Another threat to freedom of the press

July 28, 2005

For the
last three years, I have been translating the Editorials of Tal Cual by
Petkoff, which have been extremely critical of the Government. I have
yet to hear a Government official complain about them. That is why it
truly remarkable to hear that the Government is opening a
penal investigation against El Universal for the Editorial below. For the last
two days the “Attorney General/Prosecutor” has been reacting viciously against the Editorial in El Universal
which I translate below. This is simply another sign of the intolerance and
fascist streak that runs through this Government.

Freedom of the Fress? Give me a

If the Attorney General could
take pride in what he has done in the last few years, maybe he could have complained
about being criticized harshly. But to suggest that the following Editorial
subjects his Office to public “scorn” is simply to ratify what most Venezuelans
both pro and against Chávez feel. There is no Justice and rule of law in Venezuela. There
have been hundreds of deaths and injured in political marches that remain
unexplained, there has been an increase in crime and police brutality that has
no counterpart in the number of cases prosecuted or convicted, there have been
over a thousand cases of “disappeared” people in rural states in the hands of
the police (mostly “pueblo”), there have been daily deaths in the country’ jails and we have yet
to hear about what is being done about any of it. Or what Mr. Rodriguez, responsible for Justice in Venezuela is doing about it.

corruption runs rampant in
the Chavez administration, not one case of courruption has been
prosecuted, while hundreds of
members of the opposition including human rights activist of
stature are harassed and prosecuted regularly. Meanwhile, people Chavez
has fired fo corruption, resurface in oether prominent Government
positions like the former Head of Fogade. And we will not forget the
cases, such as the death of his Prosecutor and close confidant Danilo
Anderson, whose wealth, lifestyle and behavior
have yet to be explained, after the Government rendered him the honors of a dead
patriot and Mr. Rodríguez shed his crocodile tears for him after his assassination

The Attorney General has made a
mockery out of the rule of law and due process, choosing instead to support the
Government of which he was the first Vice President, a fact that will not be
forgotten by Venezuelans when the day of reckoning comes. And now he threatens one of the very rights he is
supposed to defend, the right of free speech. Nobody will ever forget his
partisan role on Chávez’ return on April 12th.,
arms up in the air in celebration as the corpses were still warm
and  leaving the murders of innocents Venezuelans in the black
hole of the
impunity that permeates this administration. Mr. Isaias Rodriguez
the fascism, cynism and intolerance of this Government. What he has
done today is simply
another attempt to muzzle free speech and silence one of the few voices
freedom left in Venezuela.
If rather than threatening and accusing El Universal, Mr. Rodríguez
investigated the cases presented every Sunday in that paper’s “Expediente”
cases he would have made a positive contribution to the country.

But he is not interested in that,
he is among those that believe that the fake revolution is immortal and he
wants to have a prominent role in it. We will never forget.

Here is the translation of the
meek editorial that has irked the
Attorney General and has made him behave like the partisan and mediocre
politician and human being he really is:

on its knees

To subordinate justice to one
ideological dimension, subtracting form it efficiency and autonomy, is to place
the engine out of the rails, leaving the wagons defenseless and abandoned. That
is why there has been an increasing lack of legitimacy on the part of the
Public Ministry and the Courts

The center of interest from the
point of view of the news is crime, guerrillas, paramilitary groups and the lack
of security in general. The center of interest may also be criminalility, but what
should concentrate the greatest efforts of public administration is the penal
process, when the index of convictions is very scant and impunity triumphs.

In this context are the statements
by the Executive Director of COFAVCIC, analizing the specific modus operandi,
which reveals deviations and perversions in security forces and in the administration
of justice itself. That is the gravity of the alarm, when you prove that all
citizens in Venezuela
are subject to a very high risk of abuse.

As Cofavic has pointed out, the
politization of the penal system and its inefficiency, besides the inexistence
of a policy against crime, which is a set of actions focused on directing the
prevention and reduction of criminality in a ratiuonal and scientific way, all
end up in this increasing insecurity.

As a consequence, penal justice
has to be professional and has to be coordinated with prevention, investigation
repression and the treatment at penitentiaries, because the relation between justice
and society tends to destabilize the latter even more. From it, the feeling of
insecurity in the face of Government statements and the manipulation of

A large part of the directives
and procedures for social control demand a profound revision and as the
absolute priority is the rational combat of poverty, with the participation of
social, economic and political sectors of the country.

The fight against poverty is not the exclusive realm of
anyone but of the Nation, understood as a productive and harmonic set.

There has to be work closely done among specialists both
national and foreign in maintaining the decentralization of police forces,
improve the regional mechanisms for coordination and strengthen justice making it
professional, autonomous sand objective. That is the highest aspiration of all
the citizens.

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