I think it is just that we start asking that question as Franklin Brito who died of hunger strike will finally be put to rest in the next hours in his birth place. You can read the editorial of Tal Cual today, put for once on free reading for all: ¿Quién mató a Brito?
Since Teodoro Petkoff cannot name names in his editorial, this blog can.
Hugo Chavez. Because he is the ring master. Because he could not have not known what was going on and yet let it happen when it could have been settled months or even years ago. And if anything just because of sheer neglect, unforgivable for someone in his position, in presence of such a situation. But I will go one step further: probably prodded by his Cuban advisers who think that an opponent death once in a while is enough to browbeat people for a while, infuriated by the resistance to land nationalization, and even more infuriated by the negative economic results that these lands destruction brought upon the country, Chavez wanted to silence a few folks by letting Brito die. If you question my speculation I invite you to remember the murder of Maritza Ron on August 16 2004 by a perfectly identified chavista goon who did not get more than a slap on his hand. That murder certainly deflected any significant protest at the perceived electoral fraud. It is the hope of Chavez that the murder of Brito might help silence some.
Elias Jaua. The current vice president who certainly share the Chavez point of view above. But also because he has been long enough minister of agriculture that he could have solved that issue long ago. He gets into this list because he was the executing arm of his master, the intellectual responsible party.
Luisa Ortega. The general prosecutor of the republic, who has already happily suggested the limitations of many human rights, was directly involved in the demise of Franklin Brito. She is the one, in pure Stalinist tradition, that declared him mentally incompetent so the government could take him away from his family and lock him up at the military hospital where his contacts with the outside world were limited and adequate health care was compromised, just as it happened in the USSR psychiatric hospitals.
These are the three major criminals, but they are some smaller accomplices.
The Venezuelan army. For letting the regime use what was once a prestigious hospital to become the jail of Brito until he died of mistreatment.
Gabriela Ramirez. As the nation's Ombudsman the very least we would have hoped from her is a real inquiry in the situation. The only thing we saw from her is a step by step defense of any action the regime took.
Juan Carlos Loyo. As the successor of Jaua he could ave taken the opportunity to take upon himself the release and settlement of the Brito affair, sparing the trouble of his bosses. Not only he did not do anything of the sort, but he contributed actively tot he web of lies around the Brito affair.
And there are plenty of other characters, but those six names deserve to go to trial in any court for human rights. I want to add two more guilty parties although they cannot be brought to justice: the OAS and the Venezuelan Red Cross, whose willy nilly flakiness to face the situation raised too many false hopes and ended up making things worse.
That the government is hurting by this murder, that they are suddenly realizing that they did not handle that well, is for all to see. First there was an uncountable delay of 48 hours before the regime replied to the death of Brito. Second, the reply made no sense, was filled with lies and was clearly destined to the hard core chavista base. That is, the regime made no effort to convince rational people that it had a case. No point discussing it further. Third, it has started a "legal" offensive to try to turn the tables on, going to the extreme of announcing an investigation on the Brito relatives of having pushed him to commit suicide. That this latest action of Luisa Ortega is absolutely despicable cannot hide its mere stupidity: if indeed that was the objective of the Brito family (or any other group for that matter) then it was not very effective as Brito came in and out of his starvation several time and he was held by the regime for long enough that they could have convinced him to desist.