Arson in Venezuela excuse for crackdown

Update 2011-01-10 07:20 ET: As expected, Hugo Chávez, the elected president turned dictator of Venezuela, accused the “opposition” and “bourgeoisie” of having set the fire, and vowed that in response, the land confiscations (i.e., what he calls “expropriations” in his communist newspeak) would intensify. Yesterday the military and civilians were in standoff at three farms all day. Today AP published an article about the fire, completely swallowing the castro-communist propaganda (the situation room in Miraflores, their equivalent to the White House, is staffed by Cubans under the command of the vice president of Cuba, commander Valdes, a revolutionary who fought in the revolution with the Castro brothers). AP wrote that the opposition had no immediate comments. That is a patent lie, since they have commented all day yesterday as anybody with access to Twitter can testify. This suggests that AP is not neutral, just as it was not neutral when president Zelaya was legally deposed in Honduras in 2009. To their excuse, their reporter writes from Caracas, and due to media censorship he may not be fully aware of what is going on or how biased his access to information is. But anyone can ask himself, who has most to win on this fire? The farmers, whose legal claims went up in smoke, or the government who wants to confiscate their lands with a semblance of legality?

The INTI offices in Sta Barbara went up in flames.
The INTI offices in Sta Barbara went up in flames.

Original text 2011-01-08: At 3 AM today the offices of the agricultural authority INTI in Sta Barbara, western Venezuela, were set on fire. One woman was inside by could be saved. The recent confiscations of farms in the state of Zulia were coordinated from that office.

The confiscations led to massive demonstrations, roadblocks with hundreds if not thousands of parked vehicles on the highway, to prevent the government’s to arrive with the tanks they sent to enforce the confiscations. At first sight it might therefore appear that the arson was made by angry citizens.

With near certainty I would say that is not the case. Nobody has anything to win on this except the government. Ignoring the fact that important documents went up in smoke, documents that can show who is the real owner of farms, also the political effect is squarely benefitting the dictatorial government. Remember the Reichtag fire?

For background see posts on this blog from Dec 18, 2010, and forward.

The original story above was published 2011-01-09 09:19 ET. UPDATE 11:28 ET: General Angel Vivas tweeted from Venezuela that it seems to be chavistas who set the fire. Here is a Youtube video of events that took place at that office the past couple of weeks, when the farmers demanded justice, that their farms, their houses, their homes should be returned to them. All the documents that were filed were presumably consumed in the fire.

Update 13:50 ET: The fire occurred at 06:30 local time (06:00 ET). All documents that were destroyed have backups according to the minister of agriculture.

Everything inside was burned to ashes.
Everything inside was burned to ashes.

Link: Foreign Affairs on Venezuela

Wikileaked cable reveals USA ignorant

The USAmerican ambassador to Honduras, Hugo Llorens, wrote a cable on June 19, 9 days before the president of the country, Manuel Zelaya, was arrested by the military on orders of the Supreme Court, reports Le Monde. There had been rumors of a military coup, but on that morning he had breakfast with the head of the military General Romeo Vazquez Velasquez, and the head of the army, General Miguel Garcia Padgett, who both assured him that the military would not depose the president to install a junta. They said it was just a rumor circulated behind closed doors to put pressure on the politicians. The ambassador also reported that they would not act without the knowledge of the US, and concluded that the military “do not have the least intention to attack the legitimate government” (reverse translated from French).

When the president was arrested by the military at dawn on June 28, Llorens – one might guess from his cable communication – did not know that the Supreme Court had issued an arrest warrant for the president. Based on this previous communication, one may therefore suspect that the ambassador felt betrayed, thinking that they had done a coup d’État nine days after promising that they would not do it, not knowing or understanding that in spite of it appearing to be a coup, it was not a coup.

However, there is a problem with this interpretation: A persistent rumor that Llorens knew about the arrest order in advance. From the cables it appears he did not.

There is one way in which these different facts can be reconciled. The generals did not, in Llorens’s words as translated by Le Monde, say that they necessarily would inform him personally. Just his country. There is a US air base in Honduras, and Marines train there. Given the close contacts it is beyond likely that at least some of them would have known. Thus, the generals did not lie to the ambassador.

Furthermore, the military of Honduras never attacked “the legitimate government”, the legitimate government being the Congress and the Supreme Court. Furthermore, they did not “attack” the president, they arrested him on orders of the Supreme Court (and then they set him free abroad rather than hold him). So the generals kept their word quite literally on that point, too.

