Dictatorship And Terror Come To Venezuala

Now that Hugo Chavez has closed yet another independent source of news in Venezuela, the true nature of his regime is being revealed:

CARACAS (AFP) – President Hugo Chavez’s clampdown on opposition television stations widened Monday as police used rubber bullets and tear gas on demonstrators protesting what they called an attack on free speech.

(…)

After 54 years on the air, RCTV went dark at midnight Sunday after the government refused to renew its license. It was promptly replaced by TVes, a state-backed station which began broadcasting cultural shows.

On Monday several people were injured as police in Caracas fired rubber bullets and tear gas to put down a demonstration against the RCTV shutdown, following the fifth straight day of protests.

A policeman’s leg was broken in the fracas, a police official said.

(…)

One of the country’s leading dailies, El Nacional, denounced it as “end of pluralism in Venezuela,” and slammed the government’s growing “information monopoly.”

The archbishop of the city of Merida, Baltasar Porras Cardoso, compared Chavez to Hitler, Mussolini and Cuban leader
Fidel Castro — who is a close friend of the left-wing Venezuelan president.

“This is the first time in eight years (of Chavez as president) that the university students hold a massive protest,” said Leopoldo Lopez, an opposition leader and neighborhood mayor.

Does this mean that the people of Venezuela are finally beginning to realize that there is a monster in charge of their country ? One can only hope the answer to that question is yes.

H/T: Outside The Beltway

  • http://www.pubcrawler.blogspot.com/ tkc

    Is anyone suprised by this?

  • Dave

    Are you out of your mind? RCTV participated in an attempted coup of Chavez (the DEMOCRATICALLY ELECTED LEADER), and refused to report when Chavez was reinstated (they showed ‘Pretty Woman’ instead). This was in 2002, and FIVE YEARS LATER, when their license expired, it was not renewed. What a monster! He’s WORSE than Hitler.

  • http://thelibertypapers.org/2005/11/22/a-bit-about-kevin/ Kevin

    Dave,

    I don’t give a shit if Chavez was “democratically elected” or not. RCTV has the right to broadcast whatever it wants and Chavez is a thug for trying to silence their right to free speech.

  • http://hathor-sekhmet.blogspot.com VRB

    I am curious to know what Venezuela was like for Chavez to be democratically elected. I admit I had not followed any of what has happen in Venezuela in the past ten years and other more horrible acts have occurred across the world have held my attention. But I didn’t understand the special attention that Chavez has gotten, since South and Central America has had it share of despots, no matter the political stripe. This is not the first decent in to hell that we have observed or is it observed here and other blogs like this, because he’s not a despot that is allowing business to have their reign? It seem like right and wrong just doesn’t matter if your despot agrees with your political theory. For example thinking that Batista was somehow better than Castro. His political enemies didn’t fare any better, but somehow people forget. A lot of people looked to Castro for a simple thing; that you didn’t have to be the right color to prosper. Have you ever heard the saying, “been down so long, looks like up to me.” When you have those kind of people voting, you may not get the proper government, anything appears better than what was there before. The issues of liberty, look very different than you or I would see it.

  • Alejandro

    I’m Venezuelan and, though I grew up in the States, visited family in Caracas almost every year throughout the Nineties and at the turn of the century for weeks and months at a time. I remembe what it was like when Chavez was elected the first time. The fact is that, as a socialist candidate, he was extremely popular with the poor and lower classes. Venezuela used to be a prosperous nation, but decades of political corruption ruined that. When Chavez was elected, people expected, and many wanted, radical change. As with any socialist president, the middle and upper classes opposed him (note the growing number of middle and upper class Venezuelans leaving the country, my family being just a few) because they new that it would be just a short time before their funds were redistributed by the government.
    The reason there is so much focus on Chavez is because of two reasons: 1)his open allegiance and admiration of Castro and 2)the big political bird he’s flipped to the U.S. since his first day in office. Chavez is good and bad. Clearly he’s bad for all the reasons put forth in this article. But he has done wonders for the self-esteem and national pride of Venezuela. He’s taken the country out of the World Bank and has sent thousands of poor Venezulans on government-paid vacations to Cuba. There is a reason the poor love him, because when there is only one social class, no one is poor.
    Now, do the ends justify the means? No, especially when freedom of speech is at stake. At first, Chavez’s extreme measures where necessary because of the extreme pro-American, anti-Chavez mentality in the country. Now it seems like he’s drunk with power and fallen into the same cycle that has plagued other politicians for so many years.
    Bottom line, Venezuela controls the Western hemisphere’s largest oil reserve, and something needs to be done about his violation of civil libreties (diplomatically, not by force) before it gets really out of hand. A coup will not work, but a non-U.S. led world backlash could. My only fear is that it might be too late.

  • http://unrepentantindividual.com/ Brad Warbiany

    VRB,

    You know why I’m interested in it? Because it makes for a great example. As Alejandro points out in the above comment:

    At first, Chavez’s extreme measures where necessary because of the extreme pro-American, anti-Chavez mentality in the country. Now it seems like he’s drunk with power and fallen into the same cycle that has plagued other politicians for so many years.

    The ruling class of Venezuela screwed everyone over. So as you pointed out, socialism seemed like a great way to get back at the oligarchs. But now we’re seeing the slow slide that all socialist regimes undergo, as it eats out the core of the economy, and eventually ends in widespread poverty and oppression.

    My hope is that eventually people will see the folly. Venezuela is at that transition point, as you can actually watch a society crumble. Zimbabwe and Cuba are already gone. Ecuador may be in line after Venezuela, and it’s a place I’m watching to start covering the happenings there a bit more. But maybe, just maybe, if enough people pay attention they won’t fall into the trap in the future.

