Venezuelan Opposition Politician Sentenced to Two Years in Jail For Giving “False Information”

July 13, 2011

Tonight, former Presidential candidate and Governor of Zulia, Oswaldo Alvarez Paz, was sentenced to two years in prison (Not clear how he will serve it!) for giving “false information” in a TV program. Much like Francisco Uson, the former General and Minister of Finance, who was sentenced to five years in prison for suggestion in TV that some soldiers had been killed by a flame thrower, Alvarez Paz is sentenced for saying something the UN says. (And so says the US, which directly involves leading Chavista Generals and even Chavez’ brother)

But if you get in Chavez’ eyesight, there is no chance you will get Justice in Venezuela. Alvarez Paz was stating the obvious, not lying, but in the worst case, he was giving an opinion, something guaranteed by the Venezuelan Constitution.

Come on, if you are talking about giving false information, all of Chavez’ entourage should go to jail. The President of the National Assembly said in early June that if Chavez had cancer, he would be the first to tell the country. Jose Vicente Rangel said the President is in good health and he will return whenever he feels like it. Then last weekend, Jose Vicente said that Chavez does not need chemotherapy. But Chavez himself said last night the tumor he had was the size of a baseball and he will need either chemotherapy or radiotherapy.

So much for Chavista veracity!

But, of course, these are all of the President’s buddies and they will not be accused of anything, even if they have been lying through their teeth all along. Chavez has been sick since March and even today, we are not being told the truth.

Talk about lying! These guys should get life in prison, because they know the real prognosis and it’s worse than we are being told, much worse.

But that is another post.

But all of this is not about Justice. This is about revenge. This is about hate. If Chavez could turn on Uson, a man that served him well, but one day decided he had had enough. Or Raul Baduel, another loyal buddy that Chavez decided to punish, despite Baduel saving Chavez’ presidency in 2002.

Why Alvarez Paz?

Who knows! Chavez’ convoluted mind is like that. Maybe because Alvarez was Governor at the time of the coup and convinced Arias Cardenas to give up (While Chavez failed…) Maybe Alvarez looks too oligarchic. Whatever the case may be, today was Alvarez Paz’ turn.

Just hope tomorrow will not be yours. Chavez’ is an inefficient Dictatorship. Not all enemies are treated equally. Just pray he will not set his sight on you or whatever part of everyday life you lead in Venezuela.

If he does, expect the worst, even if there is no reason for it.

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49 Responses to “Venezuelan Opposition Politician Sentenced to Two Years in Jail For Giving “False Information””

  1. megaescualidus Says:

    Scary (rather, scarier) times ahead. Sad to say (I really liked OAP), he’s just one more “tool” for the Chavista government serving a specific purpose. This action against him is only to signal to the other oppo leaders what may happen to them should they entertain the idea of running. And, those that do end up running may end up being taken out one by one (OAP-style) before they go to a primary. The oppo “primary” may end up being between two of the lesser candidates who may represent the least amount of rist (if there’s any, that is) to HC being re-elected. Again, even with HC not being at full steam, only scary times lie ahead.

  2. Cesar Says:

    And yet, ABSOLUTELY NOTHING will happen to Adan Chávez for virtually justifying an armed, violent defense of the revolution. How come our useless opposition didn’t make a big fuss about Adan’s statement? I’m sure there was a couple of tiny little critical comments, but to me it should have been a downpour, a blitzkrieg of public, international reproach.

    And that’s the problem. The government can say anything, no matter how outrageous and nothing happens. The mango bajitos don’t even register in the oppo radar. Yet if somebody non-government says any little thing against the government he or she goes to jail, no matter how inconsecuential the person might be (because, seriously, how much harm can OAP do to the government?).

  3. GeorgeS Says:

    Chavez on TV defending and supporting Khadafy and Assad.

    Takes one to know one

  4. Carolina Says:

    OAP’s case is reminding me the case of the margaritenian that got arrested for wearing a t-shirt that said “Hugo, me cago en tu revolucion”. Anyone had heard about this poor guy anymore?
    For those that don’t understand Spanish or don’t know about this case, the t-shirt stated “Hugo, I s**t on your revolution”, meaning he could care less about it. He wore it to a baseball game.They arrested him for “insulting” the president (which I don’t think it’s the case, an insult would be something like “you are a piece of s**t”).

