A letter to John Kerry from U.S. lovers of Latin American dictatorships (Gustavo Coronel)

 by Gustavo Coronel, Va.
About 47 members of a U.S. and European academic group ideologically married to the Cuban controlled Venezuelan regime have written a letter to U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry expressing their “concern” about what they call the aggressions of the opposition against the Venezuelan government. The signatories of the letter that I know are supporters of the Castro and the Ortega brothers and have now taken seats in the bus driven by Nicolas Maduro in Venezuela. They are fellow travelers. The contents of the letter have been substantially based in a piece written in Green Left Weekly, by Federico Fuentes, an activist with the Australian Venezuelan Solidarity Network. See: https://www.greenleft.org.au/node/56008 , “Violence in Venezuela: The myths and the facts”.
The letter contains important errors which demonstrate either poor information or intentional, ideologically driven bias. I will comment briefly on some of its assertions:
  1. The letter asks Secretary Kerry “to stand by democratic institutions and the rule of law there”.  This is its first and biggest mistake. It is inexcusable that the authors associate the current Venezuelan regime with the rule of law. It is obvious they have never heard the magistrates of the corrupt Maduro-controlled Supreme Tribunal of Justice singing: “Uh, Oh, Chavez does not go” or that they have never read or heard how the current Ombudsman and the Attorney General (Fiscal general)   justify the abuses of power of the government without shame. Ideology forces the author of the letter to close their eyes to the totalitarian stance that characterizes the regime.
    They should know, but they do not, that a recent ranking of 99 countries made by the Institute for Global Justice placed Venezuela dead last in the Index of the Rule of Law. http://worldjusticeproject.org/sites/default/files/files/wjp_rule_of_law_index_2014_report.pdf .  The evaluation was made on the basis of 10,000 polls and interviews in all the countries surveyed. This Index of Rule of Law is made up of nine factors: “1. Degree to which the government acts within the law; 2. Absence of Corruption; 3. Transparency in government; 4. Protection of Fundamental Rights; 5. Degree of Social order and Security; 6. Validity of Existing Regulations; 7. Quality of Civil Justice System; 8. Quality of criminal Justice System; 9. Informal Justice systems. In ranking the Venezuelan government last, in place 99, they had this to say:
At 99th, Venezuela is the weakest performer among all indexed countries, showing downward trends in performance across many areas since last year. The country is ranked last in government accountability, owing to an increased concentration of executive power and a debilitated system of checks and balances. Corruption is commonplace (ranking 90th overall and last in the region)… Crime and violence are also areas of concern, as are the violations of fundamental rights, in particular, freedom of opinion and expression, and the right to privacy”.
Therefore, it takes much ignorance or bad faith to say that the Maduro regime represents the rule of law in Venezuela.
  1.     They say: “The recent violent incidents in Venezuela are tragic and demonstrate once again the importance of resolving political conflicts and differences through legitimate, constitutional means. On April 14, 2013, President Nicolás Maduro was elected with a 1.8 percent margin of victory — much more than that received by several former U.S. presidents, including Richard Nixon (in 1968), John F. Kennedy (in 1960) and George W. Bush (in 2000). The election-day audit of a random sample of 53 percent of voting machines, checked against paper ballot receipts, left no reasonable doubt as to the result”….
    This is a lie. The elections were denounced by the opposition, which presented testimony of  electoral irregularities that far exceeded the narrow margin of victory claimed by Maduro. Public opinion, both in Venezuela and abroad, forced Nicolas Maduro to agree publicly in Venezuela and at the meeting of UNASUR to a total recount of the votes, a promise he later failed to keep and which the National Electoral Council, controlled by the government, failed to enforce in the proper manner.
botas3. They say: “It appears that a sector of the political opposition is determined to use those who want to protest peacefully as part of an effort to foment violence and overturn the results of democratic elections. The most prominent actors in the current protest movement — Leopoldo López and María Corina Machado — have histories of supporting such efforts to force democratically elected presidents from office”.
The only real coups taking place in Venezuela, which took the lives of some 200 innocent Venezuelans, were the ones staged by the people currently in power, in February and November of 1992. Both of these military, bloody coups were defeated. The letter by the fellow travelers refers to the civil protests of April 2002 that ended with Chavez being ousted from power for about 48 hours, when the Army refused to use force against the protesters and top ranked General Lucas Rincon asked and obtained Chavez’s resignation. I heard him on TV announcing this resignation.  I doubt anyone of the authors of the letter were there at the time or have read Brian Nelson’s “The Silence and the Scorpion”, the most complete and objective narrative of these events.  They probably do not know that this man, General Lucas Rincon, was promoted to five star general by Chavez and is now Maduro’s ambassador to Portugal. What an unusual “coup” this was!
GNB ataca viviendas4. They say: “Images of violent episodes from the past have been presented as current events on outlets such as CNN, and numerous images of incidents from Greece, Spain, Belarus, Chile and other countries are being falsely presented as having occurred in Venezuela on YouTube, Twitter and other social media”.
While it is true that there has been disinformation and fraudulent representations of the events from both sides, this is by no means the rule but, rather, the exception. The graphic material, both videos and pictures, showing the atrocities committed by the repressive forces of the National Guard and the armed bands of  thugs controlled by the government, leave no doubt about the abuses of power by the regime. 30 deaths, mostly from the side of the opposition have taken place already. One of the authors of the letter, Mr. Ciccariello-Maher lied in a radio program recently when he said most of the victims belonged to the government side. Hear Michael Krasny’s program at :http://www.kqed.org/a/forum/R201403200930.
Twitter and Instagram photos with #FraudeElectoral (electoral fraude) as hashtag
Twitter and Instagram photos with #FraudeElectoral (electoral fraude) as hashtag (heavy.com)Read more at: http://www.heavy.com/news/2013/04/latest-venezuela-news-election-violence-recount/

