Usually when someone says that “I have been accused of everything but they will never be able to accuse me of being a fascist” you can pretty much be sure that the fascist act is about to come. Well, today we got these words from Caracas Mayor at large, Juan Barreto, with the added detail that he was actually performing the most fascistic act I can think of happening in Venezuelan history.
The event was pretty simple: it was an entrapment of the mayors of Baruta (Capriles), Hatillo (Catalan) and Chacao (Lopez), political opponents of Barreto in a public act from which it was difficult for them to leave. That act had for public a large crowd of sycophantic chavista followers (or should we use the more appropriate term “hordes”?) who cheered on clue at any undemocratic and fascistic attack that Barreto had decided to hurl at his hapless hostages. Basically it was a public lynching except that there were no stones around to grab to throw to the aggressed mayors.
I have been so outraged by what I saw that I needed a few hours to think of it before I could write something. At least my esteemed colleague Miguel has already put something up. I will try to be brief.
The scene and occasion.
The Teatro Teresa Carreño which is our opera house and which is now used routinely for any chavista event (we have not seen the bills, by the way). The motive was the first session of the communal council, a chavista creation to enhance democratic participation but which is already demonstrating to be little bit better than mob rule, an extra parliamentarian assembly which real objective is to bypass representative democracy when needed. Today this was confirmed.
Barreto set a trap for the mayors. They might have come in good faith to try to work with the new organization but they found a chavista packed hall where the few helpers and assistants they might have brought with them probably could not even find a place to sit down. Barreto as Mayor at Large of Caracas was naturally the chair over the other 5 mayors of Caracas Metropolitan Area. He spoke first and after his speech there was no point for any other mayor to take the microphone.
The speech by Barreto: the modality.
The video is already out and if you can understand Spanish it is worth listening to it. A pure fascist speech, there is no other adjective that can be applied to it. The organization was there: constant crescendo. The strategy clear: progressively attacking and discrediting of the opponent. The sought effect was reached: to whip the crowd into a frenzy worthy of lynch mobs, be they hanging blacks in the US during segregation or preparing the Germans for Krystal Nacht.
The speech by Barreto: the content.
If you can stomach it. In addition to uncalled for insults including patent lies, it included sexual commentaries as to the aggressed mayors being homosexual (which if anything reflected on Barreto own sexual repressions as any psychologist would tell you, not to mention that this is not the first time that Barreto has used such “arguments”). It also contained a wide array of threats that reached the grotesque when Barreto said he would not mind expropriating completely the townships of Chacao and Baruta so the inhabitants could remain there as janitors.
The immediate reaction.
I have to commend the mayors for sitting through it all with minimal reaction except pointing a finger to their head indicating that Barreto was crazy. That was the very least they could be expected to do. They did understand that the objective of Barreto was to force them out of the meeting, to break the institutional content of the assembly and simply put, purge it from all the non chavista people that have been named to it. They also understood that Barreto was seeking something else and that this needed to be examined with a cold head, the only way to confront fascism that preys on human emotions and deep seated vices.
Besides a general revulsion of the political class (I wonder who could shake hands with Barreto after this sordid event) the leader of Primero Justicia stated the obvious: Barreto has lost all self respect, all respect for the function of Mayor at Large and that for the common good he should resign. That is, there is nothing worth discussing with Barreto, when someone reaches such levels he must be disposed of. In civilized countries this is taken care by a resignation and possible indictment for public defamation.
This blogger must think hard to imagine such a scene in history. The only thing that comes to mind are Germany between 1934 and 1938, or Soviet Russian under the mass trials that took place when Stalin secured power in the mid thirties. As I was commenting to people tonight (my Skype and Phone were like crazy), not only I cannot think of such an event in Venezuelan past history, but even Chavez would not lower himself to such abjection. Barreto has become a pariah tonight and those who do not condemn him are lowering themselves to the status of society scum.
But there must be a reason for Barreto to do such a thing. Two hypothesis.
Barreto is a sociopath and acted on his own. The tenor of his speech and the visible hatred shown point to it. No doubt. The only question is what made him flip. The continuous accusations, even from Chavez, of his lousy work as Mayor? That chavismo pays less and less attention to him to the point of not incorporating him in the Chavez campaign (that I know of anyway)? A desire to come back on center stage with a bang now that Chavez is in China?
This was a planned even that counted on the blessing of higher authorities. The virulence and vileness of the Barreto speech defies any logical argumentation, at least by Venezuelan political standards. Appealing to lynch mobs might play in Cuba or Zimbabwe but that is not Venezuela. Thus, why? It could be that the Rosales numbers are already better than expected and chavismo suddenly feels the heat. A fascist movement, now dabbing even on anti Semitism and pro Iranian crap loses perspective and becomes quick to nip in the bud any tiny possibility that could threaten its hold on power. Honestly I cannot come up with another explanation as Jose Vicente Rangel, the V.P., is too smooth an operator to indulge in such an obscenity. But if he does not come out soon and distances himself from Barreto then we will have to accept that this is the start of a well concerted effort.
If this is a deliberate event, we must wonder at the start of the campaign that if chavismo is doing acts such as the one presided by Barreto in this late August, to which depth of depravation it is willing to go by the time November rolls in.
Or as I have written in the past, Chavez does not want election in December unless he is sure he can win them big, with low abstention. If he cannot get this he will prefer to invent any excuse, indulge in any provocation to cause trouble in the country and use it as an excuse to cancel the election.
When someone does what Barreto has done tonight, you know that retribution has to come and that he knows it. This is a thug who has decided to stop pretending, to act as a thug and kill the other side as it knows that the other side is going to be forced to kill him. Tonight we have taken yet another big step toward civil war and there is only chavismo to blame for this TOTALLY UNNECESSARY PROVOCATION.
I hope I am wrong and I can be proven wrong very easy: chavismo must demand equally public apologies from Barreto, at the very least. Nothing less will do.
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Update 1: to avod date confusion as to a reader request. This meeting took place on Tuesday 22 August at 6 PM.
Update 2: The view from London. Apparently Caracas is not the only major city who has a scum bag for Mayor. It seems that Ken Linvingston and Barreto would form quite a nice pair. We wish Alek well in confronting Red Ken. Recent info gives us hope that at least in England such behavior could be trumped by determined individuals.