A Novel Interpretation of the Right to Life in Revolutionary Venezuela

September 6, 2010

Venezuela’s Constitution is pretty clear, the Right to Life is the most fundamental of all civil rights guaranteed by the Constitution approved by the current Government in 2000 and ratified in a referendum.

Article 43 of that document is quite explicit and clear:

Artículo 43. El derecho a la vida es inviolable. Ninguna ley podrá establecer la pena de muerte, ni autoridad alguna aplicarla. El Estado protegerá la vida de las personas que se encuentren privadas de su libertad, prestando el servicio militar o civil, o sometidas a su autoridad en cualquier otra forma.

which translates something like: “The right to life can not be violated. No law can establish the death penalty, nor authority apply it. The State will protect the life of persons in prison, in military service or subject to its authority in any other fashion.”

But this right has apparently suffered a reinterpretation under the tutelage of General Antonio Benavides, head of National Guard’s CORE 5, infamous for saying he was against, “drinks, partying and sex”

General Benavides said yesterday that crime is indeed a problem and that the Government is fighting against it, but that crime and homicide statistics “are inflated”. According to this General, who is in charge of security in the Central part of the country: “We see those statistics as inflated and a large number of bodies that get to the morgue in Bello Monte, it is important to note that those that die in confrontation with the police should not be included, that is not a homicide, that is the death of a criminal that confronted the police…because a criminal faces jail or being underground, because the latter is the final destiny of all criminals”

There you have it, in XXIst. Century Socialism, under the Dictatorship of Hugo Chavez, Article 43 has now a new interpretation and criminals should be shot at and killed, with no right to life. Police and National Guard are apparently not encouraged to protect the life of anyone they arbitrarily, and in their own opinion, decide is a criminal. Thus, there is now a death penalty in Venezuela and it applies to crimes from robbery and up.

So, be careful, don’t act suspicious, don’t approach a cop, don’t go out at night. Not only can the police kill you for nothing, but you will not even be counted as a homicide victim.

These are the leaders of the compassionate revolution.

14 Responses to “A Novel Interpretation of the Right to Life in Revolutionary Venezuela”

  1. deananash Says:

    ode007, I totally agree. But then, if we’re correct, the real problem in Venezuela isn’t Chavez per se, but rather, this part of Venezuelan culture that has become predominant.

    Changing a person’s culture – their ingrained biases, preferences, etc…is a herculean task.

    I have no doubt that most poverty is the bitter fruit of the shortcomings of a group or country’s culture. I did say ‘most’. China’s poverty is but one example. Their history of blindly respecting authority led them from bad (pre-Mao) to worse than worse (the “cultural revolution”, starvation, etc…). Fortunately for them, their culture also places a very high premium on EDUCATION and HARD WORK. So when Mao took the country to rock bottom, well, there was only one way to go after that.

    Chavez has Venezuela rocketing towards that bottom. I wonder just how many are going to have to die before the country realizes the scope of their misguided culture?

  2. Kepler Says:


    Principle of non-interference:
    Chávez criticizes Europe for its immigration policy, he criticizes the US for the management of New Orleans and so on. He does not criticizes Iran for murdering women or children or for jailing real socialists or just people who think differently.
    Venezuela unter Chavista control is one of the few countries recognizing Southern Ossetia but it would never recognize Kosovo.

  3. odef007 Says:

    Your right DEAN: I am under no delusion that the 26th is a light switch. I actually feel December will be a very bad month. However, it is a start. The much BIGGER thing you allude to I happen to agree with. Yet my version is ATTITUDE. Until respect and tolerance become a way of life rather than “slogans” change will be waited down. A start would be with something simple like “ excuse me please” A simple phrase that shows Respect for your fellow man, recognition that their feelings are important and you consider them your equal …. no mater who they are or their economic status in life.
    How often to you hear that phrase in Ve ?

