The last three days of rounds from blogging world to the official media has revealed one thing at least: supporters of Hugo Chavez still exist that are only too willing to ignore all of his misdeeds, only too willing to start the processes of beatification to secular left sainthood. It has already been done successfully for Che (remember his crimes?) or Fidel (remember he ordered Che's crimes?). Thus I am not playing nice and even though Chavez is still not buried I want to be on record that no matter what the grieving crowds number, I cannot forget some of his personal crimes. A short list follows.
1992: He participated in a bloody coup which resulted in scores of innocent people killed and who had as one of its objectives to kill the presidential family even though the president was not with them.
1999: In the middle of the Vargas natural disaster, when thousands of people were buried in mud or washed to the sea, Chavez personally blocked the help from the US with equipment to reopen the blocked roads of the sea shore. The rescue efforts were thus delayed and it is anyone's guess what was the human cost of that decision.
2002: He admitted later that he actually provoked the political crisis that resulted in the events of April 2002 where scores of people were killed. As an aggravation of that crime his regime made sure that no truth commission was ever set up.
2004: To put pressure on the voters he created the "Tascon List", a list that comprised the names of all the people that signed for a recall election on his tenure. That he won the recall election did not stop him from applying it for years, to this day still, as an active discrimination tool against his opponents. We can go as far as implying that the usage of that list had a human cost since we do not know how many people may have died in the long run from the discrimination they suffered for jobs, harassment, medical help, etc...
2004: The police became repressive and unnecessarily cruel at times. Massive amounts of tear gas for any excuse became the norm, sometimes tear gas canisters being handled directly by pro Chavez militants and not security forces.
Since 2005: We can assume that date as the historical dramatic rise in crime and violence in Venezuela because of the refusal by the regime that Chavez presided to build enough jails, to create enough rehabilitation programs, to put enough police in the streets, transforming Venezuela in the "democratic" country with the highest murder rates today.
Since 2005: a selective type of prosecution was initiated through a compliant to subservient judicial system where given people were pointed out directly by Chavez as to be the subject of penal punishment before any guilt could be proved in court. Known cases that can be attached directly to Chavez words: Afiuni, Lopez, Rosales, etc... and there is already one official death from judicial misdeeds: Franklin Brito.
2011: the irrational support of Chavez to two tyrants against whom started the Arab Spring, Libia and Syria, probably led to more casualties than were necessary. Even today Assad is seen grieving over Chavez. What percentage of the killed in Syria can be attributed to the gas that Venezuela sent to Assad?
All of these crimes can be sourced to Chavez temper and ambition. Other crimes were not necessarily originated by him (maintaining the Cuban Gulag, for example) or where the result of political battles. They are not lesser crimes for that. The crimes selected for this list were unnecessary, and are chosen because they would not have taken place if Chavez had not wanted it to happen.
Let's keep remind that when people demand us to be objective and accept that, say, Mercal, compensates and even justifies these crimes.