How much worse will it get?

October 10, 2003

The Red Sox and my own job have kept me away from blogging much the last two days. Somehow the dynamics of what is going on here are changing, or I perceive they are changing. Chavez seems closer to a rupture with democracy at this time. It may not happen soon, but besides Globovision, there has also been the refusal to accept or comply with the precautionary measures of the OAS Human Rights Commission. Last night, in an event that has received very little coverage, Chavez told the audience, which included the OAS Secretary General, that his Government would not abide by the decisions of the Human Rights Commission. He told the world that this is a sovereign country and we would solve our problems. This is true, but the main progress of the modern world since the fall of the Berlin wall is that the world is not willing to tolerate Human Rights violations. And while much has been made over the Globovision sanctions, the way in which the National Guard evicted people in Los Semerecucos, where former oil workers live, is to me a much worse crime. When kids get tear gassed in their neighborhoods and homes, there is a sense of violation that hurts beyond the ability to speak up and defend free speech. Who cares if you can or can not say whatever you want if the repression continues to occur day after day? Who cares if the Supreme Court gives the Minister of Defense 72 hours to leave the Metropolitan Police headquarters, if the time elapses and the Minister does not obey? What will the Court say or do now? Jail him? Then what? What will it do? Where is the law? Who will do anything if there is no referendum?

The level of cynicism by military officials is also reaching dangerous levels. Last week it was infamous General Garcia Carneiro telling the press how good things are in Venezuela as poverty has shot up ten percentage points during Chavez’ administration. This week it was the National Guard General Villegas saying that in Los Semerucos he was only following orders. We have heard that excuse before in many parts of the world. What the General does not seem to understand is that we will not forget that he used that as an excuse or that he also led the National Guardsmen last December 3d. when peaceful Venezuelans were repressed and hurt just because….and I imagine the General will also say that he was following orders that day. But you see, we have movies, we have even pictures right here in this blog of the results that day. And one day we will use them in Court and even though I don’t want revenge, I do want the world to know what happened here in April 2002, Dec. 3d. and the last three weeks in Los Semerucos. And I want those responsible, those that gave the orders and those that did not have the dignity to refuse to obey to pay for their crimes. Let’s hope this is as bad as it gets, but I fear it it may not be.


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