"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.
Labels: Václav Havel