Monday, June 15, 2015

Yardsticks for tyranny

Today the weekly edition of Tal Cual offers us a piece for thought (1). They compared the time spent by Chavez in jail after his coup of 1992 and the one spent by Leopoldo Lopez since he has been accused of who knows what last year, as he is slowly rotting though his hunger strike. I summarize below.

Chavez has the blood of around 60 people on his hands from 1992. And more if we add the failed putsch of November 1992. Then among the targets was the attack of the presidential house which had ONLY the president's family as the president rarely slept there, or the defenseless state TV. Yet he was jailed with all the "respect" due to his middle military rank which included a constant stream of visitors that included from relatives to all sorts of journalists. His opinions on the profane and the divine circulated widely. At times it is true that he was briefly shut out but even then he had access to all possible commodities his detention center could offer and NGO visits as needed. That we know of, no torture report exist on Chavez or any of the people associated with his putsch and detained along him at the time.

Leopoldo Lopez is short three months of the detention time that Chavez served. And yet compared to Chavez his detention time has been truly gruesome. It has included beatings, deprivations, long isolations, denial of visitation for his relatives lawyers NGO journalists and more. All public is international knowledge. He is accused of crimes that he could not have not directly ordered even if he had wanted to.  And the case is so farfetched that he is suffering of denial of justice through a travesty trial which is abundantly denounced even outside of Venezuela. Leopoldo Lopez is currently on hunger strike, Chavez never had to resort to anything of the like. And I am not talking of the dozens of people that have been incarcerated along Lopez who have suffered from torture to other unspeakable horrors.

Then again in 1992 Venezuela was a democracy and today it is a tyranny.

The only question here is how come this fact is not more vocally denounced around the world. What gives? Are ethics so in disfavor today? Has the left so abandoned its raison d'être?


1) reminder, Tal Cual was forced through spurious law suits and lack of paper to shut down its daily edition and go to a weekly tabloid format, leaving Venezuela with only two national independent-opposition newspapers, El Nacional and El Nuevo Pais. Period.


  1. mile high ben3:14 AM

    The raison d'être of the left has always been tyranny. Has anyone on 'the left' ever condemned the brothers Castro? As long as the regime remains anti American that are bullet proof.

    1. I am not talking about the radical know-nothing left. But the respectable left to which I belong, social democrats, true Liberals and the like (before Reagan made it the L word).

    2. mile high ben5:26 AM

      Oh the respectable left!!!. Of course, you wouldn't belong to any other kind because if you don't belong to it, it can't be respectable.

    3. Anonymous9:42 AM

      Ben, you are probably right in saying that nobody on "the left" (respectable or otherwise) has ever condemned the Castro brothers. There seems to be, still today, a duty of solidarity. But give Daniel a chance: why would anyone wish to belong to something unrespectable?

    4. Never mind those on the "respectable" right that have no problems with the Castros.

      But let me bring back this on Venezuela and remind folks that fir example Venezuela was a haven for exiles during the harsh dictatorships of LatAm. Many who benefited from that protection are mute today.

    5. Anonymous3:59 PM

      I wanna know if my political views are respectable or not. Daniel is there a written test? You must have a copy can you share it with the rest of us rubes?
      Let me guess, do you think the united states is the greatest threat to peace and Harmon in the world? Do you think the poles will disappear by 2015 due to global warming? Do you think only governments have the right to have weapons? Do you agree withe this statement: Pinochet was a monster and Castro is a statesman?

    6. Anonymous 9:29

      I do not know whether your views are respectable but you could start by making yourself respectable.

  2. Daniel, welcome to the club. Cubans have had to endure the same for fifty plus years, and even today we gave to take comments from all sorts of people praising the Castro dictatorship. Today, we see Obama, Hollande, and other leaders sucking up to the Castros so they can invest a few bucks in joint venture hotels and sell them cell phones. And I get to see blog posts and twitters from Venezuelans who praise Obama "because after all the current approach didn't work". This means you are very likely to see Venezuelans kept in the Maduro and Castro meat grinder and nobody will really care.

    1. Fernando, some of what you say above is true. But, and there's always a but. As far as Obama, sucking up to Fidel, you miss Obama's main points. The Cubans need a better life and Obama is offering that by taking Cuba off the endangered list. But more importantly for the US, even a slight change in Cuba's politics(an opening) will be beneficial to all of Latin America.

    2. Anonymous7:19 PM

      Every negotiation Obama has made "on behalf" of the United States has been a disaster for the United States. This is not incompetence, this is a "feature".

      Why would anyone think that there will be "even a slight change in Cuba's politics".

      If you haven't learned after 50 years!! that the Castro's will never change, that they are ideologically unable to change, their only goal is to outlast the United States, that don't care how much their people suffer then you are unable to learn or willfully blind.

      The Castro's are "leftists", some in this forum might call them "respectable leftists", therefore, as any good ol' leftist they think -no, they are convinced- they know what's good for the the rest of world and will impose that better system on any poor soul that fall under their control.

