E D I T O R I A L and O P I N I O N

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CRIMINAL JUSTICE INTERNATIONAL ASSOCIATES

12/29/2010

HUGO CHAVEZ’S DECEPTIVE DOUBLE STANDARD

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Very little consternation results these days when the leftist leader of Venezuela, Hugo Chavez, opens his less than obsequious and non-stately mouth to spew what he may believe is something rational that people wish to hear. His crude political demeanor and actions often appear to coincide with his flawed communicative ability. Chavez’s strong-arming of the nation’s populace, as well as his threats and intimidation of virtually all that disagree or have contrary opinions, may actually take a backseat to his preference for deceit via double standard. Simply put, without a good reason for having said differences with others, he adheres to a set of principles containing different provisions for one group of people than for another. Chavez’s morally unfair and biased rhetoric violates the principle of justice known as impartiality. These acts, at a minimum, clearly show that Venezuelans do not stand equal before the law. His hypocrisy shows no limitations that are easily discernable. The evidence and recent graphic example of his buffoonish-like foibles is in his rejection of Washington’s nominee for U.S. Ambassador to Venezuela- Larry Palmer. 'Wherever you see a North American ambassador, you see a conspirator, an intriguer, a spy, and all those who work with him,' Chavez said. 'So raise a coffee from me and toast Senor Palmer. Bye bye!' he added, saluting the camera. Actually, although Chavez sees CIA everywhere, including his soup- and quick to blame CIA even for bad weather; the US is his favorite target and scapegoat for all that does not go his way. The “US is going to invade us-” a familiar cry. Much of these “the sky is falling” rants is actually borrowed from his mentor Fidel Castro of Cuba who reminds one of the elementary school tattletale who is always warning to keep everyone in their place. This modus operandi has been used frequently these days also by Bolivia’s Evo Morales; Ecuador’s Rafael Correa; and Nicaragua’s Daniel Ortega. Chavez’s thought process was once again failing him on Ambassador Palmer as he toasted and sipped his very strong coffee. He had just previously told the world in a

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12/29/2010

televised speech that Palmer would not be allowed to take up his post because the diplomat “has been critical of Caracas.” This was in reference to an alleged statement by Palmer to another US senator that morale was low in the Venezuelan military. Chavez deemed these words “disrespectful” against the people of Venezuela and their government. The truth probably lies more on the evidence obtained by Colombia of Chavez’s government “clear” links to Colombian insurgent groups deemed “terrorists” by the U.S. State Department, and US concern about Colombian rebels finding safe refuge in Venezuela, as well as drug trafficking concerns. President Chavez says he has told Foreign Minister Nicolas Maduro to detain Palmer if he tries to enter Venezuela. Allegations against these leftist led governments allegedly involved in drug trafficking and/or facilitation of rebel movement, always seem to ignite a few major drug arrests and seizures in Bolivia, Venezuela, Ecuador, and Nicaragua after very long and apparent drug droughts. Truth and irony come into focus when the words and facts are on the table for all to see. This is obviously not something a liar wishes to happen. The only way out for the deceitful manipulator is to simply lie his way out- blame the other guy. The facts are that Hugo Chavez does not like criticism or contrary opinion. From its inception, Chavez’s regime telegraphed its intentions to dominate the will of the Venezuelans. He quickly instituted a penal code that stated “anyone who offends with words, or in writing or in any way disrespects the President of the Republic, or whomever is fulfilling his duties, will be punished with six to 30 months in prison if the offense is serious, and half that if it is light.” Journalists who “expose another person to contempt or public hatred” can receive a prison sentence of one to three years. Incredibly, that code specifies that anyone charged with these crimes will not be entitled to legal due process. Let us examine the actual irony in Chavez’s own head. His idea of respect for sovereign land and elected officials appears to not exist for him while visiting foreign nations. On US soil at the U.N. General Assembly in New York, he spewed a tirade of insults at then President George W. Bush. He also called Bush the devil. “The devil came here yesterday. Right here ... it smells of sulfur still today." During his speech at the U.N. Chavez said, referring to Bush- “You are a donkey, Mr. Danger." He repeated this in Harlem at the Mount Olive Baptist Church. Chavez has continued to label remarks against Bush of “drunkard, genocidal assassin and coward.” Those attacks against Bush and Mexico’s then President Vicente Fox, continued on Argentina’s soil at the Summit of the Americas. President Obama has not escaped Chavez’s verbal wrath. With Chavez’s own set of personal standards and manner of disrespect for other nation’s leaders, he referred to Obama as an ignoramus. Too, he recently said his self-styled socialist revolution would remain in conflict with Washington "whether the chief of the empire is black or white." He also criticized Obama saying he carried "the stench" of his predecessor (Bush).
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Chavez’s tenure in power to date began with the undermining of civil and democratic institutions. Chavez virtually eliminated free expression in Venezuela years back, circumventing effective checks to arbitrary government via the media. The Chavez regime instigated violent verbal and physical attacks against the owners, editors, and employees of the media. Their buildings have been bombed, reporters killed and injured, and property destroyed by armed members of Venezuela’s security apparatchik. Prominent Venezuelan journalists have had their homes raided and been compelled to testify to Chavez government enforcers and police. This prompted the International Broadcasting Association, Inter American Press Association, and the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights of the Organization of American States to plead in vain to the government to protect freedom of the press. The President of Globovisión, Guillermo Zuloaga, became the latest victim of Chavez’s wrath against the last opposition television station remaining in Venezuela. Globovisión has often taken an antigovernment stance, and its broadcasts have been frequent targets of Chávez's instant attention. Venezuelans have previously witnessed this regime take control of the courts, military, police forces, budget, electoral council, and virtually every other branch of power, and controlled by the presidency. Obviously, abuse of power comes to mind. With these facts, is it not difficult to conceive that the opposition believes this is a desperate bid by a self-styled dictator to perpetuate a regime in the face of adversity. He is even seeking the control of further freedom of expression of the people via the Internet, as well as student’s rights. Looking at Chavez’s true and accurate record and tenure over Venezuela, and as one ponders Chavez’s “true” rationale for rejecting Ambassador Larry Palmer for the post in Venezuela- “he was critical of Caracas;” can Venezuelans truly believe that Chavez has done anything honorable for them? Let us hope that he has not made a mockery of the good Venezuelan people and subjected them unfairly and unjustly to world ridicule. -JERRY BREWER-

CRIMINAL JUSTICE INTERNATIONAL ASSOCIATES United States of America —————————— Jerry Brewer is C.E.O. of Criminal Justice International Associates (northern Virginia), a global risk mitigation firm. Website is located at www.cjiausa.org.

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