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Venezuela: Chavez, Brazilian friends, is an impostor

Communiqué to Brazilian intellectuals*

Through news agencies we have learned that a group of Brazilian intellectuals has signed a document the intention of which is to back Hugo Chávez, in the face of the recall referendum that will take place next August 15th. This document, according to that same information, is headed by the phrase “If I was Venezuelan I would vote for Hugo Chávez” and according to the mentioned press report, one of the arguments used is “that the media has pretended to present as a tyrant a President that has been respectful of the Constitution and the laws”

Besides the sympathy that we feel for the fact that a group of Brazilians, some of them known internationally, state their public position with respect to a political event of our own, confirming our belief that the fate of our country is a matter of concern of all Latin Americans, we regret that such a positive interest is accompanied by an evident lack of information about who Hugo Chávez is in reality and about what has happened in Venezuela during his administration.

We could detail the innumerable abuses that the Government presided by Hugo Chávez has submitted all Venezuelans to, but we will highlight only two of them.

One of them has been Chávez’ dedication to divide Venezuela into two supposedly irreconcilable sides, blaming on those that oppose him the most obscure intentions and an anti democratic and “coupster” attitude, enemies of the achievements of a Bolivarian revolution that does not exist but in his own speeches. Such an attitude, was denounced many years ago in such a decisive way by Boris Pasternak when he said that humanity was not divided into two sides but only in bad literature, has made an enormous amount of damage to Venezuelan democracy, blocking the possibility of realizing one of the essential attributes of any democratic game, such as the equilibrium between the various sectors of society.

In fact, the process alone of holding a recall referendum forced the Venezuelan opposition to overcome all shorts of obstacles and tricks imposed by an electoral board controlled by the Government, among which the most notorious one was the arbitrary disqualification of hundreds of thousands of signatures and the imposition of the requisite of “ratifying” the signature for more than one million Venezuelans thanks to the invention of what was called “assisted signatures”, an openly lawless concept that had to be accepted by the opposition despite a decision against it by the Electoral Hall of the Venezuelan Supreme Court, a decision that was not acknowledged by the Constitutional Hall of that same Court, assigning itself attributes that according to the immense majority of Venezuelan lawyers is in violation of the Constitution. And we say that it had to be accepted by the opposition because the judicial path was shutdown by virtue of the polarization of justice in the highest Court of the Republic.

This polarization, which tips the will of a good portion of the Justices of our highest Court towards the conveniences of the Executive branch, but can still be blocked by a minority of current Justices that are not willing to sell their consciences, has led the party of the President, MVR, with a precarious majority in the National Assembly, to approve by simple majority a new Supreme Court Law that allows for the naming of new Justices using a procedure controlled by the official party with the unequivocal intention of totally controlling the highest instance of Justice in Venezuela. That is the second abuse we want to detail here.

That Bill has not only been denounced as unconstitutional by important figures in Venezuela, but it led an international organization like Human Rights Watch to cite it as an example that the independence of powers in Venezuela is dramatically compromised.

This panorama that we Venezuelans are living at these moments develops in a scenario of human rights violations, political assassinations for which no guilty party has ever been found, the creation of official armed brigades that use fascist procedures to intimidate voters and demonstrators, the existence of political prisoners in Venezuelan jails, the abusive exercise of presidential power forcing all TV stations in the country to broadcast his speeches to promote himself and his so-called Bolivarian revolution, the use of economic extortion against state Governors and mayors that do not back him, the destruction of the Venezuelan oil industry by the arbitrary firing of 18,000 professionals of the highest level, including the management team and the experts of its institute for technological development, the buying of votes giving out scholarships, donations and grants of all types, the intimidation of reporters, the uncontrolled corruption the main actors of which are friends of the regime and above all, like we mentioned at the beginning, the criminal division between Venezuelans. All of this added to a general impoverishment, with private investment dropping to historical levels, with a poverty level without precedent and an unemployment level, 22%, which is the highest in Latin America.

Is this what illustrious Brazilians like those that signed the mentioned manifest would defend if they were Venezuelans? We don’t believe it. What we do believe is that Chávez, putting in practice his conditions as an actor and seductor, sells abroad an image which is completely divorced from the realities of his track record as the President of our country.

Chávez is not Lula, because Lula is a man respectful of institutions, a man that has proven himself in political fights, that has known victory and defeat and that at the end of the day, knows that Brazil is a country where institutions articulate a responsible historical track record. Chávez is the reverse of a president like Lula, Chávez, Brazilian friends is a bad joke in the Latin American political process.

We invite you to inform yourself better. Not everyone that sings revolution is a revolutionary. That, besides the fact that revolutions in this century can not be the rhetorical revolutions of the Latin American past, but serious efforts to overcome the bottlenecks for growth in our countries. And Chávez is over all an obstacle for the development of a more genuine democracy, one that would really carry the great majority to exercise its historical destiny.

The perverse condition of Chávez as the highest authority of a country that has been trying to develop civilized political habits since more than a half century ago is not an invention of the media. His distorting figure of the liberalizing political options that we Latin-American citizens anxiously search, is a sad Venezuelan reality

Chávez, Brazilian friends, is an impostor

* Signed by Oscar Tenreiro, Simón Alberto Consalvi, Leonardo Azparren Giménez, Marco Negrón, Silvio Orta, Luís Carlos Palacios, Miriam Freilich, Elías Toro, Teodoro Petkoff, Mariela Stolk, Maruja Delfino, Guillermo Barrios, Henrique Vera Hernández, Enrique Larrañaga, Josefina Flórez.

Translated by Miguel Octavio

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