The long fight for freedom in Venezuela

In 1999 a former military coupster was sworn in as president in Venezuela: Hugo Chávez. He immediately set out to radically change things, dismounting the institutions, creating ad hoc armed organizations that only answered to him, and all the while spewing hatred on a select sub-sector of the country’s population: The middle class. He accused them of being the enemy of the state, and swore that they would never again have access to political power. Ever since, they have fought an up-hill battle to restore democracy.

In 2002, on April 11, they marched across the capital in a million-strong and totally peaceful march to the presidential palace. Chávez ordered the army to use military force against the demonstration, but they refused. He then had pre-positioned snipers shoot and kill over a dozen demonstrators, in the Puente Llaguno massacre, while ordering the TV to show him giving an improvised speech. The intention was of course to prevent them from showing the massacre, but they split the screen. On the left side was Chávez saying that all was calm, and on the right side the whole country could see the peaceful demonstrators falling to the ground in pools of blood. Of course he lost all legitimacy and had to resign.

Unfortunately for Venezuelan democracy, the world decided that what had just happened was a coup d’état. No recognition. This made it impossible to consolidate the new regime, and after three days a general brought Chávez back to the presidential palace. Lesson number one: Peaceful mass protests will not work.

Fast forward to 2004. A recall election was held August 15, after the required (large) number of signatures had been amassed. About 56% voted to recall Chávez, but the regime falsified the result and reported that only 41% had voted for a recall. The Carter Center and the US foreign department quickly assured that there had been no fraud. By now there have been over a half dozen peer-reviewed statistical analyzes concluding the same thing: The data was manipulated. There was something fishy going on. The opposition really won. Lesson number two: Elections will not work.

A later year the voters refrained from voting in disgust. The regime won a landslide. No international complaints, just criticizing the opposition for the boycott, “you have only got yourself to blame”. No mention of the fraud. Lesson number three: Boycotts will not work.

Ideas are running thin. The regime is deploying ever more thugs to suppress street protests. They are making the election fraud more and more bullet-proof. And the rest of the world has seemed not to notice or not to care. Foreign press is discussing the 2012 presidential election as if the polls were reliable. As if there was no fraud. It’s Kafkaesque.

But today, May 23, 2012, there will be held – for the very first time – a forum on election fraud in Venezuela. It is called “Foro Deficiencia e Irregularidades del Sistema Electoral” and will be held at 9 AM local time in the building of El Nacional, Caracas. It will be broadcast via twitcam by @votolimpio2012

The event has been met by a surprisingly large interest. I’ll get back with reports of how it went. Although it may appear that what happens in South America has no impact on Sweden and it’s historical neutrality, the fact is that neither is Sweden neutral any more, nor are the events in Venezuela irrelevant for what happens in Scandinavia. The Chávez regime is by far the largest cartel smuggling cocaine to Europe and Sweden. It is also the new terrorist Mecca, after Afghanistan. So although Swedes may be largely ignorant and uninterested in the fight for freedom in Venezuela, they would be wise to pay more attention.