while back I
wrote about the case of my friend physicist Claudio Mendoza who wrote what
was mostly a pedagogical article on nuclear bombs. The article, signed by
Claudio as an individual, without talking about his position at the Venezuelan
Institute for Scientific Research (IVIC), closed by saying:
Do we really want to survive? We are terrified at the intransigence of
countries who decidedly want to sneak in (into the Nuclear Club): North Korea, Iran and now
our dear Venezuela.
But in our case there is something that gives us some sense of tranquility: the
revolutionary scorn for experts. Here we build bridges without engineers, we
make diagnoses without doctors, refine oil without oil engineers, we educate
without being teachers, and we govern without being statesmen.
Will we then exploit nuclear energy obviating physicists
The article elicited a strong response by the Board of IVIC, which sounded like
intimidation as well as being an attempt to disqualify Dr. Mendoza, one of Venezuela’s
most cited physicists.
Well, the intimidation has now become fact, as it is clear the Board of
Directors of IVIC is getting ready to find a way to justify firing Dr. Mendoza.
He has now received the following letter:
letter says that the Board of IVIC has decided that:
1) That the content of the statements made by you (Dr. Mendoza) affirms in an
article authored by you, entitled “Critical Mass” and published on
page 8 of section A of the El Nacional daily, on September 13th. 2006, could
seriously affect the institutional credibility, since IVIC is the institution
responsible for most of the activities in Venezuela that have to do with nuclear
energy and it applications for peaceful means.
2) That in the cited article it follows that you openly attempt to make it seem
as if the Venezuelan nation is involved in activities that could create severe
damages to the security of the state.
Thus, this Council determined to formally request from you proof that would
support your statements which should be provided in a term no larger than 30
days following receipt of the present letter.
Well, clearly a witch hunt has started against Claudio and it does not bode
well for him as a practicing scientist at IVIC, the same way all of the
scientists fired from Intevep who looked for jobs at IVIC, were not accepted on
the grounds that there was “no money” to hire them. The Board of IVIC is composed
by a bunch of intolerant and fascist Chavistas who are only there for the love
of the position and not because they have ever shown any interest in helping
good quality science in Venezuela.
But let’s look at it closer:
–Interestingly enough, they say nothing of Claudio’s s statement :”Here
we build bridges without engineers, we make diagnoses without doctors, refine
oil without oil engineers, we educate without being teachers, and we govern
without being statesmen.”
It must be that they accept it all, including the part about governing without
being statesmen, which may have been the only thing they could legally get Claudio for.
–Then they say “IVIC is responsible for most… Precisely, IVIC is
responsible for most, not all of Venezuela’s nuclear activities. In
fact, it has been that Ministry that was looking into buying a nuclear reactor
and at the meeting that took place in Buenos Aires, at that country’s Foreign Ministry,
there was not ONE representative from IVIC present.
As to proof, all countries that have developed nuclear weapons have denied they
were doing so up to the day it was exploded. While Chavez, has denied
being interested in Venezuela
developing nuclear weapons, he has signed numerous agreements on the subject,
without IVIC knowing about them and has always defended the rights of countries
like North Korea or Iran to do so.
So, what does Claudio have to prove? That a man that has spent billions in
useless weapons for “peaceful” purposes does not want a nuclear
weapon? Then, why does Venezuela
sign agreement on nuclear energy and not on. let’s say, research on chip
making, software developing or communications?
Do they think people are that stupid or naive?
Maybe they are in thinking that were Venezuela to begin developing a nuclear
weapon, the stupid civilians sitting on IVIC’s Board would even be taken into
One thing I can assure you of, if Claudio is fired for this, I will help make
this an international issue by going to the world’s physics professional
organizations and have them raise hell with their respective Governments until
Claudio is reinstated.