one killed by Government supporters due to the non-intervention of the National Guard, this is what Jose Maria Vivancos of HRW had to say to the New York Times:

“Our main concern really is not the demonstrations or civil disobedience,” said Josť Miguel Vivanco, director of the Latin America division of Human Rights Watch. “The problem are those members of the opposition who have no patience, no tolerance anymore for the government, and are looking for extra-constitutional ways to get rid of the government.”

Patience, tolerance? For three years the Constitution has been stepped on by Chavez and his supporters. Crimes against humanity were committed by Hugo Chavez in April. For the last three months arrests are made illegally and military officers have been tried and arrested illegally. Chavez has armed civilian groups and yesterday called (again!!) on his supporters to be ready to give their blood to fight for “his” revolution. Where is the Constitution in those cases? Who will preside over any possible elections? Chavez’ Electoral Council? To impeach Chavez the Supreme Court has to allow it. Does HRW know how the current Supreme Court was elected? It did not even follow the Constitution!!!! Chavez and his Governmet violate the Constitution daily and we can do absolutely nothing about it. Did HRW listen to what Chavez’ Armed Forces Chief of Staff said?. He presented a litany of illegalities and violations of due process by Chavez and the Chiefs of Staff. He even charged Chavez with supporting guerrillas. Patience? Tolerance? We have to ask for Chavez’ resignation, he does not have the moral, ethics or rights to oversee his own Constitution. What HRW thinks is the problem is not the problem. It is the totalitarian mind of Hugo Chavez which is the problem. HRW shame on you again, for the second time in two days!!!

Venezuela: Awesome march today, we will see what’s next

October 10, 2002

Absolutely awesome march today. Estimates range from one million in the Associated Press, to 1.2 million by a local expert, to 1 milion in Spain’s El Pais.The eigth Km. march was incredible. I began marching a little past 11 AM after arriving at the starting point at 10 AM. I reached the end of the march at 2:15 PM and one hour after when I came back there were people still marching. (I took some pictures which I dont know why I cant post them, but they are in my brother’s weblog). During the march the Head of the Chiefs Staff resigned his position accusing the President of violating the law and corruption. He also suggested Chavez supports guerrilla groups in Colombia. He also asked Chavez to resign.

The success of the march adds to Chavez’ problem, His Government has little credibility and to have over a million people march in a city of over four million is simply a sign of how bad his popularity is. For a man who only a year ago was saying that he would be President until 2021 and that he would bring participative democracy to Venezuela, this is a severe blow. Given the state of the economy and his low popularity, whether he leaves or not is a matter of when, not how. To top it all off, it was revealed today that Chavez asked the Cabinet and Chiefs of Staff to authorize him to implement a state of emergency to stop the march, but they both said no. More high ranking military are reportedly going to split from Chavez in the next few days. The Federation of Workers Union has called for a strike on October 21st. if President Chavez has not resigned by then.