|Bello Monte, 12/2009|
I confess that the way my 'lifestyle' is set in San Felipe the first newspaper I read is Tal Cual through the web at lunch time. At some point during the day I buy either El Universal or El Nacional, according to whichever is left at my newsstand, and I read it at 5 when I get back home to drink my daily teapot. Needless to say that my teapot had a bitter stormy taste today, besides explaining the delay in publishing on the right that picture of the morgue in Caracas, at Bello Monte, a picture taken by an El Nacional person last December and only published today as a response to the cynicism of a regime that refuses to acknowledge that Caracas has little to envy to the body count of Kabul or Baghdad.
El Nacional simply mentions what we all know already, that the Venezuelan morgues do not have enough staff to deal with the onslaught of dead bodies sent to them, and thus the messy pile up we can observe on the above picture. El Nacional also tells us that the morgue of Bello Monte has received in the first 6 months of this year, 2010, 2177 bodies of homicide victims, more than the year digits! Think about that for a second, before you rush to compare this number to war torn Baghdad.
The accompanying article will do little to cheer you up. If 2,177 bodies were for murder, the total for the 6 months was 3,111 bodies (difference due to accidents I presume). The whole of Venezuela has seen AT LEAST 5,186 murders in the same period. I wrote "at least" because the regime refuses to publish the final numbers and we must rely on ONG body counts as they are brought to the diverse morgues of the country. 72% of the victims are male between 15 and 29, giving a new meaning to 2lost generation". And to illustrate the meanness that such a murder rate implies, 63% of the bodies shot have been shot 5 times or more. 5 bullet wounds at least!
Needless to say that the impact of front page of El Nacional generated a virulent reaction of "shoot the messenger" in the regime ranks, already quite touchy after the CNN debacle of Izarra and Chavez in Santa Marta. The CICPC director started by threatening a law suit against El Nacional. The CICPC is kind of a FBI and its director Wilmer Flores Trosel is a jerk, and a manipulator one at that. For some reason he considered an argument that the picture dates from 2006 whereas the Nacional puts clearly the date on its front page. But in 2006 ALREADY violence and crime and murders and morgues were a problem!!!!! And the regime had been in office for 7 years already! Besides, Trosel does not explain why 2006 is the date.
Not to be left behind, the ombudsman, people's defense, Gabriela Ramirez who is absolutely genetically unable to defend anyone that is not chavista even though we all pay her paycheck, went out to say that such front page is an injury to the brains of young people who should be protected from such nightmares and the Nacional made to stop such publications. No word from her as to her plans to protect the innocent ears of the slums from the nightly intra gang shootings, or the tender eyes from the bodies abandoned in the middle of the street because the morgue is late in picking them up, bodies they must bestride on their way to school in the early morning, or their tender souls as they learn of the funeral services from their murdered neighbor. But her cynical idiocy has been well established long ago, so let's move on.
To this the editor owner of El Nacional, Miguel Otero, replied that the picture was needed to create a reaction inside the government as people like Izarra, Ramirez or Trosel benefit at tax payer expense of numerous body guards. Well, he did not say that last part, I did, but Otero did wonder aloud how come Trosel did not show such energy to investigate the rotten food scandal and other such calamities instead of attacking a newspaper. Incidentally, I watched on Globovision the declarations of Trosel inside the morgue saying that all was fine and that the workers were demanding the law suit against El Nacional. Well, maybe the morgue is a haven of efficiency now since last December but why not show it? why forbid Globovision to come in and transmit the images of the inside instead of allowing ONLY AND AS ALWAYS, sympathetic state media to "cover" such news?
But Trosel was out of luck anyway: there is a world championship of women baseball in Caracas this week and the game between the Netherlands and Hong Kong had to be suspended because a Hong Kong player was shot by a stray bullet! Officials are pondering whether to end the tournament which is already suspended until further notice.