5. The letter claims that [the Venezuelan electoral system]
has been described by President Carter as “the best in the world”.
 It is true Carter said this. It is also true that former President Carter is persona non grata to the millions of Venezuelans who oppose the government for his coziness with the Venezuelan regime. The Carter Center has been known to give a favorable opinion about governments that support the center financially and it would good to know if the Center has received any money from the Venezuelan government during the last 14 years.  One member of the group who wrote the letter recently presented his adulatory book on Chavez at….the Carter Library. The authors of the letter and the Carter Center seem to be playing for the same team: The Maduro Reds.
In spite of Carter’s glowing, earlier, praise of the Venezuelan electoral system its report on the last election also found necessary to say, in order to keep a semblance of impartiality: “There is not agreement about the quality of the voting conditions and whether every registered voter is able to vote one time, and only one time. In addition, the report finds a series of inequities in campaign conditions in terms of both access to financial resources and access to the media, which diminish the competitiveness of elections, particularly in a legal framework that permits indefinite reelection of public officials”. In other words, the government abuses its power and misuses national assets in order to win elections.
I would be willing to debate about the Venezuelan situation with one or more of these persons at their convenience. Just let me know at [email protected] .
The signatories of the letter are:
Joel Andreas, Professor of Sociology, Johns Hopkins UniversityThomas Angotti, Professor of Urban Affairs, CUNY Graduate Center

Robert Austin, Honorary Research Fellow, School of History, Philosophy, Religion and Classics, University of Queensland, Australia

Dario Azzellini, Professor of Sociology, Johannes Kepler Universität Linz, Austria

Marc Becker, Professor of Latin American History, Truman State University

Keane Bhatt, writer and activist

Donald W. Bray, Professor of Political Science Emeritus, California State University, Los Angeles

Marjorie Woodford Bray, Director of Latin American Studies, Retired, California State University, Los Angeles

Michael Brenner, Professor Emeritus of International Affairs, University of Pittsburgh

Julia Buxton, Central European University

Ronald H. Chilcote, Professor Emeritus of Economics and Political Science, University of California, Riverside

George Ciccariello-Maher, Professor of Political Science, Drexel University

Marjorie Cohn, Professor of Law, Thomas Jefferson School of Law

Lisa Duggan, Professor of Social and Cultural Analysis, New York University; President-Elect, American Studies Association

Luis Duno-Gottberg, Professor of Film and Caribbean Studies, Rice University

Alex Dupuy, Professor of Sociology, Wesleyan University

Steve Ellner, Professor of History, Universidad de Oriente, Venezuela

Sujatha Fernandes, Professor of Sociology, Queens College, CUNY Graduate Center

Bill Fletcher, Jr., writer and activist

John Foran, Professor of Sociology; former director, Program in Latin American and Iberian Studies, University of California, Santa Barbara

