viernes, 26 de marzo de 2010

It's enough

I wrote this post so many times. Four times to be exact. When I finally wrote the final draft, I was at the office and I can’t post from there. And then, when I came back home, ready to publish my final draft, I realize it was useless, because another event related to the post I had planned erupt; and I couldn’t leave it out. The truth is that, as I write this, at least two people have been detained for speaking in public against the president Chavez and its government. That’s something I have done at least 152 times – one for each entry of this blog – 153 times; counting this one. Of course, I’m not nearly as visible as the couple of victims I’m talking about.

One of them is Oswaldo Álvarez Paz. He’s just one of those guys that every Venezuelan knows who he is: long term committed politician; first governor of the powerful, oil filled Zulia State when I was a kid… No one ever imagine that he some day would be where he is: expecting possible a 16 year long sentence. He spoke on Globovision, the only opposition TV Channel that is left now, saying what everybody says: that Chavez has vinculums with FARC, and ETA and Narcos. He didn’t discover America in a glass of water, a Spain judge already said it and the news were across the globe. But he’s now accused of spreading false information and conspiracy; among other ridiculous political charges. Just because. He’s behind bars now, waiting for a trial.

The second is case is even more outrageous. Guillermo Zuloaga, the president of Globovision, spoke at the SIP (Sociedad Interamericana de Prensa, Inter – American press Society). And his words, guess what, were also against the regime. If memory doesn’t fails, he said that Chavez might had legitimacy in his origins, because he was elected as president with a majority of votes; but ever since then he’s dedicated to rule only for some Venezuelans and not for all. He said other things, if you speak Spanish read what he said here, I’ll translate it later. He was later released by the court, but have many restrictions and charges against him. What it’s really outrageous about his case is that he made those statements outside Venezuela, in Aruba where the SIP meeting was held. Our justice system only answers for what happens in our territory and have no jurisdiction for what happens outside (If I’m not mistaken).

We have already a third case in the making. A deputee has been also detained under suspicious circumstances.

I don’t really know how to say. To write almost four different posts about the subject for then publishing neither of them, is enough signal that I can’t find the write words.

First I’m shocked. It’s obvious there is no such thing as “free speech” in Venezuela. Gustavo Azócar, a famous journalist, its in jail; Patricia Poleo – another journalist – its exiled. And like them, many others. The government has closed one opposition TV Channel and as many radio stations as he could. They launched several years ago, a law that really restricts free speech under the excuse of “non suitable content for kids”; among other things. The government owns at least 5 major TV Channels and the rest, except for Globo, are not government critics. We are all aware of that. But from there, to detain a politician or an entrepreneur just because they said something against the government; it’s a whole new level. It’s when you say “this is too much”.

This is when you say: It’s enough. Really, it’s enough.

Second, I’m afraid. When the whole “Zuloaga” issue was developing, the vice president of Globovision spoke with a CNN journalist about it. At the end of the interview, the CNN journalist farewell the woman (Globo- vicepresident) saying something like “We’ll be following Zuloaga’ case, so we’ll probably call you again; if of course, you don’t end up being imprisoned for what you just said here”. She raised an eyebrow. It was priceless.

What this reporter really meant is that it could be anyone. It could her. It could any of the politicians, PhD’s, community leaders, students; anyone who makes a public statement on TV or at an international meeting every day. And why not a blogger? It could be Daniel. Or Miguel. Or me. Because a blog it’s also public. And we are not speaking well of the government’ that’s for sure.

This is on a big extent, work of our infamous general prosecutor. I wrote about her not so long ago. And I still think the same of that woman: she scares the hell out of me. She’s capable to do anything, to show Chavez her true revolutionary character. She doesn’t hesitate like the rest; she doesn’t believe there is a limit. She just twists the law, find terrific charges and it’s done.

Third, I’m embarrassed. First because it took me so long to speak on this blog about and I feel that it is my responsibility to do so. Second, because besides publishing this, I’m not doing anything else to stop this absolute madness. I haven’t even heard of any street protest, not even a comfortable cacerolazo, nothing yet. I’m ashamed of living in a country when these things can happen. And they are now in the media but soon, just like anything else that had happen under this revolution, it will be considered normal.

I wish I had smarter and stronger words to speak about this, to make a statement, to show my support and my solidarity to any actual or potential victim of this move. But the best I can come up with is that I’m embarrassed.