  4. Dean A. Nash Says:

    ode007, don’t hold your breath. Nothing will change because of elections. At least, not really. It’s going to take something MUCH BIGGER to change things in Venezuela.

  5. odef007 Says:

    Once again I thank our host for this forum. Always able to supply us with much food for thought sans interest … unlike the “good life” offering… I am certain it will have a lot of interest in more ways than one.

    In as far as the new interpretation of article 43 “the inalienable right to life“, it does not surprise me. They have managed to reinterpret so many articles of the Constitution that it makes me think they have been writing a new one all along. Hence the Blue book and the Red Book.

    This new version should alarm anyone that walks the streets of Venezuela. That person should not be head of anything. Much less the GN. His comments are violent, show an obvious disregard for the population at large and further instils mistrust in the Institutions
    designated to supply security. When asked to “ Halt “ by one of these GN one may think twice and ask Is he a good cop or a bad cop, is he going to help me or shoot me?

    20 days …. and counting the minutes

  6. Gerry Says:

    As always the devil is in the details!!!!!!!

  7. Roger Says:

    Poor Chavez, another bunch of stupid comments by an underling that he is going to have to do damage control on. We don’t have to speak against them just hand them a microphone and quote them!

  8. moctavio Says:

    Chavez only talks about what he wants, he would not talk about that for fear of hurting his Iranian “brothers”.

  9. sid Says:

    well, dear moctavio, would it be possible to tell us something on seňor or compaňero Chavez and his attitudes towards the intended lapidation of Ms. Sakineh in Iran? There are not too much ctries directly connected with Iran, as Venezuela. Lula da Silva was “silenced” by Iranians, but such a great friend of Iran? Sure, there are lapidated ten persons a month in Iran, and the additional 25 USD to the salary of Ortega supporters is more intensive for leader. He understands money, not thinking, beliefs, grief etc.

  10. island canuck Says:

    You’re right Miguel.

  11. moctavio Says:

    Never a dull moment, but the General takes the cake.

  12. island canuck Says:

    Interesting Headlines for a Monday evening.

    Governor of Anzoategui accuses the opposition of sabotaging the electricity.

    The PSUV denounces the opposition before the electoral board:

    Navarro assures that the PSUV wants a plural AN (Yeah, right)

    3 Margarita policemen accused of murdering the Italian tourist on his sailboat.

    And many more,,,,

    We live in a fantasy world

  13. loroferoz Says:

    Police is dangerous in Venezuela, but do not ascribe to murderous malice what can be put down to gross spinning.

    Maybe it did not cross his mind that (if we take his account at face value) the a lot of criminals dying in police confrontations mean that, there are lots of criminals that are armed and really willing to shoot policemen, as well as civilians that they shoot with impunity. Or does he think it is perfectly normal people who happen to go crazy?

    And it would be idle to point out that the cops are in deadly danger then, and frequently get killed. It has gone to the point that they are robbed and killed to get at their firearms.

    The WAR is the news, spinner!

    To me he is Antonio “Spider” Benavides.

    And I would express relief that a murdering thug got what was coming to him from a citizen or a policeman. But I’d rather have peace. And a courts system that work. And decent jails. And presumption of innocence.

    And no incompetent spinner like this, telling us that a situation worse than Irak’s means something like other man famously said that the “terrorists are being defeated”, given the body count.

    Only that man boasted that the terrorists were getting killed and doing their mischief far from the U.S.A. and innocent civilians. In our case, guess what! The shooting happens RIGHT HERE!

  14. Alfonso Says:

    Manipulation of statistics is a down-hill slippery slope …

    First, the ‘bad guys’ will be defined and left outside the stats

    Second, the ‘good guys’ will be also redefined, and also left outside of the stats ..

    Third, Brito was not killed .. he simply died of natural causes .. the natural causes of the hunger strike

    Fourth, people that do not belief that Venezuela and its government is God-given gift .. will be labeled as lunatics …

    Closer to ‘soviet’ reality ….

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