What should be of concern, though, is the ambassador’s words that Zelaya is not an ideologue, thinking that USA can manipulate him. That is either ignorant, or misleading. Zelaya was bought by South American interests, most likely Hugo Chávez, already in his election campaign. This bribery continued with the so-called ALBA “loans”, in a process that in most every country would have made the president guilty of high treason. Furthermore, he said explicitly that he obeyed Chávez second only to God (“Después de Dios, ¡Chávez!”). If Llorens was ignorant about this, it is not good. If he is protecting Zelaya (or someone else), it is even less good.

Having seen now what Chávez did once his democratic cover was blown, introducing a full-blown dictatorship by similar methods as Hitler once did, I don’t think anybody can argue that the defense of democracy in Honduras was too rash, too determined. It was appropriate. Unfortunately Venezuela is in a different position, the judiciary already having been completely compromised, and the legislative as well, so a repeat is not possible. The best hope for Venezuela is a popular uprising and that the security forces remain passive while the people throw out the dictator quite literally.

Chávez consummates coup d’État

The Congress in Venezuela, AN in Spanish, has now installed itself. The opposition got 52% of the votes, the chavistas got 48%. However, the chavistas have got a larger number of congressmen (98 vs. 67) which they used to steamroll the opposition, and accept the unconstitutional legislation passed in the eleventh hour by the lame duck session. The methods used did not even have a semblance of democracy. To top it off, the new Speaker is a former traitor of the country, who helped a communist invasion force from Cuba in the 1960’s: Comandante Ramírez, now known as Fernando Soto Rojas. Chávez, backed by the Cuban vice-president Valdéz, is attempting to rule Venezuela with a finger. His middle finger. The shock effect is similar to the one that Adolf Hitler was aiming for when he made himself absolute dictator in a similar way.

This means that it is no longer a crime against democracy to depose Chávez by force.

In fact, if Chávez was sent to an isolated island to spend the rest of his days in internal exile, a prisoner at a military base, it would not be a crime. Just like it was no coup d’État when the military of Honduras arrested Zelaya, jailing Chávez while democracy is restored would not be a coup.

Having said that, it doesn’t mean that it is likely to happen. Venezuela has a different set of circumstances than Honduras. It has no independent judiciary, it has no independent parliament. There is thus no democratic institution that can give the orders to the military. The military would have to act on its own, based on their own, internal, evaluation of the constitutionality, in obedience to the oath they have taken.

Even though there is a large majority of militaries in Venezuela who would agree with this action, it is still a very risky proposition, because the top leaders are bought by Cuba, and there are Cuban soldiers at various levels to assure compliance with the orders from Havana, Cuba.

Therefore, the best bet for Venezuelans who want democracy and the rule of law to be restored (and the many political prisoners to be released) is to organize a totally civilian non-violent resistance. The downside with that strategy is that it can take a long time to reach victory, and be very costly. However, it can also be used a a first step towards a military mutiny.

Just like there were many Germans who supported Hitler and the Nazis up until the oppression became obvious, so are there still quite a few Venezuelans who support the Chávez dictatorship. They probably don’t understand or give a damn about democracy, human rights, or the rule of law. Perhaps they just see their own personal situation, and are not concerned with the suffering of their fellow Venezuelans. I don’t know, but to reach these people with the message is key to eroding the support from the dictator in Caracas. When the support is sufficiently eroded, a mutiny may be the final step to reach a quick end to the disaster that is Bolivarian Venezuela.

Annex: Como derrocar a una dictadura (pdf).

Link: List of political prisoners in Venezuela.

Opposition in Venezuela demands Rule of Law

It is January 5 and the new Congress is meeting in Caracas. The governing party has taken all seats in the leadership for itself, chairman, vice chairman, secretary, vice secretary, and so on. The opposition, which won a 52% majority in the election, demands to be represented as well. The chavistas responded by yelling “murderer” and saying that the opposition has no right to demand anything at all in the Congress. The oficialistas got 98 seats from 48%, whereas the opposition got only 67 seats from their 52%. A 52% vote only gave them 40% representation.

Opposition demonstration outside the Congress in Caracas, Jan 5, 2011, gathering tens of thousands of people.