Fourth and last, I have hopes. I can’t explain why really but I don’t feel like other times, lying in my bed or complaining non sense with my boyfriend about the end of our world. I don’t feel defeated. I should but I just don’t. If the government is taking such extreme move; it must be for a reason. They are behaving like someone who is inside a very bad relationship, when instead of trying to save it, they start liking other people or treating the significant other worse, or showing non sense begs for attention. They seem desperate. And maybe the upcoming elections on September give us the answer. Maybe they won’t. But it is that possibility what keep us standing.

PS 1: I'm going to ask my readers a favor. Please consider that I don't do that very often. I think this situation is so serious that everyone should know it, no matter where in the world they are. So spread the news. If you have a blog, publish something this. If you don't, e-mail this post or some information to your contact. If you feel lazy about sending an email put something in your Twitter or in your Facebook status - it can be "People are going to jail in Venezuela just for speaking their minds" - Well, I can't come up with a good line... I trust you will. If Internet doesn't appeal to you, talk with the ones you know about it. To your family and co-workers. Make people aware that this is no socialist heaven.

PS 2: This can help you with the favor I'm asking. I'm giving you a short list of links of what other Venezuelan bloggers in English have said about this. This blog is for getting views, thoughts, feelings, personal anecdotes but not for accurate information. However, these links can give you that.
1. Daniel at "Venezuela news and views" has already four post on the topic. Read his post about Oswaldo's case and a conclusive piece "Chavez seeks open conflict"
2. Caracas Chronicles its also covering all. Their latest post titled "But... what did he say?" about Zuloaga, couldn't be more eloquent.
3. Check also Miguel at Devil's Excrement his post included borrowed cartoons that speak volumes.

PS 3: The brilliant image I used for this post was taken from this site: http://unadulteratedtruth.files.wordpress.com/2009/07/no_free_speech.jpg - No copyright infringement intended.

6 comentarios:

  1. Julia,
    Don't worry; we've all been there (with regards to not wanting to speak out for fear of what could happen). Though our current situation here is not as bad as Venezuela's, there was enough concern about my fourth most recent post that I almost did not publish it. It took a very close friend of mine to convince me to publish; I was very afraid of what would happen if I did publish it.
    The reason they're taking such extreme measures is because they hope to cower you all into silence. It may not look pretty or be much solace but remember, "During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act." That was George Orwell for you.
    Like my friend told me, "As long as you have free speech, use it. What's going to happen when they have total, utter, control and you didn't speak out when you had the chance?" I agree, it does not exist in Venezuela anymore. However, you still can use your blog to express your thoughts. Entonces, dale! ¡Un abrazo!

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  2. Julia,
    It’s good to see this post after this past month. To “speak up” may seem dangerous at times, however to “sit by and say nothing” is more dangerous because you give power to them with your silence and it only gets worse. You speak for thousands of others.
    Jim

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  3. Dear Julia,
    I have just read your Blog for the first time. A friend sent me the Address from Curacao. I was greatly impressed by your courage and devotion. I hope that you do not give up to fight for real freedom. My wife and I (German Citizens) live on a Sailboat and visited your beautiful country ervery year since 1994. Meanwhile the situation has become unbearable and dangerous to travel near your shores because of piracy. But here I am mumbling about our situation where things are much worse for you. Socialism has not worked anywhere in the world, East Germany was a socialist Country and it did not work out. We sincerely hope for a change of leadership in Venezuela and our thoughts are with the many good people we have met there. You all deserve better! We will always remember the hospitality granted to us by your people. Keep up your good work and don´t let them intimidate you. Our best wishes for you and your family as well as all the good people of Venezuela.
    Horst and Eva B.

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  4. Jim. I did hesitate on writting this, and you must still consider that unfortunately this blog has some self-sensorship. But I do have a very strong inner desire to leave a record of all this.

    Horst and Eva. Thanks for your encouraging letter. It is sad that you and many cannot longer visit my country, it make us feel us Venezuelan a bit more lonely and disconnected. Socialism doesn't work. Authoritarianism disguised with a socialist ideal even less.

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  5. Julia, thanks so much for ur post. Each week i pass by ur blog to see if u have published something new, because u wright in a really nice way, expressing ur feelings. Keep up the good work because u are doing very good. I will pass ur blog to as many people.
    Ten mucha fé porque ariba ay un dios que nunce se olvida de nosotros. Te deseo mil bendicion a ti y a todos tus seres quieridos.

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  6. Andrea, a los tuyos también!!

    Gracias por pasar, leer, comentar y difundir.

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