Another Requena Letter

October 16, 2002

Professor Denis Galligan
Centre for Socio-Legal Studies
Wolfson College
Oxford University

Dear Sir,
         Thank you very much for your e-mail in reply to my letter of
protest for the invitation issued to the President of my country to  talk
on Humans Rights by the Centre of Socio Legal Studies of Oxford University.
In no way I am pretending to infringe the right of speech of Hugo Chávez
Frías. Far from that, I am firm believer in responsable free speech.
         For years, I have proudly follow the steps of my father -one of
the founder’s members of our democracy and responsible for ousting the late
dictator Perez Jimenez-  crusading my community -science and technology-
for a better and freer country, sometimes with letters like this. Thus, I
feel free to question the connotation of absolutism that you pretend the
free speech concept has. I trust that it never gets put to a test in
matters that are crucial to your heart or country, such as being asked to
give the floor to a mass murderer, a profligate or an ignorant and, thus,
help to spread among students and Dons highly questionable ideas.
         The main point that I, among others, have raised concerns the
qualifications of President Chavez to dissert about human rights of my
country. Is the opinion of many that he is the less qualified Venezuelan to
address that issue, either in Caracas or Oxford. Perhaps to others, with a
different set of values regarding civil liberties -in places like Havana,
Baghdad or Tripoli- he could please the audience with his actions. If your
Centre is interested to learn about the issue at hand, I would have thought
that you can do much better by looking among other highly qualified
Venezuelans, some of them with degrees from your university, that could
tackle the problem with much more expertise and immemsely higher moral stature.
         Faced with the questionable justifications invoked in your letter
and our objections regarding President Chávez extremely poor record
upholding peace and justice among human beings, I cannot avoid thinking
that his visit to your Centre bears the marks of compliance to high office.
Which happens to be an extremely poor consolation in view of the impending
intellectual discomfort that Oxonians are about to experience.
Sincerely Yours,
         Jaime Requena, Sc.D. (Cantab)

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