    Back to OAP and similar cases I always think that this regime, instead of trying to proof that those that talk are wrong, just simply arrests them. If it was true that Venezuela is not what they say, then show the country and the world the truth! That is what’s really needed!

    • loroferoz Says:

      Legislation against “insulting” a public official, “making threats” to a public official, or “imagining/wishing/describing the very painful and undoubtedly deserved demise” of a public official… is pure nonsense when enacted with a honest intention, which is rarely. Mostly, it is a made-up excuse for arbitrarily ruining persons’ lives.

      It’s exactly like legislating against, say, foul/insensitive/dirty language and jokes. Virtually everybody does it. Alone, in private company, and at times publicly.

      It’s pure hypocrisy to pretend that justice (or prevention) or civility is served by persecuting it, and pure hubris to pretend that it can be persecuted in anything resembling a fair or universal manner.

      In my humble opinion, were it not so common, it should be encouraged as a sign of a person’s healthy relationship with power.

  5. Andres F Says:

    Someone who voted for Chavez:

    • Carolina Says:

      I just hope they don’t arrest this poor guy for speaking from the heart his feeling about the revolution and Chavez.

      • Charly Says:

        I sincerely hope they arrest this poor guy. Like a million other idiots he put an imbecile military coupster in power. What this poor guy thinks these days does not matter, the damage is done. Only cancer may save the day.

        • ErneX Says:

          I did not vote for Chávez, but your comment is as retarded as the revolution.

        • NicaCat56 Says:

          You are, in just a few words, an idiot. He’s just one of the “million other idiots” who voted for the “Chancer” (Chavez + cancer) in office today, another one of the “ignorantes” que no sabían lo que estaban haciendo. Pobre de él…

    • ErneX Says:

      That was brutal, I applaud that man!

  6. firepigette Says:

    Roy,

    You are correct on what you say about free speech in a country, but a private blog can go by the rules of the blogger.

    And I might add that while people have the right to say whatever they want to say, others have a right to respond in kind, and if by pointing out to those in involved in a disccusion what it is that keeps the communication blocked, then by all means it is positive to do so.

  7. Mike Says:

    Judi is just troll baiting, now very upset that her organization was unmasked and ridiculed. Like all trolls, best is to ignore her. Besides, who would want to debate with the representative of ignorance itself?

    Remember one of Murphy’s laws: “never argue with a fool, people may not know the difference”.

  8. Elsalario Says:

    This is the type of investment in “people” that Judi praises:

    http://www.economist.com/node/18958990?story_id=18958990&fsrc=rss

    Pendejos Sin Fronteras takes on a new meaning

  9. GWEH Says:

    keep your enemies close. Chavez played Baduel by the book.

  10. GWEH Says:

    Recall the nude pictures of Baduel that appared on the supposedly defaced website on the AN. That was an inside job done by Chavez and Maduro among others to defame Baduel. By then it was clear they where coming after him.

  11. GWEH Says:

    Baduel was also punished for his true 11A role: coup leader. Baduel was part of a plan but Baduel was an outsider and not trusted. He was marginalized and betrayed thus a pissed-off Baduel hunkered down and declared war on the opposition. Later on when Baduel was DEFMIN, care was taken to limit his power over combat troops and equipment.

  12. Jeffry House Says:

    How could any Presidential candidate discuss the problem of the drug trade in Venezuela in 2012? Yet that trade is intimately connected with the wave of crime which engulfs the country and which is the most serious problem the country faces in the eyes of most Venezuelans?

  13. Bill near Slidell Says:

    Kind of reminds me of Nazi Germany or Stalinist Russia (or today’s Russia if you cross Putin) the major difference being that the Party can’t just shoot people as easily with modern communications. That would look bad. But a country with oil can get away with more.

  14. amieres Says:

    That’s the meaning of Freedom of Expression in Venezuela.

    You can speak freely …
    and then you go to jail.

    OAP didn’t insult anyone he just stated amply known facts like the fact that Venezuela is an important route in drug trafficking and that there’s been evidence of links between the venezuelan government and terrorist organizations like FARC and ETA.

  15. amieres Says:

    False information! what kind of crime is that?

    Nobody lies more than Chavez and there hasn’t been a government peddling more lies than this one. To add insult to injury, now they want to decide what is false and what is not and send people to jail for that?
    How soon until they create the Ministry of Truth?

    Apparently OAP is not going to actually go to jail so maybe it’s more like slap in the wrist and a way for the judge to close the case without irating the dictator.