Two opposition congressmen are missing as they were sentenced to long prison terms a few days ago in kangaroo courts. One of them, Commissioner Mazuco, was advanced by the opposition as candidate for the vice president post. He was elected with 98,000 votes. The president of the congress, Soto Rojas, a former traitor of his country, only got 3,000 votes.

The opposition soon after nominated Commissioner Mazuco as secretary of the Congress. At the moment he finished speaking, the Speaker asked his assistant what proposals for secretary there were. Just one, he said (the proposal from the chavistas, who won a 48% minority in the elections). He asked for the members to vote, they did by raising their hands. No recognition whatsoever of the proposal from the opposition (who won a 52% majority).

Very strange meeting procedures, they would have been regarded as completely undemocratic where I come from. Not at least the fact that the chavistas by law have to vote for the proposal made by Soto Rojas; they cannot vote against it or abstain. If they do, they risk joining the growing ranks of political prisoners in the country.

The meeting is ongoing at this time and can be seen live at La Patilla.

Workers are demonstrating near the National Assembly, AN, although they were not given permission. Opposition congressmen have invited all the supporter of the opposition to accompany them to the opening of the new Congress, AN (original invitation, Dec 30)

¿Porqué difamar a Peña Esclusa en Italiano?

Existe solo una explicación creíble a la pregunta porqué Alejandro Peña Esclusa quede difamado solo en Wikipedia en italiano, y no en español o inglés, por ejemplo: Para influir a la iglesia Católica. Lógicamente, esto significa que Chávez y su consejeros en el gobierno Cubano considera el Vaticano un adversario importante. ¿Y porqué no? Es la única organización con una presencia en todo el país, el único que puede difundir la verdad en toda Venezuela cuando los medios de comunicación han sido censurados.

Chávez es amigo de Putin en Rusia, y Putin es amigo de Berlusconi en Italia. Los tres son corruptos en escala astronómica, los tres son obsesionados en controlar el mensaje en los medios. Los tres tienen sus propios imperios de media para difundir su propaganda.

Wikipedia tiene que ser un peligro para ellos. Sin embargo, cada uno puede editarlo, los subordinados de los corruptos también. Es fácil emplear un ejercito de usuarios, o mejor aun, indoctrinarles para hacerlo sin pago. “Idiotas útiles” como les llamaban los bolcheviques.

Afortunadamente, el Cardenal Urosa Savino en Venezuela no se deja engañar. Sin embargo, como vimos en Honduras, el Papa en Roma no necesariamente escucha a su propio gente en el país. Aunque el Cardenal dijo claramente que no fue un golpe de Estado en Honduras junio 28, 2009, pero un destitución legal de un presidente (por haber tratado de derrocar la Constitución), el Papa no repitió esa verdad.

Queda claro que la difamación de Alejandro Peña Esclusa en Wikipedia en italiano se hace con el mismo propósito: Para hacer el Vaticano perder la confianza en su propio Cardenal en Venezuela. Espero que el Papa sea mas sabio que de caer en esas mentiras, y mas bien defiende a los derechos de Peña Esclusa de no ser difamado, y lo toma como ejemplo de la importancia de tener mucho cuidado en los argumentos y en como trataremos a los demás.

Libelous article is part of framing of political prisoner

In 2007 an article on Italian Wikipedia was created about the Venezuelan politician Alejandro Peña Esclusa.

It was obviously created by his political opponents, the regime of Hugo Chávez and its supporters, in order to defame him. Since then a large number of attempts have been made to remove the libel, to no avail. Please look at the discussion and history pages. I furthermore contacted the top legal counsel of the Wikipedia Foundation back in July, but that was equally fruitless. The only result from my insistent arguments for removing the libel and making the article un-biased was to be permanently banned from Italian Wikipedia.

Peña Esclusa was framed for terrorism and jailed in July. The Wikipedia article did a tremendous amount of harm to him, as it was spread over the blogosphere in a machine-translated form, and convinced Internet users that he was a very bad person (fascist, violent, advocating military dictatorships) why they refrained from speaking up in his defense. He is to this day sitting in a 2 x 3 m cell in the jail of the political police in Caracas.

The most important libel in the article today is a paragraph that says, in short, that “he is furthermore a member of TFP, and some members of that organization have been accused of trying to murder Pope John Paul II, and President Reagan. TFP has been banned in several countries for being too extremist.” I first removed every statement after the first comma, since it belongs in the article about TFP, not this one. However, it was promptly reinserted.

