Editorial Commentary / Opinion
VenEconomy : Dictatorial offensive
The Chávez administration’s population has been in a nose dive at home, the failure of his attempt to penetrate Honduras is public knowledge, and information abounds internationally on his support for the FARC and his supplying them with weapons.
Faced with this adverse situation, last week the government started what could be the final attack on Venezuela’s democracy, which would take its citizens along the path to a dictatorship that no one wants but that no one has been able to avoid.
The attacks have been on so many flanks in so few days that it looks as though, this time, the destruction could be total. There is no target that the government has not got in its crosshairs or valid argument that manages to dodge the path of its missiles.
Here are just a few of these recent attacks:
1) The criminalization of protest of any kind, from those demanding workers’ rights (the case of the workers on the eastern banks of Lake Maracaibo, Zulia state, and of the workers of the basic industries in Bolívar state) to those who clamor for the proper provision of public services to those who defend public areas that they are entitled to by law, such as the inhabitants of Curiepe, Caucagua, and El Clavo in the area of Barlovento.
2) The rushing through of an Electoral Law to align it with Chávez’s hegemonic project, which not only wipes out proportional representation in legislative bodies but will also allow the regime to reorganize constituencies to suit, among numerous other illegalities.
3) A proposal by the Attorney General of the Republic to enact a “media crimes” law, which, if passed, will mean that it will be impossible to broadcast this editorial on any radio station or publish it in any written medium. It will also lighten the work load of the courts as they will no longer have to invent administrative or criminal charges to put journalists in jail (as they did last Thursday to the journalist Gustavo Azócar) or to submit media owners or directors to trial, as is happening to Guillermo Zuloaga of Globovisión.
4) The sudden closing down of 34 radio stations ordered by Conatel’s president, Diosdado Cabello, and the threat to shut down up to 206 more in the next few days without granting the owners the right to a proper defense. This attack on the media did away with five stations of the CNB circuit, which “happens” to belong to Nelson Belfort, the president of the Venezuelan Radio Chamber, besides being the station used to rebroadcast countrywide Globovisión’s anchor program, Aló Ciudadano, one of the information programs with a high rating that gets on the government’s nerves
5) Wearing his other cap, as Minister of Public Works and Housing, Cabello also commanded the handing over of nearly 50% of the country’s port facilities to a Venezuelan-Cuban company.
6) Lastly, for now, this Monday, Commerce Minister Eduardo Samán “temporarily” took control of the coffee companiesCafé Fama de América and Café Madrid, with the invalid excuse that they had apparently incurred in “monopolistic practices and/or abuses of their dominant position in the market,” which supposedly has caused coffee to disappear from store shelves. The fact is that, owing to the government’s bad policy for the coffee sector, production in 2009 will be the lowest in 20 years.
Unfortunately, the voices of democratic society raised against these redoubled attacks by the government are disperse, some protecting their own particular bailiwick, others crouching in the trenches hoping to emerge unscathed from this Bolivarian wave of destruction, and yet others waiting for the next elections to see whether, with a bit of luck, they manage to win some laurels.
Meanwhile, the government is encountering no obstacles as it closes the doors to the democratic coexistence of the Venezuelan people.
Note: At the time of going to press, information was received that violent groups of bikers armed with guns and teargas and commanded by government leader Lina Ron were attacking the headquarters of Globovisión. This is a sign that the government is apparently activating its shock troops that brought it such high political dividends in April 2002.
VenEconomy has been a Venezuela's leading specialized publisher on financial, political and economic data since 1982. VenEconomy's Points of View on the issues of the day, as seen by VenEconomy during the last week. Petroleumworld does not necessarily share these views.
Editor's Note: This commentary was originally published by VeneEconomy on 08/03/2009. Petroleumworld reprint this article in the interest of our readers .
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Petroleumworld News 08/04/09
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