  16. loroferoz Says:

    Any law meting out punishment for giving “”hateful”, ‘false”, “unsettling” or “destabilizing” information/speech belongs in the trash bin. I would rather have one or two hateful crackpots speaking their minds freely than this kind of crap from the government.

    And what if the government is made of hateful crackpots? For example with a worldview predicated on “class” warfare or “race” differences (What the f*** are class and race anyway?). They get to decide what is true?

    In a normal democracy, the shame would have been enough to make the Chavez toadies resign (not JVR, he is not a public official now, as far as I know). And then there would be penal charges related to the offenses committed by public officials in knowingly and officially providing false information.

    There’s totalitarianism implicit in the idea that a private citizen like Alvarez Paz has to answer to the government for his every action as if he had some post in the government. Never mind that the toadies who are public officials violate the rules.

    • Judi Lynn Says:

      hmm, so you support people spouting off on hate radio like Rush Limbaugh or Glenn Beck… I suppose you support the right of the KKK to march?? Sounds about right for right wing venezuelans.

      • carl Says:

        Yes. If you do not defend the freedom of speech of everyone, then it is not a right but a privilege, controlled by the government.

        You can never change a right into a privilege and expect it to be turned back into a right once the viewpoint you don’t like has been muzzled.

      • moctavio Says:

        Yes and you can have your silly website about fake research about voting in the world, I may laugh at it, but you can have it.

      • loroferoz Says:

        I don’t support them. In fact I strongly dislike them and would pull no punches in stating how much I despise their beliefs. It would be best that they shut up of their own accord.

        I prefer to tolerate them and be free to ridicule them rather than do them violence. I don’t support persecuting anyone for their beliefs and speech. Liberalism and tolerance, those things I believe in.

        I don’t believe that the world is neatly divided into us and them, into races, classes or nationalities that have to exterminate each other. I don’t see a whole lot of difference between your coreligionists and the KKK. “Class” and “Race”, the imaginary warfare between these imaginary constructs is so much BS.

        I tolerate your public utterances too, Judi Lynn… and I stand ready to ridicule and prove your own totalitarian beliefs into the dustbin of history.

      • syd Says:

        Judi: is the current state of Venezuela’s *democracy* just an ideology for you, one that you can use to promote your leftist agenda in the US?

        In case you haven’t noticed, this is a blog about Venezuelan politics. So stick to Venezuela,, using specific examples as back up to your claims. That way, you’ll gain some credibility with us..

        • Escualidus Arrechus Says:

          I admire your optimism, Syd, but to folks like Judi Lynn, we’re not really a country, or even people. We’re a tool they can use to score points in an online debate. Venezuela? Socialismo del siglo XXI? MUD? Caracazo? They could care less. The only issue they care about is Republicans vs. Democrats. If Chavez had never come to power, she would be mooing in a Cuban blog somewhere. We’re interchangeable.

          Imperialism is alive and well, but it lives on in the extreme left populated by the likes of Judi Lynn. The just don’t see it.

          • Alek Boyd Says:

            “judi lynn” site:democraticunderground.com – Google Search http://ow.ly/5EB5Z

          • syd Says:

            I know, EA. It’s futile. My hunch is that Judi Lynn is just another lonely delusional lefty who compensates for the void in her life, by being angry at an entity, rather than herself. She presumes that entity (the so-called oligarchy) has it better than she does. And that makes her rabid. So she attacks, hoping for a flat social structure. That way, she won’t have to make too much of an effort, be it through academic or work credentials, to “superarse” with any credibility. It think it boils down to low self-esteem. But again, it’s just a hunch.

      • firepigette Says:

        Judi Lynn,

        The problem with your statement here is that you divide the world into right and left instead of looking at the truth of a situation.The ultimate putdown for you seems to be to call someone from the right 🙂

        Dividing the right and left creates a mind filter that doesn’t allow those who adhere to it, to see reality.

        I don’t expect you to provide specific examples of anything in a world where the sources of those who disbelieve in whatever does not fit their particular idea of credible sources like Syd does, but I would ask you to drop the filters of ideology.Otherwise it is just one more boring conversation that is typical of these blogs, where there is name calling,surrealistic assumptions, and deadlock ad nauseum.Maybe a way to vent anger….but oh sooo boring.

        Some people call this entertainment , then criticize others for becoming the brunt of their own disparaging remarks, all in great fun.

