The story is quite straight forward and in any other country it would be a major scandal, there are simply too many perverse elements about the story: Last Friday, 28 miners who illegally mine gold near the Atensa mine in Bolivar state, did not return home in the evening. They disappeared mysteriously, reportedly in the hands of “El Topo” gang. Some of those who managed to escape the massacre, claim the Army and the investigative police were with the gang. The bodies were later paraded around, supposedly with an official escort, and taken away from the area.
The relatives went to the investigative police (CIPC), but the police asked that the survivors be brought in to be interrogated. Obviously, none of them want to testify or accuse anyone.
These were not faceless bodies, the people provided 28 names, and it reportedly includes a woman who is pregnant.
And then came the first reaction by the Governor of Bolívar State: He came on TV to deny that anybody had disappeared. Even worse, he claimed he went around the region and found no bodies. That he had heard there was some form of confrontation, but no bodies, no massacre, no one had disappeared.
All of this, while protests began to escalate and the relatives of the missing miners began not only providing names and ID numbers, but pictures to show that these were not “phantom” people. They were very real.
The Governor went as far as tweeting on the subject, as the protests increased and roads were blocked on Saturday, like shown in the picture at the top of the post.
Here are two tweets by Rangel:
“Cheap politicians want to tarnish the success of the registry for mining projects that the National Government has put forward with important advances”
Why the rush? Why deny so fast? Why make claims he could not support? A registry of mining projects is more important than 28 lives of Venezuelans?
As the protests increased and the proofs of the identities of the 28 miners became known, others parts of the Government reacted. The Prosecutor’s office and the People’s Ombudsman were forced to investigate the possible massacre.
By then, Rangel Gomez changed his tune, admitting the “possibility” that something may have happened, but again asking why it was that there were no bodies. But somehow, he does not ask where are the people that are missing. There should be “live” bodies, no?
This case is simply another remarkable example of the perverse revolution initiated by Hugo Chávez and now being followed (on steroids!) by Maduro.
First, the Governor’s reaction is typical of the revolution: Anything denounced is an attack on the revolution and it has nothing to do with reality and must be false. If the events took place far away from Caracas, then nobody will find out about it, so the denial will become the truth anyway.
Like the 130,000 homicides the revolution denies have taken place since 1999 due to the indolence of the Government.
Except in this case, the new spread further as the Deputy from Bolívar and others learned about it and they would not let go…
Second, the Governor shows no empathy and no compassion with the miners or their relatives. The case is something he wants to sweep under the rug fast, before those thinking of lending the Government money to invest in the country’s gold, change their minds (If they ever had the idea of lending absurd amounts guaranteed with gold in the ground)
To Rangel Gomez, these are not people or human beings, they are lost voters.
But things are even more perverse:
One, As in everything in the country, it seems that whenever there is economic activity, order is preserved by “pranes” gang leaders who control jails, towns, cities and mines. Since the Government is not imposing order, a pran does. The other day I was told of a fairly sizable town in Sucre State controlled by a pran. If you want to work on the PDVSA project there, you have to make the pran happy. In another town, there is a sugar project, when people from Caracas went to visit it, the pranes provided the security.
Two, the official media, whether VTV, Telesur, El Universal or whatever, has simply ignored the issue. Not only do they deny access to the opposition to their outlets, but if you are Chavista and want to denounce something like a massacre, you are suspect. Chavistas have fewer rights than anyone in Venezuela apparently.
In fact, it is quite strange, some media actually have shown Rangel Gomez denying the massacre, but one has to wonder what the viewers must bethinking since there have been no news of a massacre taking place.
And if this were not perverse enough, not a beep is heard from Nicolas Maduro. Nothing about looking into it, least of all going to visit to express his sympathy with the families. Nothing. A perverse silence that measures the importance (or lack thereof) that he gives to the possible massacre.
Because in the end Maduro thinks that acknowledging the possible massacre will simply decrease his popularity. Never having solved any problems that the population would appreciate, he just thinks it is all against him. Economic war, massacre war, that is how he views the world. War against Nicolas Maduro.
It has to be!
It is a perverse end for the Chávez revolution. The revolution was supposed to be for the good of the people. Whether twenty eight Venezuelans may have been massacred or not, may be alive or not, is simply irrelevant to a Government whose only goal and purpose, is to survive and stay in power, the people be damned.
The true nature of the perverse revolution is all that remains…