This is today’s Editorial by Teodoro Petkoff in Tal Cual on the Government’s abuse of its power in the campaign, with particular concern about the involvement of the military in it
Power without Control by Teodoro Petkoff
While the experts report to the CNE the results of their millimetric measures in space and time of what the media devotes to the information about the two campaigns, with the aim of promoting an “informative equilibrium” (something which, in general terms, has been achieved and which is good), the Government has been advancing an electoral campaign whose bias and disequilibrium has not existed in the recent memory of the country, in the face of the most absolute indifference of the CNE. Besides a complaint that Director Rodriguez felt obligated to formulate to the President for the use of nationwide obligatory TV addresses, Chavez has continued doing whatever he pleases with the state media, but the CNE no longer takes care of the matter, even if only for appearances sake.
This, without talking about the full blast participation of all the public organizations, which the CNE also tries to ignore.
But there is something much more dangerous: the political use of the Armed Forces, whose specific role has been progressively perverted and each day its behavior is more ostensible as practically a political party by some sectors of the armed forces. Recently, in a ceremony of CORE 5 (A military regional command), that is in the headquarters of the National Guard in El Paraiso, the billboard that was the background of the event contained a huge NO, flanked by the logos of the National Guard and of the CORE 5. At least one active General, also belonging to the National Guard, has a radio program of political nature and is openly campaigning. There have also been political/electoral events in one or another military fort, and, of course, we still have very fresh in our memories the images of the parade on July 5th, in Los Proceres, and the naval parade on July 24th. that openly incorporated in them electoral elements of the officialdom. As worrisome as this behavior that is taking place is the collaborative silence of those that are obligated to monitor the legality and constitutionality of the acts of public powers, in particular the Attorney General’s office.
How laughable it sounds today to read Article 328 of the Constitution where it says that the Armed Forces “are at the exclusive service of the Nation and in no case of any person or political partiality”!
Not even because he lives in Tiuna Fort does the President of the CNE acknowledge any of this.
If we have reached today these aberrant levels, even though, they have not yet been generalized, in the politization of the Armed Forces, one has to wonder what could be the evolution of this situation in the immediate future if the President is not revoked: The Armed Forces each day act more like an armed political party at his own personal service. Therein lays a reason for reflection which points directly to the decision that Venezuelans will have to make on August 15th. It is true that the recall referendum conforms an evaluation of the Government’s conduct in the last five long years, but is also as important to wonder about the near future, in the light of the trends towards the absolute control of institutions, that each day are made more visible in its behavior and which should help to produce definitions.
Man does not live by bread alone