        LOL

        I do not like to participate in this form of what others find entertaining, and up to now see absolutely no benefit for any of us.

        So please if you wish to continue,Open your mind and try to discuss generic values, in a more logical and detached way, so that we can all communicate better.

        Emotional writing is the great confuser of concepts.

        Thank you.

      • Juan M. Fernandez Ochoa Says:

        I am appalled by the sectarianism flaunted by some of the visitors of this very performant blog. The point you’re making, Judi, is more than fair to the extent it allows us to draw a line between the legal system of our country and its sad application by quite an autocratic regime.

        Some of you tend to forget that our State decided a long time ago to be organised as a Republic; we’re not, as some would like to, a “Liberal Democracy” as the United States. To this extent, WE (Venezuelans) agreed to a normative regime that believes public liberties and fundamental rights not to be absolute. If some of you, as “loroferoz”, do not like legislation that limits the expression of those freedoms; then you can use your political power as a citizen to try to change it; however, affirming categorically that such legislation belongs to a “trash bin” is just biased for all European countries work perfectly that way. We do not need, to make things better, to “Americanise” our normative framework…

        Now, the reality is that this Government has taken our legal system and twisted it to function as it suits it best. The condemnation of Álvarez Paz is shameful and demonstrates that this autocracy has a great disregard for Human Rights and the legal tradition of our Republic; something that has been recently affirmed even by longtime supporters as Noam Chomsky.

        I firmly believe that once this chapter of our History closes, our legal AND judicial system will demonstrate its potential for virtue and justice.

        • loroferoz Says:

          Such legislation belongs in a trash bin because frankly, I cannot see how it can ever be useful to citizens, unless you assume that citizens are generally infantile and irresponsible in the sense that they don’t take responsibility for their own actions.

          Instead it’s very useful to authoritarian regimes and powerful figures (in more democratic countries) when their turn comes to “twist” it against those powerless and/or lawyer-less.

          In fact, such legislation does not slow hate groups a bit in Europe either. It only makes for rather useless indictments.

          I choose to ignore and ridicule such laws.

          Not because I have something hateful to say. Because they are an anachronism, contributing only to the proliferation of useless regulations that in the end stifle society, specially those who might have something to contribute (besides fat files for courts) and who don’t have an organization backing them when they have to face a lawyer’s bill and the prospect of damages/jail.

          The American idea is more forward looking even if older. In this era of electronic communication and in all of time: It takes into account that speech and beliefs, (as opposed from facts and actions) are impossible to characterize unambiguously or contain, more so in our time, and that humans are and have always been naturally biased and partial.

          The best way to deal with crime is to punish actual crimes involving a real action, leaving thought crimes to individual judgement.

          The very fact that seemingly harmless laws and radio-TV regulation have been used extensively by the present Venezuelan regime to successfully implement censorship (and self-censorship), harass or foreclose critics and masquerade as a democratic republic should tell us something about their real use.

          • Jeffry House Says:

            There is actually a well-recognized difference between “hate” laws and “truth” laws.

            In Canada, for example, the former have been upheld by the courts, and the latter have been struck down.

            No one says you cannot maintain a belief that blacks, Jews, or gays should be slaughtered. However, advocating that is extremely dangerous, and undermines the freedoms and sense of security of the targeted groups.

            While the state may offer security from calls for genocide, or even gaybashing, it may not police questions of fact. Those belong entirely to the area of public debate.

            From Canada, we often wonder whether the US insistence on free speech as the only value may not be reflected in their sorry history of lynchings and segregation. It may be that some of the victims of that history would have preferred some limitations on speech.

          • loroferoz Says:

            Lynching is violent crime, had it been prosecuted and punished as it deserved from the start, which it was not, a lot less of them.

            Segregation runs counter to the very idea of having a law and rights applying equally to all and would not be possible without terror, such as lynching.

            I am for convicting at criminals who make actual and imminent threats against other persons. Specially if the threatened action is ever attempted.

          • Juan M. Fernandez Ochoa Says:

            I guess we will just have to agree to disagree. From my perspective, this legislation has considerable importance to citizens as it takes into account that not only the concrete but also the abstract/symbolic have incredibly powerful effects for life in society. It can only make us more responsible regarding the effects of what we say…something that, as many of you have pointed out, tends not to be the strength of Venezuelan politicians.

