June 30, 2003
In the series of events that seem to reveal the worn seams of the government legalistic disguise, we have been granted three “incidents” last week which are quite perturbing as to what the future holds for us.
Wednesday June 25. 10 PM
A few yards away from the door of Governor Mendoza’s official residence a car bomb exploded. No victims fortunately but enough damage to the building and neighboring stores. Had somebody walked at that time, that somebody would not have been here to tell the tale. ETA style.
Of course we were regaled with pious declarations of the governmental bodies in charge as to expediting the investigation. Once it was known that Mendoza, a notorious opponent, and a populist at that, was not home at the time, the bombing did not draw further headlines. After all, we know that nobody will be caught so why waste good ink and paper on that? It is true that we are very quickly becoming blasé on these bombing matters. The attacks on the Colombian and Spanish consulates are still unresolved even though Chavez in one of his bombastic speeches said that “We even have the pictures of the perpetrators”. We are still waiting for the first arrest, not to mention for a picture, any picture.
Simply put, we have noticed that if the “intellectual” suspects might be linked to chavistas group, we know that the judicial system will not act. We are still waiting for any serious inquiry on April 11 2002 events. Why should a car bomb be any different.
Friday June 27. 5 AM
Marta Colomina’s car is intercepted on her way to the Talk Show she hosts at 6 AM. Two cars block her car and the one from her producer who was following. From one car 4 masked guys with assault weapons jump out and throw one of these big 5 gallon water jugs against the car. The bottle crashes on the security windshield and releases its content: gasoline, as in a giant Molotov Cocktail. For some reason the gas fails to ignite and Colomina’s body guard manages to push the journalist to the floor and maneuver away bumping the second car. Meanwhile one of the assailants tries to light up the gas that is soaking the front of the car. The windshield was damaged but did not cave in and luckily the gas did not seep inside the car. Still, they do not shoot and Colomina and escort manage to run away and reach the TV station.
It turns out that Colomina is one of the earliest journalist to have engaged battle against Chavez. From even before his election in 1998. She has become quite famous but the clarity of her charges and it is known that Chavez is particularly upset with her. Death threats have been numerous enough against her that by international judicial mandate she got a protected car and a permanent body guard. That is why the windshield did not break and why she escaped without being shoot at. The body guard knew that the weapons carried by the attackers are restricted and using them would leave a trail difficult to hide. They thus tried to incinerate her and had their weapons only in case somebody would shoot at them. They had superior fire power just in case, it seems.
Now this “incident” illustrates quite well the boldness and preparation that characterize these criminal groups. They know that nothing will happen to them, as long as they do not leave an obvious trail. They know that they now outgun anyone except for the military (since the Metropolitana Police weaponry has been gutted). Fortunately for Colomina, they are not too competent.
Marta Colomina said the right things through the day. She went to every TV station talk show. Gave calmed and posed interviews, but mostly she said that she was no heroine, that this could have happened to any of her colleagues, and that it would not stop her, that she was in this fight for the freedom of her country and her children. And on Saturday she just shut up, went back to work and refused any further interview. Classy lady if you ask me.
Meanwhile the minister supervising communication suggested that Colomina “might” have created a self-attack to boost her poor ratings (without offering rating numbers, of course). Another TV journalist quickly suggested that he must knew what he was talking about since supposedly Chavez had been subject to 7 attempts so far, without a single person ever arrested. Was Chavez boosting his ratings too?
Same day, but late in the evening
After a confusing incident in which a military officer opposed the Metropolitana in an operation to stop illegal electricity takes to set up street stands, the said officer was briefly arrested by the police. Well, 40 of his soldiers came later on and tried in turn to arrest the police officer that was leading the previous operation. They actually got in the Metropolitana precinct and tried to just kidnap the officer. He cried for help while he was already handcuffed and dragged. His policemen fought back, and during the melee he managed to jump out of the car and run away. Meanwhile in the middle of the street shots were exchanged and had it been any earlier surely a few passer by would have been shot! Eventually the soldiers backed off and the police did arrest three of them. To avoid further political trouble they quickly tried to find a public attorney (fiscales), but none were to be found to take note that the soldiers were in good health. Apparently, all the “fiscales” on duty had their cel phones off. Friday night? Machination?
Today the minister of defense as expected accused the Metropolitana of abusing his poor 40 soldiers. Not explaining of course why 40 soldiers went to the police station and who gave the order, if anyone did. And why the only injured person happened to be the Police Officer (he claims that he got beaten in the car while they were trying to take him away). The minister claims that some soldiers were injured but no video, witness came forward. The Vice did not stay behind, declaring that it was inadmissible that the Metropolitana created public disturbance, video and witness notwithstanding.
Same usual stuff and denial of factual events. Except that the Army is becoming quite aggressive on its own. Omen?
Should we worry?
What is really scary is the banality in which these events are now reported. How the government denies everything in spite of all the clear evidence for all to see. How the judicial system stays put and how the common citizen feels that it is useless to report any abuse, any corruption act since it might result in a “nightly” attack.
Are we already in a dictatorship? Or is the government so convinced of his loss of support that it is rehearsing for the big day? What will happen when somebody really important finally gets killed?