Monday, March 02, 2009

Antisemitism, self censorship and outright censorship under Chavez new lease

There has been a new very perturbing antisemitic development in Venezuela of which I did not write yet waiting for more information. But since Teodoro Petkoff goes with it on Tal Cual today's editorial I think I should not delay any longer (as it confirms what I have been hearing about). In short. There is a theater group trying to stage a revival of Fiddler on the Roof (in Spanish of course). For this they were counting on a local Orchestra, Gran Mariscal de Ayacucho, to provide the music. Last week we learned that one of the bureaucrats in charge of the orchestra called to say that they would not be playing in that musical because they did not want to be associated with anything Jewish.

Germany circa early 1933 anyone?

Teodoro is very right in pointing out that the drama of the story is not that an order came directly from above to stop the play (I personally doubt that many in the government have enough cultural bagage to know what a Broadway show is). The drama here is that a lackluster bureaucrat decided on his/her own to call the producers of the show (Jews by the way) to tell them that s/he was sorry but it was better for the orchestra not to participate since it could jeopardize its grants. In one report the producers state that the bureaucrat in question, anonymous to this date, was not antisemitic, he was just being cautious. In my opinion this makes the whole thing even less palatable.

There you have it, chavismo has been successful in creating such an antisemitic atmosphere in its governmental echelons that now bureaucrats think it safer to avoid any association with any Jewish or pro Jewish group. Amen of Israel or Zionists organizations! Why wonder about yet another small grenade thrown a week ago at midnight to a Jewish religious center? It does not matter the pious protests that anyone, including Chavez might utter: the fact of the matter is that they have created the beast and if it is not killed fast it will keep growing and growing. It is illustrative on this respect that Jorge Rodriguez, Libertador's mayor, of whom the orchestra depends in part, has not come out to ask them to play in that musical. That gesture by itself would have been infinitely much better than anything that Chavez or Maduro have said so far. You draw your own conclusions, mine are clear.

But it will be getting much worse, and not only for the Jews. This Sunday, the breast thumping gorilla who thinks he won on February 15 a mandate to do absolutely as he pleases demanded his followers to identify all the media that is opposing him. Apparently in Chavez increasingly feeble mind and expanding ego, he is certain that if it were not for the opposition media his government approval rating would be above 80%. That is right, he said it so, basically calling anyone who does not agree with him a manipulated idiot. 45% of the country is just stupid, you know..... Some of his words from yesterday:
"Cada alcalde, en cada municipio haga un análisis. ¿Cuántas radios hay. ¿Cuál es el contenido? Cada gobernador en su estado respectivo; y vamos a hacer el mapa de la guerra mediática. Los periódicos, ¿Cuántos periódicos maneja la oligarquía en Aragua, en el municipio Zamora. El Internet, por allí también hay guerra. Es una batalla de todos los días. Les ruego que nos pongamos al frente de esta batalla todos"
Each mayor, in each municipality must do an analysis. How many radio [stations]? What is their content? Each governor in its own state; and we are going to make the map of the "media war" [emphasis mine]. The newspapers, how many newspapers are managed by the oligarchy in Aragua, in the Zamora district? In Internet, there is war also there. It is an everyday battle. I ask you that we all lead that battle.

Is it possible to put a good spin on these awful words? Is it Chavez not asking his supporters to picket radio or newspapers that do not agree with him? Is he not asking chavista Internet visitors to come to critical sites such as this blog and harass us, trying to find out who we are so as to be put on the index along journalists?

I must remind folks that a few years ago Chavez tried to intimidate journalists so that they would write less critical articles of his misrule. But it failed: the journalists became only more critical as the regime abuses kept mounting. These abuse included many attacks to journalists and even crew members from fanatic chavista supporters, many were killed or maimed while others had to incorporate to their journalism tools anti gas masks, bullet proof vests and what not.

Thus Chavez is going to the next logical step: if too many journalists are still refusing to self censor themselves then their employers must be shut down by "popular will". Globovision was under threat of closure last December. But then came the referendum initiative and it certainly was not good electoral policy to close Globovision during a campaign that had international scrutiny. But now Chavez is safely on the road to for life president so expect Globovision to suffer chavismo attacks again. Expect also major newspapers to be harassed, from tax audits to refusal of currency to paper purchase. Expect legal measures that might even reach the Internet.

But you know something, when I read that chavista crap, the thing I want to do is to start writing also in Spanish to make sure chavismo hears me loud and clear. This blogger is not going to back down from the baby step towards totalitarianism that Chavez is taking. As I have written in the past, the Jews are the canary in the mine. As of yesterday we know that indeed they were.

-The end-

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