            Now, when you say this type of legislation has not “slowed hate groups a bit in Europe”, that’s just absolutely false. There is absolutely no equivalent of the Ku Klux Klan in a country like France and, if something similar emerges, then it is actively chased by the judicial system. In the same way, whenever a politician tries to infuse that overt terror in the public sphere, it becomes the target of public denunciation and legal action.

            I can only hope that the next Government of Venezuela does not choose to incur in the mistake of changing our Republic to a liberal regime akin to the American one; something that I am sure is the ardent desire of the “right wing” of Venezuelan politics.

          • loroferoz Says:

            Free expression has another unintended, benign consequence: The crackpots self-select themselves out of the political race.

            The KKK and Aryan Nations have never gone to elections. Even David Duke went so far before being shot down by his past.

            The National Front of France, Italy’s Lega Nord and Austria’s “Freedom Party” have gone to elections.

            With racist platforms. With surprising and frightening success.

            And the neonazi and neofascist groups in Europe do not go to elections but are in no way extinct.

          • Juan M. Fernandez Ochoa Says:

            You mix and match facts in spurious manner. You say the KKK has not reached electoral dimensions while the French “Front National” has in order to support your claim that “hate groups” has not dwindled in European countries such as France. However, the constituency of the FN is not the equivalent of the KKK supporters! In any case, its base could be assimilated to the Tea Party of the Republicans….

            I would never defend the idea that extremism has ceased to exist Europe; but you cannot affirm that hate groups are more vibrant in Europe than they are in the US, where legislation is permissive to the expression of their pernicious ideology.

      • Roy Says:

        I may not agree with what anyone says, but I will defend to the death their right to say it.

        Unfortunately, that includes you.

        One of the prices of free speech is having to listen to a lot of BS, but it is well worth the cost.

      • GeorgeS Says:

        Judi: Does your comment make any sense? What does it have to do with the post? Is it true that drug traffic has increased during Chavez’ time?

        Yes, the UN says 40% of cocaine traffic goes now through Venezuela. The US Government says top Venezuelan Generals are involved. The biggest drug trafficker Makled was given the acetone concession, an airline concession and a port concession under Chavez.

        And you come back with some stupid comment abour Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck. Take your US/Canada problems elsewhere, plenty of blogs on that.

        This is about a Dictator in Venezuela and he is not even left wing.

      • Roberto N Says:

        “If there is any principle of the Constitution that more imperatively calls for attachment than any other it is the principle of free thought, not free thought for those who agree with us but freedom for the thought that we hate.”

        “”The right to swing my fist ends where the other man’s nose begins.”

        Oliver Wendell Holmes

      • geronl Says:

        So you think that disagreeing with the government should be a crime? Limbaugh and Beck do not espouse hate, they would have been off the radio a decade ago.

      • NicaCat56 Says:

        Judi, Judi, Judi…are you so seriously mentally defective as to continue to post your ridiculous drivel on well-established, personally driven, blogs? One might ask, “Why would someone self-annihilate themselves in this way?” Oh, wait…that would be after that person visited your “website”, and, oh…wait, after your “dear leader” removed that so very interesting and revealing video of himself from YouTube. Bless your heart: it must be very difficult for you to maintain your presence in the blogosphere after your “dear leader” left you to your verbiage to defend him. And, he abandoned you. You really need help. As in, psychological help. Get it. Soon.

      • GWEH Says:

        Judi, WTF are you doing here? Are you a paid shill? Who is your paymaster now that Bernardo Alvarez is gone? Ever heard of Eva Golinger? GO F yourself you sound like u need it.

        PS I know for a fact from an infiltration done when Chavez visited NY… well known lefty women where plotting to see who would sleep with Chavez.

        if its not about the money and not about sleeping with the walking dead commander, then what is it?

        • Juan M. Fernandez Ochoa Says:

          Your comment is of enormous virulence and shows a great degree of misogyny.

          Really, do we need to be this aggressive and make abusive use of “ad hominem” arguments in order to defend our ideals? This is one of the reasons why I fear some elements of the “Opposition” in my country; because you are incapable of debate with those who do not fully agree with your views without making of the other an enemy, not an adversary.

  17. geronl Says:

    It is amazing that all of the opposition leaders who find themselves too popular are charged with crimes, therefor unable to run for office while their cases wind slowly through the Chavista courts.

    An amazing coincidence that.

  18. Kepler Says:

    It’s just a warning to others. I don’t think the dictator cared so much for Paz, but rather afraid of what the others may say. He warned them with this.


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