Yesterday I got a chance to ask APE himself about his membership in TFP, and he gave me a quote from Ch 17 in his own book “350” where he explicitly says that he has NEVER been a member of TFP. I then went to another computer, to avoid the permanent block, and removed the entire paragraph, left a note referring to the discussion page, and in the discussion page I gave the quote and the reference. Three minutes later it was undone, asking for motivation (apparently ignoring what I wrote). I deleted it again, assuming that the other user would see and understand the note in the talk page. But a few minutes later an editor not only reinserted the libel without comment, but also blocked the IP I was at. I went out on Twitter and the following day two users removed the libel, one with a note referring to the talk page, but in both cases it was promptly reinserted by two different users. Thus, within 27 hours 4 different users reinserted the libel. To me it indicates that there is a conspiracy to defame Mr. Peña Esclusa.

Alejandro Peña Esclusa is facing prosecution in Venezuela, now a communist dictatorship where the entire executive, legislative, and judicial powers are in the hands of “Commander President” Hugo Chávez (he now calls himself Comandante in imitation of the Cuban revolutionaries, and the last step of the Sovietization took place at the end of December last year). He has a ministry of propaganda with an international TV network at its disposal (TeleSur). It is beyond likely that he also has a significant number of staff dedicated to Internet propaganda, and many of those are apparently engaged in editing Wikipedia. One example may be user Skyluke, who sported a communist symbol on his user-page while he edited the libelous article.

The above was sent this evening to the Wikipedia Arbitration Committee. I will report significant developments. First update is that the paragraph was deleted and reinserted a fifth time shortly after this letter was sent.

Update 2011-01-02: Using a still-not-blocked computer to access Italian Wikipedia, I wrote the following explicit warning and explanation of why is libelous: “The second paragraph states that Mr. Peña Esclusa is a member of TFP (Tradition Family Property). There is NO SOURCE given for that claim. Here is a referenced quote from the man himself saying that he has never been a member. Yet 5 different users have reinserted the libel within 48 hours. Furthermore, the rest of the paragraph does not belong in this article but in the article about TFP, and it is clearly present here for the sole purpose of defamation. The man himself being held as a political prisoner in a 2 x 3 m cell without windows and with bare concrete floor. This article contributed materially to him being framed and jailed. He has not ruled out a large lawsuit of the Wikipedia Foundation, or the users who have inserted the libelous claims in full knowledge that they were defamatory. Of course, any user that reinserted the libel after user Lindorm warned of it above in July may be held to an especially high standard.” The entire paragraph was removed by Vituzzu 6 hours later. I also removed the libelous paragraph explaining that it was removed for libel, but it was promptly reinserted by user Valerio79, who also protected the page from “vandalism”, as in all the other cases without any motivation or explanation of why the paragraph belonged there. If anybody doubted that it was communist propaganda, the sixth user to enter the fray in the past few days left us no doubt: User Jaqen added a reference to the statement that Mr. Peña Esclusa is a member of TFP; The source is the official propaganda of Bolivia.

There is no doubt in my mind that this is a conspiracy by a criminal network, in which Italy may be deeply immersed. As is well-known, Peña Esclusa’s main target of criticism is Hugo Chávez (who is entirely beholden to Castro’s Cuba, to the extent that Cubans control his government, suck the oil from Venezuela’s ground like petro-vampires, and lately also has converted Venezuela to a Cuban or Soviet style communist dictatorship). Chávez in turn owns Bolivia’s president Evo Morales, so nothing from Bolivia has any value whatsoever as a reference against Peña Esclusa. Furthermore, this axis is closely connected not only to the communist dictator Lukashenko in Belorus, and not only to Ahmedinejad in Iran, but also to Putin in Russia – who in turn is a close friend of Berlusconi in Italy. This axis seems to be less about ideology and more about corruption. They are putting money in their own pockets in a scale that is unheard of in the history of mankind, and Alejandro Peña Esclusa, with his fierce defense of democracy and call for a peaceful uprising was apparently too big a threat for these greedy despots and their useful idiots on the Internet.

Wikipedia is aiding Human Rights-violations through Libel

Wikipedia is helping a communist dictatorship jail and – soon – convict an innocent man in a kangaroo court, by allowing grossly libelous and patent falsehoods to be published about the man in their online user-edited encyclopedia. Wikipedia has given certain users the power to block other users, and this has allowed an army of conspirators – quite possibly paid agents working for the new axis of evil – to block every attempt to remove the libel over the course of several years. They are constantly monitoring the page, since they revoke any change within minutes even if it has been months since the last attempt to change it. Any user that insists and starts arguing the case they block from not just editing the page, but also from arguing the case in the talk page.