      Obama is a leftist. His father was a card carrying communist. His mentor later on, Frank Marshall Davis, was another card carrying communist. His own mother hated her own country, when she immigrated to Indonesia (or somewhere in the area) with her son and was told of a group of american ex-patriots, she said "they are not my people". Obama's pastor for twenty years, the infamous Reverend Wright, married Barak and Michelle, baptized his daughters and the guy is a vicious, full throat screaming, american hater.
      Obama never saluted the flag or the national anthem, UNTIL, he started running for president.
      That is Obama's background. Why do you think all his "negotiations" like the one for the deserter Berghdal or with Iran are always bad for the interests of the United States.
      Why would the "opening" to Cuba would be any different? He just wants the Castro's to succeed and the United States to fail. He is in their corner. He is a leftist and if you haven't learned it yet, you can't trust a leftist, no matter how "respectable".

    3. Unfortunately for you Anonymous, you're too much controlled by crappy dogma. That blinds you from seeing, amongst other things, that I never, ever, claimed that the Castro brothers will change. Only a Martian would think that.

      President Obama has bigger fish to fry, so anything that he can do to calm things in our hemisphere is excellent strategy on his part. And it's really neat that by what he's doing Cuban citizens will gain somewhat of a better standard of living.

      Too bad you can't see in front of your nose.

    4. Anonymous10:42 PM

      Can you please explain this contradiction? On the one hand you say "Only martian would think the Castro brothers will change". OK fair enough. But then you say, thanks to that brilliant chess master Obama, "Cuban citizens will gain somewhat of a better standard of living".

      If the Castros are not going to change then the only way "Cuban citizens will gain a better standard of living" is because Obama will allow money transfers from the american taxpayers and the Castros' will allow it (of course why wouldn't they).

      Anyone that thinks that is a great outcome is either not a us taxpayer or a leftist that loves to see a leftist dictator succeed.

      So a capitalist country will bail out yet another failed communist society. All you are going to get out of that deal is more communism. Communism works! look what a great standard of living those cubans have.


    5. SPORTS!!!!! Sporting competition between the two countries will increase. With that exposure comes knowledge. With that knowledge comes desires. With those desires comes change.

    6. Anonymous at 12:49 has been reading right wing blogs and "news" and - apparently - excepting those conspiracy theories and distortions as the truth. President Obama has been working on fixing the economy after the extreme right broke it in 2008. He has tried to provide healthcare options for citizens, though some rightwing extremist Southern states have opted out of the program, at the peril of their own citizens. He promotes education, rights for the disenfranchised and had the guts to realize that shutting Cuba out for fifty years never worked and did not force out the Castro regime. If something doesn't work, we can't stubbornly keep at it. That's crazy!

  3. Charly3:29 PM

    "The only question here is how come this fact is not more vocally denounced around the world. " Well let me make a wild guess. From what I can read day in day out, including the comments above, people do not agree on a definition of the current government. Tiranny, dictatorship, participative democracy, on the way to Cuba, etc, etc. It is pure and simple a government that has been taken over by the mob. They just make the rules as they go along and the only way to get rid of them is definitely not the vote. They will always come on top with this one. Fifteen years of voting should have been convincing enough. Venezuela is pure and simple a failed state but has not acknowledged it yet. It will come in due course.

    1. Bingo? That is what comes to mind anyway.

    2. Nope. Cubazuela should be called what it is: a Petro-Narco Kleptocracy.

      Most modern, pseudo-neo Dictatorships these days are disguised under many names, Russia, China, most Middle-East countries and many in Africa.

      Some are worse than others, of course. Gotta prefer Singapore over North Corea, Cuba or Cubazuela.

  4. Baeza5:03 PM

    Here's one for the respectability test anon: Do you think that a man who believes he is Napoleon Bonaparte belongs in an institution but a man who thinks he is a woman should be celebrated as courageous and a role model for the rest of us?

  5. "The only question here is how come this fact is not more vocally denounced around the world. What gives? "

    They are denounced, sooner or later, as Genocidal, Totalitarian, Dictatorial, violators of human rights, etc, etc.

    Developed, leading countries like the USA and European nations are led by Politicians, diplomats.. they have to deal with disguised, criminal regimes like Russia or China. They have to weasel their way out with crazed, religious fantatics and assassins all over the Middle East. They still need Oil and stuff from the Arab and Cubazuelan dictatorships.

    It's not that the stupid "ONU", or UN don't know the atrocities going on in Africa or Serbia or Syria every day. Genocides. Of course they do, but they still have to lie, ignore, and even trade goods with them. Even S. Arabia, where Jihadists are born, financed and fly planes into New York.

    Compared to all that, Isis, Syria, Nigeria, Russia, China.. Cuba and Cubazuela are just another inconvenient, totalitarian mess to play 'diplomacy' with. Obama and all European presidents will continue to LIE through their teeth mentioning the word "democracy" in the same paragraph as those Criminal regimes.


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