This week end we saw two incidents that reminded us how far into a dictatorship system we have been entered. I know, I know, some may want to remind me that I can still type my blog (for how long? bloggers and twitters have already been prosecuted in Venezuela), I can come and go out of the country (I cannot because I cannot tale my belongings with me), there are elections (but the results are voided as the regime pleases), there is still Globovision in the air (bot for how long, and only in Caracas and Valencia), etc... Whether you like to admit it, Chavez regime is a XXI century dictatorship, the new breed where it is enough to control the judiciary to perpetuate oneself in office. For those who disagree with me I kindly ask them to explain away the two stories that come next.
Karen got shot
One of organized crime mode of action in Venezuela is to establish fake police barrages so as to kidnap the surprised victim. The most famous instance was the Faddoul brothers, the three of them killed by their captors when the ransom thing did not work out as planned. But too many people have succumbed to such true horror stories and still keep falling. We should thus not be surprised that Friday night the brother of Karen Berendique did not believe that he was facing a police barrage and tried to escape yet another attempt against his person. The CICPC, our local FBI of sorts, shot, but not at the tires or the car, they shot directly at the windows trying to get the passengers who were not shooting back, whatsoever. Karen Berendique, 19 years old, received three gun shots and died promptly.
This would have been just yet another "fait divers" but this time the very innocent victim was the daughter of Chile's honorary consul in Maracaibo and as such the response from Chile was swift and to the point: the Venezuelan state is unable to guarantee the security of its citizens and its so called security is nothing better than the thugs it supposedly tries to stop. Thus we are in the midst of a major scandal because like all the scandals that are currently besotting us (oil spills, electricity and food shortages, the end of tap drinking water, etc ...) this one hits too close from home. We all have suffered form police abuse at these roadblocks which are at best nothing more in day time but a way to get some cash form the driver, and at worst, a constant danger of mob attack against your freedom and humanity. I can vouch personally that one time I did not stop at a road block in spite of being signed to do so because it looked suspect, it was night and thus I just kept going on with traffic.....
In other words as a country we have long lost any faith in the system that is supposed to protect us from crime, we now associate it with crime and this, my friends, is the hallmark of living under a dictatorship. In a dictatorship police can act with such brutality because it knows that in the end little will happen to them even though today they were arraigned.
Carolina got shut
Not as dramatic but quite as telling was an interview last night of famous designer Carolina Herrera in CÑN by Cala. The guy is simply irritating like hell, but my relatives were watching it and from afar I heard the interview with a distracted ear. That is, until the talk show host asked Carolina Herrera to discuss Venezuelan politics, which she firmly refused.
No, why would world famous fashion icon Carolina Herrera refuse to have a single political word on CÑN? We all know that from her background she cannot possibly be a Chavez supporter (and we certainly would have known so by now). She certainly does not live off the Venezuelan nouveau riche bolibourgeois class since her empire existed already when Chavez came to power, and today extends all over the world. Even if Venezuela ranked high in her billing we could not expect it to be much more than in the single digit percentile. She certainly can afford to alienate Chavez on a personal level: she has been living in New York since 1980 and has enough money to thumb her nose to whomever she wishes to.
So, what gives? The answer was elsewhere: she still has a daughter living in Venezuela, she still has other relatives who happen to own some significant real estate and business in Venezuela. Thus, even world famous Carolina Herrera, heading an empire maybe worth a billion bucks cannot say anything because the regime would have ways to swiftly punish her through her relatives in Venezuela. A kidnapping of her daughter or grandchildren? A mere kidnapping of a relative for example for which anyway she would have to pay the ransom? Or loss of property for other relatives (such as was the case of Diego Arria who was robbed of his farm, named La Carolina incidentally, because he spoke ill of Chavez).
Even Carolina Herrera cannot escape the tentacles of the Venezuelan dictatorship, with all of her millions and world fame, hoping that at the very least, by staying quiet on the topic she may protect a little bit more her relatives who cannot leave Venezuela.....