01 April 2010

Freedom Arrested in Venezuela

"The arrest of Oswaldo Álvarez Paz, a former president of Venezuela’s Chamber of Deputies, governor of the Venezuelan state of Zulia, and presidential candidate, should concern the entire world . . .

The seeming trigger for Álvarez Paz’s arrest appears to have been his statements on “Aló Ciudadano” (“Hello Citizen”), a talk show broadcast by the private TV Channel Globovisión. Álvarez Paz commented on a resolution passed by the National Court of Spain (Audiencia Nacional de España) about alleged relations between the Venezuelan government, the Colombian guerilla group FARC, and the Spanish terrorist group ETA. Álvarez Paz rightly called for these allegations to be examined.

But, after simply calling for the law to be enforced and criminal activity investigated, Álvarez Paz was arrested on charges of conspiracy, spreading false information, and incitement of hatred. If convicted, he could be sentenced to up to 15 years in prison.

The arrest of Álvarez Paz is important evidence of the promiscuous abuse of the legal system by Chávez and his functionaries in order to persecute, intimidate, and silence those who criticize his government. It also corroborates reports published by international organizations and institutions like the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, Human Rights Watch, and Freedom House about the increasing deterioration of political liberties in Venezuela." ~
Václav Havel, et. al.



Blogger josean said...

I am really fed up with all the lies, manipulation and misrepresentation about Chavez in US and European media.

I keep reading the same preparatory lies they used to print about Arbenz, Allende etc. to ease the ground for the corresponding coup.

The Spanish judge who wrote the auto is a well known extremist, and it is just a preparatory text pursuing to an investigation, neither a sentence or an idictment and the facts it's refering to are so old that responsability for them should be attributed to Spains former prime minister Felipe González or Venezuela's ex president Rafael Caldera.

Alvarez Paz did not ask for an investigation. He literally accused Chaved of being an accomplice to the terrorists and a criminal. In Spain, from where I am writing you, accusing falsely somebody of a crime is in itself a crime. If Alvarez Paz is guilty of something is not decided by Chavez, but by a tribunal. There is a court of appeal, as in the US. In fact, as it happens in the US or Spain, Alvarez Paz was arrested by a tribunal, not by the government.

Freedom of expression is not endangered in Venezuela, I read venezuelan media regularly and they criticise, insult and print really wild satire about Chavez daily.

Whenever judging what happens there, please bear in mind who owns the media you are reading and what they respond to.

I would reccomend you a documentary, La revolucion no sera televisada, coproduced by Spain's TVE. The crew was witness of the coup against Chavez, they were inside the presidential palace. You'll watch the main presenters and executives of RCTV (the tv chain that was "closed" by Chavez) congratulating themselves for the success of the coup and explainig how they organised it.

Unfortunately for them, the coup failed a few hours later.

What would happen in a similar situation in the US? Imagine a tv station organises a coup and fails, wouldn't the organisers be sentenced to death for betrayal and the station closed forever????

I think Chavez is far from perfect, but clearly a much better president than any of his predecessors. Freedom of expression has never been so respected in Venezuela, and now even the poor and those who are not exactly akin to the system have a chance of transmitting their views. Of course, Chavez is not part of the elite who ruled mercilessly the country for centuries and own the media, and it shows.

If you want a fair evaluation of

05 April, 2010 07:17  

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