Archive for December 4th, 2008

As Chavez attacks, the whole Venezuelan Government becomes offensive against its enemies

December 4, 2008

There is something very disturbing about the behavior of the
Government and its spokesmen in the last few days. While Chavez may
have accustomed us to be insulted and lied to in his long-winded
ramblings, his histrionics have reached an unparalleled level of
confrontation and distortions. Chavez is clearly on the attack and so
is the full force of the Government he controls.

And he seems to be using a full court press against everyone with no
respect for the law or the rights of others, including those of the
Governors and Mayors elected freely in the regional elections on
November 23d. The tactics being used are those of outlaw Governments,
beyond the autocracy we have believed Hugo Chavez was running in

Juan Cristobal in Caracas Chronicles has given us some tidbits on how
the transfer of power from Chavista to non-Chavista leaders has gone
anything but smoothly. In many cases, such as Táchira and the
Metropolitan Mayor, there has been simply no transfer of power because
Chavismo has simply decided to boycott it. There has been no orderly
transfer of power, no accountability, not many meetings between the
two sides, simply because Chavismo was not even considering the fact
that it may have to hand over power in many States and municipalities.

This is the charade that Venezuelan democracy has become. Chavez fills
his mouth with his supposed respect for the results of the regional
elections, while behind the back of the incoming and democratically
elected officials, decrees are issued in which schools, hospitals,
stadiums and offices are transferred to the central Government. There
is no coordination in the transfers of powers and the Government wants
to have approval over the nominations of those in charge of the local
state and municipal police forces, a requirement which did not exist
until last week.

In other municipalities I have heard stories of massive pensioning off
of teachers right before the transition, leaving the municipality
powerless to teach, as well as students sent home for the remainder of
the year.

The law is simply being violated and trampled upon, without much
recourse as there is nobody to go to and ask for the rights of elected
officials to be respected and it is clear that Chavismo is ready to
boycott all opposition officials whenever they can by withholding
funds, resources and their cooperation.

Meanwhile, Chavez asks for the resignation of a member of the
supposedly independent electoral board because he expressed his opinion
that the referendum on changing the Constitution was not only
questionable from a legal point of view, which it obviously is, but
also suggested that the CNE has other priorities to take care of at
this time and even if the question of legality could be resolved, the
timetable set by the President was unworkable.

Meanwhile, the National Assembly completes an investigation proving a
conspiracy to assassinate Chavez, which is based on a manipulated and
illegally obtained telephone conversation, while the same General
Prosecutor who has yet to open an investigation on the many Government
officials accused of corruption in the Maletagate trial, opens a fuzzy
against one of the opposition main leaders Manuel Rosales.

But perhaps I have found nothing as offensive in the last few days
that the direct and despicable attacks on hard working Venezuelans
whose only crime was to vote against Chavez’ party PSUV. While former
Minister of Justice Pedro Carreño, calls the middle class “stupid” for
not voting for Chavez, absurdly arguing their standard of living went
up during these ten years, Chavista=operated Diario Vea, stages a
disgusting attack on Venezuelans
of Spanish and Italian origin which
have contributed so much to the well being of this country.

According to this racist and crappy newspaper, run by true fascist and
hatchet man of the revolution a large fraction of this “rich middle
class’ has a fascist origin, because they escaped the misery and
hunger of Europe after World War II. According to these empty
intellectuals of the revolution, these honest and hard working
Venezuelans transmitted to their children and grandchildren “the
irrational and barbaric hate of communism and that joins a
sort of racism against plain and common people”.

The same article proceeds to accuse this class of having come form a
rich bureaucracy from corruption and commissions during the IVth.
Republic, which one could just have as easily described the
bolibourgeois class created at the shadow of the Chavez revolution,
rich beyond the most impossible dreams of the same children and
grandchildren of the Second World War.

And I take offense at this attack, not because it applies to my roots,
as most of my ancestors arrived in Venezuela well before the 1940’s,
but because I have always admired these same immigrants who are being
unjustly attacked today. These people came to Venezuela and mostly
stayed, working hard and building business and families and giving
Venezuela a dynamism in the 50’s and 60’s that can only be compared,
respecting the difference in scale, to what has happened in China over
the last ten years.

In one generation these people became middle class and despite many
not having an education, made it a priority for their kids. And it was
through that where I met most of their kids and grandkids and admire
what they did for Venezuela.

And I find it very offensive that this Government now wants to
question them because they did not vote for their irrationality and
disrespect. Who voted against a man who preaches love, while wielding
hate, who says he is there to work for other, but cares only about

Chavismo (or Chavez!) has apparently decided to deny again some basic
democratic rights to those that oppose it. To criminalize once again
being anti-Chavez. To withdraw from democratically elected officials
the resources and requirements to do their jobs. But even worse, it
has decided to generate unnecessary hate and division based on people’s
class or national origin. All of this is not only unacceptable, but

(Many years ago, when I was in my first year teaching at a local
university, I randomly walked into a small carpentry shop in Caracas.
The Italian owner paid little attention to me as we discussed price of
a dining room table. As we talked and closed the deal, he learned that
I taught at the same university where his first-born was a second year
student. From that point on, I became “Profesore” despite my young age
(I was 28). Despite living far from Caracas, the owner showed up to
deliver the table and make sure it was balanced and everything was
perfect. The quality of his work, his pride in his work and his
intuitive understanding that there was something good and to be
respected in academia, left a huge impression in me on the meaning of
the countless of immigrants that helped to build this once backwards
country. This impression was only reinforced later as I met dozens of
fine Venezuelans whose parents came to this country empty-handed, but
whose kids reached the highest levels of academia and professional
life. All of them and their descendants deserve better than this