Friday, August 14, 2009

Fascism as an everyday thing

One of the terrifying things about fascism is its ability to become routine, in a way that even communism could not manage. After all fascism has that advantage of making people feel that as long as they do not open their mouth and as long as they do as told they can actually manage a comfortable life, even travel overseas freely, maybe under some conditions, but they could. I suppose that it was that notion among the hoi polloi, that escape was a train ride away, that allowed so many people to remain in their country, not rocking the boat, until one day they realized it was too late and that they were trapped like rats.

I am afraid that we are starting to see some of these things in Venezuela as a largely inert country is not protesting the abuses of the government while allowing it to trash those who disagree with it. This week we have been served copious portion of that.

The ruling chavismo has done in these past two days unspeakable things. They go from the trivial, in a way, to the dastardly.

I suppose it all started yesterday when Caracas was the victim of a major downpour which was able to drown cars in flash floods. Caracas is a valley connected to important side valleys and thus rife with microclimates: you can have a flash flood in Prados del Este while Catia might still have sunshine. Yesterday indeed Prados del Este got such a flash flood while the Western sectors got heavy rains but not as bad. What did gauleiter Faria and her mayor Rodriguez say? that thanks to their joint effort, the collaboration of the chavista communities, and what not including the beloved Supremo, downtown Caracas was safe while the opposition jerks in the Eastern part were swimming back home.

They are of course idiots because as rulers of Caracas they should keep in mind that in 1999 it was Western Caracas that suffered the most and that their turn could come back as early as tomorrow. But of course if that were to happen they would have ready made excuses that will include putting some of the blame on the opposition rulers of Eastern Caracas. Such exchange do not happen in democracies among elected officials of districts counting hundred of thousand of people because democracy creates a sense of shared responsibility. Rodriguez and Faria are well beyond democracy as none of their mistakes can ever be attributed to their in/competence. That is a hallmark of a fascist society: those who utter such nonsense can actually get away with it.

But to the expected trivialities of Faria succeeded today much graver things that truly put a society in front of its obligations: failure to react to what is going on right now will only bring a well deserved punishment to Venezuelan society.

A new general frame law for education is being discussed today at the Nazional Assembly. It was allegedly voted in its first draft a few years ago with nearly 200 articles. Today the government pretends to go directly to the second voted with a law that does not even have a third of the original articles. Thus it is illegal and should be discussed entirely from the start as if it were introduced for the first time.

Now, this legislative coup is bad enough, this type of parliamentary proceedings are in use in totalitarian countries where the "parliament" operates on a schedule mailed to them by the executive branch. But this was not all. Of course, when such an important law is about to be voted, a law that carries inside the death of private education, the final censorship of media in the name of education, the intervention of the government in the classrooms as it wishes through any mechanism it wishes, without any significant right of redress for the parents, the main parties in their children education, you must expect protests. There were two. One was a staged one in support with duly red shirted attendants carried in buses from everywhere, absent of their clerical offices and duties for the day as they were performing what they are really paid for: to attend pro Chavez rallies. The other rally, in protest, was led on foot by the presidents of all major universities of Venezuela and their students, taking away from their summer vacation to defend their education rights. That second one was savagely repressed, tear gas and fascist red shirts included for the beating.

While these events took place the Nazional Assembly president, Cilia Flores, had the chutzpah to declare that the Assembly supported the measures to reestablish order, and order that her red shirts and her police had broken. But that was not all. In a day that was supposed to devote itself entirely to the education law, the chair changed the agenda without notice to bring in the nation's ombudsman, Gabriela Ramirez, who instead of defending human rights abused outside came with the excuse of presenting her annual report to announce that her office was switching from a outdated vision of Human Rights as the protection of the individual to explain that chavismo was about the protection of the collective rights above the private ones, that all rights were equal. I wonder if this poor soul, this simpleton of an ombudsman put there to make sure that Chavez would not be strained in his actions, realizes how incredibly fascist her words were. Is it not the best way to annul essential rights to equate them with minor rights? Was not the Fuhrer the embodiment of the German Nation? Was it not his role to ensure the felicity of all by suppressing the individualities of the country?

In front of such abuse the tiny recently created opposition group at the assembly decided to withdrew from the "debate" because in their opinion even voting NO was already offensive for their dignity, was giving too much legitimacy to such a law, to such a presentation. Chavismo should be alone in such an abuse, should be left alone and vote that law 100% to carry the full burden of guilt in this latest ignominy.

And yet that was not all. A group of journalists from the Capriles group decided on their own to protest the new education law that they see as attempting to their right of free speech. Naively they thought that taking some time off from work to distribute some leaflets in front of their office would be peaceful and creative enough. Little did they know. Apparently from the chavista ghetto of Avila TV a few blocks away came a horde of red shirts who beat them up in full daylight, in full main avenue. The result was 12 injured. Note one thing of importance: these journalists work for Ultimas Noticias, the flagship of the Capriles group and a newspaper who mostly supports chavismo. The message is quite clear, if the opposition march was repressed with tear gas, dissension within chavismo would be repressed with blood. May I remind folks that among the first victims of Hitler we can count his devoted S.A.? There is no greater fury in fascism but the one for those who dare emit an original opinion from within.

And to end such a rich day of examples let' look at the words of Eleazar Diaz Rangel, the director of Ultimas Noticias who once an important journalists defender of human rights and social justice has sold his soul to Chavez. Forced to pronounce himself on the attack against the journalists that work under his guidance he could not come out quite clear that the aggressors were chavistas, backpedaling from earlier words, trying pathetically to find an excuse, and thus confirming the title of this post. May Eleazar Diaz Rangel become the text book example on how one can self vilify, sacrificing his colleagues when the heat reaches him.

-The end-

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