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Venezuela, where baseness of spirit resides

By Daniel Duquenal

The "Vile Moment of the Day Award" goes to President Chavez. While the body of Angel Ciro Pedreanez lays in state for burial tomorrow in Santa Barbara del Zulia (South of the state), Chavez gave yet a new cadena. Right around 7:30 PM, the medal ceremony that the state TV, VTV, was transmitting became a National forced broadcast, a cadena, on every single TV and radio station, when Chavez started his lengthy speech.

In about an hour we got an inkling of what is to come.

The ceremony was to pin medals on the National Guards that had been injured during the events of February March. That is, the people that followed orders to repress people, some of them probably injuring themselves by the excesses of tear gas bombs that they threw at the protesters, received a medal for doing their job (?) as it they were some war heroes. Every young soldier was called, the injury duly described, sometimes even morbidly, while he received his medal from the hands of the Great Leader himself. All were in military fatigues, as they seem to be all the time since February, one supposes to make believe that we are in a real war. A battalion was duly armored like beetles form Mars in the background.

Then Chavez spoke.

He criticized the media, in particular Venevision, for using the death of the soldier for political purposes. He said that the last declarations of the dead soldiers "might be" fake, indicating to the subservient judicial system what is his expected outcome for the investigation. He claimed that all was fine within the Army. He announced that the Army was in unison with the revolution and that it would fight the return of the old political factors. He congratulated them for their work during the February and March unrest. And he announced an increase in the military expenditures. The real message was very clear: the army is with me, you are with me, and get ready for more action, we are going to bust these guys; stay with me and you will do good; stay with me and you will be able to do whatever you want to do, I'll protect you.

Actually I think that I will grant Chavez the Award for Vile Moment of the Week, I doubt that anyone will match this performance by Sunday.

Now I have a very simple question. Could that ceremony could have been postponed by a couple of days? Naively I thought about that for a very few minutes. And then the answer was no. Actually the ceremony might have even be advanced for today! The Public Relation disaster is so bad that Chavez must attack mercilessly. He has to be his outmost rude, insensitive, cynic, vulgar, denigrating, liar if he wants to create some media shock to distract his followers from the fate of the burnt soldiers. He has to work overtime to avoid the armed forces from wondering about what is going on. He has to preach to all of them endlessly for the next few days to convince them again that he is their benevolent father. He has to bribe them all over again with gifts for the troop, and grafts for the higher up, though this of course will be done discretely. For all his talk of people-soldier revolutionary alliance, he has to find a way to convince them to close themselves from the civilian sector altogether. It will not be enough now to forbid, inside military quarters, broadcasting anything else but VTV; now he has to separate the armed forces from the country, to make them feel superior to civilians. On the way to a real dictatorship from the Army and the Army only.

To conclude I have another question, a not so simple question perhaps. How low is the Army willing to go?

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