Now my interest in this comes two fold, one for personal reasons and one for a reflection on the excesses of democracy.
|Luis in tears|
And thus we reach a discussion on democracy's excesses.
One thing that has happened to me over the last few years is that I have stopped caring much about issues such as saving the whales to gay rights because simply in Venezuela my basic rights are increasingly threatened or suppressed. For example, I cannot watch the TV I want, read the newspapers as I would please, express my opinions as I see fit, while my choice of religion could be questioned. I cannot travel with my hard earned money wherever I please. I am not sure my vote is counted as it should and if I find myself in court against the government I know that the odds are totally stacked against my cause. I must confine myself at home because walking the dog could be dangerous, and even my home looks less and less as a safe refuge because my blogging activities could bring me someday an unexpected search by the intelligence police, or a strange burglary that makes me miss only my computers. My property is not respected by the increasing number of thugs that assault me on the streets or in governmental offices, and I cannot allow myself not to worry about my business that can be taken away whenever the president decides to take it away from me, without even a due procedure and compensation if it refers to the land I might own. When I think about these things what should I care if my long time partner and I can ever get married under Venezuelan law? What for? What could we enjoy that we cannot enjoy already in the few notches of normal life still left for us in Venezuela? What kind of life can we enjoy when one's job as a public employee is under constant threat and the other freedom, properties and business could fall at any time?
A point difficult to bring across to my US friends who still can afford to discuss mundane matters such as ways to tax and spend, something that has completely disappeared of our radar down here.
What happens to Venezuela is in a worse way what happened in California where a democracy excesses could make legal a form of discrimination. And it is made much, much worse in Venezuela than it needs to be because in California and the US at least some of these excesses can be overturned by judges who have the courage to make real democracy advance. Or how many more years would Blacks have had to wait for full civil rights and mixed marriage if the issue had been left strictly in the hand of the voters? Here in Venezuela judges now go even farther than Chavez's regime by proposing that separation of powers is an outdated concept that the 'revolution' should overcome as soon as possible.
The reality of Venezuela is that an electoral majority, not even a people's majority, just a mere electoral majority has been able to impose a system whose initial objective was to redress errors from the past but that became instead a system designed to perpetuate in power a rather small group of people at the expense of the rest of the country. In Venezuela today a cast of military and bureaucrats are those that own all power and can loot the country at will. This group represents at best a few thousand of people, maybe a hundred of thousand, but they control all levers of power and have created all sorts of laws that allow them to actively discriminate against those who cross their path, limiting their civil rights, their property rights and even their private rights.
The clearest example was reminded to us this week with the death of Luis Tascon, the infamous representative who put in his web page the names of all of those who signed against Chavez in the 2004 recall election. In diverse panegyrics we can read some of the victims going as far as to say that it was not really totally his fault, that he never even intended that list to become the active tool of discrimination it became. This is of course absolute crap: Tascon never apologized or even showed some credible regret for even the possibility that his list might have given the idea of the Maisanta tool, a perfected CD who barred from public jobs and contracts any one suspect of not supporting Chavez 100%, even though most tax payers were already probably anti Chavez. And even when he went back to the last opposition media left, Globovision, once he started criticizing some practices of chavismo, without ever breaking up fully with Chavez, the hosts of Buenas Noches received him as if nothing when he should have been banned from any civil society until a written mea culpa was made available. Tascon was as guilty as Chavez or the many offices heads that used the Lista Tascon and its derivatives since 2004 to purge public administration and deny civil rights such as obtaining a mere passport. As far as I am concerned he can rot in hell and I find it a poetic justice that he died of colon cancer after having fucked millions of Venezuelans.
I do not intend to sound vengeful, I am not. But I have lost the ability to tolerate hypocrisy and I certainly can blame chavismo for that as they have raised hypocrisy to the cruelest of art's form. Things need to be told as they are and for me that anti gay marriage protester in front of San Francisco whose placard read that a judge cheated on God is in the same hypocrisy league as National Assembly chair Cilia Flores when she rushes through parliament unconstitutional, undemocratic and discriminatory laws because in her own view they will promote popular power when in fact they centralize all in the hands of Chavez. But each and everyone of the actions they take is designed to maintain a group of people below their own position, outside of their conception of life and the world, subjected, cornered, and eventually erased when the time is right.
We should never forget that democracy is the best and worst of political systems and that with the increasing role of the media the worst of democracy is finding it easier to show its ugly head: legal mob rule.