Monday, May 17, 2010

Rocio San Miguel: how heroes renew themselves

It seems that chavismo is going too far and more and more people are willing to take a stand and try to stare down the beast.  We had Oswaldo Alvarez Paz who was not afraid to go and spend 52 days in jail until finally last week the regime relented and figured out that it was better for now to have in out of jail than in from an opinion crime.  And we have more.

We had the La Carolina "incident" who brought back to life Diego Arria unjustly deprived of his work of two decades.  That issue is not going away and meanwhile produced an 11 minutes interview on CNN with Patricia Janiot.  A damaging interview for the image of Chavez, by the way, who is not used to such challenges.  Diego Arria seems to have thrown his lot in deciding to confront Chavez directly.  With his international reputation, this can hurt Chavez a lot.

Rocio San Miguel
But these two high profile cases should not let us forget of other heroes challenging the Chavez autocracy.  A noted one that took place during these moved days was Rocio San Miguel latest challenge.  She discovered through the CNE pages that many high ranking military officers were also members of the PSUV.  This was really stupid of the CNE and chavismo who trying to demonstrate strength through numbers allowed the list of PSUV members to appear for a while in their web page.  It is out now but the damage is done: San Miguel was able to publish the denunciation.

Ms. San Miguel simply crossed referenced the ID numbers of generals and colonels of the Venezuelan army and detected without trouble that many of these ID also appeared in the PSUV list, something that is forbidden by the constitution.  "Il suffisait d'y penser!".

What was worse was that it was not a few isolated cases: it was a pattern, not just some over zealous officers forgetting to read the constitution.

This is very, very bad of course, and for many reasons besides the obvious unconstitutional fact.

First it confirms the increasing politicization of the army, something unacceptable as they are the ones holding the weapons and thus in perfect position to refuse to acknowledge an electoral result.

Second, it is the army that is in charge of the security at election time, and of many electoral activities such as safe keeping of the ballots.  You can imagine the cheating that becomes possible when those in charge can tamper the results without anyone watching since the army controls access to the ballots outside of election day until the boxes are deposited at the CNE.  When a representative election can be decided by a few hundred of votes, such collusion between the PSUV and the army is enough to overturn a few results.

Needless to say that based on her twitter @rociosanmiguel has already been threatened and got a court citation to expand on her findings tomorrow.  She could well be accused of any silly charge "attempting against the safety of the nation" by revealing such information.  Alvarez Paz went to jail for less than that.

But this is only the latest of her actions.  Rocio San Miguel came to fame as the first one articulating the consequences of the Tascon List as she was fired from her job by Jose Vicente Rangel, then defense minister, for having signed the recall election petition of 2003.  She is thus a poster girl of whistle blowing under chavismo.  Since then she has been trying to have the cause advance in international courts while becoming a military expert of sorts denouncing regularly abuses, courtesy of many leaks that find their way to her mailbox.  As a regular of talk shows she has become quite an annoyance of the regime, regularly threatened for this or that.  With her latest actions we must admire her bravery at challenging at the same time the army and the PSUV.

You can find more about her work at the web page of the NGO she promotes, Control Ciudadano, and on a previously unpublished interview now on Milagros Socorro blog.  Why that interview was not published then is a mystery, but the times were heavy in events and for the reasons of space EL Nacional had to chose, we must assume.


  1. So, are these two high-profile enough that if they just disappeared one day it would cause a lot of trouble for Hugo?

  2. Wow. Just, wow. Chavez cannot let this one go, partly for the threat, but also because he is certainly shamed by how much courage she has. He wishes that he had even half her guts.

    Of course, if he did, he probably would have been dead in 92, so I guess that means we can only wish he had that much guts.

  3. UCC

    You speak as if Venezuela were a normal country. The fact of the matter is that it is ruled by an oligarchy of thugs. These people have no democratic bone in them and as such do not think or feel as we do. For them not disposing of San Miguel has more to do wit6h waiting for the right time than any ethic.

  4. Boludo Tejano7:56 PM

    She has courage. Venezuela and the world is fortunate for her and blog-authors such as Daniel. We who live in safer countries have not been faced with such situations.

  5. Anonymous3:21 AM

    Geez - I bet after those blistering comments from the opposition Chavez feels pretty embarrassed and would prefer to just slink away, ceding power back to the people - sarc:/ You people need to get a clue and stop your whining. It might help it you skipped a few polars at the beach and paid more attention.

  6. anonymous

    and your point is?


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