The “in your face” gruesome picture seen around the world

August 19, 2010

(Reality is unpublishable)

When El Nacional published the very gruesome picture of the Caracas morgue in response to the cynical and hysterical laughs of Andres Izarra, President of Chavez’ pet international propaganda TV station Telesur, reactions were mixed. The comments section of this blog flared up with disparate positions. Curiously, my concern when I thought about whether to publish it or not in my blog, was that some may find it offensive. But this seemed to be the minority position. A larger fraction seemed more concerned with the publication of the picture backfiring against those that oppose Hugo Chavez (I am trying to differentiate them from the “opposition”)

But El Nacional’s picture, through the missteps of the Government, some cooperation from other media, and yes, some luck, has become the “in your face” picture seen around the world, that has revealed the lack of respect of Chavez and his cohorts for the right to life and freedom of the press. In fact, even VTV reporters have already spoken against the very clear act of censorship by the Judge who banned printed media from publishing violent pictures.

Things got complicated right off the bat, when, while you could still hear Izarra’s hyenic hysterics, a woman from Hong Kong’s team got shot by a stray bullet in the World Women’s Baseball tournament being played of all places at a Caracas military fort. As even the Vice-President tried to explain away this event as unusual, most Venezuelans who live in the barrios likely stared at their TV screens wondering where does Mr. Jaua live, as both specific purpose and stray bullets are part of the daily life of poor Venezuelans, where the strength of Chavismo happens to live.

On that same day, a bus filled with 69 campers was hijacked and all of their possessions stolen, as the 20 adults accompanying and protecting them also were forced to hand out their valuables.

The Government was caught off guard by theeffects of the “in your face” picture. As the picture went around the world, newspapers reported on the injunction on El Nacional not to publish similar pictures. The whole thing may have died there, but then Tal Cual also published the picture in its front page, accompanying its Editorial. The Government then also issued an injunction against Tal Cual, using the sensitivity of children as an excuse, but it began stumbling when a Judge then prohibited all printed media from printing violent, bloody or gruesome pictures.

It is unclear who or why the Judge ordered this, but his decision is so transparently political and cynical, that his order of censorship is only temporary, it expires in four weeks, as if the sensitivity of kids will harden a week before the upcoming National Assembly elections, just when campaigning ends.

And the significant impact of the “in your face” picture was such, that it forced Hugo Chavez to speak on the problem of crime and homicides for the first time, a subject he has consistently avoided and has always failed to address.

And the improvised response has been absolutely terrible and uninspired, for a Government well known for selling any explanation for its missteps, no matter how absurd they may be.

Because once again those living in the barrios will not buy the excuse that the criminals were raised during the IVth. Republic and that it is capitalistic desires that drive crime. Because each and everyone of the inhabitants of the barrios has been in contact with the crime, the deaths and the abuses, in the absence of a Government that has now been in power for eleven years. And it is precisely their desires to lead a better life that have been hampered by crime. Thus, blaming the messenger or calling the picture mediatic pornography, is very unlikely to sell well in the areas Catia or Caricuao, or in the mountains of Mérida.

140,000 people have been murdered in Venezuela since Chavez took power in 1999. Where have you been all these years Hugo? Its clear the Dictator no longer has the magic touch or is in touch with the people.

And meanwhile the cries of “Censorship” have also been heard around the world, as Oliver Stone and Sean Penn are probably wondering why the hell they had to make a defense of free speech being present in Venezuela. Being a Hollywood star makes no one an expert on democracy in far off lands.

And even the Investigative police and the Prosecutor act harshly, showing up at El Nacional at peak time, just as the newspaper is being composed, pretending to have 100 reporters and photographers leave the newspaper, so they can retrieve the memory card with the infamous picture to determine when it was taken. In the face of that crowd, already predisposed against them, and not ready to even consider obeying the order, the cops and the prosecutors decided not to create another show and simply left. Sans card!

