Archive for December 15th, 2005

The Trial by Teodoro Petkoff

December 15, 2005

It is Christmas, a time for joy and peace, I just came from a party at
my office that shows what a wonderful society we live in. All people are
nice, they like to have fun. But lurking in the background are all
these problems, most of them created by Chavez, that seem somehow
foreign to all of us. Revenge and hate have seldom been part of the
Venezuelan vocabulary, but Chavez has made them so. This is
unfortunate, there have been many chances for peace and reconciliation.
Unfortunately , I harbor no hope that the Chavez Government will take
advantage of this moment. as Petkoff suggests in this Editorial.

The trial by Teodoro Petkoff in Tal Cual

The trial and sentence of Carlos Ortega, because of a crime as indefinable
and undefined such as “civil rebellion” is simply a political trial. A
political conduct was tried and the sentences also carry a political meaning.
The field of justice is narrowly bounded by judicial coordinates and judges
must move within them. The political one has a margin which is much wider. The
trial of those that revolted on 4F (1992) and 27N (1992), which from a strictly
juidical point of view, should not have concluded and from the strictly
judicial point of view, if they had been followed up to the end, should have
concluded with a sentence for “military rebellion” from 25 to 30 years of
prison for their leaders. However, two years later, for political reasons,
having to do with the demands of a political juncture, the leaders of both rebellions,
as well as their followers, were all freed. Similarly, in the decade of the
60’s , the trials and sentences for armed rebellion were in the end treated
politically, from the perspective of a horizon of politically overcoming the trauma
that the country suffered at that time.

The sentencing of Ortega passes the football to the field of the
Government. It is the opportunity which it has to contribute so that the
country advances on the path to a political climate which is less conflictive.
Both the Government as well as the National Assembly, each of them separately
or together, has the opportunity to take the measures that can go from the
dismissal of the cases to a Law of Amnesty. Without any doubt the country would
welcome with approval acts that would tend towards the reconstruction of an
atmosphere of more tolerance and respect in national political life and to
reduce the levels of demential polarization that have exhausted the social
sectors of the country.

polls about the values of Venezuelan society reveal that the first aspiration
of more than 90% of it, at all social and economic strata, is that of peace,
that of a quitter atmosphere, of less political conflict. It is a signal that
all political sectors should consider seriously, but above all, the Government,
whose capacity to act in this dircetion is much greater than that of all other
political actors. At the end of the day, those who get the most should be asked
the most.

A measure of amnesty that would free all political prisoners even corresponds,
to the best of Venezuelan traditions. Only the dictatorships pf Gomez and Perez
Jimenez produced perpetual prisoners, but even in the frequent civil wars of
our XIX Century, the mood of Venezuelans at the time manifested itself, among
other things, in the reduced prison sentences fulfilled for those that were defeated
in the battles

The total repudiation
that received, in their respective moments, the shooting executions of General
Matias Salazar by Guzman Blanco and Antonio Paredes by Cipriano Castro, is a
demonstration of how foreign to our idiosyncrasy is extreme retaliation,
revenge as a substrate for political confrontation. Carlos Ortega’s sentence,
even because of the evident disproportion of the sentence, opens an opportunity
for the Government that it should not allow to pass by.