Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Burning soldiers again

Last year, in March 2004, started the infamous case of the Fort Mara soldiers who were burnt live in the confinement cell. To date we still do not know who started that fire, nor how was it started. However, General Uson who in a talk show said that the "accident" was started with a flame thrower was promptly sent to jail for "speaking against the honor of the Army" or such nonsense. A few months later the MD who attended the soldiers and could not save them were accused of medical malpractice. I have not heard from them lately so I do not know whether they are on trial. There was also two cases involving direct military brutality still without serious investigation: a drown soldier and the torture to death of an indigent by some soldiers. In all fairness at least the case of an AD supporter shot by a military seems to have advanced in court: apparently there are too many witnesses to stop that investigation.

The names of the victims have become irrelevant as the only ones that land in jail are those that denounce military brutality and deal with its effects; they are the only ones that stand to run into trouble with the justice be them generals, medical doctors who treat the victims or the journalists who try to inquire. Shooting the messenger, in a time tested method for short term cover up.

Monday night we heard again of two soldiers who "accidentally" burnt themselves. Again? How could that be possible? How could confinement cells have not been replaced or at least made fire proof after Fort Mara one year ago?

Amazingly, the disgust of the whole thing rattling a few within the presidential entourage, a backbencher from the president's party has called for suppressing the system of confinement cells in place. But I have not heard much diligence from those bakbenchers to pursue previous abuses. Is it just an initiative to try to force the army to apply more discrete ways of "punishment"?

Another disturbing development is a much more subdued media/press reporting the event, although this time there is some hint that indeed it might have been accidental. Or at least this blogger dearly hopes so. But one cannot fail to observe the effects of the "gag" law which had the dead line for some of its provisions reached this week and thus put into effect. It is detrimental to small kids to hear how soldiers are roasted live so the news must gag themselves. I hope that this is the reason for the subdued reporting and not fear since we all know that the real aim fo the law is to limit daytime criticism of governmental actions.

But I am not afraid and I will report, again, that Venezuela is in fact a hidden military regime where some sectors of the armed forces do as they please. Be them cashing at the bank or abusing human rights. We have read that story everywhere through our continent troubled history, but since it is done now "in the name of the people" some are only too willing to turn a blind eye to such acts. But History also shows us that sooner or later all is revealed and those who did not raise their voices find in turn the finger pointing at them. Look at Chile where the role of the judicial system was finally exposed a few weeks ago. Look at Eastern Europe slowly digging through its communist graves after having been digging through its fascists graves. Sooner or later a similar report will be written for Venezuela. Of this I am sure.

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