Thus, thanks to Izarrita’s sordid and fake laugh and the picture, the Government, for once, has not been setting the agenda for the last few days, attempting to contain the effects of the picture. This distraction follows that of Pudreval, which has been forgotten only because of the “picture”, except that crime is more important an issue than food, more so among the poor.

And when Chavez says that in 20 years there will be no crime, it brings people back to the old promise of no kids in the streets in five years, a promise made 12 long years ago, as well as the promise of eliminating corruption, as the inhabitants of the barrios see their Chavista leadership move around with expensive cars and body guards, making them immune to the crime problem.

Which goes back to a post I wrote recently. I noted that Diego Arria and Alvarez Paz, had been more effective at challenging and making the Government react than the opposition, by confronting the Government with new issues or responding directly to the absurd arguments of the Chavistas.

The picture has been a wonderful example of that. It may have been unintended, but a Government with no scruples, used to winning every argument, has trapped itself in explaining away the problem that it has never cared about. And it was not ready for it.

In your face Hugo!

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17 Responses to “The “in your face” gruesome picture seen around the world”

  1. JOJO.VALENZ Says:

    P.S. THAT PICTURE STUCK IN MY MIND AND I FEEL FOR THE PEOPLE WHO HAVE GO THROUGH THIS. I WISH THERE WAS SOMETHING I COULD DO TO STOP ALL THIS. BRING TEARS TO MY EYES TO SEE PEOPLE GO THROUGH THIS.

  2. JOJO.VALENZ Says:

    I DON’T THINK IS WAS WRONG FOR EL NACIONAL TO PRINT THAT BACK WHEN I WAS A FRESHMAN IN HIGH SCHOOL ONLY 14 YRS OLD AT THE TIME WE WERE TOUGH AND SHOW MOVIES PICTURES ABOUT THE WW2 …THE CAMP ALL THE PILS OF BODIES ECT. ITS NOT A BAD THING IT SHOWS THERE NEED TO BE CHANGE AND FOR HISTORY TO NOT REPEAT ITSELF. YOUTH LEARNS FROM IT. THAT IS THE WAY I SEE IT. IT TOUGHT ME ALOT!THAT PEOPLE NO MATTER WHAT RACE ,COLOR, RICH OR POOR NO ONE SHOULD GO THROUGH THIS. NO ONE NO MATTER WHO YOU ARE. IT IS GOOD AND THIS IS THAT WAY I SEE IT.

  3. moctavio Says:

    I have not said much about Peña Esclusa, he is about the only right wing figure in Venezuela and has little following, most politicians stay away from him like the plague, because he is truly right wing. I admire him for his perseverence and endurance in his fight. If the oppo had leaders like him, things would be different.

    The solution to me should be democratic, but we need some leaders and winning a few battles, not may.

  4. RWG Says:

    Deananash,
    You are right. Following the Fidel Castro model, Chavez will remain in power as long as he has a pulse. Of course, his pulse could stop any time on any day. My forecast is still that the Cubans will attempt to grab power in Venezuela upon the demise of Chavez.

  5. henry stone Says:

    You mention Diego Arria and Alvarez Paz being effective against the government, that’s true.
    How about Peña Esclusa, who’s been in jail for over a month now, on bogus charges – which I think you have not said too much. He advocates for a democratic, constitutional but not electoral exit for the regime. Isn’t it about time we talk less about all the stuff that’s going on, and more about where the solution is not, and where it is?

  6. deananash Says:

    RWG, Chavez will NEVER hand over power – to anyone – just watch and see.

    To think otherwise is to truly be ignorant of history. (It does repeat itself, you know?)

    The dictators who, in the past, have handed over power have done so because they had, at the very least, a small inclination towards what was best for their country. Chavez has no such inklings.

    Act and plan accordingly.

  7. RWG Says:

    Albionboy:”The longer he can keep up the pretence, the more power he can accumulate to getaway with the killings, and to stay in power till he can hand the country over to one of his offspring.”