After having contacted the top legal representative of Wikipedia without any result, I conclude that Wikipedia knowingly aids a dictatorial regime violate human rights – whether on purpose or for lack of resources is irrelevant. They have been notified and responded, but after the first contact they stopped responding to reminders that nothing had changed. It seems that they need more pressure, either a lawsuit for libel, or a scandal in media.

The case I’m referring to is the slanderous article in Italian Wikipedia, it.wikipedia.org, about Venezuelan politician and NGO-leader Alejandro Peña Esclusa. Every attempt to remove blatantly slanderous and propagandistic statements – even when accompanied with references proving that they are false – are undone almost immediately by several gatekeepers, at least one of whom is a communist judging from a communist star on his user page. Several of these gatekeepers are editors meaning they have the power to block other users. This they use to prevent the user who tries to remove the slander from even commenting in the discussion page of the article.

This slander of Alejandro Peña Esclusa, and the fierce protection of it, has been going on since 2007 on Italian Wikipedia. It correlates with his political activities as an outspoken critic of the communist step-wise coup d’État carried out by Hugo Chávez in Venezuela. Peña Esclusa was framed in July 2010, using methods denounced by the U.S. Embassy in La Lima in a diplomatic cable leaked through Wikileaks.

It is obvious that the purpose of framing Peña Esclusa was to silence his message, expressed through Fuerza Solidaria and UnoAmerica. The gist of the message is that Hugo Chávez is leading a regime of narco-terrorists based on communism as the official ideology.

Recent information that has reached me shows, however, that the Venezuelan government is deeply divided, with the Chávez branch consisting only of Cubans, under the direct leadership on none other than Commandante Valdez, who fought in the revolution in Sierra Madre alongside the Castro brothers. In other words, Venezuela is run as a protectorate of communist Cuba. The other branch are Venezuelan patriots, if socialists, and they are in deep disagreement with the selling out of the country to Cuba and China (such as $5 crude when the world market price is $80; rumor has it Hugito is getting a healthy kickback on an overseas account).

The scheme to eliminate the regime-critic thus seems to have been drafted in Habana, Cuba. The communist dictatorship apparently planned the imprisonment years in advance, starting by planting slanderous material online, and in a Wikipedia article. All attempts to correct it were systematically blocked. The final step was to kidnap a foreigner, Chavez Abarca, in Guatemala, fly him to Caracas, and show him on TV while claiming that he confessed to having come to carry out a murder plot of Hugo Chávez in conspiracy with Alejandro Peña Esclusa. To prevent questions they flew him to Cuba immediately, under the pretext that he was wanted there since earlier for another terrorist attack.

Peña Esclusa understood that he was being framed and published a YouTube video (part 1, part 2) denouncing it. Only hours later they ransacked his house and when nobody looked they planted alleged explosives in his 8-year daughter’s desk. Proof enough for the political police to jail him, and there he sits still – in a 2 m by 3 m cell.

It is a tragedy is that the well-intentioned Wikipedia Foundation in California, through incompetence or worse, has and is aiding and abetting the strategy of a communist dictatorship to suppress free speech, liberty, and democracy.

PS. Since yesterday, another user again erased the slanderous claim that Alejandro Peña Esclusa is a member of the organization Tradition, Family and Property (TFP), with the comment “He was never a member of TFP, see talk.” In the talk page, a quote from his book appears in which he says that he was never a member of TFP. In spite of this, three different Wikipedia users have now, within 24 hours, reinstated a paragraph that claims, without any source or reference, that Peña Esclusa is, at present, a member of TFP. Furthermore, the paragraph in question alleges several damning things about TFP that are obviously put in there only to slander Peña Esclusa through “guilt by association”, even though by Wikipedia’s own rules those details do not belong in the article about Peña Esclusa but in the article about TFP itself.

PS.PS. A couple of hours later, a third user erased it, and it was immediately undone, again. Four different users reinserting the same libel, knowing that it is defamatory, cannot be interpreted as anything less than a conspiracy.

PS.PS.PS. Two hours later, at 01:25 on January 2nd, a forth user deleted the libel, and two minutes later a fifth person reinserted the defamation of the political prisoner, a poor victim of a totalitarian communist dictatorship.