  • tarran

    VRB, a couple of points:

    It is quite apparent that as brutal as Batista was, he was far less brutal than Castro. Many Cubans who participated in the overthrow of Batista felt betrayed when Castro effectively hijacked their popular revolution to create a communist state run according to his whims. In fact, Castro faced a long-running revolt in the Central Highlands from peasant farmers opposed to the forced collectivization of farms.

    You make a good point, when people are systematically robbed and looted, it is natural that they want to take revenge on those who victimized them. Socialism is attractive because it promises just that, in that it promises to redistribute wealth more uniformly.

    Of course, when one does this, it has two effects.

    1) Producers, whose production is being hijacked, reduce production; why expend all that effeort for nothing?

    2) The redistributed wealth does not really add substantially to people’s well being. If 1% of the population controls 90% of the wealth, the best that once can do is to improve the lot of the remaining 99% tenfold. However, most wealth cannot be divied up. Try splitting a luxury yacht or a mansion, for example. Th enet effect is that the poor are generally twice as better off as before, althoguh that means that they are still dirt-poor and living in squalor.

    The problem with socialism is quite simple. It cannot produce consumer goods that meets peoples needs. By attempting to free people from the tyranny of prices, they sabotage the only effective signal an economy has of what goods re scarce, and which goods are abundant. The more throguoughly centralized an economy the less efficiently does it allocate resources.

    Many of the problems of colonialism and imperialism can be traced to the fact that the poor were systematically deprived of human rights by the ruling elites. They could be killed on a whim. Their property could be taken away etc. The solution to this problem is to restructure society so that the courts respect the property rights of an Indian as much as those of someone with purely Spanish blood.

    One does not need to redistribute anything: the energetic productive members of all social classes will accumulate wealth, while the less productive ones do not. In the meantime the added incentive to produce ensures that more goods and services will flood the market, ensuring a rising standard of living for all.

  • http://hathor-sekhmet.blogspot.com VRB

    Brad,
    What you see looking down is not the same as looking up. This discussion here doesn’t really effect those people who would have to affect change.
    My memory may be faulty, but the US has had opportunities to make a difference at crucial moments. It seems that we always preferred the oligarchies. There was a window in which Castro may have been influenced by the US, but our allegiance was with the old regime, and no way was sought to deal with a Marxist. I can’t see any lessons learned here.
    For years no one cared about what happen in the Caribbean, South and Central America or any sub-Saharan countries of Africa. Even when destruction was in plain sight.

  • tarran

    VRB,

    My memory may be faulty, but the US has had opportunities to make a difference at crucial moments. It seems that we always preferred the oligarchies. There was a window in which Castro may have been influenced by the US, but our allegiance was with the old regime, and no way was sought to deal with a Marxist. I can’t see any lessons learned here.

    What do you mean “we”?

    The oligarchs who man the offices of the United states government preferred Batista. Frankly most of the citizenry had no preference one way or the other.

    Please don’t confuse “us” with the government. The government is not the people, and in fact often acts in ways that are harmful to us. The U.S. government’s attack on the Iranian government in 1953 leaps to mind, and the support they gave to the Shah, then Saddam Hussein is the primary reason why so many Shiites hate us.

  • http://hathor-sekhmet.blogspot.com VRB

    tarran,
    I still use “he” or “his” when referring to “man” in the human context. I don’t use “they” in the context of the US, only for other countries. “We” doesn’t have any meaning more than a pronoun.

  • tarran

    Uhmm… You can’t just strip words of their meaning and expect to be understood.

    We is the first-person plural. If I said we watched a movie, it means that a group of people including myself watched a movie. When you say “we prefer oligarchs” you are including youself in the group of people preferring oligarchs. In certain contexts you are even including the listener in the group of people preferring oligarchs.

    Since neither Brad, you or I prefer oligarchs, I think “we” is not the pronoun you want to be using.

    It is important to have some degree of precision in language.

  • http://hathor-sekhmet.blogspot.com VRB

    tarran,
    What pronoun would you use? I am not sure of the proper usuage, but I do think that “we” can stand for our government. I think it is the same as using “you” for one person and also a group of people. In the south we solved that problem by saying “y’all.” In this case I include myself. I think I might say “we’uns” to include myself:)

  • tarran

    Unless you are part of the government, the proper pronoun would be “they”, just as if you were talking about the actions of IBM, assuming you are not a shareholder or employee of the company.

  • http://unrepentantindividual.com/ Brad Warbiany

    My memory may be faulty, but the US has had opportunities to make a difference at crucial moments. It seems that we always preferred the oligarchies. There was a window in which Castro may have been influenced by the US, but our allegiance was with the old regime, and no way was sought to deal with a Marxist.

    As tarran points out, I’m not a part of that “we” either. The US Government has been stealing from me ever since I started working, and about 95% of what they do I wouldn’t support by choice. If you’re trying to get me to defend the US Government for propping up friendly puppet regimes and oligarchs, you’re not going to get it. I don’t defend them.

    Nor am I suggesting the US should topple the regimes of Castro & Chavez by force. In fact, I think the US should end the embargo of Cuba. Allowing American trade dollars to flow in there will do a better job of helping the Cuban people than the nation’s 40-year failed policy of ending Castro’s regime.

    The US Government doesn’t have a spotless record. In fact, for a supposedly “free” country, we’ve got quite a few blemishes on that record. I don’t support the oligarch’s that our government has supported in the past, nor do I support the socialist tyrants the government opposes now.