    Chavez will hand over power to the Castros’ offspring before his own children take power. Watch and see.

  8. albionboy Says:

    It’s interesting to read that people still believe that all this will have the government (read Chavez, there is no such thing as a Venezuelan Government) back peddling. Everyone in Venezuela knows the reality, but Chavez is just keeping up the facade of democracy for the international community that spends all of five minutes on Venezuela.

    He knows that one day he will have to start killing people in serious numbers, to keep power. The longer he can keep up the pretence, the more power he can accumulate to getaway with the killings, and to stay in power till he can hand the country over to one of his offspring.

    All these nonissues spoiled food, photos of dead bodies, are ten years too late, they would have been enough to bring down any Government, way back when Venezuela had a democracy, but now we have one man hell bent on destroying a country just to make himself a God.

  9. loroferoz Says:

    The “Revolution” is the daydream of people who are resentful and know no respect for others. It is madness. And should be confronted with common sense. Alvarez Paz and Arria simply do that. They don’t screech and they don’t scream.

    For example, take this mad idea: “that the criminals were raised during the IVth. Republic and that it is capitalistic desires that drive crime.”

    A completely false idea but one with a gut appeal. Desire for wealth in itself does not cause crime. It’s acquiring wealth by predatory and deceitful means that’s criminal.

    Have you noticed that the more “capitalistic” countries are the ones where you get the better offers and the most freebies and enticements and full refunds and guarantees? Whereas it’s in the more “socialistic” ones where they try to squeeze you out of the last cent and con you?

  10. RWG Says:

    My fear is that all this pushing of Chavez into a corner will make him bite back harder. Chavez saw Amendinajad in Iran steal an election and send thugs into the streets to kill and quiet protesters. It worked in Iran. Will it work in Venezuela?

    Now is the time to reinforce warnings to the Venezuelan military and police, that they need to leave protesters alone. Chavez is nobody’s friend.

    Miguel, an excellent post that should be read by all Venezuelans.

  11. moctavio Says:

    Thanks 😮

  12. Gringo Says:

    Miguel, while all your posts are of high quality, this is one of your best. IMHO.

  13. Mick Says:

    So, why don’t these in-your-face newspapers publish pictures of the Hyena next to non-violent, non-bloody, but all to poor barrios. I have seen the statistics about literacy in Venezuela, but lets face it, a picture is worth a thousand words. Or, for that matter, a million words unread by the masses who are willing to follow ANY leader, good or bad.

  14. island canuck Says:

    I predicted earlier this week that a government reaction to this photo would blow up in their faces.

    Blaming the 4th for the crimes of today is so patently stupid that even the most ignorant of the faithful must feel a gut wrench when they hear it.

    “You can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you can not fool all of the people all of the time.”
    Abraham Lincoln

  15. concerned Says:

    The best defense is a good offense. Keep them moving backwards as this is when they start swinging wildly and show their true colors. Even though they try to control the media, just keep hitting them with the facts. They provide all the information and ammunition.

  16. firepigette Says:

    Very well said Miguel.

    An embellishment:

    When I lived in Catia( 35 years ago), at the junction of Los 4 Vientos,where crime was so much less than it is today, I noticed that most children were continually exposed to violence in REAL life, not to mention other types of indignities starting from pedophiles,and on to semi -public nudity,obscene language ,beatings, and on and on and on.

    Most people read ” Las Ultimas Noticias” which was rife with sordid LOCAL crimes of hideous natures.

    This is a lot more ” in your face” than this pic of dead people in a morgue.

    Concerns about good taste( in this context of government abuse) should be left to those who live in another reality.

  17. Roberto N Says:

    Excellent post, Miguel. Thank you.

    Indeed, for once the govt. is on its back foot! Hopefully the pressure will mount and other scandals start to come out. We may be in for an interesting fireworks show once the campaign “starts”.

    I wonder how much of the dirty laundry will come out thanks to PPT and Falcon?


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