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The Tascon list: modern political apartheid in Venezuela

By Daniel Duquenal | Venezuela News and Views

18.04.05 | The other day Chavez announced that he wanted to stop the use of the Tascon list to screen people for government jobs, contracts and even such basic rights such as passports and ID cards. For those who are coming late to Venezuela, assemblyman had the idea to get the names of all of those who signed to ask for a Recall Election on Chavez, and use that for political purposes. That is, if your name appeared in that list you became automatically a second class citizen. That list, now removed, was published on the web page of the said Tascon.

Now, let's look at some of the implications of that Chavez announcement and detail some of the double standards and hypocrisy of the current regime, which has the knack on occasion to show itself in all of its moral misery.

The Tascon list

Some people deny the existence of the Tascon list, even if most who cared were able to consult their ID numbers as it appeared in the web page. I did and sure enough I was there. Even in this blog there used to be a regular visitor that denied its existence. I suppose that now that Chavez admitted the existence he stands corrected, among all the scores of hypocrites pretending that such a thing was impossible in the glorious bolivarian revolution. Thee fascinating double standard of these people made them refuse the existence of the list because "they had not seen it" while they were taking at face value any gross announcement of Chavez. I do tell you ...

The discriminatory aspect of the list were of course clear for all to understand, even if there was a refusal to admit its existence. The list was promptly distributed on CD and seen in many a ministry where it was extensively consulted when you were coming from anything from a passport application to a business permit. Of course the most interesting contradiction is that all of this was taking place just as chavismo pretended that the signatures were not in. They were in to refuse governmental mandatory services but they were not in to call for the election. The damage that this list has made to the institutional texture of Venezuelan society and institutions is only beginning to be appreciated.

The Chavez announcement

In a way this was quite extraordinary that now almost a year after the cursed referendum Chavez finally admits the existence of the list. Why so late? Is the Tal Cual campaign hurting? Just as the list keeps being used as recently as last week? Is he getting too much criticism from foreign governments? Is he using this announcement, now that he does not need that list as much to put pressure on the opposition, to distract from other Human Rights violations taking place in Venezuela? Or is it simply a way to settle accounts between chavista factions?

However one fails to be reassured by the announcement. Chavez claims he "forgot" about the matter and who signed against him, just as he is stepping up political prosecution against other opponents. He also adds, in an outmost moment of cynicism, that "Tascon made the list with good intentions". In other words we are absolutely certain that all who incurred civil rights violations for the last one year will not be pursued for their actions. And of course no words for the victims of this new political apartheid. The only thing that was lacking to the show was for Chavez to forgive his opponents ...

But the cherry on the cake came later as Tascon announced that his web page now will receive the denunciations of people victim of discrimination from the usage of the list. Surely giving a new meaning to the "Stockholm Syndrome"... With this, Luis Tascon earns the award of sleaziest and most cynic person of the semester. If there were any justice in Venezuela, Tascon should be facing dozens of court trials while, instead, the journalists that reported on his corrupt practices are the ones standing trial.

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