Friday, April 03, 2009

Cuba's style justice in Venezuela

I have said that I would take a break for a week or two unless some really big news came along. The condemnation of Forero, Simonovis and Vivas would not have been enough for me to post. Their sentence to 30 years is more than enough.

In any civilized country application of the maximum sentence allowed is always a delicate matter. Usually it requires several of the following:

-the weapon murder
-a direct link with the victim
-an unusually cruel way to kill
-be caught in the act
-and other such reasons of equal weight

In Venezuela which abolished early death penalty the maximum sentence was 30 years, and it was applied as sparingly as the death penalty was applied elsewhere, at least during the democratic period of Venezuela which ended in February 2004. This sentence today is thus not the sentence of a democracy, it is a political sentence, just as those that are applied in Cuba to any dissident of the regime when this one needs to silence someone or needs to scare a few other folks.

Let me remind folks reading so far that I do not need to go to any long analysis to make my point: the trial that finished today has been perhaps the longest one in our history. It has been a trial repeatedly denounced for extraordinary vices of form. That is: there was no smoking gun to condemn these people to the maximum sentence because if there was such a smoking gun the trial would have been considerably shorter. It is that simple.

From the day these arrest were made the power of the state was simply looking for a convenient political moment to make an example of these people. As yet another anniversary of April 11-13 2002 is coming up and as the despicable campaign launched after February 15 to annul the opposition has been launched, Chavez with these verdicts and actions makes three points:

- he is rewriting history to make sure that ALL guilt of these days reside exclusively with those who oppose him. We must understand the arrest of Baduel yesterday in this context since it is through his actions that Chavez was rescued from a certain political exile. Chavez cannot appear anymore to have been saved by anyone but "el pueblo" who we are told he is the incarnation. The only problem left for him to solve is to erase from the record that he asked for the "plan avila" to be applied which implied terrorist violence led to the events of April 11. That will be achieved when the media is duly censored and unable to remind folks of that original sin of Chavez.

- he sends a clear message to all of his political opponents that he controls the judicial system and that from now on they must desist or face the consequences. No fair trial will be offered them and any small fault will be magnified enough to apply a disproportionate sentence, maybe not 30 years but enough to get you out of the way, or at the very least ban from politics courtesy of comptroller Russian.

- he sends an even clearer message to his supporters. Not only they are told what can happen to them if they stray (Baduel is the poster case), but they are also told that they must support any decision and make any justification for it, as implausible as that justification might be. His supporters must now be active in denouncing and condemning any opposition so that Chavez cannot be blamed. It must look as if it were a consensus. This is understood by us because these violations of Human Rights happen while Chavez is on a foreign trip.

PS: since I truly think nothing worse than that atrocious verdict of today is going to happen until after Easter, it will take at least an earthquake or a military coup to make post again while I sort out my blogging life. Anything else simply will pale in comparison to the crime committed today against the Venezuelan people.

-The end-

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