"Dear Oscar, I just read, and enjoyed, your recent piece on US media depictions of Chavez and the state of Venezuela. However, I am concerned that you overstate the positive aspects of Venezuela's current state and thus do a disservice to your analysis ""
The article was not intended to be an analysis regarding the situation in Venezuela and was precisely intended to bring out some of the positive elements regarding Venezuela, elements which are far too often completely neglected by the North American media.
""I have watched, written on, and studied Venezuela for about three years and I think that an assessment of Chavez requires an extreme sense of balance. US media is a joke in this sense, with little to no coverage of Chavez' humanitarian missions and the democratic mechanisms in place. However, there are major problems with Chavez' administration, most notably civilian violence (homicide rates) and corruption""
It was only about 2-3% of murders that involved "innocent" people -- depending on one's point of view. Of that 2-3%, most had to do with resisting armed robbery.
Yes, there are some cases of truly innocent people getting murdered, as happened to someone I knew. There was some shooting going on outside at around 11 p.m., he opened the door to look outside, and he received a stray bullet in the head. If there is shooting going on outside (which happens sometimes in the shantytown where I live when in Caracas), I don't stick my head out to watch. Most people don't.
Although most of these assassinations are said to have something to do with revenge, nobody seems to know exactly why these mass assassinations really take place, but they often appear to involve officials such as police, National Guard and Colombian paramilitary.
Some people suspect, as I do, that these group assassinations are orchestrated by the US government for purposes of destabilizing Chavez' government. I would not doubt it since I personally knew one National Guard assassin-for-hire (a complete psychopath) who worked for Colombian paramilitaries, and as most people in the region know, Colombian paramilitaries (like the "former AUC) work for the Colombian elite (large land owners and drug traffickers), some of which are also top-level government people and well-known politicians (such as Uribe, Colombia's President), who in turn work with the US government (and its assassins) through Plan Colombia. In the region where I live, we sometimes hear of posted signs, apparently written by the Black Eagles (Aguilas Negras), threatening to assassinate people. Here are some interesting links:
""Though elections are both fair and common in Venezuela, Chavez has undoubtedly taken measures to undermine their results at times. Most notably was his reaction to the election of an opposition Mayor in Caracas. His creation of a police force above the Mayor's was a rather blunt expression of power""
I don't know exactly what the letter-writer is referring to. How exactly did Chavez undermine the election of an opposition person? As far as I know, that opposition person is still there as Metropolitan Mayor of Caracas, Antonio Ledezma. I don't know about the police force which the writer is referring to, but if such is the case, I don't see how it relates to undermining an opposition Mayor or using blunt expression of power.
For the last several years, the Venezuelan government has been in the process of revamping its police forces, its military and its National Guard due to out-of-control corruption and anarchy. I know some of the people who do corruption (in the National Guard) and I also met someone who heads some of the infiltration teams (teams which infiltrate the police to gather evidence against corrupt officers).
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