Friday, March 31, 2006

 

Political Apartheid in Venezuela: what did Chavez know and when did he know it? (Part II)

Originally published here
When, in a few years, or in a few decades, people think about the Chavista era, they would probably remember that this was the first regime that institutionalized intimidation and apartheid in Venezuela.

When the President is shown on TV reminding his viewers that if they sign for a Revocatory Referendum their names and ID numbers will be known, that is called intimidation. And later, when workers are fired or citizens are denied access to jobs, passports or ID’s because they signed, that is a state of political apartheid.

That had never happened before in Venezuela and it is probably the darkest political and social legacy of President Chavez and of any president of the so-called democratic era. I certainly hope that History remembers Chavez on that account.

Last year, upon hearing president Chavez ask his followers to bury the infamous “Tascon” fascist list, I wrote this ghost posting demanding that Chavez assumes his responsibility and that the country asks a single question:

“What did Chavez know and when did he know it?”

Almost a year has passed since that post, and nobody has asked let alone answered that question. There has been no investigation, nobody put on trial, no one, except some private newspapers to register the abuses that the state of political apartheid has created in Venezuela.

However, in my view, two positive things have happened: the List has no longer been referred as the “Tascon list” and the documentary called “The list” has been created.

Referring to the list as Tascon’s, was a way to minimize the importance of the political blacklisting. A way to overlook the fact that the political apartheid system was instaured well beyond the petty views of a member of the National Assembly with fascist tendencies. We, Venezuelans, are happy people that do not take ourselves or our governments too seriously, so talking about the list as a local colorful issue probably helped us escape the reality that this was a serious matter that could change forever our everyday lives.

So when the Tascon list becomes “la Lista” we, as Venezuelans, are giving a step forward towards questioning the state of our civil liberties and questioning a State that submits its citizens to a systematic apartheid. Remarkably, this consciousness has happened in less than a year, which was also a year of high oil prices that greatly improved the economy of the country.

Today, I watched the short version of La Lista that appeared in Tal Cual multimedia and that you can see here.

I am not going to repeat what Daniel and Miguel have already written about that film, all I am going to tell you is that you should watch it and see that the country is little by little increasing its civic and political awareness.

Ironically, despite the depressing subject, I was more optimistic after watching it. I said to myself that maybe sooner than expected Venezuelans will ask and even question the government with my original question.

What did Chavez know and when did he know it?

Jorge Arena
Distinguished ghost blogger
http://arenaspace.blogspot.com
http://chavezfortheun.blogspot.com





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