Film report: The List, a documentary on the Tascon list and the discrimination it created

February 20, 2006


Yesterday
I went to the presentation of the documentary “La Lista: Un pueblo Bajo
Sospecha” (The list: A people under suspicion”) sponsored by Ciudadania Activa, an ONG focused
on defending people’s human rights, particularly against discrimination.

The
documentary tells the story of the Tascon
list
and its successor, the Maisanta
database
, and how the Government used the first to discriminate and fire
civil servants and the second one to control its own supporters. To do this,
the documentary tells the story of the origin of the list, starting from the
introduction of the recall referendum into the new Constitution by Chavez,
through the three requests for a recall vote by the opposition. It reminds
everyone, those that lived through it and those that did not, the details of
how the first two requests were denied on technicalities and how the third was
blocked by having the Electoral Board create new rules after the signatures had
been gathered and increase the reasons for rejection for a signature from 8 to
39. This allowed 45 out of every 100 signatures to be rejected, but a new
process, the “reparo” was held and people actually went and ratified that their
signatures were approved and the recall referendum was held.

In my
opinion, the documentary is very well done, combining clips from the news, from
Chavez’ many speeches and his Sunday program Alo Presidente, with interviews
and testimonials with politicians and those that were directly affected by the
use of the list.

I
particularly liked the clip which shows Chavez in his more “democratic” days
talking about the recall being introduced in the Constitution and saying:” If
in three years you don’t think I am doing a good, job you can get rid of me”,
but then, later, when the recall becomes a possibility, he actually says:” Even
if they get 90% of the vote in the recall referendum, I am not resigning”

It also
documents well how the Tascon list was not an accident but a very well planned
program to discriminate and repress. First you see Chavez saying (which is repeated
throughout the film): “Those that sign against Chavez, their names will be left
there registered for history, because they will have to put their first names,
their last names, their signature, their ID number and their fingerprint”

Then you
see Chavez saying that he signed the paper requesting a copy of every single
petition and the corresponding signatures from the Electoral Board and asks
Deputy Luis Tascon, who was present that day on his program, how that is going.
Tascon says that it’s going well and that “by the end of the week we will have
all of the copies and see the true face of this fraud” (referring to the
signatures, which at the time the Government claimed were fraudulent)

It also
shows a clip of Chavez on his Sunday program talking about the list, laughing
about how it has created fear in people and telling everyone on his program to
go and check it on Tascon’s webpage, actually giving out the link.

Some of
the testimonials are heartbreaking, because it shows people from all levels
being fired for signing the petition and talking how it has affected them and changed
their lives. It also shows the President of a Government institution saying
that they have not use lists in any way, only to later show an actual paper
list in which every single person was classified according to how much time
they signed in the three petition attempts. Over 120 of them were fired by the
same cynic denying anything at the beginning…

It also
shows the more candid Chavistas, like the Minister of Health, saying anyone
that signed has to be fired and a Deputy saying that every civil servant that
did not vote in December should also be fired.

Finally,
it shows Chavez himself saying that the list “should now be buried”, and how
“it played its role in his time”, showing no regrets or remorse about the use
of this discriminatory tool against the people. After that, many Government
institutions joined in the condemnation of the list, but never before, proving
that they have no personality of their own and no conscience and they totally
depend on what their leader says or doesn’t say can be done.

It is a
great compilation of the history of a discriminatory process used by a fascist
Government which claims to be democratic. How it has destroyed lives for
political gain and never showed regret or remorse for it. How it compiled a
list to discriminate the opposition and then it extended it to a database to
control its own supporters. It is proof of fascism and discrimination in the
XXIst. Century, under the eyes of the whole world and even the support of those
that claim to defend human rights but are so fanatical that they don’t want to
see the warts in the fake revolution they so admire. Everyone should buy it and see it, because it
is “Prohibido Olvidar” (To forget is forbidden). It also represents another
document to be shown over and over, the day this nightmare is over. It should never
happen again and those that collaborated with it should one day pay for their crimes.

A version
in English is being worked on and should be out in a couple of months.

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