Archive for April 6th, 2005

Is Venezuela the most conservative of catholic countries?

April 6, 2005

There is this table below in today’s USA Today about the attitude of  catholics in various countries to different issues:

Percentages saying the following are ‘never justifiable’

Catholic population

  Abortion Divorce Homosexuality Euthanaisa
Worldwide 46% 26%         51% 43%
USA 37% 7%         20% 31%
Spain 27% 11%         13% 21%
Argentina 66% 24%         39% 48%
Venezuela 71% 29%         63% 55%
Philippines 51% 40%         26% 45%
Germany 37% 16%         18% 28%
Mexico 67% 38%          49% 56%

Source: World Values

The interesting thing is that Venezuelan Catholics (the country is
90% Catholic) come accross in this poll as the most conservative of all
of the countries polled. While I am not that surprised at the high
rejection of homosexuality, since machismo and personal experience
ratify this number quite well, I am surprised at the high rejection for
divorce, in a country where divorce has been legal for over sixty
years. The other surprise to me is the rejection of abortion compared
to other countries. What I do find interesting is how similar we are to
Mexico, despite the many cultural differences between the two

Does this table imply that a Latin American “conservative” Pope
would have a strong effect on Venezuelans? I think it would depend more
on his personality than his beliefs. But in the end, none of these
issues is a “hot” issue in Venezuela anyway. No group is proposing
major changes in abortion, divorce, homosexuality or euthanasia.
People’s problem here are much more basic than that: Food, health care,
inflation and employment simply obliterate any thoughts on these other
social issues.


The Mcarthyist list of Chavismo

April 6, 2005

This is the first part of the series promised in yesterday’s Tal Cual Editorial

Case 1 The Fogade guillotine by Teodoro Petkoff

Valentina Guzmán, a lawyer, who in September 2004 had spent six and a half years working at Fogade (The Depositor’s guarantee fund). On the 19th of that month, she received a letter firing her, signed by the ineffable Jesús Caldera Infante. Dr. Guzman was one of those that swallowed the lie of Art. 72 of the “Bicha” (What Chávez calls the new Constitution)- a true monument to cynicism- believing that she really had the right to ask for a recall referendum for the President, which, of course, the summa cum laude jurist Caldera Infante considered it a crime so horrible that he had no doubt but to kick her out.

How do you explain the conduct of those that make such decisions? There can be three main reasons

One, the fear of losing your own privileges for not applying the McCarthyst line that was imposed by the use of the scoundrel list of Adolfo Tascón and, with death in their soul, ashamed of himself, execute the measure. This does not appear to be the case of Cabrera Infante. Another, the sincere conviction that he is providing a service to the revolution, that he is fulfilling his duty as a militant of persecuting and punishing those he considers to be counterrevolutionary who deserve such luck. This does not appear to be the case of Cabrera Infante either, up to recently a well known militant of the social Christian party COPEI, who only recently began riding the train of the revolution. The third is an opportunist without scruples, weather vane that moves according to the wind and obeys the owners’ voice without complaint. It is possible that Caldera Infante qualifies for this third option.

In any case, any of these three reasons is part of this mephitic atmosphere which authoritarism, personalism and the cult of the boss secretes so naturally, much like the liver secrets bile

A revolution that seeds hate in the soul of their supporters, which forces them to act against their conscience, which forces them to shut up and obey all orders, no matter how unfair they may be, is worthless. A revolution that instills in its supporters the spirit of denying others the right to have their own ideas, which aspires to make thinking uniform according to the totalitarian soviet-Cuban model, has very little substance and what little it has, is worthless. A revolution that is loaded with opportunists and shameless people of all kinds is worth even less.

Valentina Guzman, a lawyer, was not counting with the human misery of those that end up appropriating the generous revolutionary ideals in order to prostitute them. “The scrupulous and the just, the noble, humane, and devoted natures; the unselfish and the intelligent may begin a movement – but it passes away from them…The hopes grotesquely betrayed, the ideals turned into caricature, such is the definition of revolutionary success”

This was written, with foresight, by Joseph Conrad in 1911. Is this what we are living now?