Jeff Goodwin, Professor of Sociology, New York University

Greg Grandin, Professor of History, New York University

Daniel Hellinger, Professor of Latin American Politics, Webster University

Katherine Hite, Professor of Political Science, Vassar College

Forrest Hylton, Lecturer in History & Literature, Harvard University

Dan Kovalik, Professor of International Human Rights, University of Pittsburgh School of Law

George Leddy, Professor of Environmental Science, Los Angeles Valley College

Sidney Lemelle, Professor of History, Pomona College

Paul O’Connell, Reader in Law, SOAS, University of London

Adrienne Pine, Professor of Anthropology, American University

Margaret Power, Professor of History, Illinois Institute of Technology

Vijay Prashad, Edward Said Chair of American Studies, American University of Beirut

Adolph Reed, Jr., Professor of Political Science, University of Pennsylvania

Nazih Richani, Director of Latin American Studies, Kean University

William I. Robinson, Professor of Sociology, University of California at Santa Barbara

Eric Selbin, University Scholar & Professor of Political Science, Southwestern University

Cathy Schneider, Professor of International Affairs, American University

T.M. Scruggs, Professor Emeritus of Music, University of Iowa

Denise A. Segura, Professor, Department of Sociology, UC Santa Barbara

Naoko Shibusawa, Professor of History, Brown University

Victor Silverman, Professor of History, Pomona College

Richard Stahler-Sholk, Professor, Political Science, Eastern Michigan University

Sinclair Thompson, Professor of History, New York University

Miguel Tinker Salas, Professor of History, Pomona College

Mark Weisbrot, Center for Economic and Political Research

John Womack, Jr., Robert Woods Bliss Professor of Latin American History and Economics, emeritus, Harvard University

8 comentarios:

Charly dijo…

If you look at their specialty, they are all professors of sociology, the preferred latino university curriculum, and related fields. Not a single one from a school of medicine, commerce, engineering.
21 de marzo de 2014, 5:17

Anónimo dijo…

How can they criticize a perfect democracy where even dead people can vote as long as they vote for chavistas? LOL!!
21 de marzo de 2014, 6:23

Lucio Cammarata dijo…

Los firmantes son todos socialistas de salón, ésos que abogan por la implantación del socialismo radical… pero lejos de sus propios países. ¿La carta?… muy buena para inducir al vómito…
21 de marzo de 2014, 6:37

Anónimo dijo…

Una vez más, no es una sorpresa para mí. Ya tengo la lengua pelada -cuando hablo- e igual los dedos -cuando tecleo- denunciando a esos HDP de la izquierda caviar gringa y europea que ven con pasión y deleite cómo se instala una dictadura de izquierda en estos parajes tropicales subdesarrolados, cosa que NUNCA aceptarían para su propio país, del cual odian su Establishment político pero adoran las ventajas de una sociedad desarrollada que les permite un alto nivel de vida. ¡Hipócritas!Lo he dicho y lo repito: aunque el comunismo perdió, con mucha pena y sin ninguan gloria, la Guerra Fría, sigue venciendo en el terreno simbólico. Con toda la evidencia abrumadora en contra, todavía sigue siendo como pelar una mandarina hablar en nombre de una pretendida igualdad que NUNCA -léase bien, NUNCA- practicaron con el ejemplo: ningún líder comunista vivió modestamente. Para Ripley: todavía la estupidez marxista encuentra amplio eco entre profesores universitarios, intelectuales y artistas. A ver si les gustaría esa porquería para sus países.

21 de marzo de 2014, 7:16

Oscar I. Rodriguez dijo…

It would be enlightening to see how many of these have actually ever been in the country and base their opinion on something else other than select readings. Furthermore, it would be interesting to determine how many of them frequently correspond with colleagues in Venezuela to compare views with firsthand participants.
This is the typical collection of pseudo-intellectuals that pretend to explain to the world how things need to be run, without ever needing to accept an iota of responsibility when things go wrong. A quick internet search (of a few of the names) showed that their areas of teaching leaned towards courses aimed at explaining how someone else is always responsible for the shortcomings of a certain group.
21 de marzo de 2014, 7:23

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