An avalanche of arrests in Venezuela


Venezuela's fraudulent recall referendum lit the fuse. Then the nation's Marxist consolidation of power. After that, we watched the forced land confiscations and the beginnings of collective farms. We saw vast corruption, Colombia's dreaded narco—terrorists walking freely, and block—committee militarization of barrios. More ominously, we learned of Cuban secret police penetration through Venezuelan society, in full command of Caracas security organizations. And their unchecked power to force, without hearing, any Venezuelan to Havana to face Castro's "justice."
Now, there is the knock on the door at midnight. In other revolutions, this is called, 'The Terror.' In the past 24 hours in Venezuela, it has happened too.
Venezuela's government has just made a huge string of arrests across a wide swath of society, which unavoidably raises the question of coordination. It's the worst since the dictatorship of Hugo Chavez began in 1998. "And so dies freedom," wrote blogger Daniel.  Not one of these leading union leaders, journalists, opposition politicians, bankers or civic society activists has a chance in Chavez's stacked courts. Venezuelans are aghast. One more trap door has fallen under the feet of democracy. Chavez in his growing unpopularity is attempting to eliminate anyone who can potentially challenge him. Among this long list are:
Carlos Ortega,  Venezuela's Lech Walesa, who led the 2002—2003 oil strike defending oil workers;

Ignacio Salvatierra,  leading banker, on a "usury" charge, over indexed loans — the significance of which is explained in the fifth paragraph here;

Napoleon Bravo,  top television journalist, for his "victim guide" to the regime,  for "inciting hatred";

Enrique Mendoza,  opposition governor, credible potential challenger to Chavez, lost his seat in the Oct. 31 election fraud.
Others of recent note:
Patricia Poleo,  leading investigative journalist, for "illegal use of information" in exposing corruption (Venezuelan law permits use of anonymous sources);

Marta Colomina,  outspoken investigative journalist and commentator, fired under government pressure for criticizing the regime;

Tulio Alvarez,  leading constitutional lawyer, jailed for "slander" by exposing corruption in congress. Real crime: authoring the devastating report on fraud in Chavez's recall referendum;

Marina Corina Machado, Alejandro Plaz, Luis Enrique Palacios,  Sumate NGO leaders, for "treason," on acceptance of U.S. National Endowment for Democracy funding. Real crime: organizing the recall referendum, as specified in Venezuela's constitution.
This new wave of repression should be cause for real alarm. This is the descent of a totalitarian state 1500 miles from our shores.
A.M. Mora y Leon  03 02 05