Thursday, August 19, 2004

Open letter to President Carter
Nobel Peace Prize
Director of the Carter Center

Dear President Carter

I am writing to you through this venue as I know through my Internet tracker that at least somebody reads this blog from the Carter Center. Surely these persons will be kind enough to forward you this message.

Let me assure you, before I do object some of your recent actions, that I have been a long time admirer of you. You have had a truly admirable career after your stay in the White House, and I was delighted when you received the award that you so richly deserved. You may read in this blog instances where I have praised your actions, and even defended you against some critics that did not share your vision.

Unfortunately your recent undertakings in Venezuela seem to have lacked the acumen shown in other visits. The highly embarrassing moment that you experienced yesterday in a Caracas restaurant when you were “caceroleado” (people hitting repeatedly their glasses with their knives to create quite a lot of noise) should give us all pause.

Before we go into examining how could you, and us, reach such an embarrassing moment, I will like to add that I do understand your basic motivations. Right now your country, and the future of your grand children, is greatly endangered by the events quickly spinning out of control in Iraq and elsewhere. I do understand that your priorities are to secure a stable supply of oil for your country and if in the process you must sacrifice the basic rights of the Venezuelan people, I understand. I do not accept and even less approve such a sell out, but I understand your priorities. I deem them very detrimental to the long term interests of the United States of America, a country where I have lived for 15 years and that I truly love. But now I am speaking as a Venezuelan and I cannot approve your actions. The leadership of your country should have seen the future in Latin America and not in the Middle East.

Which were these actions which have changed the very positive image that you had in Venezuela?

It is fair to say that the decisive point came with the private visit that you did with your friend Mr. Cisneros to President Chavez. The lack of clear explanations on such a strange meeting has led to quite a few rumors. It does not help that Mr. Cisneros, publicly reviled by President Chavez, is not particularly loved by the opposition. It all looked very suspicious for the lay man and already some stated that you came here to sell us out and protect your friends interests. Still, your sterling rescue of the “reparo” process was in all’s mind and we pretended that this visit did not happen.

But now, on August 16 at 1 PM, as we know now that you had been warned not to rush and emit an opinion on the Recall Election, you still went ahead and pretty much certified the election. Even as Secretary Gaviria publicly contradicted some of your statements. And you mentioned your obligations to your wife to a country on the verge of a civil war.

That night serious elements of a possible electoral fraud at some polling stations started appearing. These elements seem today worthy of close examination. Still you went ahead and stated that you did not expect the results to change. How could you be so sure? How could you say that so fast even if you were that certain? You knew full well that such a statement would induce newspapers like the New York Times to endorse the election without question. And yet some countries still edged their bets while Secretary Gaviria looked ill at ease.

You offered your imprimatur on an audit system that was immediately rejected by the opposition. There were clear questions as to the worthiness of standard methods of auditing for a possible fraud falling outside of standard frauds.

Did I detect some of the arrogance that cost your office, and should cause the same consequence on your present successor?

Very humbly I would like to remind you of the Florida mess and how the greatest nation on earth took a month to figure out who had won the most powerful seat on earth. Surely this sobering experience should allow you to entertain with your intellectual abilities the possibility of a fraud in Venezuela, one that should be examined adequately. Would a week be too much before making such sweeping statements certifying an electoral system managed by people that the Carter Center knows very well have cheated at every possible step during the signature and “reparo” processes?

Allow me to suggest greater prudence. Venezuela is ruled by people who have shown their mettle and determination to get what they want, the means being irrelevant. Validating them a little bit fast and leaving the country to its sad fate could come back to haunt your cherished memory. And the people that so devoutly serve the Carter Center could end up looking for another line of work. Peace makers need only to fail once to have all their track record erased mercilessly.

Please, do think at what has happened to us when even such a great spirit as you gets “caceroleado”. If you want to dump us and keep the oil, please do it with more delicacy or you will not be any better than President Chavez.

Sincerely, your devoted admirer until recently.

Daniel Duquenal


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