Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Democracy: Venezuela Style - Part 2

VCRISIS brings us an editorial from El Impulso entitled " Harassment and Persecution of Americans Reported in Venezuela". A warning concerning Americans is given:
José Agustín Gómez, leader of the Un Solo Pueblo party (One People), after warning that"a xenophobic persecution has emerged against the people of the United States," urged the Ambassador of the United States in Venezuela, William Brownfield, to look after United States citizens residing in Venezuela, "given that the Venezuelan government and its followers are persecuting them."
But far more interesting is the little glimpse of democracy under Hugo Chavez:
In reference to the "Tascón List", whose "burial" was ordered by the President of the Republic, Hugo Chávez, last Friday, he maintained that the Chief Executive explicitly admitted that this list had been an instrument of persecution" against Venezuelans who signed in petition of the recall referendum and now there is an attempt to file it away without redressing the consequences it generated.

"The President admitted there was a felony committed by functionaries of his government who denied job opportunities to humble citizens, because they had signed against Chavez as they tried to remove him from power. Well, that will be lodged as a complaint before the International Court of Human Rights, insofar as it constitutes a violation of human rights," he advised.
Mr. Gomez also makes this statement:
He went on to say "we will take it upon ourselves to enter (Deputy Luis Tascón) into that page, because his list is like the one the Gestapo had for persecuting Jews. The same thing happened here in Venezuela," he stated.
Hyperbolic? Perhaps, but perhaps not.

UPDATE: From Venezuela: The McCarthyst list exists by Teodoro Petkoff as published in Tal Cua 4/19/05:
Chavez says that “that moment is left behind” that “the famous list surely fulfilled an important role at a certain time, but that is past”. The President told us that he had received letters that “make me think that still in some spaces they have Tascòn’s list on the table to determine whether a person will or not work”

“A confesión de partes, relevo de pruebas” (When people confess, you need no proof) Mr. Prosecutor, can you, with the diligence that is customary in you, begin to act? It is only a matter of guaranteeing the respect of the rights and constitutional guarantees, like the Constitution says. The shamelessness of the “process” has no parallel. The President of the country himself, the highest functionary in the nation, the number one public servant, admits-without blushing or shame- that in his “revolution” a list of political preferences is used to give or take jobs away. And that before-and this is perhaps worse- it had full justification: “It filled an important role”, to say it with his own words.

What was that role, Mr. President? To scare, to threaten, to coerce those that were on the list so that, for example, they would not exercise their right to vote against you? What other role could it have been?
But the height of cynicism is that of Deputy Adolfo Tascon, that outstanding student of Jose Vicente Rangel.

“My intention was never to persecute anyone. That is not revolutionary behavior, that is fascist behavior”, says Little Adolph. And he adds that he withdrew his masterpiece-the list- from his webpage, once the recall vote was over.

That is, once it “fulfilled an important role”
Mr. Petkoff spends much of the editorial reminding the government of the content of the Venezuelan Constitution. It seems the Left everywhere finds that kind of document inconvenient.