Thursday, August 20, 2009

When governments lose contact with reality

I am having a business stay in Caracas which is turning out to be one of the most depressing visits here since Chavez has been elected president in 1998. Not only I have been told a few dark stories about the business reality of the country, but being that dreadfully busy and assaulted by professional negativity, I still could not escape the few news that managed to reach me. And yet those were even more impressive by what they mean about the present state of chavismo than by their actual content. I will just focus on two: Chavez declarations on putting the blame on the victims, and on German Yepez who as the electoral umpire has proffered the most partisan declarations one could imagine from such a position.

In your memory you must still have fresh the attacks on the journalists of the Capriles newspaper group. They were on the side walk of their business, distributing leaflets to protest the new education law that will curtail among other things freedom of expression, not to mention creating a country of brutishness. In the neighborhood there was Avial TV which is little bit more than a den of chavista extremists who left in turn their "offices" to beat up the peaceful journalist manifestations. All of the bloody injured folks were from the Capriles side, none from Avila TV.

Well, Chavez had no compunction in stating that it was all the fault of the Capriles journalists, they provoked the rage of the Avila TV creeps. Thus at once he gives yet a new meaning to "blame the victim", and gives a new order to his troops that beating up journalists is OK. He goes even further in the implications of his words: violence against opposition is now always justified because they are by definition the provocateurs. But it is even worse because he does not realize that his logic is also the one applied by those who beat up their spouses, who practice all sorts of family violence and even those who harass co-workers that are under their care at the work place. (1)

To confirm how far that mental illness that chavismo has become we have the example of German Yepez, one of the 5 directors of the electoral council CNE, and as such the umpire of Venezuelan decisions. We of course know that German Yepez is nothing but a Chavez agent in the CNE, placed there to make sure that no opposition electoral petition prospers while busily drafting rules to favor the chavista camp. But yet he managed to go way too far on his job.

The opposition is promoting an abrogation referendum on the new Education Law that should be overturn on sight by any serious tribunal in any semi normal country. The proposal of the opposition certainly has merits and demerits, but none of them deserves, not even with extreme diffidence, the words of German Yepez. He says that the opposition petition was not valid because it tried to suppress a human right, namely education. This is of course a lie since it objects the new law, not a modification of the old one, not even the law voted in 2001 that was never ratified until suddenly in the middle of the night this Cuba like legislation came to appear.

In addition, as the education law clearly curtails freedom of expression it is by itself abrogating a human right and should be dismissed outright without even for the need of a vote. If we can understand that agent Yepez does not discuss this last aspect we cannot understand AT ALL his words. I cite them in Spanish and then my translation, so you can have the full effect:

Eso se hizo así para evitar que sectores reaccionarios, conservadores, sectores que odian a los pobres, a los negros, a los indígenas, que le tienen pavor a las mayorías y que sueñan con ser una élite pequeña, excluyan a otros de este derecho progresivo que blinda la constitución para que este no pueda ser negado

[The law was written as such] to avoid that reactionary sectors, conservatives, sectors who hate the poor, the Negroes, the Natives, who are scared shitless of the majority and who dream of being a small elite, exclude for this progressive right that solidifies the constitution so that it cannot be denied.

Where should we start? On the hate that lives inside Yepez himself? On his projection of reality? On his denial of democracy? On his historical lies on a democracy who made Venezuela a basically illiterate country in 1958 into a country with more than 90% literacy that elected Chavez, of "negro" and "indigena" origins, issued of "[military] small elite" scared shitless of true democracy? (2)

It does not really matter what Chavez and his peon said: both men words reflect one thing, that they know the control of the country is escaping their hands and that they are the ones running scared. And yet it is at those moments when governments lose contact with reality the most, thus making further mistakes instead of solving problems.

1) there is really no good article on Chavez words in English yet, but for those who can read Spanish you have this piece in El Pais. Remember that El Pais is the paper of the intelligentsia in Spain, of the progressive , of those who vote for Zapatero. In short, with Le Monde, The Guardian and the NYT, it is a reference paper. The beauty of that report is that the words of the chavista officials cited are so infamous, so out of bounds, that the news can be reported straight, without explanation, as anyone with half a brain in Spain will know what is really going on with chavismo.

2) Speaking of lies, SEMANA in Colombia published a full debunking of Chavez recent lies on the origin of the Venezuelan missiles that found their way from Venezuela army depots to FARC hands. I suppose that when your boss is such a liar, you are home free with your own lies. That story is actually featured on the cover of the magazine. In addition SEMANA carries an article about the failure of Chavez at UNASUR in Quito over a week ago, in pretty much the same lines that yours truly used. This article is also noteworthy because it broaches on how the misguided actions of Chavez are probably weakening further any pro Chavez electoral option that could arise in Colombia, thus helping along a third election for Uribe. Then again maybe that is what Chavez wants anyway.

-The end-

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