Tuesday, December 07, 2004

The roads of exile: those that know all about it and those that wish they knew

Two things rather scary for our democratic future in Venezuela, assuming that we are still in democracy, have happened last week.

The Hebraica raid is bringing consequences

I have commented on the Hebraica raid, that time when the Jewish social center and school of Caracas was raided at the hour at which kids go to school, of all times. Well, things are not going too well for the government as voices are rising to demand an explanation, of course not convincingly forthcoming, as usual.

The Simon Wiesenthal Center issued a communiqué. Words were not minced:

"By breaking into these Jewish institutions, it was insinuated that the entire Jewish community of Venezuela was associated with this crime and suggests the collective responsibility in which every Jew is endangered.”

The Center urged the Minister [Jesse "james" Chacon] "to condemn this attack and to order an immediate investigation so that those responsible for this antisemitic incident are punished.”

And it went further in asking Mercosur to delay the entry of Venezuela until all of this affair is cleared up. To make sure that the message arrives, in case the Venezuelan authorities do not know who the Wiesenthal Center is, the communiqué comes in Spanish.

One thing is certain, Jewish people do not need anymore to be told twice.

El Salvador sinks into disgrace

The newly elected government of Mr. Saca in El Salvador might have made a political blunder from which it will have a hard time to recover from.

On April 11, 2002 the two police commanders of Caracas Metropolitan Police, Forero and Vivas, had quite a lot of work to do. Since then chavismo has been trying to put the blame on people killed that day on the Metropolitana, Peña and his employees as Caracas Mayor at large.

Now I do not want to revisit the whole story here. Let's just assume for the sake of the argument that indeed Mr. Forero and Vivas do have something to do with the whole thing. The first question is why wait 31, THIRTY ONE months to indict them? And NO new evidence to justify such a trial has been presented, by the way, although it is claimed to exist. But more questions follow fast. Why wait until Barreto takes over the Mayor at Large job? Why point the finger at them for so long and then suddenly move against them as the High Court is being packed, as new repressive laws are passed, etc, etc...

Indeed it is not to be surprising, even if these two people are absolutely innocent, that they have decided to seek asylum in the Salvador Embassy. Simply put, there is no way they can get a fair trial. The opposition understands it quite well and chavismo too by speaking of revenge and not of justice, at a time where Chavez is rewriting history, in the grand tradition of all the authoritarian regimes that ever existed. Read Aporrea and you will know what I am talking about. The innocence or guilt of Forero and Vivas has long ceased to be the point.

El Salvador government of course knows all of this quite well. Then, why did they refuse to grant asylum when they did so for Molina Tamayo who is probably more guilty of wrongdoings on April 2002 than almost anyone else? Is it that they want their ex-president Flores to become the new OAS secretary? Was that what they will get for handing Forero and Vivas to chavismo? Apparently it is not for oil as Salvador mostly buys his oil in Ecuador. Not to mention that Castro hates Salvador, and Flores, and thus Chavez surely does not carry them in his heart... Or is it that Salvador who has the most right wing government in Latin America prefers to stay quiet at a time when people like Chavez are more than willing to fund destabilizing factors in the region? Money talks, even from pseudo leftist governments.

Whatever it is I predict that in the long run el Salvador will realize that negotiating with Chavez is ALWAYS a bad deal. Mr. Saca will find out sooner than later.

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PS: I was forwarded a letter written by Roman Duque Corredor, one of the most prominent Venezuelan jurists. In that letter to the Salvadoran Government, there is a detailed explanation of all the legal problems that the mishandling of the situation has caused. I have posted it here.

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